There is nothing like a good lip-lock with someone you’re really into. But other than simply feeling good, kissing is also an important part of our romantic relationships. Even a study by Oxford University shows that kissing helps us size up potential partners and, once we’re in a relationship, it may be a way of getting a someone you’re interested in to stick around. So if you’re wondering how important kissing is to a relationship, the answer is very.
“Kissing is a big decider of attraction and is a much more pleasurable experience when you’re genetically compatible,” says love biologist, Dawn Maslar. “Each kiss is a mix of chemicals clues, textures, and tastes that can enhance the attraction or derail it. That’s probably why in a Gallup poll 59% of men and 66% of women lost interest after a bad first kiss. It wasn’t necessarily about being a bad kisser, but rather not reinforcing the attraction.”
It’s no surprise that couples who kiss more often tend to be more satisfied with their relationship. But here are six more reasons that show how important kissing is in a relationship you may not have thought about.
1. It increases happiness and provides stress relief.
Kissing naturally relaxes us and is an instant pick-me-up. “When we kiss, it stimulates our brain to release a cocktail of feel-good chemicals that both calm and excite us at the same time,” says marriage and family therapist Dr. Sheri Meyers. “When this happens, the desire to connect, bond, and get close to our partner is elevated.”
2. It’s free, fun, and can be experimental.
Kissing is a great way to express yourself and bring some spontaneity to your relationship. “Take time to explore, taste, lick, and touch each other’s lips. See if you can discover something new, like kissing your partner while gazing into each other’s eyes. You may find it’s a more personal and a deeper experience,” says Meyers.
3. It’s an escape for both of you.
Often in our hurry-up-and-go lifestyles, kissing our significant other may seem like a passing thought or even a waste of time. But it’s the one chance—besides sex—that allows us to disconnect from our busy lives. “Allow kissing to be a moment in itself, without having to lead to something more. Stop thinking about your to-do list when you’re in a kiss. Be present and experience all of the sensations. Being in the experience fully will build connection and intimacy,” says relationship expert, Marni Battista.
4. It’s communication without the talking.
A kiss can communicate that you love and miss a person, and even that you’re ready to get busy in the bedroom. It can convey tenderness, passion, and enthusiasm. At the same time, how you kiss can also show another that you’re bored or not really feeling it. That said, be mindful of how you kiss your love. “Being able to slow down for a long passionate kiss allows you to take a minute to truly be with your partner as his/her lover.”
5. It spurs arousal.
A deep, sensual kiss sets the stage for heightened sexual pleasure. You can show what kind of lover you’ll be, since kissing is a good indicator of how great the sex will be. If a partner seems distant or not all there when you’re kissing, there might be just as much disconnection during sex. If the kiss is slow and passionate, lovemaking may be just as tender.
6. It keeps the relationship connected and strong.
The more time and effort we put into making sure we kiss our partner throughout the day, the stronger the relationship will be overall. Meyers explains that lips are filled with sensory nerves that send a huge amount of biological information to our brains, prompting it produce oxytocin. “This hormone is most commonly known as the love hormone because it creates intimacy, trust, and builds healthy relationships. The higher those levels, the higher your capacity to love,” she says.
So next time you’re about to lock lips, remember that it’s a fun moment between you and someone special but it’s also an important, healthy part of your relationship together. Don’t brush a kiss aside as something unimportant, take a little time to do it right. Your lips will thank you.