We’ve all been there. They’re smart, funny, and pretty cute to boot. Here it comes, the big moment, that first kiss, and— Oh.
No, no, I’ll call you.
The University of Albany published research saying that over half of men and 2/3s of women have cut off a relationship because someone was a bad kisser. DST is one of these individuals, because DST demands kisses from people who know what the hell they’re doing. But is it really all in technique?
Where do our preferences come from? Our molecules end up being at least partly responsible for whether or not we like a kiss. The scent of your partner actually plays a pretty big part in whether or not you like kissing someone, even if you aren’t aware of any difference or meaning behind the scent. Remember when I talked a bit about pheromones, scent glands, and body hair? Those pheromones are still in production, and though we may not be able to put into words what they tell us, our hindbrain is still able to read their messages. And what does our partner’s scent tell us?”
“Hi, potential kissee. This is what my immune system looks like.”
Yes. An experiment required women to rate the pleasantness of a man’s scent / their attraction to him, and researchers found that the women almost always preferred the scent of a man with differing major histocompatibility complexes (MHCs).
[I needed a graphic. Good enough.]
The MHC is a group of genes that determines what cell surface antigens you’ll have, which determines how your cells react with the rest of your immune system. Previous research has shown that fish and mice both prefer mates with different MHCs, and interestingly, it seems the same is true for humans.
In plain English, you are more interested in kissing a partner who smells like they can provide your offspring with more genetic diversity and a better immune system. Yeah, even if you don’t want to have kids. Your lizard brain doesn’t know that.
[Personally, I’d be very interested in seeing if experiments with non-heterosexual couples would yield the same preference for partners with differing MHCs. I tentatively predict that they would, honestly, but wouldn’t feel comfortable making a statement like that unless I had some real research on my side. Still, I have hypotheses. ]