First, casual, French, formal – there are so many ways to express your feelings and intentions through kissing. For sensual romantics, a kiss is a symbol of love and passion, and that’s all there is to it. For others, it’s a friendly gesture or a way to show sympathy.
It would seem that something as ordinary as kissing has long been talked about, described, and discussed for so long that one can’t learn anything new about it. But do you know when the first movie kissing scene happened? What benefits it has? We’ve put together 25 peculiar kissing facts you’ve probably never heard of.
History facts about kissing
Sadly, no one can tell when the kiss was invented, but it doesn’t make its historical background less fascinating.
1. Kissing has its own day
That’s right, the official (kind of) date for the World Kissing Day is July 6. The idea of celebrating kissing originated in Great Britain at the end of the 19th century, but the rest of the world quickly caught up, and now, enthusiasts in more than 60 countries pay respects to one of the most romantic aspects of human nature.
2. The Roman wedding kiss
The custom of the wedding kiss dates back to ancient Rome. According to Karen Hersch's book The Roman Wedding: Ritual and Meaning in Antiquity, it was a kiss that merged the souls of the spouses and served as proof of their intentions.
3. Italian morals
In Middle Age Italy, a man who kissed a woman in public had to marry her. In Naples, the laws were the cruelest: a humble kiss on a first date could send you straight to prison. Moreover, you could even lose your life altogether if a high clergyman saw you.
4. Kissing and cinema
The first on-screen kiss took place in 1896. The movie that was only 23 seconds long quickly got labeled as pornographic by critics – those days, public kissing was taboo. The film, commissioned by Thomas Edison, captures the moment of love between actors May Irwin and John Rice. John Sloan, an American painter and etcher, wrote that the actors were repulsive to watch.
5. The art of kissing
In 1979, David Bowie invented the ‘lipograph,’ a machine that took a print of the lips for identification. Not long after that, a collection of ‘lipograms’ belonging to various celebrities was sold at an auction in the US. All the proceeds, around $16,000, went to the Children's Protection Fund. Unfortunately, the lipograph never came into use in forensic science.
Biological facts about kissing
History can be interesting, but it’s much more exciting to find out what kisses do to your body. Check out these interesting facts about kissing and health.
1. Muscle work
When you’re kissing, 146 muscles coordinate your movements, including 34 facial and 112 postural. The most involved ones are the orbicular muscles of the mouth. What’s really interesting about this kissing fact is that your mouth perfectly mirrors the movements of a baby drinking breast milk.
2. It’s unforgettable
The first kiss is an experience you’re unlikely to forget, even if try to. When we kiss for the first time, the release of the neurotransmitter called dopamine gives the body an impressive hormonal jolt, accompanied by a desire for more intimacy. So no matter how many passionate relationships, hot women, dating sites, and breakups you’ve been through, your first kiss still might be your brightest romantic memory.
3. A hormonal blast
Speaking of chemistry. Among other things, the release of dopamine affects appetite and sleep so that you don’t have to waste time on eating and sleeping instead of kissing. Also, when we kiss someone, the heart begins to beat faster, increasing the flow of oxygen to the brain – thanks to adrenaline and norepinephrine. Add endorphins that plunge us into euphoria and say thanks to the pituitary gland and hypothalamus for these natural supplements.
4. How to choose
Kissing helps us choose the right partner. We not only prefer people with specific biological profiles, but we also know how to recognize one. Firstly, when our lips meet, five of the 12 pairs of cranial nerves are involved: the brain tries to collect as much information as possible about your partner. Secondly, there’s a theory that the pheromones and hormones people exchange when their lips come into contact provide information about the immunity, heredity, and health of the partner, as well as whether they’re ready for a serious relationship.
5. Kissing matters
Maybe this one isn’t one of the most interesting facts about kissing, but it wouldn’t hurt to know that women consider kissing more important in relationships compared to men. The study, which involved about 1,000 students, confirmed that women tend to use kissing to evaluate potential partners, and men treat it as a necessary step to increase the chances with the partner.
6. Strengthening the heart
A kiss makes the heart muscle work much faster: up to 110 contractions per minute for men, and up to 108 for women. While an average person takes around 20 breaths every minute, kissing people take 60. This activates the blood flow, and the organs receive more oxygen, which has a beneficial effect on the work of the lungs, intestines, stomach, bladder, and, of course, cardiovascular system.
