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SEX & RELATIONSHIP - Pucker up - the art and science of kissing

Published:Monday | February 8, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Sacha Walters, Staff Reporter

Pucker up and smooch. When two pairs of lips meet, that feel-good sensation which explodes throughout the body is something many have experienced.

For Julie, 28, her most memorable kiss was, in a word, "great".

"It was soft and sweet and very spontaneous," she said.

"I was home with the guy I was dating. We were lying down and talking. He was combing my hair and my back was to him. He asked me to turn around so he could see the style when it was done. When I turned around, he surprised me with a kiss," she explained.

That toe-curling feeling starts with one of the of the most sensitive parts of the body, the lips.

"They are not only the slimmest layer of skin on the human body, but are also an area with one of the most densely populated sensory cells," according to an anthropological article Why we kiss: The Science of Kissing by Jean Sumner.

But those sensations don't stop there; they spread throughout the body when the brain sends signals around the body.

"After receiving this information, the brain unleashes a myriad of chemical messages to relieve stress, bond socially with potential mates and friends, increase motivation to mate, and provide sexual stimulation," it read.

Kissing is said to be a great stress reliever.

"Kissing may be like an addictive love drug. Levels of cortisol, involved in modulating stress reactions in the body, drop following a kissing episode, causing a relaxation effect. Locking lips, especially with someone for which you feel romantic love, also releases endorphins and boosts other brain hormones and neurotransmitters involved in pleasure, euphoria, and reward. Levels of these chemicals act in brain areas that keep us coming back for more."

Because of its intoxicating effect, the variations to kisses are numerous, with people coming up with dynamic ways to express their passion.

The electric kiss

A kiss guaranteed to create a spark, according to The Art of Kissing, A Connoisseur's Guide, by William Cane, is the electric kiss.

Harnessing harmless static electricity can make for an explosive kiss. Rub your feet vigorously against a shaggy rug. This will cause you to become negatively charged which will result in you feeling a small electric shock, when you touch something or someone who is either positively charged or neutral.

"You must be careful not to touch him with any part of your body, because if you do you'll neutralise the electrical field and the sparks won't fly when you kiss him," the book reads.

Part of the fun of this kiss is getting close and intimate without touching. As your lips close within a fraction of an inch, a tiny electric spark will jump across from your lips to his."

The Candy Kiss

Cane suggests flavouring your kisses by sucking on soft or hard candy in preparation for the candy kiss. Ensure the treat you choose is something your partner loves, for example mints or chocolates are a common choice. Then while eating the treat dart your eyes between your partners lips, mouth, eyes, this will create longing. When you eventually lean in for the kiss pass the remainder of the treat to your partner, through your lips.

Other kisses include the ear kiss, the neck kiss and the underwater kiss.

For Julie, kissing plays an integral part in a romantic relationship. "It's very important as it is an indication of intimacy," she said.

Additional information: The Art of Kissing: A Connoisseur's Guide by William Cane.