BY MARY JANE MEIROSE
EDITED BY LAURA DURR
Kiss of Life
Whether it is a “Princess-Diaries”-esque knee pop or the “Cinderella Story” of smooching in the rain, we all have our first kiss fantasies.
Influences in media give us all sorts of expectations to choose from. They mostly lead us to believe any kiss is magical, capable of turning a frog into a prince or a high school quarterback into the man of our dreams.
In interpersonal communication, research has found that kissing not only fulfills our teenage dreams, but plays quite a smacking role in establishing and maintaining romantic relationships.
Communication is Key
Going back to the basics, psychology tells us that kissing is an evolutionary tool of assessing the compatibility of a partner, a biological taste test of sorts to determine fertility and genetic compatibility of finding a mate.
Researcher and psychologist Jay Dixit refers to the lips as “nature’s mood ring,” a way of signaling openness and romance.
Yet the big smooch is more than an act of love, but is a form of non-verbal communication of affection to your partner, thus heightening the satisfaction in long-term relationships.
Smooching during our teen years enhances the development of the rules of interpersonal communication, or the rules of what is appropriate in interdependent relationships.
In other words, kissing as a teen teaches us what is socially right and wrong in mutually dependent, one on one relationships. So those awkward first kiss stories at the eighth grade Spring Fling weren’t in vain after all!
Studies show that increased amounts of kissing in teen culture can be attributed to media such as hip hop music or romantic comedies.
Researchers at California State University conducted a study entitled “Kiss Me Thru the Phone,” exploring the influence of the 2008 hit song by Soulja Boy. The results of the study proved that the simple sound of a kiss through the phone is an effective way of signaling affection to your significant other and saying “love ya” to bae.
Stressed out? Just Kiss!
Scientific studies go to show that more smooching with your romantic partner not only spices up the love life, but also helps you love your own life.
In a study done by researchers at Arizona State University entitled “Kissing in Martial and Cohabiting Relationships,” increased amounts of kissing during a six-week trail displayed an increase in relationship satisfaction as well as an overall decrease in stress and total cholesterol.
Much like any other physical exercise, kissing can double as a stress-relieving activity.
In the study, couples who kissed often reported to having a healthier relationship than the average couple. With less stress and more smooch, the average couple will have a happier marriage, and ultimately a happier life.
The study even found that occasional kiss contributes to a positive physical, psychological and relational well-being by leading a stress-free life, therefore lessening the number of arguments you have with your BF or wifey.
Talking Smack – Kiss More, Fight Less!
Let’s explore more ways kissing communicates.
Kissing furthers the healthy expression of sexuality, causing a balance and harmony between partners in romantic relationships. Kissing shows your partner you love them, but also shows a level of understanding in other conversations.
In this sense, couples who frequently kiss tend to be on the same page when they are not kissing and feel loved by one another on a day to day basis. Too good to be true? That’s what scientists say, anyway!
Science has shown that if we kiss more, we will fight less.
Another study called “Martial Satisfaction and Passionate Love,” by researchers Arthur Aron and Lisa Henkemeyer, is particularly fascinating in that men and women experience different results from kissing.
Frequent smooching can increase excitement and decrease boredom and even increase the amount of sexual activity. The study also found that women are more likely to be satisfied with a kiss than a man.
According to the research, men usually desire kissing to lead to more sexual activity while the average woman feels sufficiently intimate after a make-out. This is most likely the reason why kissing results in further sexual activity.
Lastly, kissing, along with other interactive physical factors like touch and flirty playfulness, plays a part in determining passionate love and desirability between partners. I guess psychology was correct in saying kissing is a taste test! Want to know if they’re the one for you? Just kiss ‘em!
It just goes to show you that, even if you’re not in the mood, consider giving your partner a quick peck on the cheek and they’ll thank you later for it.