Angus, Thongs, and the Benefits of Full-Frontal Snogging

Then she was kissing him as she had never kissed him before…and it was blissful oblivion, better than fire whiskey; she was the only real thing in the world.
– J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

There’s that famous – and utterly cliché – saying that goes something like we close our eyes when we do things like pray, cry, kiss, and dream because ultimately, “the most beautiful things are not seen but felt by the heart.” Or something like that.

But it turns out that actually might be true. Our kisses and our hearts may be one in the same, especially when it comes to romantic relationships.

A kiss is an extremely powerful thing. Wasn’t Hitch the one that said the first kiss will tell a woman everything she needs to know about a relationship? True statement.

The study, conducted by Oxford University, included 594 women and 308 men, ranging from the ages of 18 to 63. The conclusion of said study: kissing helps maintain romantic or sexual relationships by allowing the individuals in them to assess their mate. So like I said, Hitch, true statement. With just a kiss, we may be able to evaluate our match and answer the infamous question of whether this is true love or not. We no longer need to rely on oxeye daisies for that.

Love me, damn it.

Love me, damn it.

Rafael Wlodarski and Robin Dunbar of the Experimental Psychology department at Oxford described the primary theories used to explain the importance of kissing in sexual relationships: 1) kissing helps us assess the genetic quality of our significant other, 2) we use kissing as a means for sexual arousal, and 3) kissing keeps people together. See guys, physical love really does make the world go round. Overall, their goal was to see which theory was strongest in both short-term and long-term relationships.

Amongst one of their discoveries was a fairly obvious one: the study illustrated that women view kissing as more important in relationships than men do. Absolute shocker, I know. But maybe not as intuitively is the reason why. No, it’s not because we as women are only founded in emotions and dear God, we need love to survive!

See, guys do it, too.

See, guys do it, too.

It’s simply because we are the tougher sex – unless you’re a sea horse (I’m kidding – sort of). What I’m saying is that because females are responsible for birthing offspring, we invest more time in the relationships and place more emphasis on some of the smaller physical aspects (like a kiss). I mean, guys, face it, women are allowed to tote around the importance of a kiss all they want – our bodies are capable of carrying around another human being in it for nine months. Enough said.

For both sexes, the study highlighted that a kiss can be a sign of not to settle – or with the right partner, to settle. We’re all stuck in a sort of mating market, so to speak. For those that are in a new relationship, the kiss serves as an interview of sorts – job market, mating market – what’s the difference really? And to my previous point, the study also concluded that women place greater value on kissing in terms of strengthening long-term relationships (because again, women are responsible for carrying and birthing the babies, and we don’t need a study to tell us that raising a child is much easier in a committed, two-parent household).

Although most of us are out there searching for love (or relishing in it if we currently have it), there are three types of people that are choosier in their selection and thus, evaluate their kisses more concretely: women, those who are out there to hit it and quit it (i.e. people who favor casual sex), and individuals that rate themselves as highly attractive. For these three groups of people, if the kissing isn’t solid, then neither is the person they are kissing. Onto the next.

In general though, there are a multitude of benefits to sharing a smooch with someone. While this might not be the best mental image, the French taught us that swapping saliva via a game of tongue tennis means extra spit for the kissers. And that extra saliva helps wash bacteria off of our teeth and helps in the process of getting rid of extra plaque. So be sure to a get a good wet one in there every once in a while. That’s what she said.

A good make out session can also keep us looking young. Kissing works over 30 muscles throughout our faces, and ultimately, keeps our cheeks from sagging.

And the more we kiss the same individual, the more we grow with them. Each kiss has its own context, and there are three stages we as humans go through when kissing the same partner. The first is lust where we yearn for sexual gratification (like, let’s just get physical already, alright?), the second is romantic love where we are all high on the dopamine and norepinephrine (we can’t sleep, eat, breathe without this other person), and lastly is the stage of attachment where we find security in our significant other and begin to view them as a long-term partner.

And get this, couples that kiss more tend to have better relationships overall. It’s kisses – not sex – that indicate the level of happiness in relationships. It’s the lips that seal a relationship (see what I did there?), neither the penis nor the vag live up to that job. And I definitely can agree with that statement. The act of sex has been thrown around for decades and decades – whether it’s passionate lovemaking or a one night stand – sex can be serious, it can be fun, it can be thrilling, scary, or plain casual. From songs to movies to anything else mainstream media, the act of intercourse is usually one that’s painted a variety of ways. Either people are falling in love and losing their virginity together or they’re etching another notch into their bedpost because score, I just got laid. But the smaller physical acts like holding hands or kissing – many people, including myself, view these as much more intimate. And if you’re up for being intimate and vulnerable with your partner in ways that don’t always involve sex, then chances are you’re fairly happy. And in love. And isn’t that the absolute best?



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