06 July 2020 – Today is the international day of kissing: it is healthy and makes you happy – but in times of Corona you should still be a bit careful!
The physical effects of kissing are well researched: Pulse accelerating, blood pressure rising. A cocktail of hormones floods the body, including oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine, known as cuddling and happiness hormones.. And yet, the millennia-old cultural practice is not given enough attention, says German psychotherapist and book author Wolfgang Krüger. “Kissing is treated like the little sister of sexuality. But the opposite is true: kissing is much more important for couples.”
He says it’s a true reflection of the state of a relationship. Many partners would worry about their sexuality falling asleep. But the first sign of problems in the relationship is a lack of kisses.
“This may sound strange, but kissing is something much more intimate than sex. Sexuality can also be very distant by unwinding a program,” says Krüger.
When kissing, on the other hand, you have to get involved with your counterpart, feel his or her pace, smell and taste. “When kissing, you notice whether the other person is sensitive and has social antennae. At the same time, a good kiss requires passion and the ability to excel.
Three kisses per day
Whether a fleeting good-night kiss or romantic cuddling – on average, people kiss about two to three times a day. People who turn 70 have spent about 76 days of their lives kissing. Anyone who assumes that kissing is widespread in all parts of the world is still far from the truth. A study by the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University concluded in 2015 that romantic kissing is common in only 46 percent of the 168 cultures studied. According to the study, many kisses are distributed especially in the Middle East, North America and Europe. In African cultures south of the Sahara, New Guinea and Central America, the kiss associated with love and sexuality is not very important.
This study is only one of many scientific studies on kissing. With philematology there is even a whole branch of science that deals with it. As early as the 1960s, a German long-term study revealed astonishing results. Back then, the researchers wrote that husbands who kissed their wives goodbye in the morning lived on average five years longer. Recent studies show, for example, that most kissers tilt their heads to the right and that kissing can reduce hay fever and dermatitis.
Why do we actually kiss
Why people have started kissing is not conclusively clarified. The late behavioural scientist Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt suspected a less than romantic reason for this: early humans chewed food in advance and then put it into their offspring’s mouth. Other researchers, on the other hand, believe that our ancestors sniffed each other in the genital area in a similar way to animals – and shifted their attempts at contact upwards with the upright posture.
It is now known that some animals also kiss each other. Monkeys and some species of fish press their lips or mouths against each other. Nevertheless, this is something completely different than with humans, says Wolfgang Krüger. For him, kissing rituals before falling asleep or at farewell are just as important as passionate kisses.
And what about the times of corona, distance rules and face masks? Krüger observes two opposing effects in therapy sessions, at least for couples. “Some people talk to each other more and kiss more often.” Others can’t cope with present situation and have no physical contact anymore.
- Hector Pascua
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