Pucker up: Kissing is nature's litmus test

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CBS News

Posted on October 12, 2013 at 8:14 AM

Updated Saturday, Oct 12 at 8:14 AM

(CBS News) A kiss may not be just a kiss; in fact researchers say that a peck on the lips could serve a much greater purpose.

Sheril Kirshenbaum, author of "The Science of Kissing" told the "CBS This Morning" co-hosts that a smooch can be considered a great way to judge chemistry with another person.

"It's nature's ultimate litmus test. It can tell us if we have long-term compatibility potential with a partner," she said. However, it's not just the actual technique that matters; Kirshenbaum said that one of the most important parts of kissing is the sense of smell that comes from being so close to another person. Yet, being attracted to someone's smell has nothing to do with body odor or bad breath.

"Women it turns out are most attracted to the scents of men with a different set of genes that code for our immune systems," said Kirshenbaum. "Scientists think that if we pair off with someone with a different set of genes our children might be healthier, more likely to survive and it would be good for all of us."

While a kiss is important for men, the study said that women actually place a lot more emphasis on the act of kissing itself, marking a smooch as more important than other interactions.

"Women use kissing as an indicator as a potential mate," she said. "We have a stronger sense of taste, of smell, and we have far fewer opportunities to reproduce so, we need to use kissing as a clue."

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