Cinema Sutra: Cruel Intentions

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The movie: A modern-day remake of the eighteenth-century classic (and naughty, naughty novel) Les Liaisons dangereuses — this time with wealthy New York high-school kids as the protagonists.

The scene: The young ingénue, played by Selma Blair, tells Sarah Michelle Gellar’s character that she’s scared of boys, having never even gone to first base. Gellar asks her, “Haven’t you ever practiced on one of your girlfriends… How else do you think girls learn?” She then begins a lively lesson in the osculatory arts.

What you need:
• a pucker partner

The mechanics: Gellar’s advice comes in two stages. First, to get Blair started, she says, “Close your eyes and wet your lips,” then follows up with, “I’m going to stick my tongue in your mouth. When I do that, I want you to massage my tongue with yours.”

As hot as their on-screen kiss clearly is, this seems almost entirely wrong to me. First, there’s nothing wrong with having your eyes open; they’ll close naturally if you want, and sometimes it’s nice to be able to see the other person. Second, wet lips? I guess if you start out like the Sahara that makes sense, but I’m thinking back to my childhood and how my dad gave the wettest, sloppiest smooches (not the bad kind, don’t worry) — the added moisture was decidedly icky. You risk coming across as a Labrador-puppy-style kisser.

As to the question of tongue, one must tread lightly. While tongue can be a nice addition to a kiss, it’s easy to overdo it, as many a teen can attest. Instead, here are a few guidelines for successful (and civil) use of tongue:

• Don’t ram. If you’re going to put your tongue all the way into someone’s mouth, the last thing they need is you battering their uvula. Of course, if they batter yours first, that probably means they’re into it, so pound away!

• Don’t lick — face, teeth, ears, anything really. Kissing is great; being treated like chocolate-mint ice cream in a waffle cone isn’t.

• Outside-the-mouth tongue-on-tongue contact is primarily for pornos, not for recreational smooching. Looks good on film — and some people like it — but generally not so great in reality. Why leave the lips out of a kiss?

• Think of the tongue as an addition to a kiss, not the primary player. Remember: it’s still about the lips and their interaction. Some gentle tongue movement can up the ante, but so can changes in pressure, rhythm, placement, and direction. Kissing is intricate, and overemphasis on the tongue can make you lose track of the rest of the nuances.

Lesson we learn: Girls can look really good kissing each other in Central Park. (Oh, wait, we already knew that .) But what Gellar and Blair do so exquisitely is draw out the kiss, moving slowly, luxuriating in it and themselves. The erotic and romantic forces of such a smooch are palpable. Too often people kiss like they need to push through the back of the other person’s head, whereas a little delicacy with a nice slow tempo — prolonged and prolonged — can lead to some of the hottest (s)macking you’ll ever know.

Click here to read — and learn — more in Nerve’s Hollywood Sex Scene Database.