Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Biochemical and Spiritual Aspects to Kissing

The Biochemical and Spiritual Aspects to Kissing

Scientific effects of kissing

Romantic love, is ruled by dopamine and other feel-good hormones; and attachment, involves bonding chemicals like oxytocin.

Oxytocin is associated with the ability to sustain healthy interpersonal relationships and healthy psychological boundaries with other people. Oxytocin is also associated with touching in romantic relationships. This hormone makes you feel good and lowers some of the normal guards we have when forming relationships with new people. While it’s good to bond quickly with Mom and Dad, it’s not so good to bond quickly with people you don’t know as well.

Kissing someone before you’ve had the chance to get to know them creates an emotional bond without the advantage of being educated on their character and personality. And being emotionally attached to someone without knowing their character and personality is a recipe for disaster. How many times have you known someone who stayed in a relationship you knew was bad for them (even abusive ones)? This is the effects of oxytocin and it is blinding their judgment.

In the study “The role of oxytocin in relation to female sexual arousal” (1999) measured oxytocin serum levels in women before and after sexual stimulation the author suggests that oxytocin serves an important role in sexual arousal.

Saliva, swapped during romantic kisses, has testosterone in it; feel-good chemicals are distributed when we kiss that help fuel romance; and kissing also helps unleash chemicals that promote bonding, which provides for long term attachment.

Each of these is associated with different chemical systems in the brain." Sex drive and lust are triggered by testosterone, in both men and women. Dopamine and norepinephrine kick in when romance begins. Oxytocin is a factor in at the attachment phase, bringing the sense of calm and peace you find with "the one."

It is a known fact that kissing affects dopamine levels, demonstrated through the fact that experiencing a passionate kiss triggers the same brain receptors as high adventure activities, like skydiving, bungee jumping, and sporting activities. This hormone stimulates the brain’s neurotransmitters, which are the receptors responsible for feelings of elation and excitement; many couples (particularly new ones) experience these feels after kissing. Dopamine is also a precursor to adrenaline, which helps to explain the increased heart rate and sweaty palms, as well as the feeling of “butterflies,” that sometimes accompany kissing.

Spiritually dangers of kissing in nonmarital relationships.

Kissing is something that can cause sexual arousal.  Sexual arousal outside of marriage is sin. St Thomas Aquinas weighs in on this subject in the Summa Theologica in the Section called “of the parts of lust”. He says: “On the contrary, A lustful look is less than a touch, a caress or a kiss. But according to Mat. 5:28, "Whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her hath already committed adultery with her in his heart." Much more therefore are lustful kisses and other like things mortal sins.
Wherefore since fornication is a mortal sin, and much more so the other kinds of lust, it follows that in such like sins not only consent to the act but also consent to the pleasure is a mortal sin. Consequently, when these kisses and caresses are done for this delectation, it follows that they are mortal sins, and only in this way are they said to be lustful. Therefore in so far as they are lustful, they are mortal sins.” So if kissing is to be done it must be done very carefully as to not contain lust.

The Christian movie Pamela’s prayer (1998) takes place in the 80’s and it reverberates the theme of no kissing before marriage the entire movie. Pamela’s father asks Pamela: “wouldn’t you want the person you marry to have never kissed anyone?” “Don’t you want him to have saved such a special gift for you?”

It seems like a hard concept to accept doesn’t it. There are Christians that do it. There are entire cultures that do it like Africa, Malays, Indigenous Australians. Cultures like China rub one's nose against the cheek of another person instead of kissing.

It seems to be my opinion that kissing prior to an engagement or even the wedding day is not a good idea. Concerning the scientific data about how kissing affects your biochemistry: I would rather have someone be addicted to me for me rather than chemically addicted do to the way their brain relates hormonal feelings and associates me with the source of it. For example have you ever smelled something that reminded you of a feeling or place. I remember when I went to see the Lord of the Rings The Return of the King I had a vapor rub on because I had a bad cough for a month and if I coughed I would keep coughing until I vomited. Every time I smell that vapor rub I remember LOTR. The brain does the same thing and associates the way you feel when you kiss someone with that person so that you want to be with that person. Like I said I would rather not have a person be drugged by my kiss in order to like me. These feelings can be dangerous in the sense that they can blind rational judgment. They can keep people in a bad relationship without the persons involved knowing about it. Father Corapi says “if all you have is chemistry, it can blow up.”

On the spiritual side: we are to avoid the near occasions of sin. This would be more of a problem for guys do to our neurological makeup. Sin hurts God as St Faustina writes: “It hurts him so much that if we knew how much, we would rather spend eternity in hell than commit one venial sin.” My greatest fear in kissing a girl is that I may end up using her. Am I kissing her because I like her or am I kissing her because I like how I feel when I kiss her. there is a difference and one of them is using the other person and using someone is the opposite of loving them. I think things like cuddling would be appropriate forms of affection prior to marriage. I think there is wisdom in the practices of the older generations particularly courtship. Courtship got phased out with the invention of the automobile. Courtship involved the whole family but with the automobile the scene changed from the front porch to where ever. Now do you think people would have been kissing each other in front of their parents? The divorce rate was much lower for those who were courting than it is now in a dating and hooking up society.

That would be my opinion and I am not close minded on this.

1 comment:

Emily said...

Great explanation! I especially love the last quote about the fading out of courtship. The idea of "dating" where the parents barely know who their son/daughter is taking interest in, and therefore cannot give solid advice about, is really really disturbing. I think the fact is, people adapt to the situations they are in; they will act differently, or perhaps it is better to say different facets of their person come out, in different situations. I think in order to best get to know a person, it is good to spend time around them in many different settings, especially around those who know you and/or your person of interest best and are interested in what is best for the both of you.
Great stuff! Thanks for sharing! =)