The Surprising Number Of Muscles Used When Kissing

If there's one thing that separates you from other animals that you can be thankful for, it's that your lips purse outwards. They're also your most exposed erogenous (i.e. sensitive to stimulation) part of your body (via The Conversation). All of that's to say, your lips were meant for kissing. Of course, there are at least 114 fabulous, English language pop songs dedicated to smooching, and they all could have told you that, according to Ranker

Here's something you may not have known. If you do it right, kissing might keep you looking younger. That's because, according to The American Journal of Medicinewhen you kiss passionately you engage as many of "23 to 34 facial muscles and 112 postural muscles." In fact, according to researcher Martine Mourier, kissing is a form of "facial gymnastics" which "helps to keep the whole body elastic." (via The Journal) We're not making this up. When you lock lips with someone else, the muscles you engage form into the shape of a heart. This, in turn, gives them a workout that may help reduce facial wrinkles. 

For best results, kiss longer and harder. Science has yet to set standards for kiss sizes. That said, The American Journal of Medicine estimates that a "simple" kiss might only use two facial muscles. Mourier, meanwhile says that a "shy kiss" will engage 12. It's what Mourier calls the "long emotional ones" that exercise your entire face.  

Kissing burns (some) calories and more

We know what you're thinking. We thought it, too. If you're eager to stop jogging, and start kissing instead, you might want to think twice. Mourier's research says that each kiss can burn up to three calories. Her estimates seem generous considering that other researchers have estimated that kissing can burn between two and six calories per minute depending on how actively we smooch (via DW and WebMD). 

And even if Mourier is correct, her calculations mean that a 155-pound person would have to kiss someone at least 111 times to burn the same amount of calories that they could burn on an elliptical trainer in 30 minutes. The same 155-pound person would have to kiss someone at least 204 times to burn the same amount of calories they could burn with 30 minutes of bicycling at 20 miles per hour (via Harvard Medical School). 

But even if you can't substitute a good make-out session for your weekly work out, there are other reasons to spend more time locking lips. If you believe Mourier, kissing is good for your teeth. The saliva you produce while kissing reduces plaque. Not only that, but when you kiss, your heart beats faster, pumping more oxygen to your blood cells, and boosting antibodies.