Bridget Jones just might have been right after all! It seems you really do have to kiss a lot of frogs if you want to find your prince.
Our hopeless romantic geeks and nerdlings over at ScienceDaily.com fill us in.
The article begins, “What’s in a kiss? A study by Oxford University researchers suggests kissing helps us size up potential partners and, once in a relationship, may be a way of getting a partner to stick around.
“Kissing in human sexual relationships is incredibly prevalent in various forms across just about every society and culture,” says Rafael Wlodarski, the DPhil student who carried out the research in the Department of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University. “Kissing is seen in our closest primate relatives, chimps and bonobos, but it is much less intense and less commonly used.
“So here’s a human courtship behavior which is incredibly widespread and common and, in extent, is quite unique. And we are still not exactly sure why it is so widespread or what purpose it serves.”
(Credit: © sonyazhuravetc / Fotolia)
Survey responses showed that women rated kissing as generally more important in relationships than men. Furthermore, men and women who rated themselves as being attractive, or who tended to have more short-term relationships and casual encounters, also rated kissing as being more important.
In humans, as in all mammals, females must invest more time than men in having offspring — pregnancy takes nine months and breast-feeding may take up to several years. Previous studies have shown women tend to be more selective when initially choosing a partner. Men and women who are more attractive, or have more casual sex partners, have also been found to be more selective in choosing potential mates. As it is these groups which tended to value kissing more in their survey responses, it suggests that kissing helps in assessing potential mates.
It has been suggested previously that kissing may allow people to subconsciously assess a potential partner through taste or smell, picking up on biological cues for compatibility, genetic fitness or general health.
- Wlodarski, R. & Dunbar, R.I.M. Examining the Possible Functions of Kissing in Romantic Relationships. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 2013 DOI: 10.1007/s10508-013-0190-1
- Rafael Wlodarski, Robin I. M. Dunbar. Menstrual Cycle Effects on Attitudes toward Romantic Kissing. Human Nature, 2013; DOI: 10.1007/s12110-013-9176-x