Why do people kiss?

Published in El Pais, 25 October 2018.

Kissing seems something so obvious that we do not even think about it. When a person is attracted to another one it comes with the incredible desire to kiss that person. Nothing is more romantic than we see two of the main characters in a play, movie or novel finally give that kiss the audience was long waiting for. Finally they got together! Reality isn’t different from that. For sure many remember that first kiss with that special person, a kiss that gave us wings and made us the happiest person.

More than 90% of the people in the world kiss. Those who don’t have other ways, rubbing their noses, passing of the open mouth or blowing air in each other’s faces. Not really the things the audience will melt for when seeing some romantic comedy. If Romeo and Julia would have been rubbing noses, the book nor the movie would have been successful. Nevertheless, kissing seems to be almost universal.

But why do we kiss? Where does that weird desire come from? If you think about it is a rather gross thing to do. In normal circumstances we do not even want to share a glass, a fork, a towel, but once the butterflies and crazy hormones have taken over, we do not have any problem on touching each other lips, exchanging spit, and sticking our tongs in each other’s mouth. It gets even more daring, if you know that in a typical kiss about 80 million microbes are exchanged. You probably must like that person a lot to expose yourself to such a cocktail.

So back to the why. Well, actually it seems the discussion is still open. Some say that during a kiss our body exchanges a lot of information about the person’s health status and since our inner biology looks for the best subject to mate with, a kiss could be a way to get some hidden data on the persons suitability. Others tend to say it originates from the stone age when mums chewed the food before passing it by mouth to their toothless babies. So kissing brings us back to our happy baby times. Rather boring don’t you think?

Well, I think a kiss is just something to makes your day. When leaving or arriving home a kiss from my wife just makes my worries disappear and gets me smiling. When my 8 year old son hurts is leg while playing, a kiss on the achy place solves it all. Isn’t this what is all about?

 

About Arnold Hagens 102 Articles
Arnold Hagens is Economist with strong interest in technology, marketing and coaching

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