The Science of Kissing

The average amount of time a person spends kissing in their lifetime is more than 20,000 minutes, or approximately two weeks. With all the time that we spend kissing in our lifetimes, there must be a reason that we enjoy doing it, and believe it or not there is a science behind kissing. There have been many studies done on kissing, and the scientific study of kissingis referred to as philematology. When you kiss someone, you are using a total of thirty four facial muscles to do so.

After much studying, scientists have come to the conclusion that kissing is not an instinctive action but a learned one. So why do we kiss? The simple answer to that question is that it feels good. Everyone's lips and tongue are filled with very sensitive nerve endings that respond to the stimulation of kissing. The other reason that we enjoy kissing has to do with pheromones. A pheromone is a chemical signal that triggers a response in person you are about to kiss. When you are close to someone's face you can pick up on their pheromones, which can tell us a lot about each other. While women can sense from pheromones whether a man can create a good healthy child, men will pick up on signals of fertility and strength subconsciously.

Kissing has many physiological effects on a person. A kiss will cause your heart rate and blood pressure to increase, you breathe more deeply, and the pupils or your eyes increase in size. Basically, when you experience a good kiss, the pleasure centers of your brain react to a feeling of excitement and surprise. Believe it or not, we even have neurons that are designed to help us kiss in the dark, and maintain the position of a good kiss that causes the pleasure centers of the brain to react. A kiss can even burn calories, a one minute kiss will burn approximately twenty six calories. Depending upon who you are kissing, it is going to cause different reactions in your brain, for instance, kissing someone you are dating is going to trigger a different response than kissing your child.

Kissing varies between different cultures, and their are some cultures that don't kiss at all. In western cultures, a kiss is the most common form of affection, while in many Islamic cultures it is considered inappropriate to kisssomeone to whom you are not closely related by blood or marriage. While most cultures recognize some form of kissing, the Thongi tribe of South Africa do not kiss, and adults in many Amazonian tribes do not kiss either. There are also cultures that kiss without using their lips. Eskimos don't kiss on the lips, instead they rub their noses together, and this is considered a type of greeting. The "Eskimo Kiss" is also performed by many Pacific Island cultures, including Polynesians, and the Maori people of New Zealand.

While we don't know for sure, many anthropologists suggest that India is the birthplace of kissing. Artifacts such as Indian sculptures were the first to depict kissing. Another theory is that kissing evolved from the way that mothers used to feed their children. Scientists believe that early humans chewed up food for their babies and transferred it to them directly from their mouths, and this practice eventually evolved into kissing as we know it today.

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