Smooch mechanics
October 8, 2008 12:48 PM   Subscribe

How do you kiss?

I would be surprised to learn that any real study of this has ever been performed, so I resort to polling the MeFi population.

When two people kiss, generally, one person kisses the other one's bottom lip and the second person is kissing the first person's top lip. Sort of. If that doesn't make sense, here is a... diagram:

So, in my limited experience, the guy kisses the girl's bottom lip and the girl kisses the guy's top lip.

Heterosexual MeFites: does this comport with your experience?
Other MeFites: do you observe any relationship between who kisses which lip and who is more "butch"?
Or am I weird, and everyone else just switches a lot?

I apologize if this makes no sense.
posted by prefpara to Human Relations (38 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I propose a fourth item in the poll:

We're too busy kissing to notice any particular trend about it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:50 PM on October 8, 2008 [12 favorites]

I dunno if you're weird or not, prefpara, but my experience as a person who hasn't required a gender check for my kissing partners leads me to believe folks switch a lot.
posted by batmonkey at 12:53 PM on October 8, 2008

Can't say as to whether or not you're weird, but in my experience switching is always involved.
posted by piedmont at 12:54 PM on October 8, 2008

I'm a hetero M and I seem to kiss my wife's upper lip mostly.

Thinking back to previous relationships...I dunno, gotta gree with EmpressCallipygos, just happy to be kissing
posted by arniec at 12:55 PM on October 8, 2008

Does it makes sense to you that the taller person of the two might have it easier clamping down onto the shorter persons upper lip?
posted by uandt at 1:00 PM on October 8, 2008

I was basically trained to kiss by my first boyfriend (at age 21 - I was somewhat of a late bloomer), and we did a lot of what you describe: me primarily kissing his top lip and him primarily kissing my bottom lip. Because of the intensity of that relationship, I suspect it imprinted a preference for that arrangement upon me that still stands. I can switch, but usually kissing a dude's bottom lip feels really odd to me.
posted by dorothy humbird at 1:00 PM on October 8, 2008

I think I kind of go straight on lip to lip and then change around during any furthur action. (hetro-male)
posted by bonobothegreat at 1:02 PM on October 8, 2008

Hetero-female: never the same place twice, if I can help it. (Which I can't, because there are only a finite number of places. But I try.)
posted by iguanapolitico at 1:10 PM on October 8, 2008 [3 favorites]

in erotic literature (e.g. Kama Sutra), the bottom lip is often characterized as the greater prize. hence the inverted kiss where both parties may enjoy the bottom lip simultaneously.
posted by randomstriker at 1:38 PM on October 8, 2008

I'm thinking I go for bottom, but as uandt said, it could be because I am the shorter person in the relationship.

I'm also thinking that the top lip/bottom lip never crosses my mind at the time. If we're both horizontal, I probably switch back and forth.
posted by amicamentis at 1:41 PM on October 8, 2008

I had never thought about this before. When I first read your question I thought "doesn't everyone kiss the upper lip?"

But of course that's not possible. And now, forever, the asymmetry is going to bug me. Arrrgh!

(I'm heteroish female, but I can't remember if there's a correlation between gender and lip pattern or not. Kissing is distracting, you know.)

On preview, randomstriker has the symmetric solution. Ahh, much better.
posted by nat at 1:42 PM on October 8, 2008

I try switch a fair amount, 'cause that's cooperation! But secretly, I, a male, try to go for the bottom lip if I can, because it is the more juicy and beautiful lip.

Ditto, talking as a female who's only kissed a dude for the past six years.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:44 PM on October 8, 2008

Am I from another planet, or don't people tend to tilt their heads, so the lips are diagonal and offset?
posted by booksandlibretti at 1:48 PM on October 8, 2008 [4 favorites]

How do I kiss? Like a nymphomaniac on death row.

But seriously, mostly randomly. Well, pseudo-random, anyway. I'm sure there's some complex algorithm going on deep in my brain that controls which lip I'm currently working on. I do tend to favor leaning my head to the right. Also, my wife and I both wear glasses so we always have a few seconds of clicking and clacking before we take them off.

I'm actually surprised to see so many people favor a certain lip.
posted by bondcliff at 1:50 PM on October 8, 2008 [3 favorites]

Hetero 6'4" male: I get the upper lip, tilt yer head to the right please ma'am.
posted by LordSludge at 1:56 PM on October 8, 2008 [3 favorites]

My man is mustachio'd, so I tend to end up on his bottom lip. In the past, with non-mustachio'd partners of either sex, it's been much more mixed.... but I only started noticing this with mustachio'd man.
posted by Westringia F. at 1:57 PM on October 8, 2008

Gay male here. My bf and I definitely switch it up when sitting or lying down. When standing, though, he tends to go for my top lip (he is a few inches taller).
posted by hworth at 2:09 PM on October 8, 2008

I always go for my husband's bottom lip because it's just so plump and juicy looking.
posted by Brittanie at 2:14 PM on October 8, 2008

Hetero male for the random vote.
Actually, I tend to kiss the neck a lot as well.
posted by HFSH at 2:26 PM on October 8, 2008

My friend's bottom lip because he's taller. Or his tongue :P. We do switch around when lying down, as well as criss-cross, and maybe 90% of our kissing isn't even on the lips.

