The Surprising Psychology of Kissing

And, for that matter, why do we hold hands?

Originally Published In Psychology Today

Why do we kiss our lovers on the lips?

We could show romantic passion by rubbing foreheads, locking elbows, or by turning back-to-back and bumping butts.

We could even mash our ears together.

Legend has it that Inuits (Eskimos) display sexual passion by rubbing noses, but it turns out the Inuit practice of Kunik (touching noses) is actually just a warm greeting for families and friends, not a show of sexual passion.

Although nothing to sneeze at, our noses — even for Inuits — do not seem to be the organ of choice for expressing romantic love.

So . . . out of all our candidate body parts, what is it about our lips that make them so special when it comes to matters of love?

Before answering the question, it’s important to point out that lip-to-lip romantic kissing is not universal across the globe. Roughly half of human societies lock lips; the other half — mostly primitive cultures in remote places — view the practice as “gross” or even “sharing dinner.”

But still, about half of the human race shows sexual affection by juxtaposing lips and, very often, by touching tongues.


© Dr. Eric Haseltine

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