SCIENCE ON KISSING

Kissing is one of the simplest forms of expressing affection and love to those around us.

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1. Kissing boosts the immune system

Romantic kissing, even when it’s between people on a first date, can be beneficial to your immune system. According to a 2005 study in Neuroendocrinology Letters, lust — and the kissing that goes along with it — affects the body by reducing stress levels that help promote a healthy state. Another study, published in the journal Microbiome found that couples who kiss at least nine times per day share the same microbiota in their saliva. That means that together, partners can enjoy an improved immune system and less need for sick days.

2. Kissing might help reduce sadness or depression

Kissing releases feel-good neurotransmitters including the love hormone, oxytocin, and vasopressin, the hormone that bonds partners with one another, and mothers with their babies. Studies also show that dopamine, which affects the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, is released when we kiss our loved one.

3. Kissing can reduce blood pressure

According to Andréa Demirjian, author of Kissing: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about One of Life’s Sweetest Pleasures, when we kiss someone passionately, our heart rate increases in a healthy way — much like during healthy exercise — and can help lower blood pressure. “It dilates your blood vessels — blood is flowing in a good, solid fashion and getting to all your vital organs.”

4. Kissing can help reduce your stress levels

Kissing in partnered relationships can have a positive effect on stress levels. Citing Affection Exchange Theory, a 2009 study published in the Western Journal of Communication found that physical affection, including kissing, helps build resilience against stress. It also lowers cortisol levels in the body and may help reduce inflammation and illness as a side effect.

5. Kissing is good for your teeth

While this isn’t the sexiest benefit to kissing, the extra saliva in your mouth during a smooch session helps wash bacteria off your teeth. Although as Dr. Mathew Messina, a dentist and consumer advisor for the American Dental Association, says, “Still, I would not go around advocating kissing after meals instead of brushing.” But, for those of us in a great romantic relationship, it can’t hurt.

6. Kissing might improve cholesterol levels

According to the previously mentioned study published in the Western Journal of Communication, kissing might also help reduce your cholesterol levels as it reduces levels of cortisol in the body. The two work together, with cholesterol promoting higher levels of cortisol. Since it’s also theorized that kissing can reduce your blood pressure, this conclusion makes sense.

7. Kissing can help you assess your compatibility with your partner

Not sure if you’re going to get along with the person across the table from you on your first date? Try smooching for a bit before the evening is over. Research suggests that kissing can help us determine the suitability of a potential mate. Interestingly, women placed greater importance on kissing for mate-assessment than men, but not to the point that it should be discounted as an important determining factor for compatibility in all genders.

8. Kissing improves your relationship satisfaction

A 2013 study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that the more you kiss in a relationship, the more satisfied you are with it. Surprisingly, it was the amount of kissing that improved relationship satisfaction for participants, not the frequency of sexual intercourse.

 

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