“A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous” ~  Ingrid Bergman

We can all remember our first kiss – perhaps in our teens or early adulthood. The anticipation and excitement, hoping we’re a good kisser and that they will be one too, and letting go and revelling in the moment. Our first kiss is something that we equally look forward to and dread, but generally marks the beginning of our sexual exploration, no matter how quickly or slowly that happens.

Our very first kiss is not the only one we have such anticipation about… Sharing a kiss with a new partner for the first time takes us back to that very first kiss, but perhaps with a bit more confidence and style. As adults, it may also mark the beginning of further sexual experiences with someone, so the kiss is as important as the first time you lock eyes across the room.

When we kiss someone, our body and mind react in very specific ways. Our heart rate increases, our blood pressure rises, we breathe more heavily and deeply, and our pupils dilate. If the person you’re kissing kisses you just the way you like, you become excited and enticed. The pleasure centres in your brain are activated and feelings of attraction generally increase. Oxytocin, endorphins and dopamine are released by the brain, which all contribute to that warm, fuzzy feeling we get during a passionate kiss. Not only does kissing produce these physical reactions, but it also helps us burn 26 calories per minute of passionate kissing through the use of 34 facial muscles.

If we look at what kissing does to us emotionally, it helps us create intimate bonds with another person and could be considered as a foundation of intimacy in a relationship. It assists us in deciding if we are attracted to a person, and if we feel good when kissing them – both about ourselves and about the person we’re kissing. Increasing the frequency you kiss and how passionately you kiss someone can actually help lower stress levels, produce endorphins (which make you happier) and increase romantic attachment.

So when it comes to the actual kiss, what do we do? Well, everyone is unique. We all have a different kissing style and it’s been said that the way that someone kisses is indicative of their sexual style too. Some people have softer lips, some people use little tongue. Just as we mirror someone’s behaviour when we are attracted to them, we tend to do the same with kissing. We ‘guide’ our partner on how we want to be kissed without ever uttering a word, by letting our lips, mouth and tongue do the talking. The most popular kissing styles include soft lips and a gentle, soft tongue used every now and then to entice your partner. The least popular you ask? Well think back to kissing in high-school: washing machines, snake-like kisses and general kissing and licking of your entire mouth area. Not. Attractive.

Known as philematology, the science of kissing has been studied extensively and why wouldn’t it be? Kissing creates bonds between two people, makes us happy and makes us feel wanted. No wonder sex academics the world over are interested in finding out just why it feels so good and just why we want to do it so much…