Ever wondered why putting someone else’s body inside of your own and jamming it around in there is somehow less invasive than the simple act of kissing?
I have. I wonder about it every time I look at myself in the mirror.
Interviews with sex workers reveal they often avoid kissing as a way to stay detached. One escort friend of mine I spoke with even said her face is a “no makeout zone” because setting that boundary helps her maintain some control.
Fair. But, just what is it about kissing that makes it a more personal experience than anal gaping?
According to Sheril Kirshenbaum’s book The Science of Kissing, smashing faces has about a million and two important biological functions other than giving bored tweens something to do with an extra bottle. Deep kissing is a meaningful bonding tool that increases arousal and attachment, and even contributes to mate selection by helping you pick up biochemical cues of compatibility from your partner. One study by Oxford University published in the Journal of Sexual Behavior found that kissing helps us size up potential partners and allows people to subconsciously assess a potential slampiece through taste or smell, thereby picking up on biological cues for sexual compatibility, genetic fitness or general health.
But regardless of its science-y roles, people hesitant to merge love and lust are still more likely to see kissing as a better barometer of intimacy than fisting.
If you ask me, and you did, this is because no other physical act offers such a potently equal sensory experience for both partners simultaneously (regardless of sexual orientation).
Think about it. With every other act of intimacy, someone is either giving or receiving something (even during 69 because 69 sucks). There’s an exchange of power or pleasure or both.
Not so with kissing. It’s a 50/50 deal with a unique sexual equality. It's the only sexual act that allows partners to simultaneously and equally penetrate and be penetrated with identical, incredibly neurally sensitive body parts (the lips have the thinnest layer of skin on the body and, along with the tongue, are packed with nerve endings).
That equality means you categorically have to share a moment … together.
And man that’s awkward … because sharing is awkward. If you’ve ever experienced the blistering discomfort of sharing an elevator, airplane row or even a conversation with another human, it’s not hard to see how the ultra-unbiased act of kissing could cause a similar discomposure. Just like with sex, it’s sometimes better to look away and pretend it’s not happening.
What’s more, is that when you kiss, blood levels of oxytocin — the attachment and bonding hormone — ride the fucking lightning. This makes you feel real cuddly and soft towards the person whose soft palate you’re tonguing, and that’s a vile feeling when you’re kissing someone you have no desire to feel that way towards. Orgasm causes the release of oxytocin as well, but … not everyone orgasms during sex.
I’m not telling you any of this because I’m trying to argue kissing is weird. Quite the opposite. Given its strong indication of biological compatibility, trust, intimacy, our embattled human race might do better to kiss each other more. If we could make sex more intimate through a larger focus on making out, and even learn to see it as a legitimate form of sex in itself, we could take the focus away from climax and place it on connection, something we all know leads to hotter, more fulfilling boning.
New inspirational mug idea: “Kiss the people you hate and fuck the ones you love.”