Fri, Sep 07, 2007 - Page 7 News List

US research reveals what's in a kiss -- and what isn't


Researchers have determined what many of us already knew: women think of long-term relationships while kissing, while men think of sex. Lesser known phenomena that the researchers hit on in the study, in which 1,041 US university students took part, included the fact that men like their kisses wetter and with more tongue contact than women, and that women place more importance than men on the state of their kissing partner's teeth.

Just over half the men said they would have sex with someone without kissing, compared with 15 percent of the women who took part in the study, which was carried out using "self-reports."

The study, conducted at the State University of New York, was published in the scientific journal Evolutionary Psychology.

"At the moment of a kiss, there is an exceedingly rich and complex exchange of postural, tactile and chemical cues," the study said. "Males showed a greater preference for tongue contact and open mouth when kissing."

"It is possible that kissing styles that maximize salivary exchange provide subtle information about a female's reproductive status since saliva and breath odor change across the menstrual cycle," it said.

"In addition, male preference for salivary exchange could function to introduce substances such as hormones or proteins into women's mouths that may influence their mating psychology, and even make them more sexually receptive," it said.

In other words, men's pronounced taste for French kissing comes down to them wanting to bed their partner. Unfortunately for them, the study also found that women "place a greater emphasis on kissing to induce bonding."

Women were also "more likely to initiate kissing after sexual intercourse," the study found.

"This supports other findings in showing that males tend to engage in a hasty post-copulatory departure and demonstrate an emotional shift after sexual intercourse to reduce the likelihood of bonding and investment in short-term mating partners," the authors wrote.

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