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. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Watching Angela “Blac Chyna” White’s transformation in real-time has truly been a sight to see. It wasn’t that long ago that she announced that she was reversing her cosmetic surgeries in an effort to go back to who she was before the world came to know her as Blac Chyna. In previous interviews, she stated that she was dissolving her facial and lip fillers, removing her breast implants, and getting a butt reduction, as well as removing the dimple piercings that enhanced her fame and controversial tattoos.
In a recent Tamron Hall interview, the mother of two said that she has “fully recovered” from the procedures. She is also celebrating one year of sobriety and opened up about being worried about how her new journey would be received by others.
“I’ve been in the entertainment industry for so long, right, and of course, like, you know, coming out, I’m like young, I’m gonna do wild things as we all have,” she said.
“...I feel like by me being vocal and showing everybody you can change your life and things can get better, like through myself, that right there is an accomplishment, and that’s a part of freedom, too.”
But as she started on her journey, many people have shown her grace, which is something she’s grateful for. “And then the fact that people have been showing me grace, it’s like amazing,” she said. “And I feel like when I did it, I just did it. It was more so like spiritual thing and I feel like people see that, and I’ve always been like my authentic self, so what you see is kinda what you get with me, and that’s just kinda what it is.”
Chyna, who recently received an honorary doctorate from Sacramento Theology Seminary and Bible College, has also repaired her relationship with her mom, Tokyo Toni. The social media celebrity surprised her daughter on the Tamron Hall Show. Prior to the sentimental surprise, Chyna dished on the reconciliation and having a better understanding of her mom.
“I must say, some of the things I have to take accountability for because, like my actions. As a mother, you don’t want to see your daughter doing certain things ‘cause it’s like it doesn’t matter what my past was or what we’re going through, I didn’t raise you that way,” she admitted. “So, it’s like, okay, maybe I was a little bit wrong. Maybe I was acting out a little bit. But I feel like as we grow older, I kinda see more, and I understand more.”
Chyna will be starring in season two of Fox's reality competition show Special Forces: World's Toughest Test.
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Feature image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images