A good kiss – in all its forms – feels great. Most people think of kissing as an act of affection and passion between partners. They are right, but kissing, when you get to the basics is an act of rubbing faces against each other and exchanging saliva. And this has many health benefits. Kisses serve many purposes aside from the most obvious one of how it makes you feel. It shows who you are, how you see yourself, who you want your partner to be; it can heal you, boost your immunity, keep your teeth healthy; and it can even help you burn (a few) extra calories.
This is what the scientific study of kissing is called. Romance has nothing to do with it. Philos in ancient Greek means earthly love.
If you don’t like exercising, kissing is another way to burn calories. However, be prepared that it may take a lot of kissing to shed extra pounds. Even “passionate” kissing burns just about 6-7 calories per minute. The act of kissing consumes up to 26 calories per minute.
Saliva has many anti-bacterial properties due to the minerals in it. Studies have shown that licking wounds makes scientific sense because it is a natural antiseptic. A person is secreting more saliva while kissing, which means you’re basically washing away the plaque on the teeth, helping prevent tooth decay, according to research.
This is especially true if it’s the very first kiss with someone new. Dopamine is one of four hormones that go by the nickname “happy hormone,” and acts as a neurotransmitter. The increased level of dopamine is also responsible for you wanting more kisses.
As many as 10 million to 1 billion bacteria representing 278 different species may be exchanged during an active kiss. Also, during kissing, people exchange an average of 9 mL of water, 0.7 mg of protein, 0.18 mg of organic compounds, 0.71 mg of different fats, and 0.45 mg of sodium chloride.
This is because of neurotransmitters epinephrine, adrenaline and norepinephrine, released by the adrenal gland, which got the signal to do so by the brain during kissing. They promote the fight-or-flight response.
The living bacteria you exchange with your partner during kissing can help your body fight certain infections. The shared germs boost your immune system. You introduce to each other bacteria the other person may encounter later on, making his or her body more prepared to fight it.
It’s no coincidence that oxytocin is often called “the love hormone,” according to Psychology Today. The more you kiss, the more oxytocin you make. Perhaps, this explains why you feel so happy after kissing. Bonus: The hormone oxytocin increases empathy and communication, which is key to sustaining a relationship, research shows.
If you think about it, while you’re kissing you are actually literally almost smiling, you’re breathing deeper, and your eyes are pretty much closed. All relaxing Zen movements, according to WebPsychology. Also, since the lips are full of blood vessels, which dilate during kissing, the blood goes toward the face, away from the rest of the body, so the heart doesn’t have to work very hard, lowering your blood pressure.
Your heart is pumping faster, which is a good thing. The increased heartbeat causes the blood vessels to dilate, which means more blood and oxygen to your organs, including the brain.
Kissing is an exciting act that immediately gets a respond from the nervous system. Pupils dilate, more light penetrates the eyes, making them a lot more sensitive, which is why you close them right away.
Men tend to initiate French kissing and research suggests this is because saliva contains testosterone and this increases the sex drive of their mate. “There is evidence that saliva has testosterone in it,” said Rutgers University anthropologist Helen Fisher, “and testosterone increases sex drive. And there is evidence that men like sloppier kisses with more open mouth. That suggests they are unconsciously trying to transfer testosterone to stimulate sex drive in women.”
Kissing in public is a not all about being affectionate. A study of college students found that about one third of people engaging in PDA do it because they want others to see them. Participants’ motivations included enhancing their image (men), causing jealousy or envy (women), demonstrating a relationship (both men and women).
Chemicals in the saliva may be a way to assess a mate. If you have ever been attracted to someone only to dislike them after you kiss, the reason may very well be that he or she didn’t have the right hormones in his saliva. It looks like people are drawn to others with particular biological profiles. So, it really does come down to chemistry after all.
A study that included Japanese who do not kiss habitually suggests that kissing reduces allergic skin hives responses and plasma neurotrophin levels. The participants were divided into three groups - 30 with atopic dermatitis, 30 with allergic rhinitis, and 30 in a control group – and were kissing for half an hour.
It may look good on some men, but as far as most women are concerned – 53 percent, to be exact – don’t like kissing it, according to William Cane, author of The Art of Kissing. About 33 percent of women like kissing men with stubble every now and then.
Kissing causes the production and release of adrenaline and noradrenaline. They get your body ready for “fight or flight,” or simply put, they make you alert and get you ready for action.