Kissing Can Helps Us Choose a Mate and Strengthen the Bond Between Mates

One of my favorite TV shows is THE GOOD WIFE, though my favorite part of the show are the courtroom scenes I have noticed that their is a lot of kissing on the show and recently the kissing has been hot and heavy for the husband and wife lead characters that makes sense as it strengthens the bond between mates.
  Last Valentines day I was on the Steve Harvey show talking about kissing and how men dose their kissing mates with testosterone that makes women a bit more amorous and recent research informs us that another purpose of kissing is vet the suitability of a potential mate.
Here is the article I read in The Times.
There are activities common to most humans that we enjoy immensely, without much thought, and as frequently as opportunity and instinct provide. On occasion, researchers feel they need to know why.
Recently, experimental psychologists at Oxford University explored the function of kissing in romantic relationships.
Surprise! It’s complicated.
After conducting an online survey with 308 men and 594 women, mostly from North America and Europe, who ranged in age from 18 to 63, the researchers have concluded that kissing may help people assess potential mates and then maintain those relationships.
“The repurposing of the behavior is very efficient,” said Rafael Wlodarski, a doctoral candidate and lead author of the study, published in Archives of Sexual Behavior.
But another hypothesis about kissing — that its function is to elevate sexual arousal and ready a couple for coitus — didn’t hold up. While that might be an outcome, researchers did not find sexual arousal to be the primary driver for kissing.
Participants in the survey were asked about their attitudes toward kissing in different phases of romantic relationships. They were then asked about their sexual history: for example, whether they had been more inclined toward casual encounters or long-term, committed relationships. They also had to define their “mate value” by assessing their own attractiveness. Later, during data analysis, the researchers looked at how individual differences affected a person’s thoughts on kissing.
Earlier research had suggested that in a new relationship, a romantic kiss serves to pull two relative strangers into each other’s space, their faces glued together, possibly transmitting pheromonal, sensory, even genetic cues to each other’s brain. This could be a kind of primal interview: Could this person be mating material?
Mr. Wlodarski’s results suggest a more nuanced dynamic.
The participants generally rated kissing in casual relationships as most important before sex, less important during sex, even less important after sex and least important “at other times.” (To clarify: researchers defined kissing as “on the lips or open-mouth (French).”)
Past research has shown that three types of people tend to be choosier in selecting mates who are genetically fit and compatible: women, those who rate themselves highly attractive, and those favoring casual sex. In this study, these people said that kissing was important mostly at the start of a relationship.
That may be because for these individuals, kissing turns out to be a quick, easy way to sample a partner’s suitability — a subconscious stop-go light. For them, “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss)” might not be far off the mark.
After that first kiss, these types are much more likely than other subjects to change their minds about a potential partner, researchers found. If it’s not in his kiss, forget about him.
But other people might use different criteria to size up their mates: men, those who rate themselves as less sexually attractive, and people looking for commitment. In the grand search for a partner, these individuals screen for people who seem to have the inclination and resources for the long haul. And for them, this study showed, kissing has a lower priority at the beginning of dating.
Particularly for men and women looking for long-term relationships, kissing serves other purposes, like relationship upkeep. They would use their orbicularis oris muscle to mediate, ameliorate and sustain their connections. They rated kissing equally important before sex and at “other times not related to sex.” For these participants, kissing was least important during sex.
Among the study’s participants who said they were in exclusive relationships, frequency of kissing, rather than of sexual intercourse, was best correlated with relationship happiness.
“You would think that intercourse would be even more bonding, more intimate, but that’s not necessarily so,” Mr. Wlodarski said. “Maybe you have a happy relationship and you don’t need more intercourse.” For contented couples, he said, kissing continued to be a conveyor of emotion.
Justin R. Garcia, an evolutionary biologist at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and a scientific adviser to who was not involved in this research, noted that kissing was so closely associated with emotional connection that sex workers often refuse to kiss their customers, insisting that it is “too intimate.”
Kissing has been shaped by both society and biology, Mr. Wlodarski noted. “In many cultures, kissing was one of the first opportunities for individuals to get close enough to sniff each other in socially acceptable ways,” he said. The Inuit press their nostrils on the cheeks or forehead of someone for whom they feel great affection, gently inhaling their scent.
Dr. Garcia, a co-author of “Evolution and Human Sexual Behavior,” said that the Oxford study contributed to growing research into factors that promote or discourage happy romantic and sexual relationships. “We really only understand a small portion of that,” he said. “But we know that physical contact, specifically good quality touch, is really important for long-term relationships.”
And perhaps not just for humans. Some animal species approximate what humans would call kissing. Chimpanzees press their mouths together. Certain parrots tap their beaks. Elephants put the tips of their trunks in one another’s mouths and swirl them about. “It’s what we biologists call an affiliative gesture,” Dr. Garcia said.
Some in Hollywood have managed to divine some of the subtleties of kissing without the benefit of Oxford researchers.
Michelle King, who with her husband, Robert, is a co-creator of CBS’s “The Good Wife,” thinks a great deal about whether and when her sexually charged characters lock lips. “We put even more emphasis on kissing than sex,” she said. “We treat it as though it has more emotional import.”
Referring to Alicia Florrick (played by Julianna Margulies), who has a wary relationship with her husband Peter (Chris Noth), Ms. King remarked, “You see Alicia having sex with Peter more frequently and recreationally than her kissing him.”
But referring to the characters Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) and Kurt McVeigh (Gary Cole), older people who have just gotten married, Ms. King said, “you only see kissing with them, and a fair amount of it. There’s a soulful connection there, and the kissing is more conventionally romantic.”
Still, she understood that viewers might wonder why the couple has not yet been seen having sex. “Production difficulties got in the way,” she said.
A version of this article appears in print on 10/29/2013, on page D6 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Now, a Kiss Isn’t Just a Kiss.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at

