7 Crazy Facts You Never Knew About Kissing
Keep these in mind before your next make out session
By Alisa Hrustic
Your first kiss is an experience you’ll never forget—even if that first awkward fumbling may make you wish you could.
A good kiss feels amazing in all of its forms: short kisses, long kisses, passionate kisses, soft kisses, sexy kisses, birthday kisses, good morning kisses—the possibilities are pleasantly endless. But a bad kiss can make you want to sew your lips shut. Think sloppy kisses, wet kisses, bad-breath kisses, drunk kisses.
But there’s a lot more to a kiss than how it makes you feel. Kissing says a lot about who you are, your body, and your relationship with another person. Here, seven things you probably didn’t know about kissing—keep them in mind before your next make out session.
THERE’S A REASON YOU ALWAYS LEAN TO THE RIGHT DURING A KISS
Which direction does your head turn when you go in for a kiss? Chances are, you tilt to the right, a study published in Scientific Reports suggests. A team of researchers from Bangladesh and the U.K. had 48 married couples kiss in their homes as they normally would. The researchers found up to 74 percent of people turn their heads to the right when they smooched. What’s more, men were about 15 times more likely than women to initiate a kiss. Why? The hand you write with tends to predict which way you’ll turn your head, the researchers say, which is ultimately rooted in how your brain splits up tasks within its two hemispheres, specifically in the areas that control emotions and decisions. But even if you’re left handed, there’s a good chance your partner isn’t—and you tend to mirror the direction your partner leans, the study found.
KISSING IN PUBLIC ISN’T REALLY ABOUT SHOWING AFFECTION AT ALL
Publicly displaying your affection isn’t entirely about affection at all, one study in the Journal of Sex Research found. After surveying 349 men and women aged 17 to 35 about their thoughts on seeing and engaging in PDA, University of Kansas researchers found that one third of the study participants made out with someone in public because they wanted other people to see it. But the motivation to do so was different between men and women. When guys engaged in PDA, it’s because they thought it made them look good and helped them show off to their guy friends (AKA, their competition). Basically, men like to prove that they can gain—and keep—the attention of an attractive woman because it enhances they way other guys perceive them. As for women? Over 50 percent of women in the study said they made out with in public to make their ex—and even other women—jealous.
YOUR TEETH CAN MAKE OR BREAK A KISS
Your lips aren’t the only thing she notices before puckering up, a study published in Evolutionary Psychology suggests. In one of several experiments, researchers surveyed nearly 200 women aged 18 to 24 about which physical features they notice the most when deciding to kiss someone. They asked the women to rate a list of traits on a scale of 1 to 4, from not important to extremely important. The best thing you can do if you’re looking to lock lips? Brush your teeth. Women rated healthy-looking teeth as more important than the attractiveness of your face, body, or lips, the study found. While keeping your teeth white should top your list, it’s not the only thing you should worry about.
Related: The Scientifically Best Way To Kiss
HER MOUTH ISN’T THE ONLY PLACE YOU SHOULD KISS
She has all sorts of erogenous zones that are begging to be kissed. Take the small of her back, for example. “This is where all the nerves for the genitals originate, so stimulation of the lower back with massage and kissing and nibbling is a great way to stimulate the area,” says Dr. Jennifer Landa, author of The Sex Drive Solution for Women. You can even try her fingertips, since they’re packed with nerves. “When you suck and lick her fingers, she gets an idea of your oral skills and pictures what it might be like when you lick and suck her more intimate areas,” says Dr. Landa.
BUT BE WARNED, KISSING CAN ACTUALLY GIVE YOU AN STD
Nearly 70 percent of people under the age of 50 carry the herpes virus, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), and kissing—or mouth-to-mouth contact—is one of the most common ways to transmit the herpes simplex virus type 1, or oral herpes. This usually pops up as a cold sore on your lips or mouth, which can be painful. Even worse, if your girlfriend has a cold sore and she plants a kiss or two while she’s going down on you, she can actually transmit the virus to your genitals through oral sex. (On the flip side, if you have genital herpes, you can pass it along to her when she puckers up.) The best thing you can do to avoid it? Don’t kiss or have oral sex with your partner if either of you have an active cold sore, the American Sexual Health Association recommends. If you do end up with an unsightly bump on your mouth, here’s how you can get rid of a cold sore faster.
Related: 5 Tips On The Perfect First Kiss
JUST ONE KISS CAN TRANSFER MILLIONS OF BACTERIA
If you really think about it, kissing is pretty gross, and a study from the Netherlands can back that up. In their experiment, researchers had one person down a probiotic drink, since they’re packed with good-for-you bacteria. Then they had to make out with their significant other for 10 seconds. Using germy samples from the kissee’s tongues and saliva, the researchers concluded that just one 10-second kiss can transfer 80 million bacteria. What’s more, couples who puckered up at least nine times a day had higher levels of shared bacteria in their spit than couples who locked lips less often. No reason to worry too much, though. The most common type of bacteria in your mouth are pretty harmless, the researchers say. Plus, they’re important, since a greater variety of them can protect you against more serious, disease-causing microorganisms.
KISSING HELPS REDUCE STRESS
After a long, stressful day at work—resist the urge to plop down on the couch. Call your girlfriend over and give her a smooch instead, a study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior suggests. For 6 weeks, Oxford University researchers randomly assigned 52 people in relationships to either romantically kiss their partner more than usual or continue things as they normally would. Then, they were asked to give blood samples and fill out random questionnaires throughout the process. They found that people who kissed more than usual were significantly less stressed and depressed after 6 weeks than people who didn’t. That’s because kissing—and other types of affectionate behavior—might lower your levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Plus, past research suggests that being affectionate can make you feel happier and more optimistic, the study authors write.
Progressing to something more passionate? Here is the ultimate Oral Sex Guide.
Originally published on menshealth.com