It’s National Kissing Day (22nd June) – a day that celebrates and encourages the nation to share a kiss. However, although we all like a good smooch, many are unaware of all the psychological benefits kissing has. Indeed, from our mental well-being to healthier, happier and longer lasting relationships there are so many reasons to lock lips more often. With this in mind we asked We-Vibe’s Relationship Expert Dr Becky Spelman, to share 5 IDEAL psychological benefits of kissing with us.

MAKES US FEEL GOOD – SCIENTIFICALLY

Kissing prompts our bodies to secrete oxytocin, the feel-good hormone that prompts a sense of well-being and fosters feelings of love and affection, and dopamine, which helps us to feel a sense of bonding with someone else. When we kiss someone we love, it enhances our feelings for them and we feel more relaxed in their company.

LOWERS STRESS LEVELS

Kissing also lowers the rate of cortisol in our system. As high levels of cortisol are associated with stress, that’s good news for our mental health.

IT’S GOOD FOR OUR MENTAL HEALTH

Speaking of mental health, research into the role of a healthy microbiome (the bacteria that naturally live in our body) increasingly shows that having a good variety of healthy bacteria in our system is not just good for our physical health, but also our mental health, and especially good at helping to avoid depression. When we engage in deep kissing with someone, we swap more than just saliva; there’s also an exchange of the bacteria that live naturally within us, helping us both to maintain a varied microbiome. This also helps to boost our immune system and can assist in keeping depression at bay! In fact, some scientists think thatkissing might even have evolved as a way of swapping our “good” germs.

POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT OF ATTRACTIVENESS

When we kiss and are kissed, we are reminded that we are attractive—and feeling attractive is good for our self-esteem, which in turn fosters positive mental health. By giving and receiving a kiss, we are telling ourselves that we know we deserve love and affection and boosting our sense that we are entitled to be happy. Research suggests that couples who kiss often are healthier, happier, and more likely to stay together.

IT REMINDS US THAT WE’RE CARED FOR AND LOVED

Kissing that is accompanied by sexual desire fosters the secretion of hormones associated with sex, raises our heart rate, and attunes us to small changes in our partner’s reaction. Kissing is normally part of a healthy and loving sex life and kissing in this context reminds both parties that they are cared for as well as desired.