Kissing is great, right? Who doesn’t like a good kiss – in all of its glorious forms? Well, if like me you’re a big kissing fan… then I am truly, truly sorry for what I am about to tell you.
Actually, why I am apologizing? If there’s someone you want to blame for potentially ruining your love life, then blame freakin’ science! Or, even more specifically, blame a philematologist, aka a scientist who studies philematology, or to dumb it down even more so, a scientist who studies what we silly, common folk refer to as “kissing”. And yes, scientists who study kissing truly are a real thing that exists.
On website Popular Science, Erin Blakemore recently pointed out the idea that almost 100 years ago, researchers actually observed chimpanzees who appeared to be kissing on another. However, as it turns out, more often than not what they were actually doing is “kiss-feeding” each other… which basically means they were passing pre-chewed food from one’s mouth to the others. Yeah, I know, gross.
I’ll try this with my husband and update you on how that goes, see how romantic they actually find it.
I mean, yes, there are other possible reasons for kissing, too. There’s a chance we may do it in order to pass each other something called “sex chemicals.”, according to PopSci:
“Saliva does contain sex-related chemicals, like testosterone, and the mouth’s mucous membrane is susceptible to those hormones. Maybe that explains why some people prefer a deep tonguing to a chaste peck.
In 2007, a group of social scientists surveyed over 1,000 college students about their kissing preferences. They found that men liked sloppy kisses more than women and hypothesized that males, who are generally “less sensitive to chemosensory cues,” might need to come into contact with plenty of salivae to determine whether a woman’s worth mating with. Or maybe guys just like spit?”
Of course, kissing can definitely lead to… well… you know, something that’s just a little bit more than kissing (we’ve all been there, don’t try to deny it!), it has also shown itself to have lasting effects more so than what we need to do if we eventually want to produce another person 9 months down the road.
In 2013 in fact, researchers had various participants engage in “intense kissing”… y’know, all in the name of science, of course.
After couples swapped spit, they found that male DNA still persisted in their partners’ mouths for as long as an hour after they kissed. PopSci points out that while this might sound romantic for you and your partner, it has some rather surprising potential consequences:
The premise seems lighthearted, but that lingering taste of dude DNA has some serious implications. The team concluded it could be used to document sexual harassment, rape, or infidelity. Perhaps one day, your kiss could be used against you in court.
And of course, because mathematicians and computer scientists are stereotypically some of the most socially awkward people on the entire planet, they worked out how to kiss far more efficiently:
Multiple researchers have tackled what’s called “the kissing problem”—a thought experiment about the most efficient way to kiss everyone in a room goodbye. Think of it as a hypothetical way to figure out how quickly a crowded party can break up without leaving anyone out. This “problem” can be expressed geometrically and used to teach students how to tinker with graphs and even game theory. In a 2014 paper in Theory of Computing Systems, a group of computer scientists worked out multiple algorithms for the most efficient kissing patterns in a crowded, comfortable, and sparse room.
But hey, relax guys! The first step of “the kissing problem” does actually require you to have someone to kiss in the first place, right? Well, there’s a potential issue there, too:
Earlier this year, a group of researchers looked at the lives of American college students who have never been kissed—and discovered that they “were more neurotic, had mothers who were less facilitating of independence, and had lower self-esteem.
But, listen, it’s not all bad. Those who have never been kissed before actually performed better in academics and were honestly just as healthy as those who had been kissed and drank less alcohol… hurrah!
Well has this completely grossed you out? Will you be keeping off the kissing for a little while? Let me know your thought in the comments! And don’t forget to share this with your friends and family so they can be equally grossed out too! x