Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Why do we kiss?

Did you know the origin of a kiss?

Kissing evolved out of literal hunger and survival, it was the act of a parent chewing food and passing this chewed (puréed) food to the baby mouth to mouth. Later it became an act of love where the physical bonding between mother and child was experienced through either breastfeeding or mouth-to-mouth feeding.


Today, a kiss provides the chance to satiate a hunger for something else: intimacy, an expression of warm feelings or exploration of a potential partner. It is a moment that can instantly transport us to a state of pleasure or expel us into a state of aversion.

File Fact — 

Did you know? 

If you have people cheering you on, holding you accountable, walking the walk with you and showing affection by kissing, you are more likely to make positive changes to your life.

Did you know?

That taking time to cultivate love and physical affection brings joy and, life is better measured in collecting moments of joy rather than material things.

Did you know?

That throughout school, we learn arithmetic, biology and how to read and write, but we don’t learn how to manage stress, understand our emotions or connect the feelings in our bodies with the thoughts in our heads. Most of us don’t even really know how to breathe in a way that truly serves us leave alone expressing physical affection with each other everyday.

Did you know?

Romantic kissing heightens and harmonizes brain activity.

Did you know?

Research has found that kissing is one way to assess our compatibility with a potential partner. It brings you close to let you smell, taste and provide biological cues for gauging the overall health of each other. Are you in sync with each other to take the relationship further?

Did you know?

That a ten-second kiss shares eighty million bacteria, genes are a part of our immune system, it is through kissing that we can gauge the genetic fitness of each other and a whiff of their natural scent.

With all the tell tale facts of kissing, lets explore the different kinds and types of kisses. 

Historical Kissing — As mentioned in the ‘origin of kissing’, is a method of feeding for survival, which later evolved to biological kissing.

Biological Kissing —It’s ever so important to know that a kiss is a learned thing and we can certainly change the way we kiss to adapt to one another. A study of 168 different cultures around the world found that only forty-six per cent of people engaged in romantic kissing. Biological romantic kissing is only part of the picture.

Cultural Kissing — Kissing on the cheek or both cheeks, once, twice or thrice to greet people is the norm in many cultures.

Social Kissing —A parent kissing a crying child to wipe away the pain, sharing a kiss with your pet, comforting grieving friends with a kiss is all enduring.

NOTE:All contexts of kissing should be considered.

Have you told your partner how you do want to be kissed?  It can be quite fun practicing and you can adapt to each other’s style over time.

A quick Peck on the cheek or lips ‘Muah’ kiss — is the simplest way of showing affection to any person be it your partner, child, pet. You just simply touchlips, whichare usually closed and slightly puckered.

A Cheek Kiss — is a common exchange of greeting between family, friends or acquaintances in a platonic sense. Depending on the relationship you share with the person it can be short, long or tight.

An American Kiss — This is a step-up from pecking and involves deeper kissing by opening your lips to each other without the use of the tongue. This is romantic and appropriate in public to show affection. Using your hands and holding your partners’ faces or wrapping them around their necks makes it more intimate.

A Tongue Kissor French Kissing —is one of the most passionate ways of kissing your partner,start with an American Kiss and slowly incorporate your tongue into the mix. Figuring out bothpartners’ preferences comes with time and practice.

A Forehead Kiss —A simple kiss on the forehead is more as an act of sweetness, a gesture that can say so much without saying anything at all. Its a perfect way to share affection, understanding, trust and carewith anyone that you feel close to; your partner, friends, parents or children.

The Eskimo Kiss —This friendly greeting kiss gesture amongst Eskimos is the act of rubbing the tip of your nose with another person’s nose. You can share this kiss with your partner in a light-hearted moment or with your child as playful affection.

The Neck Kiss —The neck is one of the most sensual parts of the body, and kissing the neck is usually seen as a very intimate and erotic gesture. There is absolutely nothing platonic about a neck kiss its down right flirtation.

The Butterfly Kiss —To give someone a butterfly kiss, you have to bring your face closer to their face, with your eyes almost touching their eyes and then flutter your eyelids, giving a feeling of being kissed by the wings of a butterfly. A butterfly kiss isn’t necessarily romantic, its cute, its tender, and its sweet.

The Hand Kiss —is most commonly seen as a gesture of greeting at informal events, and is used as a sign of respect for elders, or people higher to your rank in various cultures too. However, it can be an extremely tender and warm moment too. If you kiss your partner’s hand while holding it, a sign of affection, trust, assurance and love to them.

The Top of the Head Kiss — It is a gesture that makes you feel safe, comforted and wraps you around with a sense of familiarity, it usually comes from the elders in your family, when coming from a partner it gives you that same comfort and security that you get from someone who is family to you.

What makes kissing all-important?

Too sloppy — Too hard — Too fast —

  • When we kiss, we stimulate the nerves in the lips, which travel up to the brain; this releases a cocktail of neurochemicals that lead to euphoria. The basic chemicals that are released when you fall in love — Oxytocin, (the bonding one) and Dopamine, (which gives you that euphoric high.)
  • Kissing requires more than a dozen facial muscles,it floods our brain with oxygenated blood, dilates our pupils, deepens our breath and flushes our cheeks.It also lowers cortisol, thus relieving stress. Kissing boosts our feel-good chemicals, lowers our stress levels and is good for any relationship. The more we do it, the better it is for us.
  • Our lips are one of the most sensitive parts of our body, packed with nerve endings and is also our most exposed erogenous zone that transmit a great deal of pseudo‐genital signaling during amorous encounters.
  • Kissing can be a ‘love practice’: A way that couples punctuate the day, kiss when you get home from work and goodnight kisses before going to bed.It bonds you and connects you and keeps you in that state of being in love, not just being companions and housemates.
  • Kissing is an important communication tool in a relationship. It’s a part of a connection, the same as talking to each other.
  • We do have evidence that saliva has testosterone;there is also evidence that men like sloppier and more open-mouthed kisses. That suggests,they are unconsciously trying to transfer testosterone to trigger the sex drive in women.
  • The scent of someone who has a very different immune systemis always more attractive, which means our offspring will be healthier.


“Kissing is important,”it keeps us bonded, and keeps those happy hormones flowing.

A good kiss is bliss – 

A bad kiss, however, can send us running for the hills.


The question is: 

Why do we do it? 

Is it good for us? 

What happens in our brains and bodies when we kiss?

The intensity of the sensation and our response to it – Its all a surprise.


“There is likely a biological underpinning to kissing, as it can often involve exchange of pheromones and saliva, and also pathogens – which might be particularly dangerous in societies without oral hygiene, where kissing may lead to the spread of respiratory or other illness.

Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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