A new study published in Sexual and Relationship Therapy provides evidence that kissing frequency is a strong indicator of sexual and relationship satisfaction. The results suggest that “kissing frequency could be considered a bell weather of sorts for determining if the relationship bonding is strong and the sexual quality is high,” according to the authors of the research.
“I was interested in this topic because the majority of the research that focuses on physical behavior and its association with relationship and sexual satisfaction has examined sexual intercourse or other overtly sexual behaviors,” said study author Veronica Hanna-Walker of Brigham Young University.
“Even though romantic kissing (i.e., kissing a partner on the lips for a romantic purpose) is not seen in all cultures, it is everywhere in Western culture. Movies, T.V. shows, books, and more seem focused on that one magical moment where two people finally share a kiss. I wanted to see how important this seemingly small and common behavior was for romantic relationships. In other words, I wanted to know if romantic kissing was important or not.”
The researchers used Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to survey 1,605 participants who had been in committed relationships for at least two years.
After controlling for marital status, race, sexual orientation, relationship length, education, age, and other factors, the researchers found that those who reported kissing their partner more frequently also tended to report higher levels of arousal and sexual satisfaction during their two most recent sexual experiences. Kissing was also positively associated with experiencing an orgasm.
More frequent kissing was associated with higher levels of sexual and relationship satisfaction as well.
“Kissing can be a useful tool in helping the emotional and sexual aspects of relationships grow stronger. Kissing your partner more may increase sexual arousal, the likelihood of experiencing an orgasm during sex, and increase feelings of secure attachment between partners. Kissing is a small part of romantic relationships, but it is important to not forget it,” Hanna-Walker told PsyPost.
Future research could examine gender differences, as well as different forms of intimate behavior such as holding hands, hugging, and cuddling.
“The literature on kissing suggests that men and women think about kissing differently. For example, some research suggests that men believe kissing is more important during the beginning of relationships or leading up to a sexual experience. On the other hand, women seem to put more importance on kissing throughout the relationship and not just the beginning. We controlled for gender, but we did not specifically look at gender differences,” Hanna-Walker explained.
“Another question that needs to be addressed is what does kissing do in couples? Our study looked at people who were in relationships, but we did not ask their partners any questions.”
The study, “A kiss is not just a kiss: kissing frequency, sexual quality, attachment, and sexual and relationship satisfaction“, was authored by Dean M. Busby, Veronica Hanna-Walker, and Chelom E. Leavitt.