3 Amazing Things A Simple Kiss Teaches Us

Photo: weheartit
things kissing teaches us

By Jen Doll

When you compare the first kiss to that first time in bed... well, awkward sex can improve with time. But a bad kiss? You’re not going to wait around to see what comes after. So it’s worth considering which messages we exchange when we pucker up.

Here are three things kissing teaches us about love and our relationships.

1. It shows that you're into someone.

Even chimps and elephants kiss. As Sheril Kirshenbaum writes in The Science of Kissing, a kiss increases serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and epinephrine — sparking euphoria and attraction.

Kissing helps us assess potential mates, says University of Albany psychologist Gordon Gallup, in an “intricate exchange of a lot of complicated information” — touch, smell and the chemicals in saliva. In a bad kiss, he says, these signals discourage hooking up.

2. It's not always a means to an end.

At first, men and women aren’t necessarily looking for the same thing from a kiss. In a 2007 survey of college students, most women said they wouldn’t have sex without kissing someone first, but men didn’t mind — they kissed to increase the likelihood of sex. (Men also preferred a “greater salivary exchange” to boost their chances, so you can blame that sloppy kiss on evolution.)

For both men and women in the long-term, though, frequent kissing is a better gauge of a strong relationship than frequent sex, according to a 2013 University of Oxford study.

3. It's good for you and your bond.

Kory Floyd, a University of Arizona professor of communication, ran an experiment with 52 committed couples in which one group was instructed to increase their kissing for six weeks while the control group kept to the status quo. The kissers saw improvements in perceived stress, relationship satisfaction, and total serum cholesterol.

And an amazing German study cited in Kirshenbaum’s book found that men who kissed their wives before work lived an average of five years longer and made 20 to 30 percent more than those who didn’t.

What makes a kiss good? “We think it’s in the biology of the beholder,” Gallup says. You’ll know it when you feel it once you understand things kissing teaches us.

Think you know how to kiss? Check out the video below for the scientifically-backed BEST way to smooch:


Jenn Doll has written for The Atlantic, Cosmopolitan, Elle, New York magazine, The New York Times Book Review, Vice, The Village Voice, and other publications. For more, follow her on her website.

Sign up for YourTango's free newsletter!

YourTango may earn an affiliate commission if you buy something through links featured in this article.

This article was originally published at Self. Reprinted with permission from the author.