Let’s be honest, most of us love a good smooch. Whether you’re kissing your child before they’re tucked in bed at night, kissing a friend on the cheek at the end of a fun evening at dinner or it’s a full on lip lock with your loved one, kissing is a lovely thing to do. But have you ever thought about it in any depth? Like why do we kiss one another? And are there any benefits? So with the prospect of Valentine’s Day only a matter of a few days away and the thought of lots of romantic breaks in places like our Norfolk glamping accommodation for instance, we thought we’d have a look at some of the interesting facts of kissing that we think you would want to know. Here goes…
1. Why do we do it?
When you think about it, kissing is a bit of an odd thing to do. So why’s it such common practice and so popular? The strongest theory people go with is that kissing is a way for humans to interchange biological information as to whether or not our partner will make a suitable mate for the future.
2. It’s a life saver!
During the 1980’s a well-documented study discovered that men who take the time to kiss their wives before leaving for work live longer. (Cue images of 1950’s American housewives waving their husbands off to work with a cheesy smile). Additionally the study also found that they got into fewer car accidents, and strangely, have a higher income than married men who don’t kiss their wives before dashing off for work.
3. Stay healthy, stay kissing
On top of making us feel good, a number of research studies have revealed that kissing can in fact help to keep us all healthy. By swapping mouth bacteria it enhances our immune system. Also, the extra saliva made when you kiss acts to wash out dangerous bacteria, and what’s more is that the raised heartbeat you achieve while kissing causes blood vessels to dilate, consequently lowering blood pressure.
4. Culture clash?
It has been discovered by anthropologists that a number of cultures (not all) including those in Africa, Asia, and South America do not kiss at all. There are also cultures who do participate in kissing that will see kissing in public as an activity to be frowned upon. And in some places, including parts of North America, it’s illegal to kiss in public!
5. It’s good exercise…for your face
Although a kiss mainly involves the muscle around your mouth that allows you to pucker your lips, a grand sum of 146 muscles are involved in the process! This includes 34 facial muscles and a further 112 postural muscles. Did you know that just kissing for one minute burns 26 calories?!
6. Kiss in the dark…there’s an app for that
Well not quite an app, but neurons in the brain – in the 1990s, a team from Princeton University in America found that some neurons located in the brain’s premotor cortex do two related jobs: they are essential for tactile sensation and for visual awareness of the area immediately around ones face. So when you’re kissing in the dark this might be why you can hone in on your partner’s lips.
7. A lesson in chemistry
When you kiss someone it releases the same neurotransmitters (the chemical messengers in the brain) as the ones that are let loose in the body when you’re participating in intense exercise. The results included an increased heartbeat and your breathing becomes deeper and irregular too.
8. ‘Kiss’ is an onomatopoeia, of sorts
The word we know today as “kiss” stems from the Old English word “cyssan”. The origin of “cyssan” isn’t really known although it’s thought that it might signify the sound people make when they kiss each other.
9. Which way do you turn your head?
Did you know that 2 out of 3 people will opt to tilt their heads to the right when kissing instead of left, according to a report published in the journal Nature. A scientist from Ruhr University in Germany examined 124 pairs of kissing couples and found that a resounding 65% go toward the right as they move in for the kiss.
10. Kissing aids stress reduction and makes us feel safe
Kissing lowers your levels of stress hormone cortisol, over time, giving you that feeling of being all safe and secure. The lengthier the time you’ve been with someone, the greater the decline in stress.