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Before You Lean In For Another Kiss, Read This.

Wellness

Kissing is interesting. When it's a good kiss, there aren't too many other things that tops it. When it (pardon the pun) sucks, there aren't too many things that you hate more. Even as I'm running through the mental rolodex of all of the kisses I've had in my life, I'm willing to bet my next freelance check that, just like I am able to, you can immediately recall the best and worst kiss that you've ever had.


My best kisser is someone I never had sex with. Well, that's not entirely true. One time some oral went down with me being on the receiving end (was that TMI? If so, my bad). Even though his kisses up top and down below (cue in Kelly Rowland and SWV) were clearly memorable, I just wasn't into him enough to go (totally) all the way. As far as the worst kisser goes, long story short, there's a relationship I was in that, while the sex was good, the kissing was HOR-RI-BLE (is that weird?). It eventually got so intolerable that the wackness of it all ultimately became one of the deal breakers for me.

Yeah, kissing is a pretty big deal. It feels good. It's both romantic and erotic. It definitely connects you to another person in a way that no other act can. But there's more to kissing than that. As you're about to see in just a sec, every time you pucker up and get your smooch on, there is so much more going on behind the scenes than you could ever imagine!

The Origin of Kissing Is Kinda Sweet. And Pretty Gross.

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Although I'm not sure how true this is, there are several theories floating around that kissing is tied to how birds feed their babies. You know, that they chew up the food and share it directly from their own mouth to the little birdies. Once upon a time, that's how a lot of mothers fed their babies and so the theory is 1) kissing mimics that and 2) whenever our partner kisses us, it taps into the warmth and security we felt when we were young.

Actually, there might be some truth to that since a lot of men who were breastfed grow up to be "breast men" (also due to the warmth and security thing) and guys who want to be literally breastfed as adults is a fetish that is quietly pretty popular.

Kissing Bonds You to Your Partner

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Personally, I've never kissed someone who I didn't have some sort of emotional connection with. But even if you have, whether you realize it or not, you are bonding with that individual. That's because kissing triggers the "love hormone" known as oxytocin in your body (and your partner's). It's the hormone that automatically makes you feel closer to someone. That's why some people can experience a great kiss and suddenly think the person they got it from is "the one", even if they just met them.

Kissing Can Totally Alter Your Microbiome

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A while back, I wrote an article on here about why I think the term "casual sex" is the ultimate oxymoron. Well, apparently so is casual kissing. I say that because, according to some scientific research, kissing has the ability to alter your microbiome. What's that? In a nutshell, it's your collective genetic material.

Whoa. Definitely something worth pondering before kissing someone you just met or brushing off a kiss you exchanged with some random dude while you were tipsy at a party somewhere (hey, it happens).

Kissing Relieves Menstrual Cramps and Headaches

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Is there anything worse than menstrual cramps and headaches? Not much. If you're someone who experiences a lot of either one, kissing more often may be the remedy that you're looking for. Whenever you kiss someone, your body gets a surge of the feel-good hormones oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin throughout its system; that can lead to dilated blood vessels and increased blood flow which can make the pain and pressure of cramps much less. As far as headaches go, because the same feel-good hormones are able to lower stress and your blood pressure, that's why kissing can get rid of the incessant booming in your head as well.

Kissing Reduces Allergy Symptoms

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Do you struggle with allergies? Guess what—kissing is a wonderful remedy for that too. No joke. Scientific research also reveals that when you kiss an individual, it is able to reduce allergy-related symptoms that are associated with pollen and dust mites. Also, since allergic reactions are worse when stress levels are high and kissing reduces stress, that's just one more reason why kissing is oh so good for you.

Men Kiss to Arouse Women. Women Kiss to Choose a Partner.

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I once read an article entitled "A Man's Kiss Tells You Everything". For the most part, I'd agree with that. But no matter how good a man's kiss may be, I wonder if they know what their subconscious motive is. From what I've read, it's to get a certain amount of sex hormones and proteins into our system so that we'll be more willing to have sex with them.

