The pulse accelerates, the blood pressure rises, the cheeks turn red. A true hormone cocktail floods the body, including oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine – better known as cuddle and happiness hormones.
In addition, up to 34 facial muscles become active, millions of bacteria migrate from one mouth to the other. The physical effects of kissing have been well researched. On July 6th there is even an International Kiss Day. And yet, millennia-old cultural practice is neglected enough – at least that's what psychologist and author Wolfgang Krüger thinks.
«Kissing is usually treated in public like the little sister of sexuality. It is not – on the contrary, kissing is much more important for couples, »says Krüger. It is a true reflection of the state of a relationship. Many partners would worry that their sexuality would fall asleep. The first indication of problems in the relationship are missing kisses.
“That may sound strange, but kissing is something much more intimate than sex. Sexuality can also be very distant by running a program, »says Krüger. When kissing, on the other hand, you have to get involved with your counterpart, feel his speed, smell and taste. «When kissing, you notice whether the person opposite is sensitive and has social antennas. At the same time, a good kiss requires passion and the ability to improve. »
Be it a quick good-night kiss or a romantic kiss on a date – on average, people kiss about two to three times a day. Those who turn 70 have spent about 76 days of their lives kissing. The trend is increasing, at least says Krüger. Welcome kisses among friends, as they have long been common in France or Italy, would also become more and more common in Germany.
Anyone who assumes that kissing is common in all parts of the world is still far from there. In 2015, a study by the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University found that romantic kissing was only common in 46 percent of the 168 cultures studied. Many buses are distributed in particular in the Middle East, North America and Europe. In African cultures south of the Sahara, in New Guinea or in Central America, the kiss associated with love and sexuality played no role.
The study is just one of many scientific studies around kissing. With philematology there is even a whole branch of science that deals with smooching. As long ago as the 1960s, a German long-term study showed amazing results. The researchers wrote that husbands who kiss their wives goodbye in the morning lived an average of five years longer. For example, recent studies have found that most kissers tilt their heads to the right and that kissing can reduce hay fever and dermatitis.
Why people started kissing, however, has not been fully clarified. Behavioral researcher Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt, who has since passed away, suspected that the reason for this was not very romantic: early humans chewed food and then put it in the mouth of their offspring. Other researchers, on the other hand, believe that our ancestors sniffed in the genital area much like animals – and that their attempts to make contact with upright posture shifted upwards.
Today it is known that some animals also kiss. Monkeys and some species of fish press their mouths against each other. Wolfgang Krüger is certain that this is something completely different from that of humans. For her, kissing rituals before going to sleep or saying goodbye are just as important as passionate kisses.
And what about snogging in times of corona, the imperatives of distance and face masks? Krüger observed two opposite effects in therapy sessions, at least in couples. "Some people talk to each other much more and kiss more often." Others, on the other hand, could not cope with the forced proximity, were constantly arguing and no longer had physical contact. "That's a problem. A relationship that no longer kisses has the charm of a youth hostel, »says Krüger. He therefore gave couples who want to get closer again a task: they should kiss "until their heads fly away with passion."