Olivia Harvey
July 06, 2017 11:11 am
Getty Images / Betsie Van Der Meer

The act of kissing is one of humanity’s favorite pastimes. You can show your affection for someone while boosting your own dopamine levels and riding a natural high of ~love~. But even though it’s one of the most common human acts of affection, there are many myths still surrounding the kiss.

If you consider yourself a kiss connoisseur, read on to see if you know the truth behind the many kissing myths still alive and well today. You might just learn a thing or two that can improve your pucker for the next time a pair of lucky lips comes your way!

1Myth 1: Everybody loves a good kiss!

Hey! Settle down! Not everybody likes kissing. Actually, according to The New York Times, Charles Darwin noted in his book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals that many human cultures do not share kisses, but instead rub noses. Due to the European Arctic exploration, we commonly refer to this act as the Eskimo kiss (which isn’t entirely accurate, but we’ll get to that later).

In some African, Pacific, and American cultures, kissing with lips wasn’t a thing until the Europeans showed up. Yup — believe it or not, in some cases, kissing is a side effect of colonization. A few cultures even found the idea of swapping spit absolutely disgusting, yet European influence led to the rise of kissing in the modern era.

2Myth 2: You can make someone stop talking if you kiss them mid-sentence.

Maybe some people like this. Perhaps they like when their partner asserts themselves in this manner — and that’s fine. But despite the popularity of the “Shut Up” Kiss TV and film trope, in real life, when you’re trying to make a point, getting kissed in the middle of doing so can be distracting and rude.

If it’s super clear that the person you’re aiming to kiss is nervously babbling because they like you, then sure, lean in for a kiss and they’ll most likely be thankful you did. But if you plant a smooch on someone who’s trying to tell you why they’re frustrated by your behavior, or how they’re stressed out because of work, step back and wait for the right moment to comfort them with kind words and a kiss. You don’t want to aggravate the situation.

3Myth 3: Kissing is purely for humans.

This might be true in the sense that humans are the only species who kiss erotically, but The New York Times reported that scientists have found several other animals who engage in the act of kissing. Birds touch beaks, chimps peck each others’ lips, and even snails get intimate by touching antennae.

And let’s rewind a bit — bonobos, our primate cousins who are also known as “hippie apes” because of all the peace and love going on in their communities, use ~a lot~ of tongue in their kisses. Because of the amount of sexual activity bonobos take part in, we can assume that this form of kissing is pretty erotic in a way.

4Myth 4: We can thank the French for “French kissing.”

Yes and no. Yes, the French have seemingly always kissed with a lot of passion (and a lot of tongue). But the term “French kissing” is actually a term that the British and American soldiers came up with during World War I, after watching the French kiss with tongue.

In fact, the French didn’t even have a term for what we know as French kissing until 2013. In the 2014 edition of Le Petit Robert French dictionary, the slang word “galocher” was finally added, which means “to kiss with tongues.”

So, yes — we can absolutely thank the French for teaching us their sexy ways. But we can thank us English-speakers for coming up with the term “French kiss.”

5Myth 5: Eskimo kissing is when you rub noses with another person.

Like the French kiss myth, this one isn’t entirely false. Inuits and other northern groups do touch noses, but they also touch nose to cheek, nose to forehead, nose to chin, etc. It’s about smelling the scent of someone you love, not about rubbing noses for the heck of it.

This affectionate smelling or nuzzling is called a “kunik” amongs northern Canadian Inuit groups, and it’s often shared between young children and their parents, grandparents, and older siblings. In a romantic relationship, a kunik does not replace kissing. It’s just another way to show intimate affection.

6Myth 6: It was just a kiss! It didn’t mean anything!

False! Kissing another person means a lot when it comes to figuring out your compatibility with said person. According to CNN, a kiss is the metaphorical gateway drug to engaging in further intimacy with a person. Scientists have proven that a single kiss can send a myriad of chemical messages to the brain. It stimulates the release of dopamine and gives us a natural high that makes us want more. A kiss isn’t “nothing” — it can honestly be life-changing!

And think about the people who you’ve shared bad kisses with. Those relationships likely didn’t go anywhere after that fateful meeting of the lips. You’re looking for that right genetic scent, taste, and chemical message in another person when you kiss them. If that partner doesn’t meet your instinctual standards via the lips, your brain will signal you to kick them to the curb.

7Myth 7: Kissing is purely for fun and romance.

Although a great kiss can excite and arouse your partner, kissing has a wider array of health benefits than you might expect. The New York Times reported that a study done in the 1980s found that husbands who kiss their wives before work each day live longer, get into fewer car accidents, and have a higher income than married men who don’t kiss their wives before work.

Kissing can also strengthen your immune system. A 2014 study published in the Microbiome Journal found that for each 10-second intimate kiss, you exchange 80 million bacteria with your partner. But don’t be alarmed! Long-term partners share much of the same oral bacteria — plus this exchange can help boost and strengthen the immune system.

Now that you know the truth about kissing, go out there and let your lips have some fun!

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