He is Playing With His Wedding Ring. What Does That Mean Nonverbally?

He is Playing With His Wedding Ring. What Does That Body Language Mean?

When we look at the data from this blog the post that get the most hits are couples sleep positions and
What does playing with a wedding ring mean. There is actually no current research studies on the topic. However, because this question is asked so often I have observed over the years two things. First that many single women and married women want to know what it means.

The second if you are wondering what it means and your curiosity is driving you to this post I would hazard to guess you are anxious and stressed. Your central nervous system stress when you see human behavior that does not make sense to you. When for example the body language and the words spoken don't align. So for example a man says he cares for you, but does not where the wedding ring you have him or plays with he plays with it when he is out with you and their are other attractive women around, or you are single and out with a business colleague and he is flirting with you subtly while playing with a wedding ring that his wife gave him. There is mismatch there and it drives the limbic brain crazy and alerts the central nervous system to stress mode. (The stress responses are freeze flee, fight, fall or faint) So if you see the behavior and for a moment your freeze in place and are speechless be wary and know that something is very wrong.  

Side note. I am fascinated with autobiographies and biographies of women. I read Elizabeth Edwards Autobiography a few years ago and was struck by a chapter where she discusses how her husband keeps loosing his wedding band when he goes out running and how she in an effort to help him goes out and busy several wedding bands for him so he will always have one. The writing in that section was so odd and stilted. You know she wanted to say, I know my husband is cheating on me, but darn it I am going to fight for this relationship.

The Wedding Ring and Human Behavior: Current Research and Future Directions

Why some married people don't wear a wedding ring.
Some married people don’t wear a wedding ring. And some Facebook users tell the rest of the world everything about themselves except that they are in a relationship or married.
I am sure there are many good reasons why some married people don’t wear a wedding ring; for example, they may be allergic to gold, silver, or platinum. And the same may be true for those who don’t disclose their relationship status on Facebook.
Allergies aside, a good explanation for some people’s reluctance to advertise their marital or relationship status is that they are still (unofficially) on the mating market and want to keep their options open. Many married men and women who engage in extra-marital affairs, of course, are happy to wear a wedding ring, only to take it off before they go to a party without their spouse. Taking the wedding ring off and putting it back on repeatedly, however, can be risky because sooner or later you will forget to do the right thing with the right person. Living a double life, with and without the wedding ring, also increases the chances that you lose the damn ring and then are forced to make up some awkward story about how this happened. To curb people’s temptation to take off their wedding ring before they go on a date with someone they met online, a company that specializes in manufacturing and selling original gifts, called The Cheeky, has just released on the market an Anti-Cheating Ring (, which has a negative engraving on the inside such that when you take off the ring, it leaves a mark on the finger’s skin that says “I’m married.”

