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The Art, Science, And Body Language Of Kissing

Written by: Janette Ghedotte, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Kissing is an Intoxicating Blend of Art, Science, and BODY language.


Attraction sparks, kickstarts motivation, and fuels the momentum to reach the crescendo of desire: the first kiss.


Flirting, fantasizing, experiencing sexual tension, and foreplay are involved prior to the magical moments of the first kiss. The first kiss is a pivotal moment that transitions people from the before to an after stage of new possibilities.

Remember Your First Kiss Ever? Or, the First Kiss with Each Person You Kissed?


Many aspects of the first kiss are embedded in your brain:

  • the exciting anticipation,

  • the situation that led up to the moment,

  • the person you were with,

  • where you were,

  • what you were doing,

  • what you were wearing or not wearing,

  • and how you felt before, during, and after the first kiss.

Remember Your BEST Kiss? Why Was That Kiss the BEST Kiss?


What made that kiss so memorable?


Perhaps you felt exhilarating as all of your senses were fully activated:

  • sight,

  • sounds,

  • touch,

  • smell, and

  • taste.

When all these senses are fired up in the limbic system reward center of the brain, then the experience is locked in the memory banks of the hippocampus. Often, the recall of the first kiss memories is so vivid that it will feel as if you are reliving the past experience in the present moment.


The Kiss Intimate Zone.


Except for hugs exchanged at greetings or goodbyes, we rarely are close enough in our day-to-day encounters to be able to smell or taste others. It would be awkward and improper to ask people if you could sniff, taste, or touch them.


Appropriate social distance is now the new norm. Especially during the last three years of covid pandemic 6 feet social distancing, we are well beyond arms’ reach from others and primarily engage in auditory and verbal exchange.


Come a little bit closer.


Attraction, pheromone chemicals, sweat, and aromas such as perfume or cologne draw two partners closer so that lips and bodies can touch.


When kissing, you are physically in each other’s personal space and intimate zone. Bodies are touching, embracing, and intertwined. Lip sensitivity is heightened. The pleasure center limbic system in the brain ignites. Bodily fluids are exchanged and blended together.


The sense of sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell are revved up and swirled together in an irresistible dopamine cocktail to release “Feel-Good” pheromones, endorphins, oxytocin, and serotonin for an overall mind-blowing body experience. Very similar to drug use and addiction, every pleasurable kiss and euphoric touch can lead to an insatiable desire and craving for more.


The Nose Knows the Sexy Smell of Arousal.


In a whiff, opposites can attract. Oxford researchers in a Springer Science+Business Media study (2013) suggest that women can detect and assess the genetic quality of mate candidates.


Through olfactory cues, the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes that control the immune response and resistance against pathogens play a role in selecting a sexual partner for humans and other vertebrae such as birds, reptiles, fish, mice, and primates. Females can detect the aroma and select males with different MHC genes so that any offspring will develop a greater immunity advantage to resist parasites and pathogens.


Risk the Kiss to Make or Break the Deal.


There is always a risk in the first kiss because it propels individuals from the known to an unknown stage in their relationship.


Good kissers Seal-the-Deal. Bad kissers Blow-the-Deal.


Do you want to Seal-the-Deal or Blow-the-Deal?


If the kiss is pleasant, then dopamine floods the brain and increases the likelihood that the rewarding experience will be repeated. Good kissers get the green light to the next level of dating, intimacy, or sex.


If the first kiss bombs, then that may be the kiss of death for the individual(s) involved. Bad kissers can kill a friendship or end any chance for romance. As the saying goes, you do not get a second chance to make a good impression. According to Wlodarski and Dunbar (2014),

“The effect of kissing ability on mate desirability was significantly more pronounced among women than among men, but only when rating willingness to pursue a casual sex encounter.” Want to be More Appealing? Then, Master the Art of Kissing.


More than men, women assess those who are good at kissing as more attractive and desirable for mate selection. Women (more than men) place importance on kissing as the filter for intimate encounters and a gauge in relationships. Women value the art of kissing and judge the kissing skills of their partner to determine whether the person is a kiss, sex, or relationship worthy. Those who find the kissing experience pleasurable advance to the next round of arousal.


The Springer Science+Business Media (2013) study reported that:


“When chances of conceiving are highest, women seem to prefer men who display supposed signals of underlying genetic fitness, such as masculinized faces, facial symmetry, social dominance, and genetic compatibility.”


The Stakes are High Regarding the Art, Science, and Body Language of Kissing.


