Romantic kissing happens in over 90% of all cultures, and with good reason: “It helps us find a partner and stay with them,” says Laura Berman, PhD, assistant clinical professor of ob-gyn and psychiatry at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago. But it also has a slew of surprising functions, including some major health benefits. Pucker up to these fascinating facts.It may be the most fun way to build immunity
Just 10 seconds of French kissing can transfer 80 million germs from one person’s mouth to the other, according to a Dutch study published this past November in the journal Microbiome. While that may sound gross, there’s a big potential benefit. “It’s a way to pass around bugs so your body develops immunity to them,” Berman explains. In fact, a 2010 paper in the journal Medical Hypotheses suggested that kissing between partners could help protect their babies from being infected in utero with cytomegalovirus, which can cause birth defects such as infant blindness.