This is the point where I make a crack about which set of lips you're talking about, but oh... whatever.
posted by curagea at 2:32 PM on October 8, 2008

Oh my. I've been kissing for years but have never noticed!!!
posted by armacy at 3:19 PM on October 8, 2008

"Don't have sex, man. It leads to kissing and pretty soon you've got to talk to them."

Hetero male. I just sort whatever feels right at the time, while trying to ensure even coverage. Generally I start at the top and sort of lick/kiss/nibble my way around to the bottom. The girl is usually too shocked to do anything, because she is very confused: only moments ago I was just some random dude standing in line at the supermarket.

Are you putting together the ruleset for some kind of erotic tabletop RPG?
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:20 PM on October 8, 2008 [10 favorites]

Great. It's one of those things I've never thought about, and now I'll be paralyzed with indecision the next time I try it. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

Straight woman here, much shorter than the straight man I just picked up in the supermarket. (Well, not really, but there is a real height difference.) I think I roam a lot between top and bottom lip, but a lot of what I consider kissing focuses on both lips (all 4 lips?) at once. Some brushing, some pressing, some opening up to let the tongues go visiting back and forth. Kissing/sucking/biting only one lip at a time is only part of the show, and I haven't been stopping lately to draw any diagrams.
posted by rosebuddy at 3:52 PM on October 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

been 4 years together and the wife and i have only switched lips to see what the other felt like. she likes my top lip better and i like her bottom lip better. im taller. and both heads tilt to the right.
posted by phritosan at 4:22 PM on October 8, 2008

I love AskMeFI - questions that you'd never even thought of asking get answered!

I generally go for the bottom lip (and I'm a short girl, so it's not a height thing) but we take it in turns - I never really kiss the upper lip in the same way. But tongues come into it as well and that's not about the lips at all! And it's often angled, so it's not always an either/or situation.

And (having thought about it), I always tilt my head to the right. I'm thinking that's because I'm righthanded and hence my right arm / shoulder / neck muscles are probably tighter so it's easier. I can't remember if I've kissed a lefthander so I'm not sure if that's just me or whether it's a handedness thing. Not to hijack your post or anything, but are there any lefthanders out there who can comment?
posted by finding.perdita at 4:23 PM on October 8, 2008

Bi girl. I aim for the delectable bottom lip whether kissing boys or girls.
posted by desuetude at 4:30 PM on October 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm a straight girl and I pretty much always kiss his bottom lip. I'm sure we switch it up a bit, but in general I don't like him kissing my bottom lip. While this struck me as a very odd question at first, once I thought about it I realized I have a pretty distinct preference.

I always thought it was a height determined choice, not a gender one.
posted by lilac girl at 4:54 PM on October 8, 2008

MeFi continues to impress me with entire new realms of undiscovered bean-platery. :)

Anyway: Hetero male voting for all, various, random, both, neither.... it changes minute to minute, day to day and person to person.

The bottom lip is the "prize" one, as it's the pillowy/soft/fun one, so it's probably polite to alternate somehow or other, and indeed the inverted position that gives everyone their own private bottom-lip is very intimate.
posted by rokusan at 5:14 PM on October 8, 2008

Can't remember, but now I'm thinking about it!! What's worse, is that I have a 2nd date with this amazing guy tomorrow and I'm pretty sure we're gonna kiss.... and now I'm gonna be thinking about it way more than I should! AHHH. I'll let you know which lips end up being kissed =)
posted by KateHasQuestions at 5:30 PM on October 8, 2008

I'm with Books on this one. I go for an angle of about 25%, and that puts me right in the middle. No worry about upper or lower.

The real point, though, is that the lips have muscles, and working the muscles is what gets it done.
posted by yclipse at 5:33 PM on October 8, 2008

Why stop at one lip? I fall into the kiss, it's a whole body thing, like drowning. There's no bottom lip, no top lip, just mouths, and juicy bottom lips are all caught up with top lips and that sweet dart under the nose that just fits a tongue-tip, and then there's sharp little teeth points and warm velvety tongue softness and wet co-mingling smooth sexiness and...I can't be having with this "where do the lips go" talk. It's like asking where the noses go. It's kissing magic, and it just works.
posted by misha at 6:22 PM on October 8, 2008 [11 favorites]

Oh, and finding.perdita, I'm left-handed, and I'll go both ways (heehee), but I do think I prefer tilting my head to the left, so next time I'm going right, just 'cause.
posted by misha at 6:24 PM on October 8, 2008

You're ruining it if you think about it to much. (upon review, I wish I could double-favorite what Misha said.)
posted by jmnugent at 2:15 AM on October 9, 2008

Kind of like the free market. It just works itself out.

Wait a minute...
posted by Rafaelloello at 8:59 AM on October 9, 2008

Response by poster: OK, so the overwhelming response seems to be BOTH! MAGIC! MADNESS! KISSING!

I will go for the bottom lip next time :)

Thanks, MeFi!
posted by prefpara at 12:09 PM on October 9, 2008

Nothing wrong with the diagonal approach, too. It gets your noses out of the way.
posted by MythMaker at 12:57 PM on October 9, 2008

I change it up too much for any one thing to be normal. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

But uh, brush your teeth before you kiss anyone again.
posted by lacedback at 1:16 PM on October 9, 2008

I pretty much kiss to mirror how the guy kisses. Seems to work.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:48 PM on October 9, 2008

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