Photo Credit: Tambako the Jaguar via Compfight cc
(I blatantly stole the first part of that title from one of my favorite songs, "Do I Wanna Know?" by the Arctic Monkeys.)
Yes, it's International Kissing Day, something I didn't even know existed until I saw a post about it on a random website. And because I have this weird compulsion to dig deep down into any subject I encounter, I couldn't resist a quick Internet search for strange and interesting facts about one of our favorite pastimes.
1. Romantic Kissing Isn't the Norm.
Here in the United States and other Western cultures, a good kiss is at the heart of any great romance. When we watch a rom-com, we're eagerly cheering on the romantic leads and anxiously awaiting that passionate kiss that signals they'll get their happily ever after. However, this is not a universal practice. In fact, as the Washington Post reports, less than half of cultures kiss romantically, with some even calling it "gross." This comes from researchers both at the University of Nevada and at Indiana University.
2. A Kiss Really Can Mess With Your Mind
In the '80s classic teen movie "Pretty in Pink," Andi's friend Iona asks her about her kiss with pretty-boy rich kid Blaine and says "Did you feel it in your knees?" to which Andi replies "I felt it everywhere." Not everyone has had that experience of a kiss practically knocking you down to the ground, but it turns out there's a reason why we're so drawn to kissing. As Time reports, kissing boosts several feel-good chemicals in our body, including dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. And as Mic notes, men release testosterone in their saliva, which over time might be capable of boosting their partner's libido.
3. Kissing Has Been Banned Several Times
In today's society a kiss seems rather innocent, but there have been times and places in which it was off-limits. This includes England, after King Henry VI banned kissing in 1493 to prevent the spread of disease. Even in the U.S. there are still some strange kissing-related laws on the books. As Deutsche Welle reports, in Nevada men who have beards are prohibited from kissing.
4. Kissing Hasn't Always Been Cool
Just like not all cultures kiss, kissing has gone in and out of style during various eras as well. Psychology Today notes that kissing dates as far back as the Fifth Century B.C., when Heroditus mentioned it in his "Histories." However, this didn't refer to romantic kissing, but instead a greeting between men in Persia. Romantic kissing didn't get a mention until the Kama Sutra. Early Romans also kissed in a romantic way, but the practice went out of style after Rome fell and wasn't in fashion again until the 11th Century, when the practice of "courting" became popular.
I don't know about you, but I'll never look at kissing quite the same way again. Just feel lucky I didn't include a section describing all of the microbes, bacteria and other minute little things you exchange when you lock lips.