Kissing: A Field Guide by Violet Blue is a delightfully informative read. In its 130 pages, this book packs a wealth of tips for the inquisitive readers. I imagine readers carrying copies of this field guide around, exercising their lips as they meet strangers and loved ones alike. Who knows, perhaps some practice makes perfect. Here’s a wonderful excerpt of what the author had to say:

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a mandatory kissing politeness class in every high school? Here students would learn that kissing isn’t a face-chewing contest. You do not get points for trying to box the tonsils with your tongue. Licking lips too suggestively before you kiss looks really scary and gross. And above all, kissing is something you do together, rather than to or at another person.

By having this book on my person I did in fact score some kisses, but I thought I might have to make that person read this book before kissing me more. Indeed, kissing is such an important, intimate skill and yet no one talks about it. People assume you either have it or you don’t. The spark, the chemistry is either there or it isn’t. But surely if you hone your skills, your kisses might appeal to a larger number of people, should you need or want them to. Having an arsenal of kissing skills can only be a good thing, surely.

As I am a musician, I’ve really been working out my lip muscles for longer than I’ve been masturbating. It’s been a long time! But because I’ve been exercising my lips on a regular basis, perhaps that awareness of those muscles have really informed my kissing knowledge, albeit in a mostly subconscious way. If most people need to discover these skills in a more conscious way, then by all means I encourage it. Watch the numbers of brass players increase after this book review. I wish!

I thought this sample of a scary smoocher was hilariously accurate:

The Limp Noodle: So sad, the Noodle. When you lock lips and start to French, and his lips just hang there and his tongue lies there like a slug, you have a Limp Noodle on your hands. No matter how much you push, massage, and prod his tongue to bring it back to life, it plays possum, dead in the middle of the road. There is nothing you can do–you’re basically giving mouth-to-mouth to this guy.

Ha! So cleverly written, Blue. One little pointer that I loved being reminded of is that smiling during kissing shows the person you are having a good time and enjoying yourself. Indeed I find myself often speaking lightly in that close space in addition to smiling and giggling during the make out session. This may come naturally to some, but having it pointed out can make others more aware of how they are responding with their body language to the kisses.

This wonderful field guide contains music and movie suggestions to set the mood. Blue also provides readers with a troubleshooting list–a list of things that might go wrong and suggestions on how to fix these. If there is a primary thing to note regarding this book it is that through this book we can get the conversations going about kissing. This act of affection and desire, curiosity and intrigue that we rarely investigate further really deserves more discussion. Let’s use our lips and tongues, our mouths collectively as we kiss and talk about kissing. Shall we?

Thanks Cleis Press for providing me with this book in exchange for my review! Check out the giveaway below to win a copy! xoxo

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