Kissing is good for you and your relationship.
Along with many of fun activities of our youth, like wine coolers and ice blocking, some of us have lost our enthusiasm for the good old fashion make out. Gone are the days of stolen smooches in the hallway, marathon make outs in the back row of the movie theater and full-contact kisses that send shivers down your spine. We remember the thrill of the activity itself, but kissing often falls by the wayside after you’re in a relationship.
When you’re first getting into a new relationship, kissing is like a first interview. If it goes badly, you might not get a call back! And yet, when you settle into an intimate relationship with someone, it seems like kissing is always the first thing to go. You just ate, you don’t feel like brushing your teeth, blah blah blah, let’s get to the sex.
In reality, kissing is one of the most important components that can actively enhance the intimacy in your relationship, as well as improve your sex life. Yes, it helps us feel closer to our partners, and yes, it just feels nice. But there are some serious perks of puckering up that you might not be cashing in on…
1. Lip-locking lowers your blood pressure
You know how a truly great kiss with someone special can really get your heart racing? Well there’s a lovely side effect to all that heart fluttering. During a particularly passionate kiss, your blood vessels dilate, providing your blood with a clearer pathway to all your organs. And over time, voila! Lower blood pressure.
2. Diffuse your anxiety
When you’re having one of those especially stressful days, and nothing seems to go right, this is the best time to snuggle up to your partner and steal a smooch! Why? It turns out that kissing lowers cortisol levels AKA the stress hormone.
Couples who decide together to bump up the kissing report feeling more happy in their relationship, which probably helps a lot in the stress department, too.
3. Make outs improve your mood
It’s a tale as old as time (or at least as old as the romance novel)! One amazing kiss has the power to wash away all your troubles, and leave you feeling like you’re literally floating on air. Lucky for us real-life lovers, this mood-elevating side effect isn’t just reserved for story time.
That feeling of post-kiss elation is the direct result of a wonderful cocktail of “happy hormones”: Oxytocin (the love hormone), endorphins (the feel-good, post-exercise hormones) and dopamine (which promotes bonding). All it takes is a 20 second smooch to help chase away those lonely lips blues.
4. If you do it enough, it helps you look younger
It’s said that people in love look ten years younger. Maybe it’s the rush of finding their soul mate… Or maybe these lovers are just doing a whole lot of kissing. Research shows that you use about 30 different muscles during a vigorous make out session! All that deep kissing action helps tighten and tone the muscles in your cheeks and jawline, which are two big aging “trouble spots”. It also increases circulation in your face, which helps smooth the skin and prevent it from sagging.
5. It’s better than Benadryl
There is nothing more aggravating than being an allergy-prone person in the spring. Once those flowers get to blooming, the entire natural world becomes the enemy. Before you bust out the Benadryl and say goodbye to fresh air, cozy up to this fun fact: According to a study in Japan, 30 minutes of kissing can actually reduce symptoms of allergic reactions and hay fever. This means you can literally kiss that runny nose and those itchy eyes goodbye!
And hey, if nothing else, Kissing can serve as an amazing warm up to another very popular activity. Considered one of the earliest forms of foreplay, some purposeful mouth-to-mouth action helps gets the blood pumping to all the right places, making partners even more primed for sex! And we all know how beneficial that can be.
Emily Morse is a sexologist, host of the Sex With Emily podcast, and cofounder of Emily & Tony. She has a doctorate in human sexuality and is the author of Hot Sex: Over 200 Things You Can Try Tonight and a weekly co-host of the nationally syndicated radio show Loveline With Dr. Drew Pinsky