Kissing is a way to show affection and appreciation for those you love. But have you ever thought about where kissing comes from or how kissing customs vary across the world? Kissing has a fascinating history and an important role in society, so much so that there are dates dedicated to the loved-up greeting and display of affection. National Kissing Day is celebrated on July 6th every year. World Kiss Day and International Kissing Day are other names for these popular holidays.
For the majority of adults, kissing is something they don't think twice about. They may kiss their spouse when they get home from work, kiss their kids good night, or kiss their friends in greeting when they come over. You may be in the habit of kissing too, but you can rest assured this act of love is good for your health in several ways. Every kiss introduces new bacteria that strengthen the immune system. Plus, kissing stimulates saliva production to fight tooth decay.
Some people kiss with their lips, others kiss with their eyelashes! A butterfly kiss can refer to the very light brushing of the lips across the skin, or fluttering the eyelashes against someone's face for a sweet ticklish sensation. Such lovely butterfly kisses have gained popularity recently, especially for parents with young kids. These traditions trace back hundreds of years as some 19th-century literature mentions these light kisses between lovers.
The Eskimo kiss is another fun one to consider when in the company of your significant other, kids, family members, or friends. Instead of touching lips together, the Eskimo kiss involves rubbing noses with your loved one in an intimate gesture. It's similar to the kunik greeting of the Intuit people, who typically keep their mouths covered in cold Arctic climates. No matter what the weather is like outside, an Eskimo kiss is always nice and it can make people laugh too!
There is no shortage of fascinating kissing customs throughout U.S. history. Cheek kisses have been a polite greeting for centuries, but public displays of affection between romantic partners have become more accepted and appropriate in the last 100 years. There are also some famous kissing spots and traditions, such as the kissing bench started by the Syracuse University Class of 1912, or the Ellis Island kissing post where U.S. immigrants could reunite with their loved ones after a long time apart.
There are some interesting state laws surrounding kissing do's and don'ts in the U.S. People in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, are forbidden from kissing strangers, while the state has banned kisses lasting longer than five minutes. A few states over in Indiana, men with mustaches are prohibited from making a habit of kissing others. There is also a historic restriction in Hartford, Connecticut, saying wives cannot be kissed on Sundays, although as you can imagine, it's not strictly enforced.
Kissing customs vary by country, with some cultures more open to kissing than others. Many European countries practice the three cheek kiss, beginning with the right side before going to the left and back again. This isn't the only place where cheek kisses are a normal greeting. In Colombia, Mexico, and other Latin American countries, one kiss on the cheek is expected while a kiss for each cheek is standard procedure in Brazil. India, China, and much of Asia generally do not respect kissing in public.
Young kids and teenagers often stress about their first kiss. Everybody is different, as some plan it all out and others are caught off guard by a surprise first kiss. Some first kisses are better than others, as it all depends on the person. The average age for a first kiss is 15, and if it's a good one, the body releases dopamine, a feel-good chemical that may encourage more kissing.
Most people enjoy kissing and showing their love for people they care about. However, some others are affected by a legitimate fear of kissing called philemaphobia. It's most common for young teens and inexperienced kissers, but in some cases, the fears persist for years and the help of a professional therapist is required. Getting over the kissing-related anxiety can boost self-confidence and the chances of finding longlasting love.
It may be hard to imagine kissing for a really long time, but some couples have been up to the challenge. The most recent world record for the longest kiss was achieved on Valentine's Day 2013, when Ekkachai and Laksana Tiranarat took a big breath after kissing for 58 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds in Thailand.
Everyone who kisses on National Kissing Day, or any other day of the year for that matter, can work their muscles with every passionate peck. 112 postural muscles and 34 facial muscles are needed to make each kiss happen. The mouth muscles are working hard to pucker up the lips and ensure a sweet, successful kiss. Plus, the brain has to line everything up for a nice kiss, even as two-thirds of people instinctively tilt their heads to the right as they lean in for a kiss.