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If you’re looking to say, ‘I Love You’, there are few gestures as versatile as the kiss. From a quick peck on the cheek to a passionate embrace, a single kiss can say so much.

Arguably one of the most overlooked and underappreciated physical interactions in any relationship, we fall into the trap of viewing the kiss as nothing more than a step towards sex. There are many theories as to why we kiss. Some experts believe that the kiss itself is its own intimate exchange, an important moment of connection between two people who are romantically involved. Meanwhile, a recent study found that a simple kiss may actually have a much more logical, biological connection helping us to assess whether someone is ‘high enough quality’ to mate with and consider our partner.

Speaking solely on the science side of the equation, kissing triggers a number of changes in the brain by triggering the release of ‘feel-good hormones’ like dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. The more passionate a kiss, the higher the level of these hormones and the better they leave us feeling.

In fact, evolutionary psychologist Gordon Gallup of the University of Albany, Kirshenbaum revealed that “Fifty-nine percent of men and 66 percent of women say they have ended a budding relationship because of a bad kiss.” While we may not understand why we value kissing so highly, it’s clear that we understand its importance at some level!

What is the meaning behind that kiss? Here are 14 different types and what they are really saying:

#1 – Forehead Kiss

If someone leans in and gives you a kiss on the forehead, it’s clear that you hold a special place in their heart. This isn’t something that we traditionally go around sharing with everyone, so they love you and they are looking to share that feeling in a non-sexual way. It conveys care, protection, and compassion, all of which are important in a lasting relationship.

#2 – Bite Kiss

The bite kiss refers to the moment when someone is kissing and playfully biting along your lips, check, collarbone or jawline. This can range from a cute playful nibble hinting as a tease to a more seductive little bite designed to drive your partner crazy. If you’re the one nibbling, pay attention to how your partner responds as it certainly isn’t for everyone.

#3 – Cheek Kiss

This is an action that has come to be accepted as a traditional greeting in many different cultures, especially those in Europe. When directed at friends and family it can be used as a way of saying ‘hello’, ‘happy to see you’ or ‘I’ve missed you’. However, if your date gives you a quick peck on the cheek following a date, take note – while they enjoyed themselves and are interested, they are hoping to take things slow.

#4 – Lizard Kiss

Certainly not for everyone, the lizard kiss is an interesting one. Take the lips out of the mix, this is all about the tongues, intertwining with one another. If may sound a little odd or awkward, especially if you’ve never tried it, but there are people out there who find the process incredibly sexy. Power to them!

#5 – Eskimo Kiss

Cutesy and fun, an ‘Eskimo kiss’ is where two people rub their noses together rather than actually touching lips like in traditional kisses. As it involves getting close and personal in one another’s personal space, this is definitely reserved for those that you care about deeply.

#6 – Neck Kiss

There are few actions as intimate as a simple kiss on the neck. This is a highly sensitive part of the human body, meaning that the recipient will certainly feel the brush of your lips along their nerve endings, sending a shiver down their spine (in only the best way). This is a great way to kick start a little foreplay.

#7 – Kiss on the Hand

This is an action that we often associate with the times of royalty, an incredibly formal and traditional action. While this isn’t nearly as common today, it still does happen occasionally. If someone kisses you on the hand, they are simply trying to greet you with a high level of respect. There is no romantic or sexual connotation associated.

#8 – Single Lip Kiss

If you lean in to kiss someone, making contact just with their bottom lip while they kiss your top lip, this is a playful, flirty kiss. It’s a fun little way to tease someone, cute and seductive. You’re letting each other know that you’re definitely interested, so stay tuned…

#9 – Nipple Kiss

There is no doubting the fact that this is a highly sexual gesture. The nipples are a highly erogenous area of the body, so any contact in that area can really turn a person on. Remember, there are always exceptions, so pay attention to the response of your partner. If they are moaning or running their hands through your hair keep at it, however, if they pull away then change gears and fast!

#10 – Air Kiss

A gesture that is often directed at friends and family members, the air kiss is a fun little way to show someone that you care without making it sexual. It is often carried out with a cutesy ‘mwah’ noise and is a sign that someone loves you, but not in a romantic sense.

#11 – Genital Kiss

If you think that this is anything but sexual in nature, you might want to just walk away now because you’ve got A LOT to learn. When the mood is right, and the hormones are flowing, this can be an incredibly intimate way of showing your affection either over the clothes or on bare skin. If you’re both into it and enjoying it, there’s no need to hold back!

#12 – French Kiss

One of the best-known forms of sexual and erotic kissing, the French kiss is portrayed in many Hollywood movies as the true sign of romance and sexual attraction. This kiss almost always leads to a little ‘something more’, making it a staple in foreplay. If someone initiates this kind of kiss, grab your coat because it’s time to go home!

#13 – Earlobe Kiss

Another highly sensitive area on the body, an earlobe kiss often works well to trigger foreplay, leading to a little extra ‘fun’. Blow gently on the ear at the same time to add a little something extra to the sensations. In fact, some experts will say this is one of the most romantic kisses you can share with a romantic partner.

#14 – Body Kiss

With the term ‘body kiss,’ we mean a kiss placed anywhere on the body that isn’t already mentioned – the chest, stomach, feet, etc. I left this one for last as it can really depend on the individual person. Consider how ticklish someone is, the connection they have the setting when it happens or the conversations/actions leading up this moment. This can range from a highly sexual gesture to a sweet, caring exchange.