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How Kissing Plays An Important Role In Relationships

How Kissing Plays An Important Role In Relationships

From Australia to Europe, wherever there are people, you’ll find them kissing. 

Kissing plays a vital role in our romantic relationships.  I love kissing my husband.  A kiss often speaks more than a thousand words, often mends many wounds, and is a beautiful way to show affection.

Imagine a movie scene, portraying a flirtatious love story without a few kissing scenes?

Not only does kissing fulfill a multitude of different functions for the human species and our communities, most animals like to kiss also, with good reason.

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Where did our fondness for kissing arise?

What’s in a kiss?

One of the main reasons is probably premastication, when one creature chews up food and feeds it, mouth-to-mouth, to another being.   

But the fact is that for our early ancestors, who didn’t have access to mechanically soft baby mush, chewing the food and feeding it to their babies’ mouth-to-mouth was the easiest way to keep them nourished while weaning them off breastfeeding.

This behavior deepened the baby’s feelings of attachment, love, and security, and thus we came to associate mouth-to-mouth contact with these positive feelings. Hence, we love kissing!

Ok enough of this.  What we want to know is what happens physiologically when we kiss and why kissing is a lot more important than you may realize.  Kissing has remarkable effects on our brain, and our health.

Nearly everyone enjoys kissing, but most of us wonder why.  The answer is deeply ingrained in our biology.

Physically, one of the first enjoyable sensations babies experience is being nursed by their mothers, or sucking a dummy or thumbs, even while in the womb, the same pursed lip movement as kissing.  It has a representation of feeling secure and loved.

In a relationship, kissing involves entering each other’s personal space and exchanging sensations of taste, touch, and smell.  If you have kissed someone you have a connection with, you have experienced a high, the same high that people experience when taking drugs, such as cocaine.

Your brain receives a burst of energy and a natural high when kissing.  Your breath becomes deeper and your blood vessels dilate, which makes you flush and sends more oxygen to your brain.

Your brain then releases chemical messengers that make you feel high: adrenaline, which increases your energy and heart rate; serotonin, which makes you feel relaxed; and dopamine, which makes you euphoric and leaves you craving for more.

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Now we know why we can come addicted to kissing a lover.  After all, kissing is a huge part of the courting stage of a relationship and foreplay for sex, as the brain is stimulated in the same regions as sniffing cocaine.  Researchers have also found that serotonin levels of people who have recently fallen in love are similar to the serotonin levels in people with obsessive-compulsive disorders.  Hence, why we probably obsess so much when we find a new lover.

Stress levels also decrease when kissing, as your body releases bonding hormones, which also makes kissing great for your health.

Kissing releases oxytocin, the “love or bonding hormone” that strengthens emotional attachments, especially with lovers or relatives.

Note: A kiss between a partner signals a willingness to mate, whereas a kiss between family members or members of a social group means something entirely different.

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So how can kissing assist to keep building a relationship to last for decades?

Kissing functions like a drug in the short term, but it also strengthens bonds over the long run.

How???

The effect of dopamine doesn’t last as long, which is a reason why the sexual desire for a partner can decrease over time.  The good news is that oxytocin allows us to build relationships to last.  Oxytocin is also responsible for the jolts of pleasure women experience during orgasms.  In fact, men and women both reach up to five times the average level of oxytocin while climaxing.   

So, we need to keep kissing, often, and long.

Kissing is also great for your health as it decreases levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone” that increases your blood pressure and weakens your immune system.  Another reason to keep kissing.

Men and women tend to use kissing for different purposes.  

Women – use kissing as a test to determine if sex is an option or not.  Most women wouldn’t consider sex with someone unless they kissed them first.  (It’s all about the kiss guys!!!).

Men –  tend to prefer kisses with more tongue.  Some scientists theorize this because it increases the chances of a woman having sex with them as a tongue kiss transfers more testosterone to the woman.

Kissing fuels your sex drive and thus makes you more likely to reproduce.

Kissing is a natural part of who we are.

A fabulous book on kissing is “The Science of Kissing” by Sheril Kirshenbaum.

What do you love about kissing?

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