As if you really needed an excuse for seeking a good make-out other than entertainment value, it turns out that kissing someone else actually has some real health benefits — from tightening skin to boosting your immune system.
Behold: all the great reasons you should be kissing someone right now.
Whether you're smooching a baby or making out with your spouse, locking lips promotes intimacy and boosts bonding. Dawn Maslar, a biology professor and award-winning author sums it up like this: "When we kiss, both men and women produce the hormone oxytocin. It's often called the 'love hormone' because it causes us (particularly females) to bond." The fact is, we kiss the ones we love, and love the ones we kiss!
Frequent sex can enhance everything from heart health to your self-esteem, and there's no better primer for sex than kissing! As Carol Queen, the staff sexologist at Good Vibrations, points out, "Kissing is a powerful type of foreplay... it helps increase the chances that both partners will have a good and pleasurable erotic experience."
It may sound counterintuitive, but swapping spit is a great way to fend off viruses — especially if all that kissing leads to sex. Research from the journal Medical Hypotheses indicates that women build up immunity against the cytomegalovirus by kissing infected partners. Another study performed at Wilkes University found that study participants who had sex once or twice a week had higher levels of the infection-fighting antibody immunoglobulin A. So if you want to make it through cold season unscathed, it's time to pucker up!
Seriously. It's not just that frequent kissers may have stronger marriages (which is great for mental and emotional health), but kissing can actually help you choose the right partner. When you kiss someone, your body is subconsciously sharing information about your respective immune systems. The technical term is major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Biologically, it's important for partners to bring different immune system genes to the table so that their offspring will have a better opportunity for survival. So if kissing your crush immediately douses the flames of love, you might be able to chalk it up to biological incompatibility.
Kissing releases endorphins, and to quote Elle Woods from Legally Blond, "Endorphins make you happy." Since depression affects an estimated 17.5 million Americans and costs approximately $30 billion each year, why not give yourself a free happiness boost with a little smooching?
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Originally published February 2013. Updated December 2016.
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