As for what we hope kissing will accomplish, take a moment to think about this. Suppose you meet a guy who checks off all of your boxes. In fact, the only thing that you can even remotely say is "wrong" with him is that his kisses don't move you. Is that enough to call it quits? (Hey, you already know my vote!) Apparently, for many women, it is because, along with a man's personality and character, his kisses help to determine if he's truly suitable or not.

As for a guy who wants to get some who can't kiss? He can pretty much forget about it. A bad kisser is a total turn-off in every way.

Kissing Can Give You an STD

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Not to be a downer or anything, but there is another side to kissing that shouldn't be ignored. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a whopping two-thirds of people have herpes (whether they realize it or not) and a lot of it isn't being contracted by sexual activity; nope, it's due to kissing. Both herpes simplex virus (HSV) and cytomegalovirus (CMV) are easily spread via swapping spit.

For the record, if your partner has syphilis or HSV-2 and you have some sort of cut or sore in your mouth while you're kissing them, you can get that from them as well. Be careful out there.

Kissing Is Good for Your Self-Esteem

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On the surface, it probably makes sense that kissing is a self-esteem booster because if you're kissing someone, it makes you feel desirable. But there's another reason why kissing makes us feel good about ourselves. Research reveals that people with low self-esteem tend to have higher amounts of the stress hormone cortisol in their body. What kissing does is lower cortisol; that, as a direct result, makes you feel better about yourself.

PDA Is More About Ego than Affection

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Some people love public displays of affection while others can't stand it. It doesn't really matter, though, because one study says that PDA isn't about love or being obnoxious. Kissing in public is actually more about feeding one's ego; it's about showing other people that you've got a good thing.

To get more specific, men do it to show off while women do it in order to make an ex jealous. Hmph.

The More You Kiss, the Better the Relationship

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We've already explored some of the things that oxytocin does. Well, if you want to increase the chances of your man staying faithful, kiss him as often as you possibly can. What's the connection? Something else that research reveals is when a man kisses a woman that he cares about, his oxytocin levels go up, it enhances the brain reward system in his head and makes him want to stay with his partner. How sweet is that?

Kissing Is an Anti-Aging Activity

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We all know that Black don't crack. But if you want to be a little more proactive in slowing down the aging process, this is another way that kissing can help you out. Since the act results in us using anywhere between 2-34 facial muscles, kissing is literally like an aerobics exercise for your face (and neck). Also, since exercise is what naturally produces collagen in our bodies and collagen is what keeps our faces looking full and youthful, you can see why kissing is one of the best kept beauty secrets.

Kissing Has TONS of Bacteria in It

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If you're a self-professed germaphobe, you're definitely not gonna want to hear this. If you kiss someone (on the mouth and even more if it's in the mouth) for 10 seconds, you'll already be getting 80 billion bacteria from them. Not that all bacteria is bad (I'll break that down in a minute) and, I've kissed my fair share and I'm still alive, so that doesn't mean that kissing is the death of you. But still, billions and billions of bacteria coming into your system gives you one more reason to be careful about who you let kiss you.

Kissing Is Good for Your Teeth

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One of the ways that having someone else's bacteria (and spit) in your mouth is a good thing is it could prevent you from getting cavities. The logic is the combo of the two helps to wash away the decay-causing germs and bacteria that's probably already chillin' in on your teeth and gums.

Kissing Is Tied to Men’s Longevity

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Women typically live longer than men do. That's no shocker. However, what just may surprise you is one study revealed that when husbands kiss their wives every morning, they end up living five years longer than the ones who don't; especially if it's a long and passionate French kiss.

Kissing Is a Bit of a Contract

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One more. Have you ever wondered why couples kiss at the end of their wedding ceremony? While on the surface, it might simply seem like a sweet and romantic thing to do, it actually dates back to an ancient Roman tradition that signified the signing of a contract.

So, there's a business side to kissing, huh? Wow. Who knew?

Featured image by Getty Images

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Amira Unplugged / MTV

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Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

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