There’s nothing more sensual than a deep, passionate kiss, one that unhinges your knees and takes your breath away. It’s more intimate than sex. A bad kiss however can have the opposite effect, leaving you with a queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach. We put a lot of stock in kissing. A bad kiss can mow down a budding relationship and a good one can seal the deal. Ever wonder why we kiss at all? It’s such a magical act. But if you step back and think about it logically, two people putting their lips together in weird ways doesn’t on the surface make a whole lot of sense. According to a study out of Oxford University the reason we kiss is to evaluate a potential mate.  There are several times across human courtship that we assess a candidate for love, and that first kiss is a big one. Not only does it pave the way for pair bonding, it also allows us to evaluate one’s mate on a genetic level. Though we are completely unaware, when we kiss a new mate our bodies consider carefully the genetic makeup of the other, including their immune system, all conducted via the olfactory system. In genetic outlook, we on a subconscious level determine if the other person’s immune system is different enough from ours. If it is, the offspring will have a good chance of survival and so our system gives us the go-ahead.

There are lots of health benefits to kissing.  It reduces blood pressure .  The heart speeds up and the blood vessels dilate giving the body more blood flow and an energy boost. Blood vessel dilation can also help alleviate the pain of headaches and cramps, though admittedly kissing is often the last thing on our minds when we have these. Brushing and flossing are not the only ways to maintain a healthy mouth. With kissing, more saliva is created, helping to remove plaque buildup which can cause cavities. Have you been feeling a little blue or stressed out lately? A passionate make out session can put you in better spirits. It’s not only fun it releases feel good biochemicals such as oxytocin the “calm and cuddle” hormone, serotonin the happiness neurotransmitter and dopamine which gives us a sense of wellbeing. Kissing also boosts our self-esteem. One German study found that husbands who received a good kiss from their wives when leaving for work were happier, less stressed and more productive. They even earned more. Worried about aging? Kissing tightens the muscles of the jaw and neckline.

So how do you make sure you are a good kisser? Everyone has their own preferences and technique. Some people are heavy into the tongue action. Others are conservative with the tongue. There are those who are squeamish about the amount of saliva exchanged. There have been plenty of would-be relationships cut short by the phrase, “S/he slobbered all over me.” For a first kiss, start out with a simple smooch on the lips and work slowly into open mouth kissing. Don’t probe with the tongue too soon. Work into it. A gentle in and out motion or a twirling is sexy and a huge turn on. Try to keep it on the drier side, at least at first. Do make sure you haven’t eaten a mountain of garlic and onions beforehand. William Cane is the author of The Art of Kissing. He says one of the techniques people love is lip-o-suction. This is kissing and lightly sucking the person’s top lip while they go for your bottom one, or vice versa. When tongue kissing, you can run your tongue over your lover’s teeth and gums to add more sensation to the experience. A nice flavored lip balm can add something. If you’re planning it all out, see if you can feed your lover strawberries beforehand. It helps to awaken the taste buds, making your mouth extra sensitive. Don’t forget the other aspects such as eye contact during pauses, grabbing the nape of the neck or the head and pulling your lover in. You can even bite their lower if you’re feeling naughty. Rake your nails down their back. Build slowly from sweet to powerful and passionate. Some people like this example: model intercourse in your lover’s mouth. Do so by starting from gentle foreplay to full on action using your tongue. With the tongue, begin with slow circles and work towards a strong, passionate full-on tongue tornado.

Jen Miller over at Jen Reviews suggests “Kissing may also help you look younger longer by toning facial muscles. Depending on the type of kiss, it takes between 2 and 34 facial muscles to achieve a kiss. Since the act of kissing is not replicated very well in any other day to day activities, kissing is often the only way to give certain superficial facial muscles exercise. But let’s be honest. Kissing is a way more fun approach to obtain a toned face.”

Few things are more enjoyable or powerful in life than kissing. Why not make the most of it?