Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Science of Kissing

Hi there, I'm Madison Blake, and it's my turn to post today. And seeing that I'm in an august company of writers makes me tremble...a lot. I'm in awe.

So. I'm a relative newbie at Ellora's Cave, having my first story "Perhaps Love" published last May 15, 2008. Not quite one year old yet. *grin* Since then, it's been a thrilling ride (and Perhaps Love is out in print in the Erotic Emerald anthology!), and for that, I have to thank my wonderful editor, the fabulous management and authors at EC, especially the froggies. Thanks, everyone!

Oh yes, before I forget, my latest book "Psychic Heat" was released last April 17! It's a paranormal menage set in the future. I won't say anymore, so go check it out!

Recently, I've come across an article on the science of kissing. Interesting, huh? The article traced the possible origins of the kiss and explored why people kiss, especially when a single passionate kiss transfers up to 250 colonies of bacteria.

When you think about it, it's a little...icky.

I remember in "Pretty Woman", Julia Roberts wouldn't let Richard Gere (sorry, forgot the characters' names) kiss her on the mouth, because for her, it was way way way more intimate than sex. Not that I agree 100%, but when you think about it, a kiss is usually the first step between people who are saying "I like you. You're not a stranger anymore. You're a friend, maybe more than a friend." You're letting the other person into your personal space, where he has the power to hurt you, while at the same time, you're making yourself vulnerable. It also works the other way around.

One theory as described in the article was that kissing evolved as a way of communicating good intentions. When you kiss, his teeth are very near you (your lips, your tongue!) and there's the inherent power to deliver physical hurt, but it's like he's saying, "I won't hurt you, in fact, I'm opening myself to you."

Another theory has it that kissing began as a way of screening potential partners by scent. Something like rubbing noses and allowing the person to smell the scent released by your body. Hmmm...definitely an interesting way to decide whether someone is a worthy candidate. I can just imagine the conversation going this way:

An extremely attractive man comes up to you at your friend's wedding. "Hi gorgeous. What's your number?"

"May I have a sniff before I tell you?"

But hey, I watched "17 Again", and Matthew Perry's wife wanted to smell his younger self (played by Zac Efron) to establish if he was indeed her husband. So, is there any truth to this theory?

The article goes on to reveal that a far simpler explanation is that our lips are supplied with a lot of nerve endings, making them particularly sensitive. So when you kiss someone you love, you experience a rush, causing you to like the activity so much you'll do it over and over. That rush is the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is "responsible for those crazy feelings you experience when you're swept off your feet".

In addition, I believe (and this theory's all mine) we also associate kissing with feelings of warmth and love, belonging and security and safety. Cherished. To convey these feelings as much as to feel them in return. After all, you don't kiss--really kiss--someone you hate, do you?

What about you? Why do you think kissing is such a popular activity?

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Hang out with me on my personal blog and my group blog with five other authors at the Six Sexy Sirens blog. Visit my website and join my quarterly low-volume mailing list for updated news on my books and contests, etc.

*Source: Cosmos Magazine (Issue 15)


Marianne Stephens said...

Your theory sounds like the best and most logical. It conveys more than just a casual interest. The deeper the kiss, the more intimate the relationship can go.
Something we writers rely on conveying to our readers...kissing leads to other things for our heroes and heroines!
Nice blog and interesting theories on how it all got started.

Anny Cook said...

I think it's an inborn thing... think about our urge to kiss a baby. Scent and touch are the first experiences a baby has. I believe that the "security" carries on through life. Family members greet each other with a kiss and hug. In effect, when you kiss a potential partner, you are admitting them to your family circle.

jean hart stewart said...

Intriguing blog. I think the subconcious is telling us a lot when we choose whom to kiss. Some people are just off limits and others- well, read any of our books. My own list of kissables keeps narrowing, that's for sure.

Fran Lee's Romance Blog said...

I agree...there are sooo many kinds of kisses...the little "air kisses" people give when they brush cheeks and pretend they like each other...friendly smooches between family or good friends...kissy-kissies you give a baby's toesies...and the BIG ones...the ones that imitate (and encourage) sex. And nerve endings are great, but the nerve endings that start to quiver when someone kisses you deep and intense have nothing to do with the upper labia!

Thanks for a great article!

Julia Barrett said...

Kissing is such an intimate action that, just like Julia Robert's character in Pretty Woman, I cannot imagine kissing someone who means nothing to me at all. It's too friendly, too loving, brings the other person too close.

Mia Watts said...

Hate to counter but when I am horizontal, he is definitely in my personal space. In being operative. Intimately allowing an invasion as well.

Kissing deals with head, face, psyche of a person. Touching heads is unavoidable recognition of emotion, one for the other.