As with many life milestones, your first kiss is often a memorable and exciting occasion.
“I was 17 and the girl I kissed was a boyfriend I had in high school and it was a great experience,” says writer William Cane. “It was exciting because it was the first, and … this lip contact was certainly different than when I kissed my grandmother or my aunt.”
His first kiss made such an impression that Cane – a pseudonym for Michael Christian of New York City – wrote the popular book The Art of Kissing.
Not everyone remembers their first kiss. Maybe it just wasn’t that special.
“If it was negative, maybe it’s best to erase it from memory and focus on the other kisses that may be more successful later,” says Cane.
Why kissing is important
The exact history of the kissing is unclear. For example, we don’t know if early humans kissed or how. Experts have long debated whether it’s instinct or something people learn.
“Kissing has likely emerged and disappeared around the world throughout history for a variety of reasons related to human intimacy and attachment,” said Sheril Kirshenbaum, academic specialist at Michigan State University and author of The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Tell Us.
Kissing can serve a greater purpose than a show of romantic affection. For example, says Kirshenbaum, it’s an important part of building bonds between mothers and babies.
“Our earliest infant experiences often involve lip stimulation by being nursed and kissed by our parents,” she says, “and later we combine these sensations with feelings of love, comfort, and security when trying to express how to someone we feel otherwise.
“Kissing brings two people together like no other behavior,” says Kirshenbaum. “Each partner actively uses all of their senses to get to know the other.”
Marilyn Anderson, author of Never Kiss a Frog: A Girl’s Guide to Creatures From the Dating Swamp, says, “Not only does it connect you, it makes you happier, it reduces your stress levels, and it can even help your skin.”
But she cautions that if adults bond through kissing, it could become a problem.
“If you are in the world trying to meet someone, yes, kissing can certainly tell you if you are compatible with someone. And what I say in Never Kiss a Frog is don’t kiss the wrong guy because it has that connecting influence on you. If you are too attached to someone and they are the wrong person, you may stay with them for too long. “
Health Benefits of Kissing
Pressing the lips together is “nature’s ultimate litmus test,” says Kirshenbaum.
“Our lips are packed with delicate nerve endings that stimulate a relatively large part of our brain that is associated with taste, touch, and smell,” she says.
Snogging is a way of gathering clues about another person’s suitability as a partner without even knowing you are doing it.
It also triggers the release of important chemicals in your brain. “Kissing influences neurotransmitters and hormones such as oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin, which also play an important role in our relationships,” says Kirshenbaum.
Oxytocin, for example, is associated with feelings of closeness, intimacy, and security. Showing affection for people you love can increase oxytocin. When your body releases oxytocin through physical contact, it can provide a foundation for the wellbeing of the entire body.
Kissing, hugging, cuddling, and cuddling, even with pets, can make you healthier overall. These things can help you:
You might think that there is some gross factor in dividing saliva. Most of us have caught a cold from a sick family member, whether it be from a hug or kiss, or just from the proximity of their germs.
Research has found that couples share around 80 million bacteria during a 10-second kiss. But that’s only a small percentage of the tens of billions of bacteria that live in the human mouth.
Is there a right or wrong way to kiss?
Kisses can have different meanings. They are a way for family and friends to show non-romantic affection. In some cultures, everyone greets each other with a check or an air kiss.
When it comes to romance, there’s no right or wrong way to kiss, says San Francisco-based sexologist Claudia Six, PhD.
“Everyone walks with one foot in front of the other, but we all look different,” says Six. “Everyone has a way of walking and everyone has a way of kissing.”
Still, you probably have a personal preference.
You might like your partner caressing your cheek or gently holding your neck during a kiss. Or, you might find a full body hug more fulfilling.
“I don’t know many people who would like to be drooled, but there are people who kiss and it’s really wet. Some people don’t like it, ”says Anderson.
But for others, a drooling kiss can be perfect.
“I don’t think kissing can really be taught,” says Anderson. “I think if someone does something and you don’t like it, you can certainly tell them or try to teach them. But I think the chemistry is right when two people kiss, and hopefully you can find someone who has the chemistry with them. “
Six says the basics of a good kiss are clear to most people: “Brush your teeth, shave. I’m just saying be present. I always tell people that. It’s always about how you are. It’s not what you do, it’s how you are. “
Kirshenbaum sums it up: “From calming a picky baby to expressing romance, kissing has so many meanings that are best interpreted by the people who do it.”