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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Victoria Monét has had an incredible year. Thanks to the success of the widely popular “On My Mama” that went viral, the singer/ songwriter’s Jaguar II album debuted in the top 10 of Billboard’s Top R&B Albums chart. She also went on to headline her own sold-out tour. So, when the MTV VMAs happened in September, everyone was surprised to learn that Victoria’s team was told that it was “too early” for the “Smoke” artist to perform at the award show. However, a couple of months later, the mom of one received seven Grammy nominations, including “Best R&B Album” and “Record Of The Year.”
Victoria is currently in London and stopped by The Dotty Show on Apple Music and shared how she feels “validated” after being dismissed by the VMAs.
“It really does feel nice and validating because, in my head, the reason why I wanted to be a performer at the VMAs or award ceremonies like that is because I felt like I am at the place where I should. I would work really hard to put on the best show that I could, and I was excited to do so,” she said.
“And I guess the best way to describe it for me is like when you're like on a sports team, and the coach is like, ‘No, you gotta sit this one out.’ When they finally put you in, and then you score all these points, and it feels like that feeling. You're like, yes, I knew it wasn't tripping, but I knew I worked hard for this, and so it's been super validating to just have these accolades come after a moment like that, and I know the fans feel vindicated for me.
While her fans called the VMAs out on their decision, the “Moment” singer kept it cute and is still open to performing at the iconic award show. “I feel no ill towards them because it's just maybe that's just truly how they felt at the time, but I hope their mind has changed,” she admitted.
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Feature image by Amy Sussman/WireImage for Parkwood