Of all the factors that go into a first date, the issue of kissing is arguably one of the scariest -- figuring out when, where and how to initiate that kiss is not easy for anyone. Build up to the kiss, if your date seems receptive, but try to avoid dragging out the moment too far.

Set the Stage

If things are going well, you might know partway through the evening that you want to kiss your date goodnight. Jumping from no contact to full-on kissing is awkward and embarrassing, so set the stage slowly over time. Try nonthreatening forms of physical contact, relationship author Chiara Atik suggests on TheDateReport.com. Touch your date’s hand. Put your arm around her as you walk down the street. Even thumb wrestling can break the ice. Make sure the person is receptive to your touch before moving in for a kiss.

Build the Intimacy

When you feel that the time for kissing is approaching, gradually build a bit more intimacy. Move in close and gently touch your date’s hair or face. Soften your voice. Create a sense of romance and closeness, and pay attention to how the person is responding. If you feel him backing away or tensing up, it might be better to put off the kiss until next time.

Be Bold and Dynamic

When you are sure that both you and your date are interested in kissing, make a bold and decisive move. EHarmony UK notes that most people prefer for the kiss to happen in a private moment. Beyond that, you are limited only by your imagination. Add an element of spontaneity and fun by seizing the moment at an unexpected time or in an unexpected way. For example, try kissing your date on the way into the movie theater or just before you get into the car after dinner.

Know When to Quit

Even the best first kiss can be ruined by overenthusiasm. Stay calm and be careful not to let the kiss go on too long. Pull back and take a breather, and let your date decide whether to kiss again right away. Part of the fun of early dating is exploring and getting to know each other, so save any highly unusual moves or kissing styles for next time. On the first date, keep it fun, light and fairly traditional.