Sometimes there is little more exciting than a first kiss, or kissing during the first stages of a romantic relationship. We can find ourselves fantasising and daydreaming about a magnificent kiss shared with another. It can feel rather a chemical exchange – we know that sometimes a kiss can be massively erotically charged, and yet with another person can be like kissing a wet fish. What is it that makes such a difference? It may easily be boiled down to a technique equation, however there must be more to a kiss than performance appraisal. What is it about a kiss that can make or break our attraction to another?

We all know the old adage “try before you buy”? Well, essentially this is what kissing facilitates at the beginning of a romantic relationship. Using our primitive taste and smell senses may offer us a sample of the levels of testosterone or oestrogen in our potential partner. This signals whether they will make a productive mate and ultimately whether we will be able to successfully mate with them. More than this, the levels of oestrogen in a women’s saliva could signal whether or not she is ovulating, allowing a mate to have a better idea of when she can be fertilised. Kissing could allow us to assess whether our potential partner will make a good parent to our potential offspring (sometimes known as a mate assessment tool) and assess genetic compatibility. Perhaps this highlights the strength in listening to our body when a kiss simply misses the mark?

Kissing also releases a hormone called dopamine, which is strongly related to human bonding. The more you kiss your partner, the more connected you feel, which creates a positive cycle because the more connected you feel, the more you desire kissing. More than this, kissing releases calming hormones that create relaxation while increasing feel good hormones throughout the body. This makes sense when you recall times when you have felt blissed out in a love bubble after a sensuous kissing session with a lover. If the chemistry is right, there can be little more arousing that spending time connected to the lips of your lover. So while kissing helps assess the suitability of a potential partner, it also assists in maintaining bonding and connection with current partners.

Finally, the amount of kissing we share with a lover can indicate the quality of the relationship. Even more than sex, the more a couple kiss, the higher their relationship satisfaction. If partners are satisfied with the amount of kissing which occurs in their relationship, then they will feel more satisfied with the relationship overall. Perhaps, while there is some free time during the holiday break, experiment a little with your kisses. Whether you are just starting out in a relationship, or have a long term relationship, see how kissing might impact on your feelings of connection and intimacy.