Facts about Kissing

Kissing is a form of romantic or affection expression. We kiss to express feelings of love, passion, affection, respect, friendship, or simply to greet someone. Kisses can be used for a variety of different reasons, including formal greetings, ritualistic or traditional procedures, religious aspects, as well as expressing an intimate feeling of love and affection. Below are a list of facts about kissing you may not have known and that may surprise you.

Facts about Kissing

The word ‘kiss’ is derived from the Old English word ‘cyssan’ and the proto-Germanic ‘kussijanan’ or ‘kuss’, which probably reflects the actual sound of a kiss.

The scientific study of kissing is called philematology.

The insulting slang “kiss my ass” dates back at least to 1705.

Our lips are around 100 times more sensitive than the tips of fingers.

When kissing, most people, roughly 65 per cent, will tilt their head slightly to the right. Scientists have speculated that this preference may start in the womb during development.

When kissing, the most important muscles if call the orbicularis oris, which is also known as the kissing muscle, as it allows the lips to ‘pucker up’.

To French kiss you require the use of 34 muscles in your face. To simply give a pucker kiss you only need two.

The term ‘French kiss’ was brought into the English language around 1923 as a slur against the French culture which was thought to be overly concerned and centred around sex. In France, it’s called a tongue kiss or soul kiss because if done right, it feels as if two souls are merging. In fact, several ancient cultures thought that mouth-to-mouth kissing mixed and intertwined two lovers’ souls.

Intimate Kiss



The Romans created three categories of kissing: (1) Osculum, a kiss on the cheek, (2) Basium, a kiss on the lips, and (3) Savolium, a deep kiss.

Kissing is good for the teeth, as the anticipation of a kiss increases the flow of saliva to the mouth, giving the teeth a plaque-dispersing bath.

A medieval manuscript warns Japanese men against deep kissing during while their partner is orgasming, because the woman might accidentally bite off part of her lover’s tongue or lips.

Kissing is mechanically similar to suckling, which leads some people to believe speculate that the way a person kisses may reflect whether he or she was breastfed or bottle fed

The famous Indian book of Love and Sex, the Kama (desire) Sutra (type of verse), lists over 30 different types of kisses, such as the ‘fighting of the tongue’ kiss.

 According to studies, men are more particular about which women they kissed than who they go to bed with. These findings suggest that kissing is viewed about more about love and connection than sex is.

Kissing is believed to have been created by mothers who would chew solid food and then pass it on to their infants while weaning them. Another theory suggests that kissing evolved from prospective mates getting close enough to sniff and smell each other’s pheromones for biological compatibility.

Scholars aren’t sure if kissing is a culturally learned or instinctual behaviour. In some cultures in Africa and Asia, kissing does not seem to be practiced.

There was a belief that kissing the nostril of a donkey will cure you of the common cold.

The first on-screen kiss was shot in 1896 by the Edison Company. The film was called ‘ The May Irwin-John C. Rice Kiss’, and went for 30 seconds. It consisted entirely of a close up shot of a man and a woman kissing.

The first on-screen kiss between two members of the same sex was in Cecil B. DeMille’s 1922  film ‘Manslaughter’. The film ‘Splendor in the Grass’ (1961), starring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty, contains Hollywood’s first ever French kiss.

Kissing Lips

Under the Hays Code (1930-1968), people kissing in American films could no longer be horizontal; at least one had to be sitting or standing, not lying down. In addition, all on-screen married couples had to be seen to sleep in twin beds, and if kissing on one of the beds occurred, at least one of the spouses had to have a foot on the floor.

The kiss between Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant in the 1946 film Notorious is constantly voted for and considered one of the sexiest kisses in cinematic history. To get around the Hays Code which only allowed on-screen kisses to last only a few seconds, Alfred Hitchcock directed Bergman and Grant to repeatedly kiss briefly while Grant was answering a telephone call. The kiss seems to go on and on but was never longer than a few seconds, so therefore didn’t break any of the Hays Code filming conditions.

Rubbing noses is a form of kissing. It is often called an ‘Eskimo kiss’ and is based upon the traditional Inuit greeting called a ‘kunik.’

When two people kiss, they exchange between 10 million and 1 billion bacteria.


If you have found these facts about kissing interesting, why not discover more by reading about the origins and history of kissing?