Kissing: An Ancient Practice and Current Marvel

People like to kiss. Whether it’s your grandma, your dog or your significant other that you’re kissing, people kiss. It’s what we do. But did you know it’s a science? According to William Case’s book “The Art of Kissing”, the scientific study of the kiss is called philematology (2009). In fact, the English word kiss most likely comes from the Old German word “kuss” and is probably an onomatopoeia (a word that sounds like a noise). So that wonderful noise that the smooch makes probably informed the word kiss. Regardless of how much you know about the science of it, it’s an undeniably pervasive thing throughout the world. Every culture has a kiss and it’s considered an ancient custom in most cultures.

For example, the kiss is used for primarily three different purposes. First, the kiss of passion. This type is often used as foreplay. In fact, it’s considered by some to be one of the most common 918kiss examples of sexual activity in the United States, second only to hand holding (Journal of Adolescent Health, 2007).

Similar to this, is the kiss of affection. Although less erotic than the former one of passion, this one is used by many to communicate love and deep connection with another person. The affectionate smooch is not only reserved for lovers, but for all types of love: between parent and child, friends or even a person and beloved pet.

Another type of kiss commonly used is the ritual kiss. Often we see it in historical movies or literature. The subservient kisses the hand of the master to show respect. The Southern gentleman kissing his beloved’s hand, even the kissing of the Blarney Stone in Ireland for good luck. These ritualistic smooches take an act of heightened intimacy and make it accessible for the common person. By kissing someone in ritual, people connect with something higher than themselves.

In western culture the most common use of the kiss is for passion or affection. In fact, it’s so important to our conception of intimacy that we name different types of them. For example, we have the nuzzling or “necking” type of kiss. We have the passionate French kiss, even the sweet butterfly and Eskimo kisses. Because of the emphasis placed on smooching, and the ability, forums for the practicing of kissing have surfaced. One of the most common examples is spin the bottle, a game used by many teens to facilitate kissing and thereby, the improvement of kissing technique.

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