Some kissing related knowledge.
What’s in a name?
The study of kissing is better known as philematology, someone who studies kissing wears the title of osculologist - sexy.
There’s also a great German word Nachküssen which means “a kiss to make up for those that have not occurred”.
And what do the French call French kissing? Soul-kissing! There are a few cultures that think kissing can let your souls mingle, in some parts of Sudan they believe the mouth is the window to the soul, but also aren’t into kissing, as they believe your soul can be stolen through your mouth.
When kisses are banned
There are a few cases of kissing being banned, in some parts of the world, such as Saudi Arabia you can still be arrested for kissing in public. Alledgedly in 1910 the French banned kissing at train stations because it was holding up commuters, although we’re not 100% sure that’s legit. However, Warrington Bank Quay Station did put up no kissing signs in 2009, the signs were removed three weeks later and auctioned off for Comic Relief.
Henry VI really did ban kissing in England in 1439. It was in response to an outbreak of Plague. The ban wasn’t really aimed at lovers but at kissing as a greeting, which the King worried was increasing the infections rates.
Not everyone kisses
90% of the world’s population kiss but there are still some cultures in which kissing isn’t the go to expression of affection. We talked about soul stealing but there are other cultures where kissing is not common or it was only introduced by Europeans. In 1929, anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski visited the Trobriand Islands. He found that lovers went through several phases of sucking and biting that culminated in biting off each other’s eyelashes.
Kissing is how we seal marriage vows but kissing to seal a contract goes back a long way. Apparently ‘XOXO’ comes from when those who were illiterate would sign a contract with an X and then add a kiss as a sign of sincerity. Even further back the Romans might exchange a kiss to signify the completion of a contract.
Kisses are good for you
Kisses are good for your teeth, the anticipation gets your saliva flowing. Men who receive a goodbye kiss from their partner in the morning are more likely to live longer (no word on women?) and those who kiss more report more relationship satisfaction. It can also help build your immunity to certain infections.
And sometimes bad for you
A 10 second kiss can transmit a mind boggling 80 million bacteria, most of them will be harmless but there are diseases that you can catch through smooching. The most well known being Glandular Fever, but also viruses like herpes and flu.
In one weird case a woman in China lost some of her hearing after a particularly passionate kiss burst her eardrum. The reduced pressure in her mouth was enough to rupture it, but we’re pretty confident that’s not a common issue.
So go find someone to kiss, make the most of this special day!