Kissing Your Partner Could Improve Your Health

Crystal Jackson

You probably don’t need to know that kissing is actually good for you to want to do it, but if you’re a science nerd like me who loves all things health and wellness, you might be pleased to note that there is science-backed evidence to support your make-out session.

Of course, social distancing has been painful for those of us who haven’t been sheltering in place with a special someone. While we’ll likely be exempt from the skyrocketing rates of divorce and breakups due to those same close quarters, there are many health benefits that we just can’t access alone. Kissing and its many health and happiness benefits just might top the list.

Not that kissing our babies (fur or child) doesn’t count toward health and happiness. It absolutely has its own scientifically-backed benefits. But it’s not the same type of intimacy we get from sharing a kiss with a romantic partner.

While you’re probably already sold on the act of kissing, you might be surprised to know just how many benefits it has on our health and happiness.

We’ve all heard that kisses burn calories, and while that sounds like something made-up, it’s actually true. Apparently, it can burn up to 26 calories per minute, depending on how enthusiastically one is kissing. While kissing alone probably won’t contribute to weight loss and overall health, it can’t hurt either. The longer and more enthusiastic the kissing, the more likely you are to burn those calories.

But that’s hardly the only scientific benefit of kissing. Other benefits include the following:

  • Kissing reduces blood pressure, as it dilates blood vessels and helps blood circulate better. Keep this in mind when you get stressed or when the doctor tells you that lowering your blood pressure is a good idea. While it’s no substitute for medication or health checks with your primary care physician, it couldn’t hurt to lock lips for the sake of your blood vessels.
  • It fights cavities. Your dentist will be so pleased!
  • It strengthens our immune systems. Swapping spit may not seem the most hygienic way to avoid sickness, but we actually do strengthen our immune systems this way.
  • It increases sex drive. You’ve probably already caught on to the fact that kissing is often a gateway to other, more intimate activities.
  • It boosts the following happy hormones: serotonin and dopamine. You already knew kissing makes you feel good. Now you know why.
  • It reduces cortisol, the stress hormonal, and helps relieve anxiety. This is helpful for weight loss, and it also helps increase our overall quality of life.
  • It increases oxytocin, more commonly known as the cuddle hormone, or the one that makes us feel more bonded to one another. Kissing gives us a boost of intimacy, making our relationships stronger.
  • It relieves cramps. A heating pad and chocolate might help relieve some of the pain, but kissing just might work better. It’s worth a try at least!
  • It relieves headaches. The next time you feel a headache coming on, try kissing for pain relief. If that doesn’t work, you can always reach for a pain reliever.
  • It counts as a sensual, awakened meditation. For those who aren’t fans of traditional meditation (and even those who are), kissing offers an enticing alternative.
  • It’s a powerful self-confidence booster. Everyone could use this!
  • It can contribute to higher levels of relationship satisfaction. Relationships that aren’t going well usually don’t involve a lot of kissing. It’s no wonder that there’s a link between kissing and feeling good about the one you’re with.
  • Kissing contributes to determining if a partner is a good match. If you don’t have the same style of kissing, you likely aren’t compatible as a couple.
  • It can tone our faces and improve natural collagen production, contributing to a more youthful appearance. I’m not saying you should throw out your anti-aging products or stop eating foods packed with antioxidants. I’m just saying maybe you should throw kissing on the list of ways to keep your youthful appearance.
  • Kissing reduces allergic reactions. I don’t think I would recommend this in place of an epi-pen, and I’m sure science wouldn’t either. But apparently, it will help improve your allergies.
  • It lowers cholesterol, which can help lower our risk of heart disease. It’s not a substitute for good old-fashioned medicine, but it can help.

Doesn’t it make you wonder why doctors don’t tell us at every health check that we really should be making out with someone on a regular basis? Clearly, it may be the answer to many of our health issues. At least, it might be one answer and one that sounds pretty great to me.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the best advice during a global pandemic for those who aren't in monogamous relationships. Considering that masks are still recommended outside of our homes, indulging in a health-boosting and stress-relieving kiss with one or more strangers might not be the best recipe for flattening the curve. But for those living with or in regular contact with a significant other in a committed relationship, it might be time to turn up the heat, as I doubt the above-listed benefits really apply to a casual peck on the lips.

There are as many types of kisses as there are health benefits of kissing. While most of us are already sold on kissing in general, it’s easy to fall into a pattern and forget the vast number of types of kisses that can help contribute to our health and happiness.

From the much-adored French kiss to a simple forehead kiss to the passion-triggering impact of a kiss on the neck or earlobe, the way we kiss can say a lot about how we’re feeling about our partners. Forehead kisses, while simple, are so prized and tender that videos of forehead kisses on Pornhub became trending news.

My point is that if we’re lucky enough to be around the one we love, kissing should be a priority. For our own health and happiness. For our partners. Even for the longevity and overall satisfaction of the relationship.

Practiced with consent and safety, kissing can be the health and mood booster we need to counter our collective anxiety.

But for those of us with no partners or partners at a distance, we’ll just be sitting over here dreaming about all the ways we’ll improve our health and happiness at the earliest possible opportunity.

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Crystal Jackson is a former therapist turned writer. She is the author of the Heart of Madison series and a volume of poetry entitled My Words Are Whiskey. Her work has been featured on Medium, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, The Good Men Project, and Elephant Journal. When she's not writing, you can find her traveling, paddle boarding, cycling, throwing axes badly but with terrifying enthusiasm, hiking, or curled up with her nose in a book in Madison, Georgia, where she lives with one puppy and two wild and wonderful children. Crystal writes about relationships, mental health, parenting, social justice, and more. Never miss an update. Subscribe to emails:

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