Kiss. It’ll improve your relationship.

I know: This is so obvious that it hardly bears saying, right? Yet this most obvious fix to so many problems goes unused much of the time. In fact, it’s treated like the eventual prize for getting things going properly again, or an optional activity you can do just fine without.

It is nothing of the sort.

Of course, you probably knew that; but the extent to which kissing, a focus on no more than improving that one thing, can benefit a person, might surprise you.

The first thing to realize is that, when it comes to relationship cures, kisses are medicine, positive prognosis, and reward all in one. Over 40 million Americans, and who knows how many others, are in what therapists call a sexless marriage, defined as less than 10 times per year. Kissing is, paradoxically, both one of the initial ways to connect romantically and one of the most intimate ways. Pay attention to it – consciously make a habit of kissing, well and often – and you will find that everything else starts to fall in line as well. Sex, yes, but also a hundred other small benefits you will be startled and happy to see.

It is annoying to have to point this out, but a dry, puckered, chaste, near-instantaneous “actor’s peck” is not going to do it. No, this might actually take a couple seconds, at least at first. (Later, if you’re doing anything remotely like right, it will take rather longer.) In fact, there’s a book called The 10-Second Kiss that I’ll have to review eventually which shows in many examples and even statistics that slowing down and kissing like it means something can turn boredom into something wonderful.

Not only that, but it’s preventative medicine: As soon as you slow or stop the kisses, the rest of the relationship cools and may well end.

So why is this the case? The fact of it has been seen throughout the world and throughout history. There have been several books and research papers looking into this very question, and I’ve no intention of trying to duplicate all of that, but in short: It does a body good.

We’ll discuss it another time, but touch is foundational to the human experience. It is not only a way in which we perceive the world, it is one of the most primal and significant ways in which we communicate and connect with other creatures – including humans. Among other things, kissing (in particular) decreases the stress hormone cortisol, and increases oxytocin, a bonding hormone.

Oh, and reducing cortisol also helps keep weight in check. So if you need a selfish reason to kiss someone, that’s a pretty good start.

Kissing also helps calm the mind and regulate blood pressure. And it isn’t recent news, this ability. As Jill Blakeway, author of Sex Again: Recharging Your Libido, says, “Chinese medicine says that the mouth and the tongue have a connection to the heart. So it’s the same idea. Kissing attaches people to each other.”

This gives a really easy way to improve a relationship and wake up a libido: as Nike says, Just Do It.

Join the conversation (new commenters may not appear immediately)

Stranger, here you will do well to tarry; here our highest good is pleasure.