Secrets of Kissing, Revealed

by Lamar Clarkson

Do you remember your first kiss? Were you wearing a bridesmaid’s dress and baby’s breath in your hair as you leaned over your birthday cake and your 16 candles? Were you asking a farm boy to fetch an earthenware pitcher even though it was right there above your head?

My friend B. remembers hers in great detail. She and her boyfriend had just watched The X-Files. She said goodnight and was about to get out of his car when he replied (in heavy italics, I am sure of it): “The night’s not over yet.” And FACEMASH. Here is her interior monologue: Oh my god I don’t know what to do wow that’s his tongue is this normal? What do I do about it? Is this all kissing is? Am I doing it right? What do I do with my hands? That’s it, that’s what I’ve been waiting for? And then it was over and she was inside discussing the X-Files episode with her dad and thinking do I look different now?

If B. had been in possession of a tiny book called Secrets of Kissing, she might have known that the answers to these questions are as follows: yes, “be warm and sensual,” sort of, yes, “touch his eyelids,” and yes.

Those of you who read your Seventeen and Teen cover to cover in the 90s may remember Secrets of Kissing as the free gift advertised alongside that scammy mail-order book The Get Him System. (Some of you were lucky enough to get your hands on Secrets of Kissing even when Get Him didn’t arrive, wtf?) My attempt to order the books back then failed, but I recently found a copy of our long-lost kissing primer thanks to the time machine of Amazon Marketplace. So what’s inside?

Secrets of Kissing turns out to be a 30-page black-and-white stapled pamphlet with an ultra-photocopied cover featuring two shaggy-haired maybe-teens in different styles of Hanes tees about to cosummate their desire to swallow each other’s gum. It is from something called the Tymar Clinic, whose only other Google result involves a snippet from the back of Sassy advertising a diet called the CNA Method. (Anyone have any idea what the CNA was? Was it the same thing as the full-page ad that was like, “You don’t know me from Adam… I lost tons of weight by eating all the time, even in the middle of the night I was constantly snacking on fish and also sometimes chips, here is a picture of me at the beach in a checked bikini”?)

Secrets of Kissing is all about affirmation. The very first sentence is “That’s right!” (Thanks?) A friend observed that if you subsitute the phrase “brain infiltrate” with all variations on the word “kiss,” the book is equally illuminating. Ahem:

That’s right! Anybody can learn to brain infiltrate. And you can learn to be a beautiful brain brain infiltrator too! That means that anytime you see that special someone, you will know inside that you know how to brain infiltrate. You will know that you are really a very lovable brain infiltratable person. And if you were to brain infiltrate with him, he would absolutely love it. And so would you!

You don’t have to be born talented to be a great brain infiltrator nor do you have to have a gorgeous face and body. Actually, all you need is desire. In other words, if you want to brain infiltrate and be brain infiltrated then you can and will be a dynamite brain infiltrator!

According to SoK, being in a brain infiltrating/kissing situation tells you that someone you like likes you back. You may be nervous, but try to remember (emphasis theirs):

Having fun and feeling good kissing is as automatic as laughing when you are being tickled! So Kiss away. You lucky Girl!

In fact, the only thing keeping you from being a supersensual kisser is fear, which is something easily banished by chanting.

You want to kiss that gorgeous guy and you want him to kiss you, right? YES! RIGHT!


The Tymar Clinic recommends that if you wear glasses, simply take them off. And maybe one day consider getting contacts.

Since you are the one who is setting the pace, you will know when the big moment arrives. Actually, you may want to plan the whole thing ahead of time. So, if you know that kissing is on the agenda for the night, you will want to make a few preparations.

If you like to chew gum, that’s fine, but not having gum in your mouth is one less thing to worry about. Either get rid of it ahead of time, or when the magic moment comes you can simply say “I have to take my gum out.” . . . The easiest way out of this problem in a jam is to swallow it. This solves the problem.

So far, so good!

How do you feel? You are doing just great! Just imagine how great it would be if that special guy was with you right this very minute. (You would put the book away, of course!)


One great thing about kissing is that the more you do it, the better you get! Can you think of anything else that is as much fun to learn. And when you get really good, you will be addicted.

How do you go about practicing kissing? One good way is to play as many kissing games as you can.

Did this ever work for anybody? All I remember is one awkward game of Five Minutes in the Closet in which the bathroom was the closet and everyone spent the whole time trying to spy while the pair in question stood around staring at the bathtub.

French kissing involves extending your tongue into his mouth. He will most likely initiate this. Respond by circling his tongue with yours. Be warm and sensual.

One thing you don’t want to do is hold your breath. It doesn’t work. You’ll die.


One of the most romantic ways to touch your boyfriend is to cup his face in your hands. As you do this, kiss him softly all over his face. Remember to keep that tender, loving feeling.

Now that you’re getting the hang of it, it’s time to up the degree of difficulty.

Caress his cheeks with your softest touch. Run your fingers through his hair, especially on the sides, by his ear. You should touch his brow and eyelids. But be careful not to poke him in the eye! Combine your touches with kisses. Try kissing his lips while lovingly holding his chin.

Now add some sound.

[T]he most natural and romantic way to show your partner that you are pleased is by the sounds you make. Ummm and oooh and aaah says as much as any words could. And your loving sounds will add to the romance and excitement. Most guys get turned on by the sounds a girl makes. A guy should also make sounds to let you know how he feels.

Let’s combine everything and rehearse the whole routine. Time to take off your glases, swallow your Bubble Tape, and FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT!

Now lean in, sensual lips — remember to breathe! — and tongue TWO, THREE, FOUR, and tongue SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT. Cup his face, keep it gentle… Smack, smack, smack, smack. Stay inside the face formation! Fingers in hair, brow, lids, don’t poke him in the eye! Ooh, aah, ooh, aah, ummmmmmm. Hurkeys, everybody! Jazz hands!

Lamar Clarkson is an Atlanta-based freelance writer.