There’s a reason we lock lips: Science shows it leads to incredible health beneﬁts. Here, the mental and physical perks.
Mouth-to-mouth contact may decrease levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.
● INSTANT CALM
Any kind of kissing, including a friendly peck on the cheek, will make you more relaxed and happy. “Face-to-face contact is soothing,” says Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami. “The more people touch one another, the more peaceful they feel.” Deep, romantic kissing intensiﬁes the effect because your body produces greater amounts of oxytocin, a hormone that triggers feelings of love and intimacy.
● MATCHMAKING INTEL
Kissing can help you ﬁnd the right partner, according to a study in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior. “The lips have sebaceous glands, which produce pheromones, chemicals that may play a role in attraction,” Tiffany says. When you’re kissing someone new, explains lead researcher Rafael Wlodarski, on an instinctual level, you’re essentially sampling and assessing that person’s pheromones to determine if he or she is a good ﬁt.
● A BETTER BOND
Couples who kiss more often tend to have happier relationships than those who don’t, the Archives of Sexual Behavior study found. (Surprisingly, sexual frequency was not related to relationship quality.) The reasons: Kissing may release endorphins, reduce stress or even help you mind-meld. “One study found that people’s brainwaves sync during romantic kissing, and so do their breathing and heart rates,” Tiffany says. “It’s a really potent bonding activity.”