9 Ways Kissing Makes You Stronger
Pucker up: These kissing tips will keep any couple strong—physically and mentally.
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Kissing boosts immunity
We know kissing as a social pleasantry, a potential ending to a date and a means of connecting with our main squeeze. The collision of lips and tongues that we often take for granted has a whole lot more bubbling under the surface than meets the eye and actually does a body very, very good. Kissing may help you get sick less as increasing your exposure to other germs strengthens your immune system, according to a study published in Science. In fact, kissing their babies is one way mothers help their babies build up their brand-new immune systems, according to a study published in Cell. Oh, and, kissing isn’t the only everyday habit with amazing health benefits you never knew about.
Kissing burns calories
Kissing can burn two to 26 calories per minute, depending on how, um, active you make it, according to the American Journal of Medicine. Okay, we didn’t say it burns a ton of calories but it’s better than nothing—and kissing often leads to sex which can burn up to 100 calories in half an hour. Locking lips for an hour may burn off half a handful of M&Ms or half a glass of wine. Kissing is just one of the wacky things you had no idea could burn calories.
Kissing keeps facial muscles strong
Sure, tight abs or cellulite-free thighs may be first on your fitness list, but don’t underestimate the workout your mouth gets during a make-out session. Simple kisses only use two facial muscles but a full-on makeout session activates 23 to 34 facial muscles and 112 postural muscles, making it a full-body workout, according to the AJM research.
Kissing naturally relaxes you
Scientific reports say kissing increases the levels of oxytocin, a chemical also known as “the cuddle hormone” which makes you feel happy and relaxed, says Sherry Ross, MD, OB/GYN and author of She-ology. It also increases endorphins and dopamine, two more feel-good chemicals that increase your sense of well-being and bonding.
Kissing helps you pick the best mate
Anthropologist Helen Fisher, PhD, of Rutgers University, describes kissing as a “mate assessment tool.” Kissing allows us to bond “chemically” by smelling each other’s hormones — a sign of fertility — while also bonding couples in a romantic way, she says. So kissing is not just kissing. It is a profound advertisement of who you are, what you want, and what you can give. No pressure, though! Speaking of first kisses, these awkward true first kiss stories are sure to make you laugh (and cringe).
Passionate kisses are good for your oral health
As many as 80 million bacteria are transferred during a 10-second kiss, according to research published in Microbiome. As long as your partner has good oral health, this means you’ll get their good germs to boost your own. (Although it also works in the other direction so be careful!) In addition, swapping spit causes more saliva to flow and saliva washes away bacteria and debris which in turn lessens your risk of tooth decay, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Kissing can reduce stress
There’s nothing like a good smooch after a long, stressful day. In addition to releasing a surge of the relaxing hormone oxytocin, kissing has also been linked to a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol, Dr. Fisher says. It can also boost levels of serotonin, which leads to feelings of calm and contentedness. Ever wonder why you lean to the right when you kiss? Yes, there’s a reason for that.
Kissing can lower blood pressure
You might have noticed that kissing gets your heart pumping—and that’s a good thing. Any aerobic activity that gets your heart rate up helps pump blood to your organs and reduce your blood pressure, Dr. Ross says. Plus, kissing lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol which can also help to lower blood pressure.
Kissing can soothe headache pain
Just like a good hug can help make a bad day better, kissing may help reduce a tension headache, Dr. Ross says. Thanks to all the feel-good chemicals that kissing releases, it can banish a bad mood and lower stress — two things that help get rid of a stress headache. Plus, feeling cared for can help reduce pain. It won’t get rid of a headache caused by a biological issue but it can go a long way in helping you deal with the pain better, she adds.
The longest kiss?
In 2013, a Thai couple named Ekkachai and Laksana Tiranarat set the world record for longest kiss, smooching for over 58 and a half hours straight. They started kissing on February 12, 2013 and stopped on…Valentine’s Day! Aww. The record they beat, by the way, was their own, so these two are in a kissing league of their own. Check out some more fun facts about kissing you never knew.
- Science: “Microbial Exposure During Early Life Has Persistent Effects on Natural Killer T Cell Function.”
- Cell: “Fc Glycan-Mediated Regulation of Placental Antibody Transfer.”
- Sherry Ross, MD, OB/GYN and author of She-ology
- The American Journal of Medicine: “Philematology: The Science of Kissing. A Message for the Marital Month of June.”
- Helen Fisher, PhD, an anthropologist at Rutgers University
- Microbiome: “Shaping the oral microbiota through intimate kissing.”
- Mayo Clinic: “Cavities and tooth decay.”
- Archives of Sexual Behavior: “Examining the Possible Functions of Kissing in Romantic Relationships.”