Week 9-How did kissing on the mouth begin?

October 24, 2008

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Rodin's famous kiss.

Rodin's famous sculpture "The Kiss"

Some anthropologists believe the origin of the kiss stems from the act of smelling another’s face…inhaling them…as an act of affection. With lips having very sensitive mucous membranes, this evolved into an act of tasting and feeling the texture of a loved one.  

While a kiss can be sexual and amorous, it is often a greeting or a sign of great respect and reverence.  Kisses run the gamut from chaste to savage.

The anthropologist Desmond Morris believe French kissing may have originated in the act of mothers chewing food for their infants and delivering it mouth to mouth, creating a sensation of trust, pleasure and satisfaction through this contact.  Later, the act of French kissing duplicates these feelings of intimacy for lovers.  Some evolutionary bioligists believe the French kiss functions to explore the partner’s immune system via saliva.

Kissing releases hormones into the blood, often resulting in euphoria and/or arousal.  In Chinese Tao tradition, “liquid jade” must be exchanged to a achieve a perfect balance of yin and yang.

Other scientists believe the lips remind us of labia because they swell and flush red upon arousal, elevating some kisses to a symbolic form of intercourse.

View the best kisses in film history or see the 2008 MTV nominees for the category of “Best Kiss”.

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England’s Education Department carefully selects all weekly questions. All questions are actual inquiries made to PPNNE by college-aged students.



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