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You should be kissing a lot more — because science is telling you to
That toe-tingling first kiss is the stuff love songs are written about, but how do you keep up the momentum when you’re months or even years into a relationship? Puckering up more often comes with more than a few health benefits. Bet you never knew that a good kiss could reduce stress, burn calories, tighten skin and maybe even prevent sickness on the daily.
If you needed one good reason to kiss more often than you already do, we’ve got 10:
1. Boosts bonding
Whether you’re smooching a baby or making out with your spouse, locking lips promotes intimacy and boosts bonding. Dawn Maslar, a biology professor and award-winning author sums it up like this: “When we kiss, both men and women produce the hormone oxytocin. It’s often called the ‘love hormone’ because it causes us (particularly females) to bond.” The fact is, we kiss the ones we love, and love the ones we kiss!
2. Spurs arousal and enhances sex
Frequent sex can enhance everything from heart health to your self-esteem, and there’s no better primer for sex than kissing! As Carol Queen, the staff sexologist at Good Vibrations, points out, “Kissing is a powerful type of foreplay… it helps increase the chances that both partners will have a good and pleasurable erotic experience.”
3. Fights illness
It may sound counterintuitive, but swapping spit is a great way to fend off viruses — especially if all that kissing leads to sex. Research from the journal Medical Hypotheses indicates that women build up immunity against the cytomegalovirus by kissing infected partners. Another study performed at Wilkes University found that study participants who had sex once or twice a week had higher levels of the infection-fighting antibody immunoglobulin A. So if you want to make it through cold season unscathed, it’s time to pucker up!
4. Makes better marriages
Seriously. It’s not just that frequent kissers may have stronger marriages (which is great for mental and emotional health), but kissing can actually help you choose the right partner. When you kiss someone, your body is subconsciously sharing information about your respective immune systems. The technical term is major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Biologically, it’s important for partners to bring different immune system genes to the table so that their offspring will have a better opportunity for survival. So if kissing your crush immediately douses the flames of love, you might be able to chalk it up to biological incompatibility.
5. Increases happiness
Kissing releases endorphins, and to quote Elle Woods from Legally Blond, “Endorphins make you happy.” Since depression affects an estimated 17.5 million Americans and costs approximately $30 billion each year, why not give yourself a free happiness boost with a little smooching?