Health benefits of kissing

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Ah, the kiss. It can be so many things: sweet, loving, awkward, intense, transporting, disappointing, boring, sublime, life altering.

On the delicious and passionate side of the spectrum, a smooch can be a heart-healthy micro workout, a hormone releaser and a mood booster. It’s also fun — and a great way to connect with the person you care about.

“Sex, as wonderful as it is, can be perfunctory,” says Andréa Demirjian, author of “Kissing: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about One of Life’s Sweetest Pleasures.”

“Kissing is intimate: You’re right there in the space of your soul. It gets to the core of your heart and spirit because it’s such a lovely way to express and receive love and affection. A kiss a day really can keep the doctor away.”

1. Kissing helps reduce blood pressure

Making out isn’t just good for your emotional heart, it gives your anatomical one a workout, too. “Kissing passionately gets your heartbeat revved in a healthy way that helps lower your blood pressure,” says Demirjian. “It dilates your blood vessels — blood is flowing in a good, solid fashion and getting to all your vital organs.”

2. Kissing zaps cramps and headaches

“Kissing is great if you have a headache or menstrual cramps,” says Demirjian. You may be inclined to wave away advances when you’re curled into an achy ball, but the blood-vessel dilation brought on by a good long smooching session can really help ease your pain. In fact, Demirjian recommends replacing the ol’ “Not tonight, dear — I have a headache” line with, “Honey, I have a headache. Come kiss me!”

3. Kissing fights cavities

A smooch-a-thon gets all, er, fluids flowing — including your saliva. “When you’re kissing, you’re secreting more saliva in your mouth,” says Demirjian. “That’s the mechanism that washes away the plaque on your teeth that leads to cavities.” (So much more fun than gargling!)

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4. Kissing amps up your happy hormones

“If you’re feeling stressed or rundown, a little kissing or lovemaking [is] actually the elixir you need to… feel better,” says Demirjian. “It will relax, restore and revitalize you…. The feel-good chemicals in the brain get percolating: serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin — things you can get from the rush of exercising.”

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5. Kissing burns (a few) calories

It can’t compare to 30 minutes on the elliptical, but a vigorous makeout session can burn 8 to 16 calories per smooch, says Demirjian. “Kissing and lovemaking can be a vigorous exercise if you’re fully engaged,” she says. “You need to have a passionate kiss [in order to burn those calories], but it doesn’t have to be a 10-hour makeout session.”

booster6.Kissing boosts self-esteem

One German study found that men who got a nice juicy kiss from their wives before leaving for work made more money. “If he leaves his home happy, he’s more productive at work because he’s not feeling emotionally distressed, so he’s going to make more money,” explains Demirjian. “Kissing has so much to do with your self-esteem and feeling loved and connected.”

7. Kissing can give you a facelift (kind of)

Per Demirjian, deep kissing can shape up the neck and jawline, which are often trouble spots for those concerned about looking older. “Your mouth has a number of facial muscles,” she says. “When those are engaged in kissing, you can tighten and tone them.”

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8. Kissing is a barometer for sexual compatibility

It can be an excellent way to check out a potential partner for sexual compatibility before getting naked and emotionally involved, says Demirjian. But if your very first liplock with a new partner is meh, she recommends giving him or her one more shot.

“Sometimes during the first kiss, people are feeling awkward, nervous or embarrassed,” she says. “That might not breed the most seductive, sexy experience.” Second kiss is crappy, too? That’s your cue to take your lips — and the rest of you — elsewhere.

Girl Talk, Then And Now

girl talk

As the topography of our lives has changed, so too have our conversations. The subjects that held us transfixed in our 20s are not even on our radar anymore. We still have plenty to say, but the topics have changed. For example:

Then: Cosmetics
Back in the day, we could talk about mascara and nail polish until the cows came home.

Now: Cosmetic Dermatology
Nowadays, we’ve upgraded to microdermabrasion and amazing spa facials, and our skin looks better now than it ever did!

Born in the ’70s? You’re probably in the messy middle.
Then: Body Image
One upon a time, we boosted each other’s self-esteem with the magic words “Those jeans make your butt look amazing!”

Now: Body Function
These days we’re using our bodies to do some kick-ass stuff. I ran a half-marathon and my friend started taking martial arts again.

Then: Shoes
We didn’t have Carrie Bradshaw’s budget, but we did have her taste.

Now: Boots
Times have changed and so has fashion. Goodbye strappy sandals, hello tall boots! Ooh, and Uggs for winter. And adorable wellies for walking to school on rainy days. And…

Then: Shopping for Cute Clothes
Payday used to mean running out to pick out a great new outfit for the weekend.

Now: Shopping for Cute Clothes for Our Kids
Payday means running out to buy jeans because our kids grew an inch overnight and all their pants are floods. Seriously, why do kids grow so fast? But while we’re shopping for them, let’s go look at some boots.

Then: Bragging About Sex
Think only guys talk about conquests? Ha. Notches in the old lipstick case, baby.

Now: Bragging About Sexy Weekends Away
Anniversary getaway? Birthday overnight at a fancy hotel with the husband? Yes, please!

Then: Happy Hour
Dollar PBR night? Holla!

Now: Wine Tasting
Touring a winery and learning how to pair wine with food? I’m so in!

Then: Dates
“Oooooo! I’m going out with a boy on Friday! He’s soooo cute! And he likes my favorite band!”

Now: Date Nights
“Oooooo! I found a sitter for Friday! She’s soooo great! And she does the dishes after the kids are in bed!”

Then: Roommates
The guy who had loud sex in the mornings, the substitute teacher who got daily robo-calls at 6 a.m., the gay guy who loved to watch Golden Girls reruns with us. Our roommates were a rotating cast of characters that helped us afford our apartments.

Now: Renovations
Picking backsplashes is better than vetting potential housemates any day!

Then: Push-Up Bras
It used to be lingerie was a fashion statement, the base layer of an awesome outfit. Bras put our boobs on display in the best way possible.

Now: Push-Up Bras
Let’s face it, some things never change. Hot lingerie is still hot.
The good news is, we find boots and travel plans just as hilarious and awesome as we found sex and shopping when we were younger. I just hope in 20 more years, we’ll still be laughing as hard as we have the past 20.