Dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of desire and reward, spikes in response to novel experiences, which explains why a kiss can feel so special. In some people, a jolt of dopamine can cause a loss of appetite and an inability to sleep, symptoms often associated with falling in love. Dopamine is produced in the ventral tegmental area of the brain–the same region affected by addictive drugs like cocaine. In men, a passionate kiss can also promote the hormone oxytocin, which fosters bonding and attachment, according to the behavioral neuroscientist Wendy Hill of Lafayette College in Pennsylvania. Holding hands and kissing reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, thereby lowering blood pressure and optimizing immune response.
Moral of the Story:
Kissing fosters loyalty and connection, it gives a euphoric high, it reduces our stress, and it increases our health.
Not to mention (and not the last-place benefit): it feels really, really great.
So…why on earth wouldn’t kissing be a daily choice?
For more on this, read Sheril Kirshenbaum's article "20 Things You Didn't Know about Kissing" in January/February 2011's Discover magazine, 96.