The Bad Thing Is That Kissing Is Addictive

May 17, 2016

Where do kisses come from? Who was the first man or woman who showed affection in this way?

Not long ago, somebody asked me about the rationale of a kiss: What is it for? What evolutionary code does it follow? What survival instinct does it obey?

Kisses are communication tools; a means of creating understanding between two people. We not only speak about kisses on the lips of your partner, but kisses between grandparents and grandchildren, parents and children, friends and siblings…

“….the bad thing is that kissing is addictive”

-Joaquín Sabina-

Kisses can capture something that we cannot express with words, they can be the icing on an explosion of emotions, the start of an irreplaceable moment or the end of a story with an expiration date.

Every moment has its kiss and studies have been started about this, but how can we do this scientifically? Why do we come to the conclusion that it is something addictive?

Kissing at Sunset

Philematology, the science of kisses

The study of kisses is called philematology. It combines knowledge from various fields (physiology, evolution, psychology) to study this unique behavior.

This strange word, far from being as attractive as “kissing,” refers to the term philema (kiss) in Greek. This shows us, among other things, that the “kiss” is one of the few age-old things and that it existed even in antiquity as a gesture of respect or adoration.

It seems that the first references appear in Hindu texts around 1000 BC, though the connection between kissing and sexuality strengthened over time.

The response to the question of where kisses come from could go back to the Cro-Magnon Man, when mothers chewed food and passed it onto their newborn children, coming into contact with their babies in a feeding gesture, but one which implied concern, well being, care, and love.

Anthropologists and biologists continue studying its meaning and how it can be related to the choice of a partner. Philematology is a discipline that still has a long way to go…

Addicted to kissing?

Why do we speak of an addiction? Thanks to various studies we know the effects that kisses produce in us beyond simple communication and demonstration of affection.

One example of this is that kisses alleviate pain, given that they release hormones and chemical elements in the brain related to the sensation of well being, relaxation, peace, and relief.

Kisses activate our nervous system where a live current is created, which transmits an enormous amount of information to our heart, muscles, saliva, and breathing. Furthermore, more than thirty muscles work together to accomplish this task, which leads to the activation and invigoration of the skin.

Scientifically speaking, it can be considered something addictive, given that it releases a large quantity of neurotransmitters and hormones like adrenaline (pleasure sensations, arousal, sense of competence), oxytocin (sensations of well being, pleasure, and comfort), endorphins, testosterone, and estrogen (related to sexual desire).

All of these substances are naturally powerful enough to attract us to kisses, kissing, or being kissed.

Our lips are filled with nerve endings and they are transmitters and communicators of pleasure and well being – according to some studies, a kiss has almost the same effects as a gram of cocaine.

Kissing Cups

Finally, recent neurological studies tell us about the stimulation of the mirror neurons in this activity, which could be directly related to displays of empathy.

Are there people who do not like kissing? Yes, they exist. There are “unkissy” people. This can be for various reasons, such as education, temperament, shyness, scrupulousness, or bad experiences.

And in the case of partners, it is likely a task of communication with them in order to find formulas or methods of transmitting care and desire.

Kiss, kuss, baiser, beijo, calus…

For some distant cultures, the mouth is a doorway to the soul and the kiss is something threatening that can encroach upon or steal your spirit. In other countries, it is forbidden or looked down upon to kiss in public, or you may even need to be above a certain age to give or receive them.

What is certain is that kissing feels good. Kissing is sharing, it is transmitting, it is translating emotions, it is one of the most powerful ways to show love and when it takes place between two people, they form the perfect element.

A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous

-Ingrid Bergman-

Eskimo kisses, kisses on the cheek (two or three, according to the country), kisses on the hand… it varies by country, popular culture, and traditions.

Despite germs, lost souls, and “kissing sicknesses,” it is something that luckily does not seem to show any signs of dying out.

Couple Kissing in Ocean

The perfect kiss

With your partner, bringing your lips together and closing your eyes (or not), loving your child and covering them with kisses, receiving affection from a friend or relative and having your cheek be the perfect target for this, saying goodbye to a sibling and stamping it on their forehead with a “see you later”… any form of kissing is perfect depending on the moment and the person.

If we think about partners, the different kinds of kiss can be infinite. Direct kisses, tight ones, gentle ones, with tongue, without tongue, on both lips, on the corners of the mouth, leaning in… in the end, what matters is connecting and getting these sensations that we talked about earlier. The rest… can always make things better.

Feeling that you are sharing a moment and an emotion: that is what makes up the perfect kiss. And we can obtain this each and every day.

Strengthening the bonds with the most important people in our lives, showing them affection on the cheek or the forehead gives a sense of well being and closeness that creates an addiction…

Kissing is a marvelous addiction that it is worth engaging in.

“The kiss is the escape valve of honesty.”

-Paul Géraldy-