The Science Of Kissing, And Why You Should Do It More Often

By Keelia Clarkson··  5 min read
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the science of kissing

Turns out, kissing is more than just fun for us — it actually comes with a bevy of scientifically-proven benefits.

Do you remember the first time the thought of kissing someone gave you butterflies? Most women can think back to a time in their life as young teens when kissing someone seemed like the biggest deal in the world. We’d gab with our friends about which boy at school we’d want to kiss us, wonder when our first kiss would finally take place, and spend hours scouring magazines with endless lists of kissing tips.

And then, it happened. Our first kiss came and went, and for a while, kissing someone was still exciting, new, and meaningful every time. But as we grow, as a quick kiss goodbye or goodnight becomes part of our everyday routine, the novelty of kissing starts to wear off. Sure, it’s still nice, but it’s not always special. And unfortunately, one British survey found that the majority of young couples kiss less than twice per day, and one in five married couples might go an entire week without so much as a peck.

It makes sense that as we get used to a person or a relationship, we start sharing kisses less and less. However, the act of kissing is far more than just fun or sweet — it’s actually full of all kinds of health benefits.

The Proven Benefits of Kissing

Although most of us have never pondered more than the immediate appeal of kissing, it surprisingly holds more long-term benefits than we might have imagined. Regularly sharing a kiss with our significant other releases a glorious concoction of oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin, otherwise known as our happiness and bonding hormones. 

El Beso (Pinacoteca de Brera, Milán, 1859)

But even more beneficial for those of us who struggle with stress and anxiety (honestly, these days, who doesn’t?) locking lips has actually been found to help lower our stress levels — which is some of the best news I’ve heard all year. Even crazier, kissing the one we love can actually help boost our immune system because of all the germs we’re exposed to in the process. But probably one of the best benefits of all: it boosts our closeness and intimacy with our partner, contributing to our long-term happiness in the relationship.

But Why Do We Kiss?

By now, we’re aware of just a few of the countless benefits of locking lips with our significant other. But what even leads us to kissing each other, anyway? Considering the act of kissing like an outsider, it seems sort of strange that we’d want to press our faces into one another’s, right? So how and why did kissing become the most natural and normal way of expressing love and desire?

The Kiss - Gustav Klimt - Google Cultural Institute

Scientists aren’t exactly certain, but there are a few theories, one of them being the kiss-feeding theory. This theory asserts that kissing is actually a learned behavior passed down through evolution. Researchers spotted chimps ‘kissing’ in order to pass chewed-up food into their young one’s mouth — a pretty far cry from what kissing has become today, but still one of the more prevalent theories.

But the most popular and widely accepted theory suggests that we kiss in order to decipher if someone is a good mate. By getting up close and personal with a potential mate, we’re able to process information about their genes, smell, taste, and overall compatibility without even realizing it. Plus, we release a chemical called pheromones, which elicit a certain behavioral response and can affect mood during a kiss, enticing our mate to fall even harder for us.

Now Let’s Talk about Some of the Best Movie Kisses of all Time

Seeing as how we’ve been dissecting the ins and outs of kissing, it only seems right to give some attention to some of the very best movie kisses of all time (at least, according to me).

At the top of my list is the oh-so memorable upside-down kiss that Peter Parker and Mary Jane share in Spiderman. You can just feel the tension building between them as she slowly pulls his mask up, the relentless rain pouring down over them. Without a doubt, one of the coolest kisses ever to grace our screens.

spiderman kiss gif

Next up is the perfectly romantic kiss between Josie and Sam in Never Been Kissed, which wonderfully captures the butterflies of excitement and build up to a first kiss. Their embrace at the end of the movie while The Beach Boys’ Don’t Worry Baby plays is a hard one to beat.

never been kissed kiss gif

Of course, we can’t forget Allie and Noah’s iconic makeout in The Notebook. There’s a reason it won the MTV Best Kiss Award in 2005, right? From the pouring rain to their constant tension to their undeniable chemistry and passion, their kiss isn’t easy to forget.

the notebook kiss gif

I would be seriously remiss if I didn’t mention the kiss that Princess Buttercup and Wesley share in The Princess Bride. After Buttercup discovers that Wesley, the farm boy she fell in love with is still alive, she throws herself down a hill to follow him, before she catches up to him and they share a lovely, passionate kiss.

the princess bride kiss gif

And last but not least is Mia Thermopolis’ kiss with Michael in The Princess Diaries. From her gorgeous fairytale dress to the beautiful garden setting to the fact that she finally got to pop her foot, this was one of the most satisfying, sweet embraces in movie history.

the princess diaries kiss gif

Closing Thoughts

So it turns out that kissing is a lot more than just fun and sweet. The health benefits alone are more than enough reason to go give your significant other a kiss or two right now.

  Dating  Marriage
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