To Kiss or Not to Kiss... that is the question!

Did you know there is actually an international kissing day? (July 6, in case you want to celebrate.) A couple of articles crossed my screen recently and I began to wonder how kissing affects our sense of well-being, for starters.

Turns out, it’s kind of like hugging, releasing a veritable cocktail of hormones to help us reduce stress, sleep better, and enjoy the effects of oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin. More kissing also reduces cortisol, the stress hormone related to increased risk of heart disease.

Well, all this being said it seems like more kissing and hugging are in order, but most of us got a lot less during the last two years. Being single and living alone without even doggie kisses, means I got next to none. How can we get those benefits during times like those?

By the way, the research seems to indicate not just romantic kissing, but also kissing family and friends provides similar benefits. But, unwanted kissing has the opposite effect… that seems logical, but I hadn’t thought about what hormones might be produced under those circumstances. I’m thinking adrenaline and cortisol.

Then I wondered if reading about kissing could give us any similar benefits. Or air kisses? Without the actual physical connection, we still might get an emotional response with some of those addictive hormones our bodies treat us with. Who needs a long run when you can get your hormones with some kisses?

So, all that thinking made me more curious…

  •     Do you enjoy reading about people kissing and hugging? 
  •     How much description do you like of the actual kisses?
  •     What does the way people kiss tell you about their relationship or character?
  •     Different cultures have different kisses for greetings. Does that kind of description give you a clue about their ethnic or regional origins? Kiss on the hand? What do you think about the man?
  •     Do you feel like reading romantic or affectionate kissing scenes gives you warm and fuzzy feelings, almost like the real thing?

  •     When you write people greeting each other, do you consider their relationship, age, background, and nationality? The kissing protocol is different in each culture and can provide clues for your reader about their character or personality.
  •     How do you use kissing, or rejecting a kiss, to inform the reader about the mood, or relationship? This might be a subtle way to describe feelings without needing dialog.
  •     Do you find it difficult to describe a scene with characters showing affection or sexual acts? And how would you describe the feelings of those positive or negative hormones? Try watching a love scene or affectionate family moment in a movie, then writing a description… it seems challenging!
  •     Even if you don’t write romance, kisses are often part of the drama. Kissing someone who has died, or a sobbing woman, or a sick dog. Or a European-style cheek kissing. All can be powerful informants for your character and story.

    Happy Kissing Day! If you missed it, you don’t need to wait until July 6 to enjoy the benefits.

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