Ah, the kiss! It’s so many things: intense, earth-shaking, disastrous, sweet, passionate, sloppy or dry, and of course just right.
Kissing is one of the most important actions between a couple. It kicks off the relationship, maintains it, and science says it’s actually great for your health as it increases the quality of life, boosts your self-esteem, and reduces stress amongst other things you’ll read in this article.
Ever wondered why kissing is so great? It’s like the invention of fire. One day a caveman was cold and he struck a tool with the mineral pyrite to produce sparks around 50,000 years ago. So, was the first kiss ever a caveman too? Was the dude sitting next to a cute cave-woman in a bearskin bikini saying “How about my lips touch yours?”
I can’t say how it happened, but I’d rather imagine this scenario than what researchers suggest. It is said that chewing food for infants was a sign of love. Being there were no supermarkets with jarred baby food puree, it was chewed and passed to the baby mouth to mouth. And you can imagine where the story goes from there— “love” was given to perhaps your mate as well? So, let’s get back to the woman in the bearskin as that sets the scene with less repulsion than chewed food!
Wet your lips, as we’re about to find out all the secrets to kissing.
FIRST, THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE KISS
Lips are made of two things: muscle and the thinnest skin on your body with over one million nerve endings that trigger a mind-blowing, over the top stimuli. Nerve endings and thin skin — can’t get more sensitive than that. It’s why lips are rated the most exposed erogenous zone on our body.
Research shows that romantic kisses go straight to our neural pathway like a heat-seeking missile to the brain, boosting levels of neurotransmitters.
- Dopamine (the pleasure feelings, cravings, and desire).
- Serotonin (the “love is blind” initial fall in love hormone, which sparks obsessive feelings and elevates the mood).
- Oxytocin (is released during orgasm which triggers the attachment feeling between couples that can last long-term. The same attachment hormone is released between mother and child).
One study shows that the levels of serotonin for those in the initial stages of love is as high as patients suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder. That’s quite a powerful feeling. You could call these the Three Musketeers of pleasure. And if there is pleasure, wouldn’t there be stress release as well? Yes, the Three Musketeers lower the cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
SO, WHY DO WE HUMANS KISS?
Don’t worry we’re not going back to the chewed food theory. We kiss because it feels great, and second, the biology involved is quite serious. The results of a S.U.N.Y. Albany survey showed that 59 percent of men and 66 percent of women have ended a relationship after the first kiss failed to impress. So, one reason we kiss is to decide the relationship status.
Research reveals that our sense of smell might be partially responsible. Kissing is a way of gathering subconscious information about the other persons DNA.
In 1995, Biologist Claus Wedekind did the famous sweaty T-shirt test, where women were asked to rate T-shirts by scent. The study showed that women were more likely to prefer the scent of men with dissimilar MHC (major histocompatibility complex: a group of genes that code for proteins found on the surfaces of cells that help the immune system recognize foreign substances). In fact, it tended to remind them of their boyfriends, both past and present. So, here’s another interesting fact, we chose similar gene pools over and over!
From a purely biological standpoint, our bodies are designed to seek out the best genetic matches for reproduction. And as animals, it’s in our DNA to survive by locating dissimilar immune systems. Like putting an army together, you can’t have all archers, you need variety to fight the enemy called disease and defects! Pretty cool how our bodies know!
But don’t we kiss because we just like to as well? Yep. That’s there too; however, it’s more pleasurable with the assistance of biology and our bodies.
THERE IS A REASON WHY WE REMEMBER THE KISS
The most important neurotransmitter in kissing is dopamine, we all know it as the reward chemical. Dopamine is released when we do things that make us feel good, like kissing. When dopamine spikes it delivers a rush of elation, craving, and that new romance kind of addiction we’ve talked about before. Dopamine stimulates the same part of the brain as that of cocaine. But it’s more than just a rush of erotic feelings, dopamine helps us remember and recognize pleasurable situations. That’s why we remember the kiss 30 years later! We have a bit of help.
WHAT CAUSES THE EXCITEMENT?
What causes us to become excited? As the brain sends signals to the adrenal glan to release epinephrine, knows as adrenaline, our heart rate increases, we sweat, we lower our stress. This rush inside of us can fools us into thinking this kiss is the right one initially.
KISSING REDUCES FINE LINE AND WRINKLES!
Get this, kissing stimulates more than 30 facial muscles, that help smooth out your fine lines and wrinkles. Amazing, right? You’re toning your cheek and jaw muscles which boosts circulation to the face for a youthful glow. Have you ever seen a friend right after a long smooching session? They look guilty, happy, different, and it’s the rosy complexion and boost of neurotransmitters at work.
IT LOWERS CHOLESTEROL & BURNS CALORIES
Kissing lowers cholesterol and blood presser regulates your heartbeat which is a de-stressor right there. But another surprising thing is That it burns calories, about 3-5 per minute!
HEADACHE AND CRAMP REDUCER
Kissing expert Andrea Demirjian, explains how blood-vessel dilation from a long kissing session eases pain. She recommends replacing the “Not tonight, darling —I have a headache” with “Come kiss me I have a headache!”
Demirjian also states that Kissing lifts your self-esteem.
Did you know that kissing your husband goodbye each morning increases his life by 4-5 years? It’s really kind of sweet to realize the power of our emotions.
