Thursday, July 21, 2011

What Our Lips Are Telling Us - Part 3

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13. Even a light lip-brushing is a huge turn-on for our brains
“It probably depends on who you ask -- it’s culturally influenced,” the Expert says. The famous Indian sex text the Kama Sutra advises going for the lips, of course, as well as the inside of the mouth, the breasts, the throat and most places on the face. Science also provides some clues: It turns out that a disproportionate amount of brain space is taken up with processing information from the lips compared to the rest of our bodies. “Just a light brush on them stimulates a very large part of the brain -- an area even more expansive than would be activated by sexual stimulation below the belt,” the Expert writes.

14. Men like tongue more than we do
Remember when Sex and the City’s Charlotte got totally grossed out when one of her dates started licking her face? The moment captures a real distinction between how men and women like their kisses. “There’s this huge gender divide: Men tend to express a preference for wet, sloppy, open-mouthed kisses, and women are constantly complaining about too much tongue,” the Expert says. There’s a reason guys do what they do: An open mouth allows men to dose women with small amounts of libido-raising testosterone via their saliva. “If he’s kissing her over weeks or months, it enhances her libido over time,” the Expert says.

15. Kissing while (mildly) intoxicated can up the passion
To drink or not to drink? On the one hand, drugs and alcohol stimulate some of the same brain chemicals as a kiss, so you could mistake your substance-induced high for passionate feelings about your partner, the Expert says. But, that said, if you’re looking for something casual, kissing can be better after a drink or two (and alcohol can release your inhibitions, making a kiss more likely). “It can wind up feeling better or worse -- it depends on how drugs affect your sense of reality,” the Expert says. “Kissing acts as a drug on top of everything else, so when there’s a lot riding on it, go with most accurate impression of what you feel,” which is probably more obvious when you’re sober.

16. Kissing never gets old -- even when we do
While there hasn’t been much study of kissing and longevity, there’s reason to think that kissing is vital -- and enjoyable -- throughout our lives, the Expert says. “Kissing is so important to long-term bonds,” she says. ”It helps to maintain a relationship.” So she suspects kissing plays an important role from birth to death.

17. Kissing can actually help you make up
Forget chocolate and flowers -- just plant one on her lips. Though a woman may profess to be unmoved by a kiss from the man she’s fighting with, research has found that a smooch (or a few) paves the path to forgiveness, the Expert writes. The effect may come from the oxytocin that’s released during kissing. Kissing may reduce levels of cortisol -- the stress hormone -- coursing through our bodies during a fight. “Reducing stress is a pretty good way to amend a fractured relationship,” the Expert says.

18. Men see kisses as a means to an end
No doubt: Both men and women enjoy kissing. But while women tend to ascribe big-picture significance to a kiss (is he "The One"?) guys often smooch for short-term gain. Exhibit A: Prostitutes don’t kiss their johns, and the clients don’t seem to mind. For men, while kissing can be meaningful, it also can be all about sex, the Expert says. “Men are kissing as a means to an end: They’re swapping saliva so they can swap something else later,” she says. “Women look to a kiss to assess relationship status. We are sensitive to things that tweak out compatibility, and from an evolutionary perspective, men don’t need to do that.”

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Related Story: How women like to get first Kiss

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