Kissing is something we all do, but it's not something we think about very deeply. When we think of kissing, we think of our first smooch or the person we love, but there are plenty of weird and fascinating facts about kissing that might surprise and interest you. Turns out, there's a lot of stuff going on while you kiss, and it has to do with more than just what your tongue and lips are doing!
Although for most Americans kissing seems normal, it is actually a cultural behavior, and even though kissing has been around for some time, some cultures still don't engage in it, according to Psychology Today. For most, kissing is a sign of romance, but it is also used as a feeding practice, a grooming behavior, or a representation for intercourse in some cultures.
You might be used to focusing on your form when it comes to kissing, but there are plenty of other aspects that might deserve your attention, including what kissing can do for your health. Here are eight weird and fascinating facts that you never knew about kissing – you might want to go grab up your partner after reading some of these.
1Kissing Boosts Your Immune System
You swap a lot of bacteria when you share a lip lock with someone — 80 million, to be exact — but don't be scared off by this concept. "The exchange of germs through kissing actually boosts the immune system," says Danielle Rosen, senior editor at CIA Medical. "The release of oxytocin through positive touch also encourages endorphins, leading to feelings of health and strength."
2Women Absorb Testosterone When They Kiss
When engaging in an open-mouth kiss, men pass along testosterone, and women absorb it. Because of this, men tend to prefer sloppier kisses with more open mouth, in a subconscious attempt to transfer the hormone, according to Rutgers University anthropologist Helen Fisher.
3Smell Could Be Responsible For A Bad Kiss
Ever liked someone, but found that your lip lock was such a turn-off? This may have had to do with your unconscious sense of smell. Through scent, we pick up subconscious clues about the other person’s DNA or reproductive status, and we tend to be attracted to those with a different genetic code than ourselves, according to Sheril Kirshenbaum, author of The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us. A bad kiss might just be a sign you're not genetically diverse enough.
4Kissing Lowers Stress
Kissing can do more than just take your mind off your worries: It can also lower the stress hormone cortisol. Research from neuroscientist Wendy Hill found that college students who made out for 15 minutes in a lab showed lowered levels of cortisol following their makeout sesh.
5Kissing Can Improve Your Skin's Appearance
"Over 30 facial muscles are involved in making a kiss happen," says sex and relationship expert Megan Stubbs, EdD, ACS over email. "Using these muscles can help keep your cheeks tight and in perfect pucker shape. Think facelift."
6Kissing Is Related To Relationship Satisfaction
If you spend a lot of time kissing your partner, that's a good sign. Research from the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that higher kissing frequency is related to relationship satisfaction. Turns out, kissing can help facilitate bonding.
7People Learn To Tilt Their Head Right In The Womb
Research from Ruhr-University of Bochum in Germany found that twice as many adults turn their heads to the right as to the left when kissing. The reason for this? Most babies turn their head to the right while in the womb.
8Kissing Makes Your Mouth Healthier
"Kissing increases the production of saliva, which contains substances that fight bacteria and viruses," says Dr. Vivika Joshi, general practitioner at DrFelix, over email. "An increase in exposure to these substances may help to keep the mouth, gums, and teeth healthy."