A kiss is not just a kiss. A kiss can be a hello or a goodbye, a symbol of parental love and affection, a gesture that soothes and reassures, or a passionate expression of love and desire. But why do we kiss and what does it really reveal about our partner and the state of our relationship? There’s more to the science of kissing than you might think.
New research by eHarmony found that 4 in 6 Aussies believe that the way someone kisses says a lot about their potential sexual chemistry and whether they’ll be a good match, and rightly so. There’s more to the science of kissing than you might think.
Kissing provides a potent exchange of sensory information that reveals telling clues about genetic compatibility, romantic compatibility, your kissing partner’s overall health and immunity, and whether they’re after a casual fling or a relationship.
During a passionate kiss, we receive information from the taste and smell of our kissing partner’s breath, saliva and skin, the health of their teeth, their touch, their pheromones (or airborne signals), and from the semiochemicals in their mouth which mix with our own saliva. These clues affect our level of attraction and help us to make a subconscious decision about our compatibility.
What does the science of kissing tell us about our favourite pastime? A kiss affects us emotionally, biologically and psychologically and provides the ultimate feel good relationship boost, activating our emotional brain associated with love and passion, and sending our neural networks into overdrive. A passionate smooch releases a surge of neurotransmitters and hormones including dopamine, serotonin, phenylethylamine and norepinephrine. This chemical cocktail and in particular the rush of dopamine, increases attraction, and sends us into a euphoric (and slightly obsessive) high.
Most people underestimate the power of puckering up, but kissing does more than just making us feel intoxicatingly good. It’s been shown to improve relationship satisfaction and self-esteem, make us feel more relaxed, increase attraction and sex drive, reduce levels of stress and conflict and boost the cuddle hormone oxytocin helping you bond and feel connected. Couples that increase the frequency of their kisses also tend to have lower levels of conflict.
The pash (or lack thereof) and kissing style can also reveal whether you’re both after the same thing in a relationship… or not. In many ways courtship gestures and rituals resemble the bond between a mother and child. As we soothe each other with gentle kisses, tender caresses, cling to one another and gently sway in each other’s arms. It’s this nurturing embrace that helps build a sense of trust and security and communicates affection and love.
So, if they’re always going straight for the passion fuelled snog, but there’s little eye contact or tenderness in their touch, or they avoid kissing altogether and attempt to move straight into physical intimacy, chances are they’re after a casual fling and not a long term relationship.
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Originally published on eHarmony