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A kiss is not just a kiss

A kiss is not “just a kiss” according to kissing science: A good kiss requires that we use at least 5 of our 12 facial muscles. Men and women value completely different things when it comes to saying if a kiss is good. Can a good kiss be based on a formula? Well, let’s look at what experts say.

10 things you likely did not know about kissing:

1: Kisses signal cohesion

Movie kisses, Tongue kisses, Judas kisses, Aunt kisses. Kisses have many forms and a kiss can mean anything. A passionate kiss between lovers or spouses or a southern European kind of kiss, (a polite greeting to people you know well, Covid times excluded).

According to Rafael Wlodarski of Oxford University, a kiss releases oxytocin which is christened the love hormone. Oxytocin creates a feeling of togetherness, trust and love between people when it is released in the brain in certain intimacy creating situations, for example when kissing.

2: First we chewed the food for babies, then we kissed

The first romantic kiss mentioned in writing comes from India, but researchers believe the kiss may be much older. The kiss presumably originated as, for thousand of years, mothers chewed the food for their children, transferring the food from her mouth to the child’s. In this way, contact between lips and mouth has become a sign of care and love.

3: We remember the first kiss better than first sex

A kiss is intimate. In the brain, the first kiss is a more significant event than first sex. A majority of respondents in a university study remembered their first kiss far better than the first time they had sex.

4: Kisses help find good genes

The area around the nose and mouth is rich in sebaceous glands, that produce small amounts of oil that are excreted through the skin. The oil contains pheromones, which are neurotransmitters.

Pheromones contain a lot of information that the nose interprets when you kiss. The pheromones can tell if the person is healthy and well. Research at Oxford University has shown that women in particular unknowingly notice men’s pheromones. If the scent is different from her own, it may be a sign that the genes in the kissing couple are different, and thus the kissing partner might be a good match for having children together.

5: A goodbye kiss can increase life expectancy by up to 5 years

Men who kiss their partner goodbye every morning live, on average, 5 years longer than men who do not give a goodbye kiss. A morning goodbye kiss also reduces the risk of being involved in a traffic accident by 50 %. The psychologists who wrote the study do not believe that it is necessarily the physiological action of kissing that makes a difference. Instead, a morning kiss starts the day more positively and in a good mood, which helps to increase life expectancy and reduce the risk of accidents on the road.

6: Kisses give a stronger immune system

Saliva is exchanged when a kiss is intense. Researchers found that two people who tongue kiss exchange up to 80 million bacteria during the duration of a kiss. Exposure to foreign bacteria can strengthen the immune system, so a kiss may even be good for health.

7: Bad kisses can end relationships

Good kisses can make butterflies in your stomach and make your heart rate rise. Studies have shown, however, that relationships can break up due to bad kisses.

8: Kissing can be de-stressing

Several international studies have established that kisses are good for health. A kiss lowers the level of the stress hormone cortisol in the brain, just as a good kiss from someone you care about increases serotonin levels.

9: This is how men want to kiss

In his book “The Art of Kissing”, author William Cane used questionnaires and interviews to find that men prefer that:

  • Women should open their mouths more when kissing
  • Men prefer wet kisses where the tongue is active
  • Men would like women to take more initiative in kissing

10: This is how women want to kiss

According to Cane, women have completely different desires if the kiss is to be good:

  • Men should be less aggressive with their tongue
  • Men should pay attention to the woman’s breathing. She needs a break to get air during a kiss
  • Men should keep their teeth brushed
  • They should not accelerate too fast

 Know your desires and preferences and don’t be shy to discuss your needs with your partner.

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