There's a lot more to kissing than you might have thought.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on January 13, 2022. It has since been updated.
Kissing someone you love does a lot more than deepen your emotional connection.
"Kissing is an instinct which aims at releasing chemicals in order to experience pleasant feelings." Takeesha Roland-Jenkins, a professional consultant for the Between Us Clinic, told Bustle, "Furthermore, the lips have nerve endings that become stimulated upon kissing, leading to the activation of additional senses such as smell."
So what happens in your body when you kiss?
Kissing regularly, especially with your partner, can actually lower your stress levels. In a study cited by NBC News, college students who had taken part in 15-minute makeout sessions were found to have lower cortisol levels, the body's stress hormone. The study also found that those who participated in kissing, felt closer and stronger bonds to their partner. So when you kiss your partner, you actually bond with them better, and have a sense of security and safety with them, making you relaxed.
When you kiss someone you truly love, your body gets a kickstart in the form of adrenaline. It's what gives you the feeling of a racing heart and with blood pumping rapidly through your body, it's what also makes you feel a bit light-headed. This increased blood flow is a positive sign as it creases your energy levels and gives you a feeling of positivity. It explains why after a particularly passionate kiss, you're ready to take it further, maybe in the bedroom.
When you kiss, there is a burst of chemicals and neurotransmitters that enter your bloodstream from your brain. Oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin are all released to create a chemical mixture designed to give us a natural high. All these chemicals make us feel good and crave more of it by lighting up the "pleasure centers" of our brain. While dopamine (pleasure hormone) can make you feel euphoric, oxytocin (the love hormone) makes you feel affection and serotonin (memory hormone) makes you remember a good kiss for a long time, according to the British Council.
One of the main reasons we close our eyes when we kiss is due to the fact that when our pupils dilate, it becomes more sensitive to the light. And this can occur due to the intense sexual attraction you feel with your partner. Since pupil dilation can occur when you look at things that please you or make you feel happy, according to a study published in the journal Psychophysiology, if you see your partner's pupils dilate, you can be sure that the attraction is mutual.
If anyone has ever told you that you're "glowing" after you've been intimate with your partner, they're not lying. When you kiss someone you love, your body immediately releases pheromones, chemicals that attract us to one another. So when your body is flush with them, it's essentially a way of trying to find the right mate for you and it's visible in that "glow." According to Livescience, “The skin around people's noses and mouths is rich in sebum, an oily substance that coats our skin. Evidence suggests that sebum contains pheromones, chemicals that broadcast information about a person's biological makeup.” Essentially, it could mean your partner is the right one for you.
Every time you kiss your loved one, your cholesterol actually reduces. According to a study in the 2009 edition of the Western Journal of Communication, it was found that kissing can affect your blood lipid levels. In particular, it can decrease your serum cholesterol, something that can actually also reduce your risk of heart attacks, says Medical News Today. Not to mention, the researchers also found an increase in overall relationship satisfaction for couples.
So keep kissing your partner. It's not only going to bring you closer but it'll keep you healthy too.