People kiss in all kinds of ways, from subtle kisses to passionate kisses, friendly kisses to affectionate kisses, cheek kisses to French kisses, and much, much more.
We kiss for lust, intimacy, pleasure, comfort, security, and love. We kiss between couples, as part of families, and in greeting people in different cultures. A range of behaviours, each with intense emotions and social mores.
Kissing is also a very effective way of spreading bacteria—80 million, in fact. No wonder most kids think parental kissing is gross! And they’re not the only ones.
Why is kissing weird in some cultures and revered in others?
A recent study of more than 160 cultures from around the world found only 77 in which the romantic–sexual kiss was present. In other places, kissing was considered dirty and unpleasant.
Elsewhere, kissing is traditionally associated with sex; for others, kissing occurs only in private; and on google, a quick search on ‘kissing your parents’ will pull up as many views on the topic as there are kissing types.
Clearly, what is considered acceptable and appropriate varies widely between cultures. Some families just aren’t the kissing kind.
So, what gives? Why is kissing weird in some cultures and revered in others? Where did kissing come from and what is its role today?
Some scientists say romantic kissing evolved from “kiss-feeding”, or the act of chewing foods before feeding to a child with lips touching lips.
Lip-to-lip kissing then developed over thousands of years, first for comfort when food was scarce and, eventually, for the range of social and sexual desires we experience today.
There is now a growing body of empirical work focused on understanding the contemporary contexts in which kissing occurs, particularly as it relates to romantic relationships.
In the body, an exceptional sexual kiss can lower cortisol levels and ignite pleasure centres of the brain: oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin change everything.
The longer and more passionately you kiss, the more likely you’ll experience those overwhelming euphoric feelings of relaxation, excitement, and love.
When was the last time you had a long sensual kiss with your partner?
This is why relationship expert Dr. John Gottman encourages couples to incorporate a “six-second kiss” into their daily lives. “Long enough to feel romantic but doesn’t make the kids late for school,”he says.
Funny but, according to science, it’s probably true: studies show that kissing may say a lot about the status and stability of your relationship.
So, when was the last time you had a long sensual kiss with your partner? What if you tried it daily for a week?
It doesn’t have to lead to sex. In fact, it is more likely that this act, unlike any other, will facilitate bonding and affection, in addition to relationship satisfaction, rather than sexual arousal.
Maybe you think kissing is over-rated. Or perhaps you feel it’s not prioritized enough in your relationship. It probably depends on who you’re kissing, how you’re kissing, and why.
Whatever your motivation, one thing we can probably all agree on is that behind the ordinariness of every kiss lies extraordinary meaning.
This article was originally published on Find Your Pleasure.