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Why Good-Looking People Like Kissing More

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What is the point, really, of kissing? Humans make such a big deal of it, but almost no other animals smooch.

A new study out of Oxford University suggests that kissing may actually have a purpose beyond the obvious — it’s a mating audition. Potential mates are doing a taste test. And that could explain why women and guys who think they’re good-looking enjoy it more than other people do.

Kissing, which is practiced in almost every human society in various forms, is something of a mystery to those who study mating behavior. Chimps and bonobos kiss, but not with the same intensity or high levels of mooniness before and after the act that Homo sapiens display. There are three working theories about why we, as opposed to other species, like to lock lips: kissing can arouse, it cements relationships together or it’s a trial run of a potential mate.

Two researchers from Oxford’s department of experimental psychology, Rafael Wlodarski and Robin Dunbar, provide evidence for the latter explanations in their latest investigation. They set up an online survey and asked about 900 adults (about two-thirds of whom were women) to answer questions about how important kissing was in both long and short relationships. Overall, women valued kissing more than men (no surprise), but guys who rated themselves as more attractive than others or who had lots of girlfriends also placed more emphasis on the smooch.

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That makes sense, say the researchers, since both women and good-looking guys tend to be more picky about their mating partners. For women, bearing and raising children is a huge investment of their life and health, so they want to choose the right co-parent. As anthropologist Helen Fisher told U.S. News and World Report, “When you get a highly intelligent, pair-bonding species that requires years to raise a baby, you evolve more and more brain mechanisms to weed out the losers.” The hottie guys are picky because, well, they can be; they have a lot of choices, so they need a way to winnow them down. Kissing, says the Oxford team, may therefore be a way of trying on potential partners.

“Mate choice and courtship in humans is complex,” Dunbar said in a statement discussing the work. “It involves a series of periods of assessments where people ask themselves, ‘Shall I carry on deeper into this relationship?'” The early judgment calls are all based on facial, body and social cues. “Then assessments become more and more intimate as we go deeper into the courtship stages,” he said, “and this is where kissing comes in.”

How does a kiss determine mateworthiness? It’s not really clear, but some philematologists (those are the people who study kissing) believe that it has to do with smell. In her book The Science of Kissing, Sheril Kirshenbaum cites Claus Wedekind, who she says found that “women are most attracted to the scent of men who have a very different genetic code for their immune system in a region of DNA known as the major histocompatibility complex.” Having different DNA from the individual you are kissing heightens the chance of having healthy offspring should the kissing lead somewhere. And juxtaposing two orbicularis oris muscles in a state of contraction is usually more fun than having a genetic test.

Other scientists believe women send off a signal if they’re ovulating that can be subconsciously detected if a mate is close enough. As the authors of a study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior put it, “It is unclear, for example, whether kissing aids in the process of mate assessment by facilitating the evaluation of pheromonal cues for overall health, genetic fitness, or menstrual-cycle phase and fertility, or alternatively by aiding gustatory assessment of skin oils and saliva compounds.” (Translation: it could be a subconscious thing, or it could be that mates are actually figuring out whether each other smells good.)

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Women in the study also ranked kissing as more important for longer relationships, suggesting it was a way of communicating and enhancing affection and attachment. In fact, more kissing was strongly correlated than more sex with a higher-quality relationship (although the people who had a lot of both had the highest relationship satisfaction). Moreover, the researchers suggest that although kissing does cause arousal, arousal doesn’t seem to be what is driving people to kiss.

Maybe the couples in this event could shed some light on the matter.

57 comments
anoncaca
anoncaca

kissing is disgusting and I absolutely despise it. Hopefully I might find someone else who rather kiss on the cheek than have a awful make out session. Even the noise of kissing makes me so angry and annoyed. It's boring and utterly useless. There is absolutely no point in kissing. What you can do else instead that is just like a kiss is simply hugging. Fudge passionate kisses.

