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Betty Everett once sang “If you want to know, if he loves you so, it’s in his kiss”, and kissing does seem like a natural expression of affection for most of us, but why do we do it? How did the first human decide to plant a smooch on the second (or vice versa)? Here are some interesting facts about kissing that you probably don’t know.
1. Our first kiss is one of the strongest memories we have
At a study conducted at Butler University, John Butler asked some 500 people to discuss their most important memories. First kisses were the most vividly described memory, beating every other memory, including first sexual experiences.
2. No one is certain why people kiss
The most popular theory claims that the kiss is a way for people to exchange biological information about their potential partners (as saliva contains DNA).
3. Believe it or not, it can be a life-saver
In the 1980’s, a study discovered that men who kiss their wives before going to work are involved in fewer car accidents, have a higher income than those who don’t and generally live longer.
4. Not everyone does it
Some cultures in Africa, Asia, and South America did not engage in kissing until Westerners introduced it. In other cultures, kissing in public is frowned upon and can be illegal (even in some places in the U.S.A.)
5. Philemaphobia – the fear of kissing
A first kiss can be a source of anxiety, but for some people, the idea of kissing is so scary, it constitutes an actual phobia.
6. It’s good for you
In recent years, several studies found that kissing is beneficial to our health. While it may not sound like it, exchanging mouth bacteria helps boost the immune system, and the extra saliva we produce during a kiss will wash away many dangerous bacteria. Add to it the increased heart rate that lowers your blood pressure and you have yourself even more reasons to kiss.
7. During a kiss, most people will turn their head to the right
A recent Report in Nature Magazine found that two out of three people will tilt their head to the right while kissing.
8. The world’s longest kiss
Laksana and Ekkachai Tiranarat fo Thailand are the record holders for the world’s longest kiss. In 2013, these lovebirds locked lips for 58 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds!
9. It’s a great workout
Kissing for one minute burns as much as 26 calories. The reason is that when you kiss, you use 146 muscles, including 34 facial muscles and 112 postural muscles.
10. Your brain is wired to help you kiss in the dark
Researchers at Princeton University found that there are specialized neurons in the brain’s premotor cortex that have two specializations: tactile sensation and visual awareness of the face. Thanks to these neurons, we can find each other’s lips in total darkness.
11. Kissing is like taking drugs
If you were curious as to why kissing is so gratifying, it’s because when you kiss, your brain releases dopamine – the same chemical it releases when doing drugs or exercising.
12. It’s an efficient stress reliever
Kissing helps reduce the amounts of the stress hormone, cortisol, in your blood. Lower levels of cortisol contribute to the feeling of safety.
Kissing is one of the most intimate and loving gestures we as humans can give one another; it holds a world of meaning in one simple action. Yet despite of how important kissing is in our life, you might be surprised to discover some new facts you never knew about this loving gesture.