7. Kissing and happiness
A romantic kiss benefits the endocrine system, stimulating the nerve endings of the inner mucous membrane of the lips, improving the work of the pancreas, and activating the adrenal glands. This boosts the production of specific hormones, which then bump up the production of neuropeptides by the brain, which makes lovers forget about their experiences and feel happy.
8. Earn more, live longer
There’s scientific evidence that men who kiss their wives every time they go to work live five years longer than those who don’t. There’s so much you could do with those years: change a career, master a new language, or learn more of those funny facts about kissing! Apart from that, they also earn more than those who don’t have this romantic habit.
9. The science of head-tilting
After observing 224 couples in the USA, Germany, and Turkey, German scientist Onur Günturkün discovered that two-thirds of humanity tilt their heads to the right when kissing. It’s all about the separation of the functions of the cerebral hemispheres. According to another theory, 80% of mothers feed their newborns from the left breast, and this way babies get used to turning their heads to the right to eat.
10. Not everyone loves kissing
According to statistics, 10% of the world’s population doesn’t kiss. Among them are fans of traditional foundations in Sudan (who believe that the mouth is a window into the soul, and someone might steal it through a kiss), Eskimos, Polynesians, and Malaysians, who never attached any importance to kissing, as well as people who don’t like kissing for their own reasons.
11. Let’s fight stress
As you’ve learned, kisses have tons of positive effects. But that’s not all: in addition to increasing dopamine and oxytocin levels, kissing can help lower the level of the stress hormone cortisol and cholesterol.
12. Burn those calories
Yes, a kiss is an energy-consuming process. But you’ll have to do a lot of kissing to lose weight this way, as a kiss burns about 2-3 calories per minute. If you make it more passionate, you can burn from 6.4 to 26 calories per minute. Let’s do the math. In total, a person spends two weeks of their life kissing, which means that you can get rid of 30,000 calories! Isn’t it one of the most useless making out facts you’ve ever learned?
13. A fair exchange
Now that we’ve been through all the fun facts about kissing, let’s mention the gross one. During a 10-second kiss, you transmit about 80 million bacteria to each other. According to a study published in the journal Microbiome, couples who kiss at least 9 times a day have the same bacteria on their tongues.
14. Dealing with anxiety
A hot kiss can stop your body from producing glucocorticoids. These are special hormones responsible for anxiety. According to researchers, you need only three 20-second kisses to boost your mood for the rest of the day and block the hormones that negatively affect your sleep and raise your blood pressure.
15. Name the muscle
Remember the first fact from our list? The muscle that we strain in order to banally kiss someone on the cheek is called orbicularis oris (yes, that’s Latin). It helps to fold the lips into a tube shape, and we instinctively know how to do it from birth – that’s how we drank breast milk. Nowadays, this muscle is mostly used for making selfies.
Types of kisses and what do they tell about your partner
Let’s switch to something more useful than hormones and muscles and find out what you can learn from kissing your special someone.
1. Soft, stimulating French kiss
This type of kiss exists only to tickle your senses. Your hands slide over her body, her lips gently clung to yours... According to psychologists, this kiss means that your partner is emotionally involved in what’s happening and enjoys your intimate experiences. You can expect her to give full attention to you and your needs. But don't forget about her either.
2. Hesitant, discreet kiss
She seems chaste, but it would be more correct to call her insecure. She just doesn't know how to approach you. If you want things to work out for you, progress slowly. Kiss her a bit more passionately every time. Show that you don't mind using your tongue.
3. Platonic kiss
If in 9 cases out of 10 your kiss is a modest peck on the cheek, then your special someone is very tender. She’d love to take care of you too from time to time, but you need to be on the lookout so that your love story doesn’t turn into a brother-sister relationship. This means that you should kiss her as a loving partner, not a good friend.
4. Top of the head kiss
It’s as cute as the previous one, but with a more romantic intention. Yes, that’s probably how your parents used to kiss you back when you were a kid, but this is different when done by your partner. If she loves kissing you this way, she wants to build trust and intimacy in a relationship. The kiss gives that feeling of bond and protection you need when going through tough times. A bit of tenderness is what we always need.
5. Surprise kiss
It’s when your loved one kisses you when you least expect it: when walking down the street together, having dinner, when you’re brushing your teeth, and so on. This describes your loved one as a romantic type, who can feel lustful at any moment. And while a surprise kiss can be sweet and romantic, one should know when it’s appropriate to give it. Some people feel uncomfortable when their partners kiss them in public without warning.
This was just a tiny portion of kissing facts – much more of them are out there, waiting to be discovered. But why not leave it to scientists and, instead, cuddle up with your special someone and test some of those you learned today?