The Science Of Kissing: How You And Your Partner Exchange Your DNA With Every Little Smooch

February 8, 2019  |  

Affectionate young couple facing each other

Source: Westend61 / Getty

Even though kissing is considered “first base,” the act can be wildly intimate. When you think about how close you have to get to someone to kiss them, the game changes. You get to feel their lips and their tongue. You can smell and taste their breathe. Suddenly, it’s not so casual, is it?

Well the sex experts at Bustle have the 411 on why kissing is a lot more intense than society makes it out to be.

“The human body is an incredibly complex, contained, self-sustaining ecosystem of chemicals and micro-organisms,” sex expert and educator Candice Smith, M.Ed., told Bustle. “While we may discount it as ‘spit,’ our saliva contains the building blocks, the real chemical essence, of who we are.”

“Swapping spit” is literally what we are doing, and for biological, procreation reasons beyond what our minds can fathom.

“Your saliva is you, distilled into fluid form,” Smith explained. “When we kiss, we’re essentially sharing a tiny bit of our ecosystems — we’re swapping genetic information that our bodies unconsciously process — and in doing so, we learn more about each other in an instant than we ever could consciously.”

It makes sense why some of us could be a little hesitant about deciding on potential partner until you’ve kissed.

“That’s what makes it such a powerful form of intimacy; when (if) you decide to continue swapping saliva, you’ve essentially selected each other not just on a conscious level, but you’ve accepted them with every fiber of your DNA, too,” Smith said.

Aside from exchanging genetic information, kissing can boost your immune system.

“Children initially build up their immune resistance to the world by interacting with it,” Smith said. You know the kid that can’t seem to keep their tongue off the poles on the subway (yeck!), that gross act is making them stronger.

“We don’t do that quite as much as we get older, so kissing may be one of our more effective ways of introducing our immune systems to new microbiomes of bacteria,” she explained.

Your mate also may be inserting the hormone testosterone into your system, to get you all hot and ready. “Testosterone is an anabolic sex hormone that can incite sexual drive, so scientists theorize that unconsciously, your testosterone-producing partner may be trying to get you in the mood,” Smith described.

Kissing is also a natural date vetting mechanism. Maybe you don’t like kissing them because your germs are incompatible, versus your personalities.

“Getting a French kiss from someone is like giving them a bacterial litmus test — your body’s microbiome can immediately tell whether or not their germs are in tune with yours,” Smith told Bustle.

“If they don’t harmonize, your body will reject that partner as a possible mate.”

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