Singletons were forced to put their dating lives on hold during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
But an unexpected side effect of the pandemic has been that young people haven't met any love interests since March 2020, with new research commissioned by EXTRA Gum finding that over half (57 per cent) of the 2,000 Brits surveyed admitting to having lost complete confidence in their kissing abilities, and a whopping 84 per cent of respondents confessing they are now nervous about dating as restrictions ease and bars and restaurants reopen.
So, what can singles do to feel confident about their smooching technique? Leading relationship expert Alix Fox, the award-winning writer, broadcaster, sex educator, and script consultant for the hit Netflix TV show, Sex Education, has shared her top tips for mastering the perfect kiss.
1. Avoid the lunge and plunge
"You want to avoid the lunge and plunge. You shouldn't feel like your tongue is a steak and your partner is a vampire," insisted Alix. "I think some people think if they do a sudden, forceful kiss or sweep their lover off their feet, but it's more likely to send them running in the opposite direction."
2. Dodge the burger lettuce
"You'll also want to avoid what I call, the 'burger lettuce.' You know that piece of greenery in a cheeseburger, that is always wet, limp, and pointless. You don't want your kisses to be like that!" she joked. "If there's too much saliva and slobber going on just pull back gently, maintain some sexy, sultry eye contact while you swallow."
3. Avoid the awful secret
"My least favourite type of kiss is probably the awful secret," sighed Alix. "It's so named because the person trying to do the kissing is very tight-lipped, as if they have something they definitely don't want to tell me. I've had kisses where slipping in my tongue has felt like I'm trying to deliver a very large parcel through a very small letterbox! It's fine to relax your jaw a little bit. You don't want lockjaw... just enough so your partner can gently feel your breath."
4. Practise the echo
"A delicious method of kissing, especially for that first-time smooch, is called the echo," the expert stated. "Not sure how strongly or softly your lover likes to be kissed? Want to get the amount of tongue and pace just right? Then tune into their movements and echo them. This is all about paying attention to somebody else's body language, not just listening to what you want to do."
5. Get 'kisstorical'
"You might want to try a 'kisstorical' snog inspired by history," noted Alix. "One of the earliest descriptions of a kiss occurs in the epic Sanskrit text The Mahabharata. It contains the line, she set her mouth to mine and produced a sound that provoked pleasure in me. You don't need to stay silent as if you're whispering in a library while you're snogging. In fact, moans, and sighs and soft little sounds can be hot and they give your lover some useful feedback on something you enjoy."
6. The royal mint
"Eighty-nine per cent of people say they fret about having fresh breath when they first go to kiss somebody. So, offering your partner some Extra is a great way of getting rid of those halitosis-based hang-ups," she smiled.