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PostSubject: The Custom Of Kissing   The Custom Of Kissing Icon_minitimeThu Jun 09, 2016 11:41 am

The Custom Of Kissing

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Kissing is such a commonplace pastime that its estimated that most of us will spend around two weeks of lives (that’s 336 hours!) bestowing kisses upon others. Most, if not all, cultures and races kiss and the majority of us have kissed in some way, whether passionately, affectionately or politely.

It’s a rite of passage when it comes to romance – your first moment of sexual contact is usually a kiss. As a teenager, you fret over your first kiss, wondering if you’re going to get it right. Later on, you tend to take kisses for granted, either simply enjoying them or considering then as a door to more ‘intimate’ relations. It’s hard to imagine what gesture you would use if you couldn’t kiss, but it’s pretty safe to say that nothing else could be as deeply ingrained, instinctive and enjoyable as the simple act of pressing your lips against someone else’s. There are many ways for lovers to kiss – the Karma Sutra lists more than 30 different types of kisses. Most lovers participate in deep, open mouthed, or soul kisses.

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Kissing doesn’t always have to involve the mouth though. ‘Butterfly kisses’ happen when someone blinks rapidly right next to their lover’s skin, tickling them with their lashes. Love bites could also be included as kisses, perhaps the most forceful kind, as someone brands their lover with their mouth. At the other end of the scale, with the least passion, are the social kisses, most often associated with the French, who kiss each other on or next to the cheek as a way of greeting.

So, why are we compelled to kiss?
It’s widely believed that kissing is an instinctive urge that can be traced as far back as breastfeeding. As babies, we reach for the breast and know how to use our mouths to get milk, using them in a similar way to open-mouth kissing. Later on, neurones in our lips ensure that we instinctively know how to find our lovers lips, even in the dark.

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Kissing is very much ingrained within us, and it is a very pleasurable activity, with the right person. After our genitals, our lips are our most sensitive body parts and it’s interesting to note that ancient Chinese erotica compares the woman’s mouth to a clitoris and a man’s lower lip to a penis. As we become aroused by a kiss, our lips swell and darken with blood, just like the genitals.
The act of kissing also releases endorphins – the ‘feel good’ hormones. Kissing is enjoyable because it’s one of the most intimate things we can do – perhaps more intimate than sex. After all, two people can have sex without looking at each other, but kissing someone involves facing another and literally breathing them in.

So just how did the act of pressing our lips together become a form of affection?

Some experts believe that it comes from prehistoric mothers chewing up food and then passing it into the babies mouths. Others believe that kissing stems from the act of sniffing someone’s face to discover how healthy they are. Whether humans began kissing one another is unclear, but it is known that the first recorded erotic kiss dates back to around 1500 BC.

It was the Romans who started creating words for different types of kissing. For example, ‘basium’ meant an affectionate kiss on the lips. ‘Suavium’ was a lover’s kiss, and ‘Osculum’ meant a friendship kiss. The Romans liked to kiss the statues of the Roman Gods and the rings and robes of their leaders to demonstrate their devotion, as well as kissing each other in greeting. Kissing has always been used as a mark of respect and different countries have different customs. Many African tribes kiss the ground their chief has walked on to show their reverence. Native American Indians press still their lips against each other’s cheek. In Saudi Arabia, it’s common for people to kiss their palms, then press them to each other’s foreheads. The Eskimos are famed for their kiss of rubbing their noses together. Some still consider it a taboo to kiss in public, such as the Japanese, who prefer to show their respect by bowing.

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