With or without the engraving, the wedding ring is already supposed to work as an anti-cheating device. It’s a signal meant to inform others that the person who wears the ring is married and already committed to a relationship. All wedding rings look similar because it is important that the signal be recognized for what it is, and not mistaken for a random piece of jewelry. For those of us who study human behavior from an evolutionary perspective, the wedding ring is a fascinating cultural invention that says a lot about human nature and our mating system.

Since the wedding ring has a lot to do with monogamy and commitment, and the risk of betrayal and extramarital affairs, one could think of many studies that evolutionary psychologists might do to compare married people who wear and don’t wear rings in terms of their commitment to their spouse, or their tendency to cheat, or the overall stability and longevity of their marriage (one could also study the mating behavior of people who are not married but wear a wedding ring, and I suspect there are quite a few of them out there). Surprisingly, these studies haven’t been done. After doing a search for evolutionary psychology scientific articles using wedding ring as a key word, I found only one article, published in 2003 in the journal Human Nature. The article reported an experiment conducted by two Swedish researchers, Tobias Uller and Christoffer Johannson, to investigate whether women who have a brief conversation with two strange men, one who wears a wedding ring and the other who doesn’t, report the man with the ring to be more desirable than the other one. The researchers wanted to know whether, when it comes to choosing a man as a potential mate and in the absence of other information, a woman copies the choices made by other women. Since a man wearing a wedding ring has already been chosen as a husband by a woman, while a man without a ring presumably hasn’t and is therefore an unknown entity (or worse, he has been previously considered but discarded as a potential husband), a woman should play safe and choose a man who has a proven track record. In the experiment conducted by Uller and Johansson, however, the women found the men with and without the wedding ring equally desirable, or undesirable. For this being the only published study of the effects of wedding rings on human behavior, its results are rather unexciting.
But there is something else I found on the Internet. Andrew Harrell, a social psychologist at the University of Alberta, conducted a rather bizarre study of people who wear or don’t wear wedding rings. He furtively observed adults with children (estimated to be between one and seven years-old) in supermarkets and compared how often people who did or didn’t wear a wedding ring let the child wander more than 10 feet away in the supermarket. Harrell presented the results of this study at a conference a few years ago. He found that of the 862 adult-child pairs he observed, about 14% of the caretakers lost sight of their charges at least once. However, attractive young men and women without wedding rings lost sight of children significantly more frequently than everybody else (25% and 19% of the time, respectively). Harrell concluded that not wearing a wedding ring, especially if paired with young age and high physical attractiveness, may be an indicator of a lack of a commitment to one's family, including care of the children. In an interview I found on the internet, Harrell speculated that ".. an interest in establishing social, sexual or emotional ties outside of marriage may have the inadvertent consequence of diminishing attentiveness to children" and that ".. it's not surprising that this distraction occurs even in a mundane setting like a supermarket, which is more than a place to purchase bananas and cereal. It can also be a place for social encounters and maybe even a romantic rendezvous."
I can offer this additional piece of evidence in support of Harrell’s interpretation of his results: the character played by actress Elizabeth Shue in my children’s favorite movie Adventures in Babysitting was young, attractive, and didn’t wear a wedding ring: and she let the children she was babysitting wander more than 10 feet away from her many times in the movie, although none of her adventures took place in supermarkets, and therefore may have not been directly related to the potential for extramarital affairs.
So, this is it. This is the current state of research on the wedding ring and human behavior from an evolutionary perspective (if I missed some other study on this topic, I urge the readers of this post to let me know immediately). As for the future directions of this research, I just hope they will be as far away as possible from the previous ones.
Uller T, Johannson LC (2003). Human mate choice and the wedding ring effect: are married men more attractive? Human Nature 14, 267-276.
Absence of wedding ring connected to parental neglect
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This article is from Psychology Today
The author writes about
The evolution and economics of human relationships.
Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at