THAT LONG-TERM ATTACHMENT YOU WANT
Oxytocin fosters feelings of attachment and affection is a chemical linked to pair bonding. The rush of oxytocin released when you kiss causing feelings of affection and attachment. Kissing your partner can build relationships happiness. If you’re married for more than 7 years, you’ll see a drop in the frequency of kisses. Not always from lack of desire, but routine. Kids are now in the picture, careers are flaming, you’re running out the door in the morning and coming in dead tire.
DRUM ROLL—WHAT MAKES A GREAT KISS ACCORDING TO THE EXPERTS?
From the lips of a professional Millianaire Matchmaker—dating and relationship expert and founder of LUMUS, April Davis says, “When kissing, it should feel as if the two of you are focused on each other and the rest of the world blurs around you.”
I know, what does that mean? Well, kissing is something like a fingerprint and it’s intuitive on its own. Most people have found their own style and happy place in it, and everyone will agree it takes practice. But it’s amazing how easy it is to learn.
HOW TO PRIORITIZE THAT SPECIAL KISS
Look, I know you want to be that perfect kisser, with the big lover’s award, but let’s be honest for a second. Outrageous, spectacular things are achieved by doing something outside the box yourself. It means that “you” must be willing to participate in a way that the competition around you —by definition—isn’t doing. Right?
That thing that others are not doing is being honest, open, and willing to put your baggage and worries aside to date or build an existing relationship. This means prioritizing your love. When you do that, you automatically prioritize your kiss.
So, when you prioritize that special kiss for that special person, it means kissing how you want to kiss. It means teaching your partner more about you. If your partner doesn’t kiss the way you prefer it done, talk to them. There are kissing classes that make things fun. Prioritize you and that kiss is in turn prioritizing your partner too. You might be surprised how many points that gets you as a strong, sexy, honest individual that suddenly becomes more attractive! (Click here for another article on how to be more attractive.)
THE BIG LIST OF DO’S AND DON’TS IN KISSING
Okay, the obvious tips that rank at that top of the “do’s and don’ts” of kissing are listed below along with a few more for serious kissers.
- Fresh breath!
- Wet your lips and freshen up.
- Take your time. Brush your partner’s lips slowly with yours to start the fireworks.
- Don’t drool into anyone’s mouth! That’s too close to the chew food subject we are avoiding.
- French kissing is amazing. Do use your tongue, but not one dripping with spit. Just a normal moist kiss sparks the passion.
- Build the passion before going in for the dive. Start with soft easy kisses, let your partner prepare and get very excited before you get ahead of them.
- DON’T forget to use your hands and touch your partner. I know who would forget to wrap your arms around the other person, caress their neck or grab their hands type of moves, right?
- Mix it up with a little nibbling of the lip, pulling away in a chase, grab each other’s hair, have fun but make it natural. Kisses are not so planned out, at least not the great ones.
- Pay attention to your partner, don’t open your mouth wider than theirs. If you like kissing with more of an open mouth than your partner, work together, try some experiments, and learn what each other likes. Kissing can be an ever-expanding exercise of love.
- Don’t talk about work while kissing. It’s a sacred place. Don’t talk about anything and focus on making it real.
- Play games, decide to kiss when you’re in different locations. Seasoned couples, those married for a decade or five, can have fun with location kissing. Make it a rule to kiss on vacations or out and about having fun. It spices things up.
- No leap kissing. That means don’t lunge like an awkward goose.
- No lip0-suction. It’s fun to suck on your partner’s lips, but not so much it feels like you’re stuck on the end of a vacuum.
- Let your partner know you’re enjoying the kiss. Sounds, a small smile they can feel and whatever your style is. Say so after the kiss—be open and loving with your words.
- Don’t trap your partner, holding them too tightly can feel awkward and less romantic.
- Pay attention to your partner. Be aware of their moves and feelings. Connecting emotionally is a real plus. Kissing only gets better as you relax. Everyone kisses differently, and everyone likes different things. So, communication is everything with your partner.
- Your lips should be soft, supple, and, well, kissable — not slimy or rough. You may want to “exfoliate” some of the dead skin cells off your lips.
- Keep your lips cared for, moisturize, exfoliate, and condition regularly. Nothing better than soft moist lips, not coarse or dry.
- Right place, right time. Make sure your partner is comfortable kissing in front of the family before doing it. Know your partner.
- Close your eyes. Spooky looks can break the mood, but again, the right time always comes around to look at your partner. You’ll know when. If you’re worried, get to know them a bit before you get caught.
Now we can put the science aside, and the techniques. Kissing is an expression of who you are to another person. If your kiss is right it’s half because that other person has something in common with you: the like, the love, the ideas of how to express. The individual print of your lips show how special you are and how you feel about this other person— expression without words is a world of creative heart, so be careful who you loan your lips to.
And one last thing, kissing is at it’s best with the person you love and who loves you back, so don’t settle for lust, or superficial attraction, find the love!
Notes On Kissing:
- SpringerLink, Rafael Wlodarski & Robin I. M Dunbar, Examining the Possible Functions of Kissing in Romantic Relationships
- USA Today, Jordan Lite, Happy International Kissing Day! 21 things you never knew about locking lips
- Swiss biologist Claus Wadekind’s, Sweaty T-shirt study
- CBS NEWS, Couples learn to pucker up in kissing class