Establishing rituals to connect with your partner regularly is an important factor in the satisfaction of any relationship, from date nights to working out together and, of course, kissing! But what really makes a kiss special?
According to one expert, there’s apparently a special secret sauce that has to do with how long you spend kissing.
How long you should be kissing for deeper connection.
There are so many benefits to kissing, but according to sex and relationship expert Chelsie Reed, Ph.D., LPC, the length of a kiss can affect how much intimate connection you feel from it. She notes that previous research by The Gottman Institute has indicated that it takes six seconds of kissing for our brains to experience the chemical responses associated with attachment and pleasure.
“It helps to increase that puppy-love chemical we see, which people used to think went away after two years. But we’ve now found you can actually increase it over time if you focus on certain aspects of your relationship,” Reed tells mbg.
Six seconds of kissing is a great place to start, but Reed encourages her clients to tack on an extra few seconds so the kiss is at least 10 seconds long. She explains that it’s adding an extra degree of intentionality, and you can soak up those loving chemicals more. “You get this reward center that kicks off at six seconds, and 10 seconds won’t kill you,” she says.
How to do the 10-second kiss.
“Put everything down—nothing in your arms—look at each other and have that actual 10 seconds,” Reed says. It takes longer to argue you don’t have 10 seconds of time than it does to do the kiss, she adds.
While you kiss, Reed says it can also be beneficial to add the “bonus” of thinking (and even saying) nice things about your partner.
“Think of something you admire about them, or just that you care about that person, or that you’re going to miss them—something that connects you to them,” she explains.
(Here’s our full guide on how to kiss well, by the way.)
Not only does prolonging your kiss to 10 seconds take a degree of mindfulness and intentionality, which are both great things to have in a relationship, but Reed notes that it’s also about actively choosing to admire your partner, choosing to create moments of intimacy together, and choosing to see them as your lover.
“A lot of people have a hard time with that word, ‘lover,’ and the thing is we end up being business partners, or roommates, or best friends,” she explains, adding that all too often, people forget they can be vulnerable throughout the day, not just on date night or when they’re having sex. “It’s taking that moment to really admire the person and connect, and then you get that big burst of chemicals,” she says.
And the 10-second kiss is especially helpful when greeting each other after time apart, she notes, as it helps to bring you both to the same “level,” emotionally, also known as “attunement.”
“It sort of breaks the tension of coming back together at the end of the day to kiss for 10 seconds. Now you’re in that zone together, you’ve left work behind, and you’re in this zone of being in the relationship,” Reed explains.
If you and your partner have been operating on quick pecks, it might be time to slow down a bit and draw your kisses out. As Reed says, the couples who aren’t used to kissing as long are likely the ones who could use it the most—and you may be surprised just how connected you feel after a nice, long smooch.