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Good News About Kissing

Purple Clover logo Purple Clover 7/18/2015 Janice Holly Booth

© Provided by Purple Clover

We here at Life Reimagined review a lot of research on topics of interest to our audience. Occasionally we come across a study that makes us chuckle. We feel sure none of the studies we're about to share with you will win the Nobel Prize, but we feel certain that doing the research was exceptionally fun.

Why are we so drawn to swapping saliva?

One hypothesis is that the kiss is a mechanism for gathering information about potential sex partners. Kissing brings you in close enough to smell and taste chemicals that carry genetic and immunological information. Saliva carries hormonal messages. Up close, we can tell a lot about health and hygiene (it's pretty tough for a smoker to conceal that habit in a lip-lock). Research also hints at a range of other functions, such as expressing and reinforcing feelings of trust and intimacy and facilitating sexual intercourse. (Source: Noam Shpancer, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Otterbein University, Ohio, in Psychology Today)

Would you have sex with someone without kissing that person first?

Men: 53% answered yes

Women: 14% answered yes

For women, the smell and taste of their kissing partner weighs heavily in their decision to pursue closer contact. Men routinely expect that kissing will lead to intercourse and tend to characterize "a good kiss" as one leading to sex. Why are we not surprised by this? (Source: "Evolutionary Psychology," Psychology Today)

How important is kissing in romantic interactions, on a scale of 1-5?

Males: 3.8

Females: 4.2

Women rank kissing as more important in all kinds of romantic relationships than men do; men tend to consider it less important as relationships go on. (Source: Archives of Sexual Behavior, 2013)

Now, the one really good reason you should start kissing like crazy:

Can kissing lower stress?

Yes, indeed. Six weeks of increased kissing-time lowered stress in couples. Kissing your partner more frequently can also lower cholesterol and improve relationship quality, research suggests. Just 15 minutes of kissing, one study showed, can reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. (Source: Western Journal of Communication, 2009)

The jury is in (not that it ever was out): Kissing is good for you. It's fun, it's free, and now you can add it to your list of healthy lifestyle activities. We like what the loveable Drew Barrymore says about the subject: "Kissing—and I mean like yummy, smacking kissing—is the most delicious, most beautiful and passionate thing that two people can do, bar none. Better than sex, hands down."

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