The Science of Kissing

Lumpy Atlantic waves, sultry sun and stunning views of Tenerife brings me back to my senses, which greatly reflects on what I write. Yesterday it was all about hugs. Today, let’s talk about kissing.

Kiss is an exchange of information between partners. The best kisses grow out of an emotional connection and ambiance. With kissing we collect sensory information from taste, smell, touch, and possibly even silent chemical messengers called pheromones (odorless airborne signals), which gives us all kinds of insight about our partner. The sensation of kissing sends signals directly to our brains pleasure and reward centres, which gives us faster heart beat and feelings like euphoria and. That’s why it feels so good!

Booka Shade. Love Inc. from Jacques Naude

Key take aways from the latest science:

  • In a kiss we engage 5 of 12 cranial nerves (note, cranial nerves are the nerves that emerge directly from the brain), 146 muscles, including 34 facial muscles and 112 postural muscles;
  • Kissing apparently has its origin from breastfeeding. During the breastfeeding process both mother and child releases waves of oxytocin, the happiness hormone, which makes it a incredible neurologically pleasurable experience;
  • 2 out of 3 people tilt their heads to the right during the kiss because 2 out of 3 mothers hold their children on the left side while breastfeeding;
  • During kissing our noses seem to discern genetic compatibility from our partner’s natural scent;
  • In addition, through saliva men can assess women’s levels of oestrogen, and women can subconsciously determine men that carry immune system genes different from their own;
  • Just like cuddling, kissing lowers the levels of stress hormone cortisol.


  • The science of kissing is called philematology;
  • The world record for kissing was achieved by Ekkachai Tiranarat and Laksana Tiranarat (both Thailand)on 12-14 February 2013 and lasted 58 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds;
  • The average person spends 20160 minutes or almost 2 weeks of his/her lifetime on kissing

2 thoughts on “The Science of Kissing

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