What’s In A Kiss? The Chemistry Behind A Good Smooch
You know that wonderful feeling when the person who has been occupying your thoughts and giving you butterflies just by looking at you finally leans in to seal their confirmation that they also have feelings for you with a kiss? This exact moment is a turning point for most people.
For some, this is the beginning of a beautiful story and for others, this is where their relationship is doomed. Yet, it has nothing to do with how good of a kisser any of them is. It all depends on what is happening inside their brain at the exact moment. Let’s take a closer look.
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Why Do We Decide To Lock Lips?
For as long as the average modern person can remember, kissing has been a normalized way of showing affection and finding out if we like a potential suitor. Can you think back on the memory of your first kiss? If the answer is yes, then you’re part of the 90 percent who can recall the details of their first kiss.
This is because the human mind finds it to be important and stores it as core memory. This is part of its natural fascination with kissing that it has seen projected in movies, songs, and poetry all around it.
Is It Instinctive Or Learned?
If you think about it, kissing is strange. It’s just two people sticking their faces on one another. So why is it so appealing? Well, it does have an evolutionary purpose. Have you noticed that when you went in for your first kiss, despite being nervous, your body naturally knew what to do?
That’s because kissing is mostly an instinctive behavior and doesn’t necessarily need to be taught. Because it happens so organically about 90 percent of cultures kiss. Even the 10% that’s left still engages in kissing-like behaviors, such as rubbing noses together.
Even Animals Love Smooching
Kissing isn’t just reserved for humans and many animals know to use it to also show affection. They don’t all kiss in the traditional way that we do but they engage in kissing-like behaviors to show affection. Only bonobo apes do with whom we share 98.7 percent of our DNA.
These behaviors vary. For example, dogs sniff and lick their potential mates and elephants like to put their trunks in each other’s mouths. Sometimes animals will even make up after a fight with a kiss showing us that we’re just like animals on a primal level and that kissing is ingrained in our DNA.
Going Back In Time
There is more than one theory about how kissing started. Kissing in most cultures is still considered to be intimate and can make some people uncomfortable. In some places, that kind of PDA isn’t even allowed in public.
However, some scientists believe that kissing came from the practice of kiss-feeding, where mothers would feed their young mouth-to-mouth. This would mean that it’s a nurturing natural act, the same way that birds feed worms to their chicks. However, most modern mothers feed their children with a spoon now so the purpose of kissing has evolved and romantic variations took on new symbols.
The Ultimate Chemistry Test
Now we’re getting closer to understanding what’s in a romantic kiss. Basically, it’s like a job interview with language only the body’s chemistry can understand. The kiss can decide the entire fate of whether someone is a good mate for us.
When we kiss, our chemistry looks for a suitor that best matches our genetic make-up. We have a group of genes called the MHC (major histocompatibility complex) genes that form part of our immune system and give us our natural scent. When we kiss, the exchange of saliva and the smell of pheromones tells our body whether this person matches us genetically.
Opposites Really Do Attract
In a famous experiment, results found that women overwhelmingly preferred the smell of t-shirts worn by men with different MHC genes from their own. This is because when two people with different MHC genes mate, their potential baby would have a selection of components from each of their immune systems. This would make the baby stronger and able to better fight sickness.
So on a biological level, opposites really do attract. How our genetic makeup mixes with the person we are kissing decides whether we like kissing them or not. The chemistry is our genes.
What Is Happening In Your Brain As You Pucker Up
The brain basically gets high when you’re kissing someone that you have good chemistry with. It releases the same chemicals that it would find in drugs. It goes into overdrive and dedicates a disproportionate amount of space to the sensation of the lips in comparison to much larger body parts.
According to Healthline: ” During a kiss, this lip sensitivity causes our brain to create a chemical cocktail that can give us a natural high. This cocktail is made up of three chemicals, all designed to make us feel good and crave more: dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin. Like any cocktail, this one has an array of side effects.”
It’s A Literal Obsession
Whenever dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin, you have the perfect combo of happy chemicals. They basically light up the “pleasure centers” in our brain. This is the same effect that heroine or cocaine would have on the brain and makes us feel euphoric.
However, this feeling is also addictive and can lead to obsessive behavior. Oxytocin, otherwise known as the “love hormone”, makes us attached to the person we’re kissing for example. Mixed with serotonin, a brain scan can make it look like someone with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. That’s why you can’t stop thinking about it after.
Non-Platonic Kisses Matter Too!
Keep in mind that the positive effects of a kiss aren’t limited to romantic partners. While it may not be as intense as making out, non-platonic kisses still make people feel loved and attached to one another.
Kissing is a display of any kind of affection whether between parent and child or dear friends. However, since it is this lip contact that activates the happy chemical cocktail in the brain, a platonic kiss just doesn’t feel as addictive.
Figure Out Your Love Pattern
In any relationship, always look at how you feel and ask yourself: does this person make you love yourself more? Do you want to grow old with them?
Love is more than just kisses and butterflies, it’s much more than that. If you want to know more on what your birth chart reveals about how you love and what you need out of a partner, check out this personalized report based on date of birth.
For more great relationship advice and tips on how to attain the kind of love you deserve, watch this video from expert, Amy North: Click Here To Watch The Full Video.