10 Benefits of Kissing You Probably Never Knew

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Kissing keeps facial muscles strong

Sure, tight abs or cellulite-free thighs may be first on your fitness list, but don't underestimate the workout your mouth gets during a make-out session. Researchers say you use 30 muscles while kissing and that smooching helps keep your cheeks tight. For more ways to work your face muscles, check out these science-approved facial exercises.

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Kissing naturally relaxes you

Scientific reports say kissing increases the levels of oxytocin, the body's natural calming chemical. It also increases endorphins, the body's feel-good chemicals. Swapping spit also boosts dopamine, which aids in feelings of romantic attachment.

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Kissing helps you pick the best mate

Anthropologist Helen Fisher describes kissing as a "mate assessment tool." Much of the cortex is devoted to picking up sensations from around the lips, cheeks, tongue, and nose. Out of 12 cranial nerves, five of them pick up data from around the mouth. It is built to pick up the most sensitive feelings—the most intricate tastes and smells and touch and temperature. And when you're kissing somebody, you can really hear them and see them and feel them. So kissing is not just kissing. It is a profound advertisement of who you are, what you want, and what you can give.

Other researchers note that kissing is biology's way of determining who in nature you are most genetically compatible with. "At the moment of the kiss, there are hard-wired mechanisms that assess health, reproductive status, and genetic compatibility," says Gordon G. Gallup Jr., a professor of evolutionary psychology at the State University of New York at Albany who studies reproductive competition and the biology of interpersonal attraction. "Therefore, what happens during that first kiss can be a make-or-break proposition." No pressure, though.

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