Whatanotion
Whatanotion

I kissed a woman for 6 hours once.  We actually could not stop ourselves.  Her and her big bosoms and gorgeous face and me with a crowbar between my legs.  We did not have sex, ever.  But boy we could have!   But I also learned what "blue balls" meant.  OUUch!  I consider that restraint one of the proudests things in my life.

HalberstamStone
HalberstamStone

It is  stupid study. Ugly people can kiss the pretty as long as they have other power, namely, the other attraction that go beyond the optics, namely, the wisdom, the money, the charisma, if not the mystic charm. 

Openminded1
Openminded1

What a stupid study and a waste of time. Ugly people have to kiss uglier people no wonder they do not like kissing as much , can you blame them. Ugly is as Ugly as it gets.

sferittuzer
sferittuzer

I love kissing but I can't have girlfriends and am not good looking. Good looking people can kiss more that doesn't mean they like or want it more.

RosaHines12
RosaHines12

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ShaneSchuller
ShaneSchuller

Frankly I think beautiful women are lonelier which mean kiss less.

Are animals and human beings equals? No! So how can we be referred to as animals?

In short, animals are not the species aiming to reach social advancement. A small difference that separates us and them is ABILITY.

In the animal kingdom it is found that some eat their offspring, “Infanticide”. Others eat their own faeces. Most, if not all, do not care for their elders. Humankind ruled out cannibalism, don’t eat their offspring or their faeces and take care of their frail. Regarding sexual habits, Monkeys masturbate in front of the whole troop. Ask yourself, are we animals? Certainly not!

The very foundation of the human civilization is based on ability. Our entire social consciousness sets us apart from them. Intellectual advancement rests upon our ABILITY. Animals do not evolve through ability, humans do. This very ABILITY is instrumental in our progress on the evolutionary scale. Wherefore it remains nonsensical to equate animal to humans.

thoallan
thoallan

Imagine that!  Human's having something that other animals do not!!!  Shocking!!  If ever I meet some "enlightened" lib who doesn't express shock in the fact that there is some difference between humans and other animals . . . I think will shake her hand and buy her a Daniel Webster cigar.

jvkohl@bellsouth.net
jvkohl@bellsouth.net

Chapter 12 of The Scent of Eros: Mysteries of Odor in Human Sexuality is titled: "A Kiss Isn't Just a Kiss. We detailed the connection to human pheromones in 1995 that these authors are following up on 18 years later. See, for example, the last two minutes of my presentation at the 2010 Annual Gathering of American Mensa. http://youtu.be/MTtcyr898rY

bgbs
bgbs

I stopped reading past first paragraph. Look, I don't think there is anything intellectual about reducing a human to an animal and then wonder why is it that we kiss while nobody else I'm the animal kingdom does? Perhaps because we humans are also the only ones who can talk, laugh, invent and think abstractly? If we going to judge a human according to an animal standard you need to think of a human as a super animal, or an animal god. Compared to the rest of the animal kingdom we are gods because we have the abilities that no other body on earth can touch.

benbristowuk
benbristowuk

Never kissed a girl, and I'm 16; almost 17. Meh.

will.ganness
will.ganness

Kissing is a Non sexual activity that has been taught as sexual activity usually in the teen years and then associated with sex. Pretty much the same as fetishes - a paraphillia. WIth that its not "Bizzare" but rather wide spread. But still from the act and its sexualization its a fetish thats enjoyed by most. Research like these are fraudulent in that its starts off on a bias and then designs a study and produced the results that the authors are looking for. Switch to another fetishistic behavior like say bondage or object fetishism, one that the mainstream abhors - youll find very negative and flawed research that people who engage in these behaviors are likely to engage in antisocial behaviors.  You cannot trust any research that concerns psychology and sex - there is no way for you to ensure that the authors dont bring their biases into their work.  Authors have long wanted to promote kissing as a very healthy sexual activity - although it has no function in sex. There is research that links it to longevity, to a mother feeding her young etc etc. WHile you can generally find only negative research on sexual activity thats frowned on by society. I can  think of no sexual act except one that is more gross and laden with germs and rotting meat and food than kissing.

oldandproud
oldandproud

Lose weight and kiss more. Most of our weight gain today is from inflammation and this causes less pheromone (attraction) scent.  

