Kissing is something that almost all of us have done, some more often than others. Yet there are many things about this action that you may not know. For example, where did kissing even come from? Why do we do it so often? When we say that “your love is my drug,” is there actually some truth behind it? Scientists have been fascinated by the act of kissing for ages, and they have discovered some pretty interesting findings about it. Whether kissing is one of your favorite forms of affection, or you consider yourself a philemaphobe, these facts will intrigue and even excite you.
For example, did you know that swapping saliva is good for you? There are loads of health benefits that medical researchers have found to be correlated with kissing. From burning calories, to firming up your face, to cleaning your teeth, kissing is not only fun – it is very healthy! It does not matter your age, background, or ability; kissing is here to stay. Unless, of course, you live in one of the countries where kissing is illegal and punishable by the law. How tragic!
We hope you enjoy these factoids about kissing. Once you finish reading our list of 10 weird facts you didn’t know about kissing, grab a partner and get busy!
10. 10% of the World Doesn’t Do It
Kissing is one of the most-used forms of showing affection. Mothers and fathers kiss their children, and sweethearts are known to exchange a peck or two (or more.) Even babies want to give kisses, albeit wet and sloppy ones. Dogs, cats, and even birds have been known to kiss their owners. Yet, in an extremely old island in the Pacific Ocean, the inhabitants of Mangaia Island are not known to engage in kissing behaviors. In other places of the world, kissing is just not the norm. For example, people in Sudan fear losing their souls to kisses, and Eskimos rub noses instead of exchanging saliva.
9. Kissing May Have Had Gross Beginnings
Okay, bear with us here. Researchers are not entirely sure where the act of kissing came from, but they have their ideas that suggest where it may have had its beginnings. According to some scientists, they claim that mothers used to chew up their food and then spit it into their children’s mouths. Historians say the first recorded mention to kissing appeared in Sumer, the first civilization. Ancient Egyptian poetry and the Bible also refer to kissing. Historians also note that Alexander the Great may have spread the behavior after invading India, where kissing was common practice. We are sure glad he did!
8. It is Good for You
Yes, that is correct; kissing could have some health benefits. Believe it or not, scientists say that the act of kissing can help you build up a stronger immunity to germs. Dentists will certainly support the affectionate gesture, because kissing helps to clean your teeth. By swapping saliva, you wash out bacteria in your mouth. Of course, kissing makes you feel warm and cuddly inside, and may lower blood pressure. Scientists even go so far as to say kissing can help with weight loss! If you really get into make-out mode, you could burn up to two calories per minute.
7. Kissing is Affected by Your Senses
If you are smelling something particularly pleasant, or you hear a noise that makes you happy, you may be more inclined to kiss someone. Scientists have studied the connection between the brain and the act of kissing, and their findings are very interesting. They say that when you kiss, if your senses like what they hear, taste, smell, and feel, you may want to continue kissing. So, go on and add some sound effects to your kiss; it might encourage more action! It turns out, the lips are super-sensitive because they have loads of nerve endings, which send signals to the brain.
6. The World’s Longest Kiss is…
58 hours, 35 minutes, and 58 seconds. Wow, that is a lot of kissing, and a lot of chapstick you would need to repair your lips after that kind of workout. The record was set by Ekkachai and Laksana Tiranarat from Thailand. They made history in 2013 with the longest kiss ever recorded. The couple beat out nine other duos who were vying for the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not ranking. The rules included continuous lip-to-lip contact, the couple must stand, and they need to be awake for the entire time; no rest breaks allowed! For us average folks, we will spend about two weeks of our lives kissing.
5. Kissing is Chemistry
When people say they have good chemistry, there may actually be some truth to it! Kissing releases the feel-good chemical known as dopamine. This is the same hormone that spikes after you take a hit of cocaine. It triggers intense yearning and desire, and can also increase a person’s energy levels. Scientists have studied couples and have found that the brain releases decreased levels of dopamine as the relationship continues. This could help explain why some partners cheat on each other. Yet, another chemical, oxytocin, is released when you kiss someone important to you. Experts say that even older couples should continue to kiss and release oxytocin.
4. It is Banned in Some Countries
Even in the 21st century, there are still some countries that forbid kissing in public. In fact, it could send you to jail! For example, the Arab world, which is full of mostly Muslims, finds kissing to be extremely offensive and against their customs. Kissing is reserved for being in private only. The Maori tribe in New Zealand does not outlaw kissing, but simply does not use it, opting instead to rub their noses together to show affection. In some South American tribes, as well as Somalia and islands in the South Pacific, kissing is something that is almost unheard of.
3. Some People are Afraid of it
You have probably heard of a fear of heights, or spiders, or clowns. Yet, what about philemaphobia? That is the fear of kissing, and people actually do have it. The reasons for developing a fear of kissing are many: a fear of germs, of contracting diseases, of rejection, a repulsion to lip-to-lip contact, or even trauma from some kid of abuse. Philemaphobia is often coupled with other anxieties, such as the fear of intimacy or fear of sex. Some people will get intense panic attacks from the thought of kissing, while others will freak out if they see other people engaging in the act.
2. It Can Amp up Libido
When a couple kisses, saliva is swapped. If you get really into it, there may be some tongue action, which could help to amp up your libido. A study looked at a number of couples and found that women were more likely to have increased sexual desires after French kissing their partners. Scientists say that the male’s transfer of testosterone to the female spikes her sexual desires. Also, women are more likely to want to kiss when they are ovulating or close to ovulation. This is the time when they are most capable of getting pregnant. This could be in our instincts, since kissing was a way for our ancestors to determine whether a male would be a good mate.
1. It Can Almost Replace a Facial
Kissing will not get you the same results as a facial, but it does a good job of improving the skin on your face. When you engage in the act of kissing, you use over 30 facial muscles. These muscles flex and compress, and in turn, give you tighter, firmer skin. While a simple peck on the cheek will only use 2 facial muscles, a full-fledged make-out session will use 34, or almost every muscle in your face! Here we were using creams and cleansers. All we really needed to do was grab our sweetheart and get down to business! The next time you want to splash out on an expensive facial treatment, try some smooching beforehand. It is definitely cheaper!