Nothing says love like a great kiss. In honor of National Kissing Day we have rounded up a few salient pieces of trivia about the kiss for our Richfield readers.
1) Origin of Kissing: Disputed, according to author Andrea Demirjian, who wrote "Kissing: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About One of Life’s Sweetest Pleasures." In a 2007 interview with National Public Radio, Demirjian said there are two schools of thought about how kissing came about: One that argues it is an instinctual act and another that argues it is learned through culture.
“(Some anthropologists) trace it to things such as an evolution from suckling on the breast to mothers passing regurgitated food into a baby's mouth, which doesn't sound very appetizing, but if you think back then, there weren't food processors, and there wasn't Gerber, so they had to make do,” she said. “There’s another theory that says cavemen literally went around smelling and tasting the saliva of a young cavewoman to see if she was healthy and thereby able to be a good partner to procreate...But some anthropologists also argue that it was learned because there were cultures in the South Pacific and in Asia that didn't really begin kissing until the European explorers came along and passed on that lovely technique.”
2) Some cultures regard kissing as barbaric.
“About 90 percent of the world's population kisses, but there are cultures even still today that are not big on kissing. Some cultures, it's because they just absolutely think that the saliva is dirty and full of bacteria, which it is,” Demirjian said.
Demirjian said kissing is taboo in some parts of Africa, particularly the Sudan, where it is believed that the mouth is the portal to the soul. According to an article in the New York Times on Valentine’s Day 2006, the Lapps of northern Finland regarded kissing as detestable, though both sexes would customarily bathe together in the nude. And in China, the Beijing-based Workers' Daily cautioned its readers against the practice in 1990 on the grounds that "the invasive Europeans brought the kissing custom to China, but it is regarded as a vulgar practice which is all too suggestive of cannibalism."
3) Variations on the kiss are endless. According to the same article in the NYT, in the 17th-century polymath Martin von Kempe wrote a thousand-page encyclopedia on the art of kissing. In it von Kempe classified 20 different kisses, among them "the kiss bestowed by superiors on inferiors" and "the hypocritical kiss."
4) The video “How to Kiss with Passion” has been viewed over 30 million times on You Tube. Only 2,772 people claim that they didn’t enjoy it. See it here.
5) Kissing could be a kind of natural screening device on the dating scene. According to an article in Wired Magazine, dated Feb. 13, 2009 researchers at Rutgers University found that the exchange of saliva could give partners in instinctual insight into the others’ chemical brain composition — whether the person’s brain biology is big on sopamine (associated risk taking and creative traits), serotonin (loyalty, calm), testosterone (decisiveness and stoicism) or estrogen (nurturing and patience). Helen Fisher, a Biological Anthropologist at Rutgers, told Wired that those high in dopamine and serotonin tend to seek out partners like themselves. Those with estrogen or testosterone-laden profiles seek out each other.