The Make-out Manual

human feet on white bedspread close-up photography

Squeaking back and forth on top of a half-deflated pool float in a backyard shed, my fifteen-year-old boyfriend and I were soaking wet and groping each other frantically. After dating for five months and making out in the deep end of my best friend’s pool for five minutes, we decided: We were going all the way. Greg’s trunks were already around his knees, but he’d been tugging so wildly on my wet bikini strings that they were tied into impossibly tight little knots. Just when he had the brilliant idea to push aside the damp strip of fabric between my legs, we heard giggling outside the shed door. The other party guests were onto us. As usual, we were left unfulfilled, blushing, and shaking with the kind of brain-melting horniness that seldom strikes past age 18.

Most of my teenage trysts were just as clumsy and ultimately frustrating, but they were unfailingly memorable. Looking back, there’s more than one aspect of those underage experiences that I’m eager to relive. I long for a hot and horny encounter that’s just as frantic but nowhere near as fumbling, just as unpredictable but a lot more pleasurable. At 30, what I want is a hormone-fueled high-school hookup with a fully-grown man. I bet the woman in your life feels the same way. Use these instructions to treat your next date as if you were once again getting lucky in the back of your parents’ sensible station wagon. It will be hot, I promise.


My friend Anna will never forget the time her high school crush grabbed her hand at a school dance and led her into a dimly lit hallway. “He didn’t say a word, just pressed my body up against the lockers, and before I knew what was happening, he was sucking on my bottom lip,” she remembers. “My knees wobbled for the rest of the night.”

Ten years later, it’s become standard behavior for Anna’s dates to wait until the end of the night to lean toward her for a goodnight peck politely. Boring. Remember that women of all ages want to be wanted—and I mean wanted. Anna’s advice: “Grab me around the waist and plant one on me, damn it.” What’s important is that you go after that first smooch with gusto—put some pressure into it, open your mouth a little—and do it at a daring, instead of the glaringly obvious moment. Kissing her in the middle of the date is what will deliver a thrill straight to the base of her spine. It’s risky, yes, but the payoff is worth it.


One night during junior year, my boyfriend and I managed to get kicked out of a pizza place, an arcade, and the parking lot behind the public library for what you might call “public indecency.” Goaded by hormones that knew no limits, we weren’t discouraged. We drove out of town and turned off at the first field we came to, heading straight into the waist-high grass, where we could finally grope each other in peace. Having no idea where or when we’d get our hands on one another was thrilling in itself. It made us spontaneous and brave. We were constantly on the lookout for empty closets, dark corners, and seldom-used stairwells.

Somewhere between then and now, most of us have stopped viewing any place but the bedroom as a viable hookup location, but those little nooks are still there, waiting to be used for all sorts of naughty purposes. All it takes is a quick nudge into the coat-check room and you and your date will be rocketing back to the Junior Ring Dance, circa 1989.


For a woman, wearing a soft sweater without a bra is one of the great simple pleasures of life. The fabric gently gliding over bare breasts is cozy and erotic at the same time, and it made my high-school boyfriends crazy with desire to run their hands over my pink fuzzies.

Cuddly tops, flowing silk skirts, fishnet stockings: They all feel as good to our skin lying underneath as they do to your hands. And don’t underestimate the thrill of pure, simple cotton. “Having soft cotton panties between my body and a man’s fingers is absolute heaven,” says Anna. Our most tender parts can be extremely sensitive, and sometimes indirect contact is even more pleasurable than skin-on-skin. As it was at the make-out party, so it is right now: Women still love to be felt up both above and below the belt. Slowly at first, with caressing fingers, and then with increasing pressure and plenty of that blessed thing called friction.


I remember the heart-thumping panic I felt when the clock on the dashboard revealed that it was 11:55 PM, which meant I had less than five minutes to untangle myself from my date, reassemble my outfit, and hustle home before curfew. Having to stop cold when my body was at the height of arousal was painful—and I’m sure it hurt my boyfriend even more than it hurt me. But, oooh, did it hurt so good. It left us wanting… no, desperate, for more. The carryover horniness was the ultimate aphrodisiac.

And now, delayed gratification certainly still has its perks. Recently, when I decided to go home alone after a hot-and-heavy date that involved X-rated behavior in the back of a cab, I spent the next three days thinking of nothing but him. Instead of walking out of his apartment in a literally anticlimactic state, I dwelled on the memory of our chemistry and the imagination of what might happen next. It all became magnified in my mind until I was convinced that we had something special, something out of this world. And when that wish was fulfilled, guess what: We did.

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