There is no doubt that most of us love to kiss, but there’s a lot more to it than puckering up. Discover some surprising facts about one of the world’s favorite pastimes.
Kissing is such a common place pastime that it’s estimated that most of us will spend around two weeks of our lives (that’s 336 hours) bestowing kisses upon others. Most, if not all, cultures and races kiss and the majority of us have kissed in some way, whether passionately, affectionately or politely.
It’s a rite of passage when it comes to romance. Your first moment of sexual contact is usually a kiss. As a teenager, you fret over your first kiss, wondering if you’re going to get it right. Later on, you tend to take kisses for granted, either simply enjoying them or considering them as a door to more intimate’ relations. It’s hard to imagine what gesture you’d use if you couldn’t kiss, but it’s pretty safe to say that nothing else could be as deeply ingrained, instinctive and enjoyable as the simple act of pressing your lips against someone else’s.
There are many ways for lovers to kiss. The Kama Sutra lists more than 30 different types of kisses. Most lovers participate in deep, open-mouth French’ or soul’ kisses.
Kissing doesn’t always have to involve the mouth. Butterfly kisses’ happen when someone blinks rapidly right next to their lover’s skin, tickling them with their eyelashes. Love bites could also be included as kisses, perhaps the most forceful kind, as someone brands their lover with their mouth.
At the other end of the scale, with the least passion, are social’ kisses, most often associated with the French, who kiss each other on or next to each cheek as a way of greeting; some Europeans kiss once, others twice, and some three times.
The history of kissing has been a long, drawn-out affair, much like the best of kisses. We still don’t really know why we started kissing, but we show no signs of letting up.
It is widely believed that kissing is an instinctive urge that can be traced as far back as breastfeeding. As babies, we reach for the breast and know how to use our mouths to get milk, using them in a similar way to open-mouth kissing. Later on, neurones in our lips ensure that we instinctively know haw to find our lover’s lips, even in the dark.
Kissing is very much ingrained within us and it a very pleasurable activity. The act of kissing also releases endorphins the feel good’ hormones. Kissing is enjoyable because it’s one of the most intimate things we can do perhaps more intimate than sex. After all, two people can engage in sex without looking at each other, but kissing someone involves facing another and literally breathing them in.
So just how did the act of pressing our lips together become a form of affection? Some experts believe that it comes from prehistoric mothers chewing up food and them passing it into their babies’ mouths. Others believe that kissing stems from the act of sniffing someone’s face to discover how healthy they are. Whether humans began kissing one another out of necessity or pleasure is unclear, but it is known that the first recorded erotic kiss dates back to around 1500 BC in India.
It was the Romans who started creating words for different types of kisses. For example, basium’ meant an affectionate kiss on the lips, suavium,’ was a lover’s kiss, and osculum’ meant friendship kiss. The Romans like to kiss the statues of Roman gods and the rings and robes of their leaders to demonstrate their devotion, as well as kissing each other in greeting.
Kissing has always been used as a mark of respect and different countries have different customs. For example, many African tribes kiss the ground their chief has walked on to show their reverence. Native American Indians press still their lips against each other’s cheeks. In Saudi Arabia it’s common for people to kiss their palms, and then press them to each other’s foreheads.
The Eskimos are famed for their kiss of rubbing their noses together. Some still consider it a taboo to kiss in public, such as the Japanese, who prefer to show their respect by bowing. The dramatically more passionate French kissing seems to be universal. It could originate from the likely incorrect notion that kissing with tongues was started by the Maraichins in Brittany. This could be explained by the French would maree’ with translates as a tide that ebbs and flows’, like the movements of the tongue during a kiss.