3 Incredibly Rare Things A Simple Kiss Can Teach You

Photo: Vera Arsic | Canva 
Couple kissing

By Jen Doll

When you compare the first kiss to that first time in bed... well, awkward intimacy 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. No one wants to end up with someone who's a bad kisser.

RELATED: 15 Facts About Kissing That Will Change The Way You Kiss

Here are 3 incredibly rare things a simple kiss can teach you:

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.

The worst thing is having a great first date with someone, where there's chemistry and great conversation, and it ends with a horrible kiss. 

RELATED: Why Do We Kiss? Science Explains Why People Kiss To Show Affection

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 be intimate with someone without kissing them first, but men didn’t mind — they kissed to increase the likelihood of being intimate. (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 intimacy, according to a 2013 University of Oxford study.

RELATED: 6 Strange Things That Happen To Your Body When You Kiss Someone

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.

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 the things kissing teaches us.

RELATED: 9 Honest Women Reveal How Important Kissing Is To A Successful Relationship

Jen Doll is a freelance journalist and the author of the memoir Save the Date: The Occasional Mortifications of a Serial Wedding Guest. She has written for The Atlantic, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, The Hairpin, New York magazine, and more.

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