Some might say there’s nothing more romantic than their first kiss, or more special than a kiss on the cheek from your children, or even a cute lick from your pet! But did any of you ever stop and wonder why and how this habit of sharing saliva with our loved ones became such a norm in our society? I did, and here’s what I found out.
Funnily enough, many studies exist on the topic and I was surprised to find many answers to my question (a very rare thing if you ask me). According to a study published in 2015, only 46% of cultures kiss in the romantic sense around the world. This study excludes any non-romantic kisses. And although this does not overturn the belief that romantic kissing is a normal human behavior, it does seem to prove that a lot more western societies have adapted this phenomenon from one generation to the next.
Not all societies express their love for one another by kissing, however. Let’s take a look at British explorer William Windwood Reade‘s account from his 1864 book for example, where he kisses the daughter of a beautiful African princess who ran away in tears, interpreting this kiss was a sign of his intention to eat her (literally).
Darwin has also got his own interpretation, and through his research, has found that kissing belongs to other similar activities such as rubbing or patting as a natural desire to receive pleasure by being in close contact with a loved one. He, therefore, concluded that the human-like kissing behavior was something that was innate and therefore universal throughout the animal kingdom, shown in different types of behaviors.
Some others disagree with Darwin and assure that a kiss is simply a cultural phenomenon, something that humans picked up along the way and copied from seeing it in the media etc. I would like to believe that kissing is a natural behavior, but I also understand how this could have become a trend through social behavior.
Historically, the oldest known scripture on kissing was from the Hindy Vedic Sanskrit text from over 3,500 years ago, which described kissing as inhaling each other’s soul. Although unclear whether this was a positive or negative connotation, Egyptians similarly drew hieroglyphics of people close to each other representing a human physical contact of some sort through marriage or relationships.
There are also a number of animals that supposedly use kissing techniques to show each other affection. Our cousins the apes, for example, are the most popular species that show a sign of romantic gestures amongst one another, especially after conflicts or time apart. But other, less similar, animals also use different types of smells to show affection or see whether they are a perfect match, either through their urine or body odors, which also proves that animals also value the meaning of proximity and contact.
We would love to know what your thoughts are about this strange yet fascinating history of kissing! But first, why not shop some amazing Black Friday sales to impress your loved ones?
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