I remember my “first love” back in high school. On a warm September night, he kissed me on the lips for the first time. I distinctly remember how magical it felt. I nearly melted to the floor. Sadly, he became the high school love who broke my heart but if I close my eyes and visualize that moment, I’m transported back into that magical kiss.
Today, I share that same chemistry with my spouse. Kissing is at the heart of our sexual practices. I cannot imagine our relationship without it yet I know so many longterm couples who no longer kiss.
Couples come into my office with lack of desire, lack of arousal or lack of sex as some of their chief complaints. When I ask, “Do you kiss?”, the answer is “No”. Other than the quick peck hello or goodbye, nothing.
In her book, The Heart of Desire, Stella Resnick, Ph.D. cites important information on the science behind kissing, going as far back as our infancy stage. She writes, “We’re born with the primitive urge to suckle the breast”.
She further describes how the act and practice of suckling at the breast stimulates the mouth and builds the essential sense of trust. Through suckling, a baby triggers their PNS (parasympathetic nervous system) and increases their autonomic balance. This means that through the act of suckling, babies learn to self-soothe and achieve calm.
She also explains that our lips, mouth and tongue hold abundant nerve endings. As adults, when we pucker up to kiss our mates, the stimulation of these nerve endings sends signals to the brain that help increase blood flow to the lips and stimulate the secretion of saliva.
And your nose is involved too! The nose breathes in pheremones and other chemical messages that help to increase arousal.
Like your genitals, the mouth, tongue and nose are mucous membranes that secrete moisture through it’s sensitive tissue. She adds:
As two people share a wet kiss, hormones and neurotransmitters are exchanged in the saliva that arouse the body and activate brain mechanisms associated with safety and security, romantic love and sexual desire. Adrenaline stimulates the heart. Edorphins and serotonin bring a sense of well-being. Dopamine stimulates feelings of reward. Oxytocin, the bonding hormone that plays such a key role in sexual arousal and orgasm, is also found in the saliva exchanged between lovers. Perhaps most important for lovers, kissing has the added value of causing a surge in the flow of testosterone, the hormone of desire, in both partners.
Because kissing also reduces cortisol and simultaneously raise the heart rate and respiration, it has the effect of relaxing you while energizing you. All within the basic need of trust that became instilled during infancy while suckling for food or comfort.
So before you come in to session to see me, ask yourself, “Do we kiss?” If not, spend time just kissing – practice different ways of kissing. Dr. Resnick recommends that you take turns leading the kiss. Be playful, be passionate but most of all, have fun with the practice. Try this for 10-15 minutes multiple times per week.
If this still does not rev things up, always remember, I’m just a phone call or email away.