It’s in the Kiss

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Summer is responsible for making every part of your body and love life burn up. Your lips swell, redden, and moisten. Every nerve on your sensitive mouth is tinged with a pulse that runs through your entire body. Arteries dilate and your heart beats faster and louder, adding even more warmth to your balmy summer skin.

Philematologists researched the science behind the heat-inducing enigma that is the kiss, leaving no base unexplored. They discovered that locking lips is more than just a dating standard and that its implications could make, or break, a relationship.

Think of a kiss as a report that aids in weeding out ill-suited mates. When a male and a female kiss, their proximity allows the female to breathe his scent. Studies show that women prefer smells that reveal the greatest genetic diversity in the major histocompatibility complex, a set of genes responsible for immunity. The greater the genetic difference in the MHC, the better, since offspring with increased genetic diversity have higher chances of immune health and strength. On the other hand, males with the scents revealing MHC similarities will likely get the boot.

A good kiss can also form strong bonds and even incite relaxation. Before and after kissing samples of saliva exhibit that levels of oxytocin, a hormone associated with feelings of attachment and nurturing, were elevated, and levels of cortisol, a hormone involved with stress, were lowered. That means that a bad first kiss could potentially ruin the bond required to solidify a new relationship while a good one could wipe away all your stresses. No pressure.

Not to fret, there are plenty of incentives to practice, especially since kissing is good for you! Apparently kissing burns around 6.4 calories per minute if it enthralls your whole body in passion. Facial muscles are activated which will tighten your skin and keep it from sagging. And since kissing induces so much saliva, your teeth benefit as well, since chemicals in saliva wear away plaque.

If there’s anything to be learned, it’s that kissing is a science and as much experimenting should be done as possible this summer… for scientific purposes, of course.  


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Sophomore > Journalism and Environmental Studies > NYU

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