The Science of Kissing

The Science of Kissing


Why do we kiss? Well, easy, because it feels
good. But why? [Music] Kissing is weird. We love doing it, but let’s
face it, it’s weird. You’re rubbing your open mouth on another human being’s open mouth.
So there must be a good reason that we do it. According to scientists, there’s actually
many good reasons, and they start with the eyes. And those eyes are looking at lips. Human lips are unique in the animal world
– they are “everted” or exposed outward. Today, 8 out of 10 women paint their lips, often
some shade of red. And men, well they say they’re more attracted to fuller, redder lips.
Our primate relatives are attracted to rosy colors too, just in a different place. As
we evolved to walk upright, we began to advertise our fertility face-to-face. As you start to kiss, you engage 5 of your
12 cranial nerves, and more than a dozen facial muscles. One of those, your orbicularis oris,
allows you to make this puckering shape, the same shape as a nursing baby. That’s our first
clue to kissing’s origins. Breastfeeding is an incredibly neurologically pleasurable experience,
it releases waves of the hormone oxytocin, which promotes bonding and comfort in mother
an child. This bond is so strong that there’s a two-thirds chance that when you kiss, you
tilt your head to the right. This might be because 80% of mothers hold their babies to
the left, so we’re used to turning our heads to the right for comfort, and puckering up. As you get closer, it’s time to engage your
nose. Our oldest references to kissing come from Vedic Sanskrit texts from 1500 BC, which
refer to it as a “sniff” or a “smell”. And for many cultures, kissing is still a primarily
nasal experience. Breath can be an indicator of health in a
potential mate, we might even be able to smell a good genetic match. In one famous experiment,
woman smelled t-shirts worn by different men, and then rated their smell preferences. They
overwhelmingly preferred the smell of men with different immune system genes from their
own. It’s almost like we’re testing compatibility with a kiss. Finally, contact. Our lips are some of the
thinnest and most nerve-rich skin in our bodies, and our brain’s somatosensory cortex devotes
more neural real estate to our lips than even our genitals. The sensation of kissing sends
signals directly to the brain’s pleasure and reward centers, and unleashes a spectrum of
neurotransmitters and hormones. While no one brain chemical can be responsible
for something as complex as kissing, we can feel a few of them at work. A first kiss brings
on a rush of novelty, as a flood of dopamine acts on the same brain reward centers triggered
by drugs like cocaine. It can even bring on feelings of withdrawal and addiction. Thanks to epinephrine and norepinephrine,
your heart beats faster, you get a wave of oxygenated blood to your brain, and your pupils
dilate, and maybe that’s why we close our eyes. The pituitary gland and hypothalamus
can release waves of endorphins, bringing on feelings of euphoria. Despite all that
action on the microsecond scale, it can feel like time is standing still. As the minutes
of kissing turn to days and weeks, the body produces less of the stress hormone cortisol.
Seems like kissing can actually be good for your long-term health. In surveys women consistently rate kissing
as more important in relationships than men do. Maybe that’s because they actually have
to physically carry the children, and they’re a little more biologically invested in all
those things that come after kissing. As important as kissing is to sex, the two
can be and often are completely separated. Not only do people often view kissing as a
more intimate act than sex itself, researchers say that people can usually remember more
about their first kiss than they can about their first time going all the way. Clearly, people take smooching very seriously.
Romans would certify the sharing of property in marriage based on whether the betrothed
had shared a kiss, and in the Middle Ages, men who couldn’t read or write would seal
a contract by kissing a written “x”, a symbol we still use today. Even though kissing, in an evolutionary sense,
isn’t required to reproduce, more than 90% of human cultures do it in some way. We call
it locking lips, making out, playing tonsil hockey, snogging, pecking, even osculation.
Maybe we have so many words for kissing because kissing can be so many things. Kissing has
evolved from its biological origins into a complex, diverse human behavior, that often
doesn’t mean the same thing to any two people, even when those people are kissing each other. While we understand bits and pieces of the
science of kissing, it’s dangerous to make generalizations about something so diverse,
or as diverse as the people who do it. Most research on kissing has centered around heterosexual,
cis-gendered couples, and usually college students, but there’s so many more different
types of kissing out there. Like most science, there’s a lot left to learn about the science
of kissing. Maybe that’s why we keep doing it. Stay curious. If you want to know more about this amazing
science of kissing, check out the book “The Science of Kissing” by my friend Sheril Kirshenbaum,
link down in the description.

