Sweet smooches. Precious pecks. Mischievous makeouts. Naughty nuzzles.
That’s right – we’re talking about kissing.
When you think about it rationally, kissing is weird. I’m going to take my mouth and press it against yours. Then we might move our mouths around, even getting some tongue action involved. If you’re an alien coming to Earth, who’s never heard of the practice, it may seem like some bizarre ritual.
In fact, it’s one of the most natural things for us to do. Kissing is how many of us show affection for friends, family, and of course – lovers.
While kissing can come in all different shapes and forms, for the sake of this article, we’re going to be focusing on the romantic and sexual variety.
Let’s get to it, and talk about everything you’ve ever wanted to know about kissing.
Down To Science
Kissing. It’s an art. But it’s also a science, and it’s called Philematology. Aka, the science of kissing.
The root comes from the Greek word “philos”, meaning “earthly love”. I don’t know about you, but this certainly makes my heart swoon. What better embodies earthly love than a passionate kiss?
Sharing is Caring
While kissing, people exchange all sorts of fun bacteria and organisms. A hot makeout can introduce as many as eighty million new bacteria and microorganisms from you to your partner.
Much like taking an oral probiotic, kissing can increase the variety of bacteria within the oral microbiome, which can potentially lead to a stronger immune system. Given that the kissers are not immunocompromised.
These organisms often travel in on the average of nine milliliters of water that’s also swapped in the process. Science may be just as weird as kissing. But also, really cool.
Also within saliva is testosterone, which helps get the engines revving if you’re taking this further than kissing.
Designed with pleasure in mind, nature has made the lips one of the most, if not the most sensitive area on the human body. The extremely thin skin and high amount of nerve receptors can make even the gentlest of kisses light you up from your toes to your scalp.
Do it For Fitness
Kissing is an awesome way to engage the many muscles in your face and mouth. One of these muscles is called the Orbicularis Oris.
Orb, like a circle, because it allows the mouth to create a round, puckering shape. This is why it’s often called the “kissing muscle”.
All that muscle-building means kissing can burn up to twenty-six calories per minute. How’s that for fitness?
Not that you needed an excuse to smooch.
When the tongue gets involved, this is often called a “French kiss”. But why? What do the French call it?
While fairly liberal in their approach to romance and sex, the French called tongue action “soul kissing”, because it feels like your soul is merging with your partner’s.
It’s Not Just for Humans
We’re not the only ones that do it.
Bonobos and chimpanzees have been shown to kiss and embrace after a fight, as a form of reconciliation.
Bonobos also kiss with their tongues just like us, while chimps stick to open mouth kissing, sans tongue.
The Body Knows
Kissing sparks up intuition. The saying “true love’s first kiss” didn’t come from nowhere. All fairytale nonsense aside, there is a knowing that awakens when you first kiss someone.
It may be a “yuck, no thanks”, or maybe “yeah, sure, I’m curious”, or in some cases “YES, YES, YES, MORE YES”. No matter the reaction, a kiss can tell you a lot. Like which direction you want this encounter or relationship to go, or not go.
It’s not just intuition of course. Swapping saliva, also means swapping pheromone rich sebum. These pheromones may help indicate whether or not someone is a good biological match for you – whether or not baby making is on the agenda for you.
Of course, this evidence is extremely heteronormative, and does not account for the wide variances in human sexuality.
Keep on Kissing On
Kissing is one of the most powerful tools we have in terms of physical human connection.
I don’t know about you, but all this information has got me ready to grab my boo and pucker up.
Mwah! Mwah! Mwah!
Natasha (she/they) is a full spectrum doula, reproductive health content creator, and sexual wellness consultant. Her work focuses on deconstructing the shame, stigma, and barriers people carry around birth, sex, and beyond, to help people navigate through their lives with more pleasure, softness, and sensuality. You can connect with Natasha on IG @spectrumoflovedoula.