Why Do We Kiss?

maxresdefaultLast night my guy and I got into a discussion about how kissing became a thing. Not papery tight-lipped kisses, but full-tongue making out. When did it start, why does it turn us on, and why don’t more animals do it?

I mean, dolphins and monkeys have sex for fun, but I’ve never seen either in a heavy tongue lock… To support this, I may have Googled “monkeys making out.” That search came up pretty dry, a few monkey lip locks that seemed more groom-y than passionate. But what the search did tell me was that tons of people have wondered the same thing my guy and I did (There’s even a book about it!): why do people kiss, and why does passionate kissing activate those sexy-time pleasure receptors in our brains and bods?

Research on the subject shows no one knows for sure how kissing started. One theory is it began with the intimacy of passing of food from mother to child. (Yes, this is a real thing, even before poor Alicia Silverstone was publicly ridiculed for it.)

Obviously mouth-to-mouth interactions have come a long way since those bird-like feeding sessions, and scientists have discovered that kissing is one of the fastest ways we transfer information about a potential mate. Their tastes and smells are transferred immediately, which is evolution’s way of letting us know whether or not we want to go forth and procreate. Ever had a kiss that fell flat? That’s your body telling you this one ain’t for you, no matter how good they might seem on paper. Of course, this is a subconscious transference of information, thank goodness.

So why the importance of open-mouthed kissing to prime us for further intimacy? The answer may be in saliva, which includes testosterone, a natural libido booster.

I stumbled upon an interesting University of Albany study that looked at over 1,000 college students and noted a significant difference in how sexes viewed kissing. The most interesting conclusion of this 2007 study is that women would not have sex without kissing first, although many men said they would.

This does not surprise me. Several years ago, a date tried to initiate sex although we had never kissed. As we fumbled with each other, I tried to kiss him and he shied away. At first I thought maybe my breath was busted – what had I eaten that day? Because I’m blunt and investigative by nature, I stopped our pawing to ask what was going on.

“Kissing is too intimate,” he said. What are you, Pretty Woman? Yes kissing is intimate, but so is putting your P in my V, which he seemed totally down to do. I was glad he was so frank and open, but we did not move any further or see each other again after that.

That said, my research on kissing also proved that it’s not all about possible procreation. Phew. We also kiss because it releases feel-good hormones, mainly the bonding chemical oxytocin. Studies have also shown cortisol (stress) levels to take a dive after a kissing session.

The verdict? Kissing helps us pick a mate, bond with that mate and feel good. The next time you’re feeling stressed, grab a buddy and get to kissing. It does a body good.

Want more from Zoe?  Follow her on Twitter and  Instagram, and don’t forget to check out her book, The Lusty Vegan.

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