Not only are the lips involved, but also the breath, tongue, saliva, and teeth. Fresh breath is the starting point for the approach first step. Americans are estimated to spend up to $10 billion per year on fresh breath and oral hygiene products.


For fresh breath, people know to brush and floss teeth daily. But, the majority overlook the importance of cleaning the tongue. By using a safe dental device, you can scrape off the bacteria coating on top of the tongue and eliminate up to 90% of tongue-related mouth odor.


Next, are You Saliva Worthy?


Keeping the mouth well lubricated is another secret to fresh breath. A dry mouth (i.e., xerostomia) is often a side effect of certain medications and can contribute to breathing odor. Dental cleanings remove plaque built up on the teeth, while saliva and drinking lots of water help to remove food particles and odor.


The taste of the saliva releases hormones to determine if the kissing experience will be repeated or lead to more sexual pleasure. A 2007 University of Albany study revealed the following:

“Males tended to kiss as a means to an end -- to gain sexual favors or to reconcile. In contrast, females kiss to establish and monitor the status of their relationship, and to assess and periodically update the level of commitment on the part of a partner.”


“Males were more likely than females to initiate open mouth kissing and kissing with tongue contact. The researchers speculate that the exchange of saliva during kissing may have biological consequences in its own right. Male saliva contains measurable amounts of the sex hormone testosterone which can affect libido.”


Kissing Isn’t Exclusive to Humans.


Many people allow their family pets to lick or “kiss” them as signs of love and affection. Domestic dogs lick the faces of humans they like and want attention from.


Interestingly, the closest primate to human beings, the Bonobos display not only grooming, but also lots of kisses to show comfort, connection, and affection to one another. A wide variety of animals that we would not immediately consider kissers show kissing behaviors: bats, bears, love birds, wild and domestic cats, cows, deer, dolphins, elephants, flamingos, fish, foxes, giraffes, hippos, moose, hippos, horses, owls, otters, pandas, penguins, pigs, prairie dogs, rabbits, sea lions, snails, squirrels, turtles, and even zebras. Animals are also known to kiss other animals across other and beyond their own species.

Kissing to World Peace


With bonobos ‘make love, not war’ kissing behaviors, perhaps humans should mirror the bonobo kissing motto to achieve peace on earth and goodwill towards mankind.


Truth & Deception Detection Expert


Janette Ghedotte is a MA LLP Clinical Psychologist, Founder, and CEO of Accurate Body Language.


Accurate Body Language is the KEY to cracking the code, unlocking the vault of nonverbal communication, and revealing the secrets of human interaction.


With over 20 years of corporate business, marketing research, advertising & strategic brand positioning, and clinical psychology experience, Janette specializes in understanding the complexities of human behavior, interpersonal relationships, and verbal, and nonverbal body language communication.


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and visit my website for more info!


 

Janette Ghedotte, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Truth & Deception Detection Expert Janette Ghedotte is a MA LLP Clinical Psychologist, Founder, and CEO of Accurate Body Language.


Accurate Body Language is the KEY to cracking the code, unlocking the vault of nonverbal communication, and revealing the secrets of human interaction.


With over 20 years of corporate business, marketing research, advertising & strategic brand positioning, and clinical psychology experience, Janette specializes in understanding the complexities of human behavior, interpersonal relationships, and verbal, and nonverbal body language communication.

 

REFERENCES:

  1. Photo credit: Robin Gamble Photography

  2. Maguire, E. (2015). What’s in a kiss? The science of smooching. British Council: https://www.britishcouncil.org/voices-magazine/kiss-science-smooching.

  3. Rakshit, D. (2021). Why kissing became our go‑to way to express affection. The Swaddle: https://theswaddle.com/why-kissing-became-our-go-to-way-to-express-affection/.

  4. Shane, C. (2022). Humans aren’t the only animals that kiss. Discover Magazine: https://www.discovermagazine.com/health/humans-arent-the-only-animals-that-kiss.

  5. Springer Science+Business Media. (2013, October 10). Kissing helps us find the right partner – and keep them. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 26, 2022, from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131010205142.htm

  6. Wlodarski, R., & Dunbar, R. I. (2013). Examining the possible functions of kissing in romantic relationships. Archives of sexual behavior, 42(8), 1415–1423. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-013-0190-1

  7. Wlodarski, R., & Dunbar, R. I. M. (2014). What’s in a Kiss? The effect of romantic kissing on mate desirability. Evolutionary Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1177/14747049140120011

  8. University at Albany. (2007, August 31). A kiss is still a kiss ‒Or is it? ScienceDaily, 5(3). Retrieved June 23, 2022, from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070830121629.htm

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