What does kissing on the first date mean? Should you do it?

Let's face it, dating is hard. Not only can it be tricky to find someone that you're compatible with, but — once sparks start flying — figuring out the proper dating protocol can be like navigating a field of land mines. Assuming that first date goes well, should you kiss your potential partner? And if you do go in for the kiss, what does it mean? 

There was a time when kissing on a first date would have been considered fairly promiscuous. For much of history, women were expected to be chaste and demure, so kissing was kind of a big deal. Dating rules are quite a bit more relaxed these days and kissing on the first date is widely viewed as acceptable — but that comes with another set of problems.

Once upon a time, a kiss on a first date was an indicator that things had gone well, but today it's just as likely to signify the end of the evening. Author and relationship expert Susan Winter told Elite Daily that kissing on the first date might, as unromantic as it sounds, merely be a formality these days. On the other hand, it could also mean that your date is trying to gauge your interest. There's a lot of pressure riding on a first kiss. Many people think you can predict the future of a relationship by locking lips. But is that really true? 

While a good first date kiss could be an indicator of fiery chemistry between a couple, you also shouldn't mistake a hot make-out sesh for a sign that you've found your true love. Things getting hot and heavy might be a sign that your date just wants to hop in the sack. In fact, a far better sign that a potential relationship is off to a good start is an awkward first date kiss. "If the kiss was a little awkward, that's a clear indication that he or she likes you," said Winter. "They had a lot at stake."

As much as we'd love to give you a cheat sheet, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to kissing. Every couple is different and so is every kiss. There's no pressure to kiss on a first date, but if you feel like giving your sweetie a smooch and they consent, go for it! As for figuring out what it means, though, you'll just have to communicate with your partner. Just don't do it via text message. That never goes well.