100 Replies to “The Science of Kissing”

  1. social Darwinism, as usual. 5 minute videos for the plebs about science, to make them feel smart. is there ever going to be a scientific video called "Why did the US attack Iraq", "why did the US drop atomic bombs on civilian cities", "why did the US attack Yugoslavia", "who sponsors wars", "who sponsors terrorism", "manipulation and brainwashing through media" etc

  2. I had my first kiss yesterday…at a party and after that I felt numb it was magical…😍

  3. T-shirts dissed— No Fear, FBI (Female…) Spongebob, I'm with stupid, wolves, Nickleback (I like), Ed Hardy, and Duck Dynasty.

  4. cute girl but why a guy with throbbing chins and shitty angle least favorite part of this video ai yai yai!

  5. I dont know why,but when I kiss,I feel more happy and I fall more in love with that person. Since my first kiss,I want more and more. It's like an addiction 💕

  6. My first kiss involved a dandelion. He put a dandelion in my mouth like a cig, and put his mouth on the other end. Weird, but cute.

  7. I'm 31 and never been kissed. Physical intimacy scares me to death I don't think I ever will share in that human experience >.<!

  8. Love kissing ! When the kiss is good. You have such a great partner . The Kiss is the most important feeling to know if there is passion in kissing!!! ❤️💋🌈

  9. Who knew that kissing first started in South India and the englanders copied off of it and said they came up wit it -.-

  10. Pre-watch answer to your why question: To give our bodies time to "change" (get in the mood)…
    Post-watch: Damn, can just control my anxiety of I get a GF. 🙂

  11. When you love to kiss you can taste the heart & soul, pupils dialate & the sensation travels slowly to every sensitive area of the body. Relax…feel the burn

  12. According to rather famous scientists kissing is the most commonly accepted perversion 😉
    Perversions by his definition is any act with sexual underlining that was displacement of the actual sex act.
    So … all you perverts! 😛

  13. Id like to wait.. Until marriage to kiss..the saying..u may kiss the bride.. Meaning to that.. Father May I.. Omg..

  14. So your telling me that there is something wrong when I don't feel anything special while kissing? Do I need a brain scan?

  15. I really want experience my first kiss…..

    Lately I've been really desperate for a girl love…due to this saad feeling i unintentionally even abstained mastrubating for 80+ days….and i sometimes feel really lowww and emptyy inside….!!….and I'm building my confidence to talk to girls i like….but am not successful!!
    Any motivations will be helpful!😓

  16. had my first kiss at 11 and then couple more until I was 12 and haven't kissed a girl ever again. I miss the feeling. I've kissed two girls before but I'm still a virgin. I used to be so confident until my crushed rejected me, after that I just changed for the worst. I became anti social, I started dropping back in school overall it messed me up mentally. I haven't had the courage to talk to a girl in years

  17. 😂 the shirts! 👏 fun fact: while swapping saliva you are taking into your body your kissing partner's unique microbiome bacterial & fungal composition (sex can also do this) if your partner has a healthy microbiome, then Yay! 🙌 if not… wah wah wah… been there… ex-husband's microbiome caused me to develop severe anxiety & depression

  18. i don't feel kiss as special,,,, my focus is always on genital…. i am a man,,,, and i have observed somewhat that women r more into kissing

  19. how horny u guys r to write a book about kissing????? and name it science, i mean okay there is science in it,,,, but come on,,,, all this too much of doing things what makes everyone get bored and keep changing partners…. kidding about horny

  20. I hope I will get rid of my country where all kinds of activities related to sex is considered inappropriate, and experience it

  21. First time I kissed I cleaned my mouth morethan 10 times in a day.
    Wasn't comfortable with it😂😂😂😂😂😂

  22. The Vedas are older then 1500bc, but that aside they don't refer to actually kissing but an "intimate" sniff. The Mahabharata is the first actual reference where a man describes being kissed by his lover during sex and how that excited him. The Kāma Sūtra dedicated a whole chapter to the art of kissing. So basically in ancient India, like modern, kissing was associated with coitus and viewed as a very intimate/passionate act of foreplay. This is why publicly making out is taboo in India and most places have ordinances against it, as it's seen as foreplay in public and not just a kiss. But in the westernized cities in India kissing publicly is becoming normalized as they attempt to seem more Westernized which is a sign of social status. In the West kissing is influenced by the Roman tradition (which some historians claim comes from Greeks and ultimately from India, see Bryant) where making out or slaviolum was publicly normal in weddings etc. Many places don't kiss and it's for them normal. Take some places in Africa where kissing isn't done. What's interesting is that humans

  23. “Breastfeeding is a pleasurable experience”
    That’s why I like straws and the sports water bottles that you suck out of instead of just letting the water fall into your mouth…

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