Good looking people are thinner and have less inflammation. Inflammation is the cause of diabetes,eczema and weight gain (belly fat). Good looking people have low inflammatory conditions and people are attracted to them. 

Inflammation is why dieting fails as well Here  http://tryingtoloseweightgirl.blogspot.com/2013/08/i-need-to-lose-weight-why-most-diets.html

MarcHandler1
MarcHandler1

So you go online and you ask a bunch of people: “How much do you like kissing?” “Do you think you’re hot?”  and then you draw scientific conclusions from the answers.    …..   Tell the truth, Belinda, is this really a scientific study?  Or did you just find a reader poll in Tiger Beat Magazine and rewrite it with bigger words for Time?

DuchessofRogue
DuchessofRogue

First kiss makes or breaks it.  Seriously, if you can't kiss or follow my lead then forget it.  It's super important.  And I'm fascinated with the smell aspect because that's always been important to me.  I can definitely smell a man's pheromones when I kiss him and if it doesn't smell fantastic were not going anywhere.  Thankfully my boyfriend and I are totally compatible in this department.  Oh, and I'm hot ;)

perchedeagle
perchedeagle

Well I love kissing.  So I must be hot!  :D

ShaunFagan
ShaunFagan

People kiss others because we haven't figured out the words required to tell our feelings, so we show them by kissing. It's the deepest form of connection outside of intercourse. C'mon people it's not difficult.

somedude121
somedude121

Did it ever occur to these geniuses that the reason good looking people like kissing more is because they GET to?  Who the heck wants to kiss someone who is unattractive? The problem is that attractiveness is such a taboo subject that nobody wants to discuss it because there are only 2 types of people in this world - 1) those who are attractive who get to have dates, find love and have a normal social life and who hate to admit what a HUGE gift they were given in life and 2) those who are unattractive who are forced to go through life alone and who would give anything to be in group 1. Males have it much worse then females - a girl can be 600 pounds, bald, toothless with a wandering eye and still find a decent looking boyfriend, but an unattractive male is pretty much screwed. Just go to any homeless shelter or soup kitchen and look around and you will see the fate of many unattractive males... they don't get to kiss anyone. 

VanVVilder
VanVVilder

@ShaneSchuller Beautiful women are lonlier? Why, because men enjoy hitting on and dating less attractive women? Uhh, yeah.. just, uhm, no.

sferittuzer
sferittuzer

@ShaneSchuller beautiful women are lonelier? you may be lonely and think you are beautiful but no. there's a swarm of guys around beautiful women.

wronharris
wronharris

This has something to do with the article?

anoncaca
anoncaca

@benbristowuk 


kissing isn't great. It's even worse when the inside of the persons mouth is cold and slimy. 

Openminded1
Openminded1

@benbristowuk maybe your gay or very ugly, or its your last name, it could even be you smell, who knows and who cares moron.

cryofax
cryofax

@DuchessofRogue Fascinating. Are you saying a man should endeavor to smell nice (i.e. clean and perhaps cologne?) or that men have their own unique smell (the pheromones you mention) which women like or dislike and a man has little control over?

anoncaca
anoncaca

@ShaunFagan 


I disagree with your statement, "it's the deepest form of connection outside of intercourse.".

First of all, there are other forms of deep connection that can be established besides kissing. These are including, but not limited to, creating something one of a kind and amazing, helping the other person in a way that cements their connection with you, and simply being there for the person.


cryofax
cryofax

@ShaunFagan Ummm no. Kissing feels good. I swear some of these pseudo-psychologists on this board are hilarious. You'd think they'd never kissed anyone. Kiss because we don't have the words? lol

icedcrow
icedcrow

@ShaunFagan Except that kissing and intercourse don't have to have anything to do with intimacy or our feelings.

mikenagel
mikenagel

@somedude121, ugly women are largely out-of-sight. They self-select themselves out of public display for reasons of emotional protection. Otherwise they experience the same loneliness and lack of intimacy that ugly men on the other side of the sexual divide experience.

