Saturday, February 14, 2009

Kisses unleash chemicals that ease stress levels

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

In an experiment, Hill explained, pairs of heterosexual college students who kissed for 15 minutes while listening to music experienced significant changes in their levels of the chemicals oxytocin, which affects pair bonding, and cortisol, which is associated with stress. Their blood and saliva levels of the chemicals were compared before and after the kiss.

Both men and women had a decline in cortisol after smooching, an indication their stress levels declined.

For men, oxytocin levels increased, indicating more interest in bonding, while oxytocin levels went down in women. "This was a surprise," Hill said.

In a test group that merely held hands, chemical changes were similar, but much less pronounced, she said.

More here.

Well, this is no surprise. At least the decrease in stress thing. I mean, kissing someone to whom you are attracted is very relaxing, no? But it is nice to know that we have our top scientists figuring this all out. Maybe they'll invent a better kiss or something. The decrease of "pair bonding" chemicals in women, however, is indeed counter intuitive. For me, anyway. After all, I'm a man: perhaps women have known this all along, and have kept it to themselves for unknown reasons. But what do I know about women? I'm a divorcee, you know.

Anyway, here's a pic of Rodin's famous statue, "The Kiss."

Read about "The Kiss" here. Happy Valentine's Day.