The Sciences

The Science of the Smooch at Salon

The IntersectionBy Sheril KirshenbaumJan 19, 2011 3:01 PM


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Over at Salon, Tracy Clark-Flory interviewed me about my new book, The Science of Kissing. Here's an excerpt:

The mouth-to-mouth kiss that we recognize is definitely not the only universal style of kissing. Charles Darwin wrote about this: He suspected that if you talk about kissing in terms of touching the lips to any body part, and even behaviors like licking and blowing, then it's probably a universal practice. Traditionally, many cultures around the world didn't mouth-to-mouth kiss. It was probably not the same experience before there was mouthwash [laughs]. I went into all these historical accounts written in the 1800s, mostly by European explorers. There's this great anecdote where an explorer goes to Africa and falls in love with the daughter of an African king, and one night he's brave enough to kiss her. She reacts by screaming and running from the room. He realizes later that she thought he was planning to eat her.

How do kissing styles vary from culture to culture?

Read the full piece here.

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