In the average lifetime, most people spend 20,160 minutes kissing. A passionate kiss can burn up to five calories per minute. The longest kiss, recorded in Thailand in February 2013 by Guinness World records, lasted 58 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds. But these philamatology1 factoids2 don’t really explain why people kiss.
Kissing not only feels good, it’s good for you. It relieves stress and releases epinephrine into your blood, making it pump faster, which signals a reduction of LDL cholesterol. But while “swapping spit” in today’s culture most often denotes intimate attraction, there’s more to it than that:
“’Mucous membranes inside the mouth are permeable to hormones such as testosterone. Through open-mouth kissing, men introduced testosterone into a woman’s mouth’ which ‘is absorbed through the mucous membranes… and increases arousal and the likelihood that she will engage in reproductive behavior.”
But because some cultures don’t include kissing in their mating rituals, it’s possible the first kiss was given by a mother to her child rather than being shared between a couple.
Psychologists conjecture that kiss-feeding – exchanging pre-masticated food from one mouth to another was how babies received the nutrients needed to grow up strong and healthy (as they’re not always available from breast milk). This jump starts the digestion process and makes vitamins like B-12 more easily absorbable.
Actress Alicia Silverstone’s blog recently included a video of herself kiss-feeding her child4, nicknamed Bear, offering a clue to the meaning of mouth-to-mouth contact from a child’s perspective:
“I just had a delicious breakfast of miso soup, collards and radish steamed and drizzled with flax oil, cast iron mochi with nori wrapped outside, and some grated daikon. Yum! I fed Bear the mochi and a tiny bit of veggies from the soup from my mouth to his. It’s his favorite… and mine.
He literally crawls across the room to attack my mouth if I’m eating.”
So it turns out kissing is not bad as the African culture perceives it and those of you thinking kissing is just an act of pleasure for intimate purposes should reconstitute their thoughts.