Even friendly pecks deliver health perks.

By Mirel Ketchiff
July 29, 2018
Photo: Kseniia Ivanova/EyeEm/Getty Images

There's a reason people lock lips: Science shows it leads to incredible health benefits. (See: Why French Kissing Feels So Incredible) Here, the mental and physical perks.

1. It calms you down.

Any kind of kissing, including a friendly peck on the cheek, will make you more relaxed and happy. "Face-to-face contact is soothing," says Tiffany Field, Ph.D., the director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami. "The more people touch each other, the more peaceful they feel." Deep, romantic kissing intensifies the effect because your body produces greater amounts of oxytocin, a hormone that triggers feelings of love and intimacy. (Related: Is Kissing Necessary In a Romantic Relationship?)

2. It cues you into a good (or mad) match.

Kissing can help you find the right partner, according to a study in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior. "The lips have sebaceous glands, which produce pheromones, chemicals that may play a role in attraction," says Field. When you're kissing someone new, explains lead researcher Rafael Wlodarski, Ph.D., on an instinctual level you're essentially sampling and assessing that person's pheromones to determine if they're a good fit. (Here's what relationship science can teach you about love.)

3. It creates a better bond.

Couples who kiss more often tend to have happier relationships than those who don't, the Archives of Sexual Behavior study found. (Surprisingly, sexual frequency was not related to relationship quality.) The reasons: Kissing may release endorphins, reduce stress, or even help you mind meld. "One study found that people's brainwaves sync during romantic kissing, and so do their breathing and heart rates," says Field. "It's a really potent bonding activity."