Created for Greatist by the experts at Healthline. Read more
From a young age, we’re told kisses are pretty powerful. They turn frogs into princes. They make fireworks erupt in the night sky. Kiss a certain stone in Ireland, and you’ll gain the gift of gab. Kiss and tell, and you’ve betrayed something special.
You kiss hello, goodbye, good morning, and good night. But you know what else you should kiss for? Your health.
Smooching your sweetie comes with a host of healthy perks for your body and mind. So grab your lip balm, it’s time to talk about the benefits of kissing.
Whispering sweet nothings isn’t gonna cut it. Kissing may lower cortisol — aka, the “stress hormone” that helps regulate your body’s fight or flight response. Physical interaction (like kissing and hugging) has been found to significantly lower cortisol levels more than regular social interaction with a partner or spouse.
Kissing boosts immunity by introducing new germs to your body. One study showed couples who kiss on the reg show similar microbiota in their saliva and on their tongues. Cool/gross.
Is your heart fluttering because you’re around bae, or is it just the kissing? Smooching can literally make your heart pound. When you lock lips, your body releases adrenaline and noradrenaline, two chemicals that increase your heart rate and put you on alert.
Every time you plant one on your bb, the brain floods with happy neurotransmittors like oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin. The rush of butterflies in your stomach? That magical feeling comes from the brain igniting its pleasure centers. Rawr.
Kissing can increase feelings of attachment and satisfaction with your S.O., especially for long-term lovers. And don’t forget about oxytocin. The “love hormone” released during kissing is associated with what scientists call pair-bonding.
Serotonin helps regulate anxiety and acts as a natural mood stabilizer, so it’s super important to keep your levels on point. Kissing releases serotonin, so plant a wet one on your boo if you need a lil boost.
A 2016 study showed people who were unhappy with their lewks were associated with higher cortisol levels and stronger responses to stress. Since kissing can bump up your happy chemicals, making out might improve your self-esteem.
The jury’s still kind of out on that one, but there’s no denying a good smoocheroo can make you feel like the sexy beast you totally are.
Research shows kissing can make your heart’s blood vessels dilate. Dilation is science chat for “widening,” which increases blood flow while decreasing blood pressure. So yeah, kissing is actually good for your heart. *mic drop*
When your uterus is having a boxing match with itself, kissing might be the last thing on your mind. But tonsil hockey can give you a boost of feel-good hormones and endorphins, which decreases pain perception. Second boom.
A recent review of lifestyle behaviors and their effect on skin called out kissing for its “significant” ability to help calm certain skin conditions. Plus, we know persistent stress makes allergies worse, so excuse us while we repeat: kissing reduces stress hormone cortisol.
Use it or lose it, people! Kissing can use anywhere between 2 to 34 facial muscles — the more passionate, the more muscles you’ll use. Like any muscle group, working these muscles regularly may firm ‘em up.
Sweating can also boost collagen production, which is basically the golden child of skin care right now.
Working out your face muscles can burn some calories. But don’t look for making out to pop up on your smartwatch — we’re only talking up to 5 to 26 cals per minute, depending on the, er, intensity of your lip locking.
When couples were asked to up their kissing game over 6 weeks, researchers observed a glow up in stress, relationship satisfaction and, believe it or not, cholesterol.
Keeping a handle on your cholesterol lowers your risk for heart disease and stroke, so get yourself to the kissing booth, stat!
Saliva contains testosterone, which plays an important part when it comes to sexual arousal. More kissing = more saliva. So pucker up before you hit the sheets.
You won’t hear this advice from your family dentist. Smooching stimulates and increases saliva production. All that extra saliva helps keep food from sticking to your pearly whites, which is bad news for pesky tooth decay and cavities.
According to a study, we use kissing to judge just how compatible or suitable our potential mates might be. And according to the women in the study, the *first* kiss is extra important.
In what sounds like the best scientific study ever conducted, researchers found people with vaginas were more likely to orgasm when “deep kissing” was involved.
We covered all the fun science-y chemicals that kissing sends surging through your body, but there’s lots of good feels happening on a physical level. Your lips are full of sensitive nerve endings. Some people can orgasm just from kissing.
Kissing fun facts
- A 10-second French kiss can be the source of 80 million bacteria transferring between two mouths.
- More than two-thirds of people turn their heads to the right when they kiss.
- The record for the longest kiss is 58 hours, 35 minutes, and 58 seconds.
Kissing offers a ton of physical and mental health benefits. It reduces stress and anxiety while increasing those euphoric, feel-good-feels.
You can even lower cholesterol, boost immunity, and achieve more bangin’ orgasms with a good make out sesh. Plus, it’s a heck of a good time. So grab a breath mint and pucker up!