Facebook Pixel

A Kiss is Just a Kiss or Is It More?

By HERWriter
Rate This
a kiss is more than just a kiss Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Thinkstock

A good kiss can make most people swoon. But there’s more to a romantic kiss than just two people pressing together their lips.

Time.com reported that in Sheril Kirshenbaum’s The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us, Kirshenbaum cited the work of Rutgers University anthropologist Helen Fisher, who says kissing evolved to fulfill three essential needs.

These needs are sex drive, romantic love and attachment.

Kirshenbaum told CNN.com that human lips are the body's most exposed erogenous zone. Packed with sensitive nerve endings, they send a cascade of information to our brain which helps decide if we want to continue and what might happen next.

It may seem natural, said the New York Post, but kissing isn’t easy. It involves help from six major muscles around the mouth to pucker up the upper lips, pull up the corners of the mouth, and pull down the lower lips.

HowStuffWorks.com added that the basic kiss relies heavily on one muscle -- the orbicularis oris -- which pucker up the lips during a kiss.

CNN.com continued, saying lip contact involves 5 of the 12 human cranial nerves, as people engage all of their senses to learn more about a partner. Electrical impulses bounce between the brain, lips, tongue and skin, which can lead to the feeling of being on a natural "high" because of a potent cocktail of chemical messengers or neurotransmitters involved.

Research shows kissing boosts levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine (which is involved in craving and desire) and serotonin (which elevates mood and can help spark obsessive thoughts about a partner) wrote Time.com. It also causes a spike in oxytocin, the so-called “love hormone.”

Then there are physical changes said CNN.com. A kiss can cause blood vessels to dilate, pulses to quicken, cheeks to flush, and pupils to widen.

Kirshenbaum told Time.com, “What I found so fascinating is the chemicals in our bodies are responsible for the so-called symptoms we associate with falling in love. I don’t think it takes the romance out of the equation, but it gives us a better scientific understanding of how our bodies are behaving.”

Add a Comment1 Comments

A kiss is not just a kiss with my bf i get turned on from just a kiss.

May 13, 2012 - 2:05am
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Sexual Health

Get Email Updates

Resource Centers

Related Checklists

Sexual Health Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!