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There’s no doubt that kissing, especially a steamy make-out session, is a physical activity that increases your heart rate, releases hormones, and burns calories. It’s also one of the main ways we show affection and love to another person.

While casually kissing on the couch can burn about 2 calories per minute, using your hands, making out, or even engaging in some romantic dancing while kissing can also add an element of friskiness and possibly up your calorie burn.

Sure, you can add kissing to pretty much anything and everything within reason, but there are ways to keep the smooches going and turn up the heat by participating in a few different activities while kissing.

There’s no research to say exactly how many calories these activities burn. The figures below are vague estimates based on other low-impact exercises. This guide gives you a general idea of how many calories you can burn when you add a twist and a bit of creativity to your kissing sessions.

Several factors determine the number of calories you can burn when doing any physical activity. These include your:

  • weight
  • age
  • sex
  • intensity of the activity

The more vigorous the exercise, the more calories you’ll burn in less time. In general, the more you weigh, the more calories you can expect to burn. The older you are, the fewer calories you can expect to burn.

For the following examples, we’re basing the calories burned on a person weighing 150 to 160 pounds and burning 2 calories per minute of kissing.

A few casual kisses here and there aren’t only good for your relationship, but they can also burn a few calories.

On average, you can expect to burn 2 to 3 calories per minute with simple kissing and 5 to 26 calories per minute engaging in passionate kissing, although we’re betting it’s closer to the 2- to 3-calorie mark.

Calorie burn: 2 to 3 per minute

Since this type of kissing is likely more active than a few casual smooches, it may burn more calories than regular kissing.

For example, if a smooch here and there can burn 2 to 3 calories per minute, then making out, which involves actively kissing for a period of time, would likely burn more calories.

Calorie burn: 150 calories in 30 minutes, or about 5 calories per minute

When kissing turns to active exploration of your partner’s body, using your hands can turn up the heat both with the intimacy factor and your calorie burn.

Since making out and using your hands involves movement in your upper body, the calorie burn may be similar to stretching or making out.

Calorie burn: 150 calories in 30 minutes, or close to 5 calories per minute

When you go from a lying-down position to standing, you automatically increase the calorie burn.

So, if you want to boost your burn, grab your partner and engage in some romantic dancing while adding in some kissing, neck nibbling, and active touching.

Calorie burn: Dancing burns about 205 calories in 30 minutes, which equates to approximately 6 calories per minute.

Going down on your partner may not be as active as romantic dancing or making out while using your hands, but it can burn more calories than just watching TV.

Since most of the activity of giving oral sex comes from the neck up, the pace of play may be similar to very slow dancing.

Calorie burn: 112 calories in 30 minutes, or 3 to 4 calories per minute

Masturbation is one of those activities that can be slow and sensual or fast and furious. With that in mind, a midrange for calorie burn may be similar to giving a massage.

Calorie burn: 150 calories in 30 minutes, or approximately 5 calories per minute

We can’t talk about ways to up the calorie burn when kissing without mentioning sex, right? If you’re tired of grinding it out on the treadmill for your cardio, then you’re in luck.

Calorie burn: According to a 2013 study, on average men can burn around 100 calories having sex and kissing, and women can burn about 69 calories in a 25-minute session.

Contrary to what your parents told you when you were in middle school, kissing is healthy.

For starters, Alisa Ruby Bash, PsyD, LMFT, says it releases the chemicals in your brain (oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin) that light up the pleasure centers that make you feel euphoric. Almost simultaneously, it reduces cortisol, otherwise known as the stress hormone.

The release of oxytocin helps you bond to a partner, which Bash says is especially important in long-term relationships to keep a couple feeling close.

Kissing also decreases stress and anxiety. It helps widen blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure and boosts your heart health.

Finally, Bash says kissing can help you determine your sexual and romantic compatibility with someone.

To make kissing more active, and consequently, more beneficial to your health, Bash gives the following tips:

  • Couples can make kissing more active by using it as a reward to encourage each other to work out.
  • Couples can kiss more while having sex to increase the passion and energy they exert.
  • The possibilities are endless when it comes to incorporating kissing into any activity they enjoy.
  • Explore your creativity, and remember how important it is to make kissing a priority.

As you can see, kissing can be fun, feel amazing, and as an added side bonus, burn a few extra calories.

While it doesn’t take the place of your regular workout, it doesn’t hurt to be a little more active when you’re getting hot and heavy. Plus, it sure can spice things up and make those pushups and planks a lot more exciting.