Two years ago, the prolific Sheril Kirshenbaum published 20 Things You Didn't Know About .... Kissing. I only recently discovered the list. Here are a few entries ~
- Scientists are not sure why people kiss, but some think the answer lies in early feeding experiences. Through nursing, infants may learn to associate lip pressure with a loving act.
- And yet kissing is not universal, leading some experts to think it might actually be a learned behavior.
- Love is the drug ~ dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with desire and reward, spikes in response to novel experiences, which explains why a kiss with someone new can feel so special.
- Holding hands and kissing reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, thereby lowering blood pressure and optimizing immune response.
- A passionate kiss has the same effect as belladonna in making our pupils dilate.
- One milliliter of saliva contains 100,000,000 bacteria.
For more on the history, physiology, and variations of kissing, check out Sheril's article.
So is kissing healthy, or is it a great way to spread germs? Perhaps both ~ here is a point-counterpoint discussion. Me, I'll take my chances.