Put another way, though I know you meant it as a fatuous example, a grossly obese 600-lb heterosexual woman is unlikely in the extreme to have any intimate sexual relationship with a man that is predicated on mutual attraction.

As for the point of the "unearned privilege" that beautiful people are blessed with and never acknowledge, it's true, and it's of a piece with all other common forms of unearned privileges (familial wealth, white skin color, being male) that pervade our society today.

bryanfred1
bryanfred1

@somedude121 That's one of the funnier, increasingly unhinged pop anthropoligical theories I've heard.  I think you may be overstating the situation a little.

raidx259
raidx259

@somedude121 There are many shades of grey between your 1 and 2. And there's someone of equivalent looks for everyone in that range. You fail to factor in the earning power of a male. Males that make a lot of money get a greater set of choices when picking a mate regardless of their looks.

NetinhoDecastroesilva
NetinhoDecastroesilva

@somedude121 You dont have to end up homeless if you are an unattractive male. You can still go to college, get a degree, get married and have a family. And depending on your income, the prettier your wife will be, the higher your paycheck is. I'm not saying that all girls are like that, but a woman happens to like a feeling of security, a feeling of being taken care of. It's not that they are gold diggers, wgich I'm sure some are, but the feeling of security financially, that can provide very well for her, her husband, and future kids, gives the woman a sense of being comfortable.

icedcrow
icedcrow

@somedude121 the animal kingdom is similar.  The males of many species are the ones that have colorful feathers / fur / ornamentation which exists solely to attract females.  Mating is not something all men were born equal at getting to do.

Whatanotion
Whatanotion

@VanVVilder@Whatanotion does saying things like that make you feel like a man?  are you proud of yourself now?  Come back when you grow a pair that you control and that don't control you.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@mikenagel @somedude121 Ah sneak in the race card, with the white privilege crap, i had no problem f-ing white, black, Asian and or middle eastern women i was very privileged .

somedude121
somedude121

@bryanfred1 @somedude121 feel free to argue my theory with me - but before you do - I need to know what group you are in... 1 or 2... that's the problem with discussing a taboo subject.. you WILL be biased one way or another.. depending on what group you are in :) 

somedude121
somedude121

@raidx259 @somedude121   yes you are correct - there is something I like to call a "charismatic scale" that every person has - I like to think that every person has a charismatic score between 1 and 100 - the lower the score, the more unattractive a person is - and the more hardship they will face in life - if you are a girl- give yourself 40 points automatically to start with. Some males will mistake "average" for "unattractive"-  its a common misconception because we live in a world where all girls want a guy who's "cute" - and if you are "less then cute" it will be MUCH harder to find a mate. But.. many girls DO settle.. like you said.. for money and a comfortable life.. but.. and here is the part you need to think about.. most unattractive people are not wealthy, the burden and the curse of being unattractive is enough of an obstacle to prevent it for most people - (wanna hire an ugly person? or an attractive person who will attract customers?) so a "lucky" few get to be wealthy enough to attract a female because they can provide a good life for them - but what about the rest of the unattractive? The ones who's charismatic score is so low,  they are screwed. Unless they are "filthy stinking rich" 

Think about this - if you are ugly and the best you can do is a job at Mcdonalds - can you attract a female to live with you and provide you with sex and companionship? 

I am a firm believer that some people are dealt a WAY better hand in life then others - I believe that for every guy who gets to kiss and make out with pretty girls and have sex and a normal social life... there are 50 other guys who didn't get that hand in life. And they have to suffer.. 

cryofax
cryofax

@somedude121 @raidx259 Well obviously some people are born with a better hand than others. Be it looks, geographical location, environment, their parents, etc. Any number of things. I don't think the ratio is 50 to 1, but certainly some guys are born unattractive and won't find the love they crave. Sucks to be them and life isn't fair.