Do you remember your first kiss? How about the first kiss with that special someone you’re with now? Of course you do! Why? Because it’s a Rite of Passage.
Eh, a right of what?
A Rite of Passage is any important event that marks the end of one stage and the beginning of another. The most commonly celebrated rites are birth, marriage, and death. But there’s a limitless number of other, less formally recognized, rites to celebrate — getting your driver’s license, landing your first “real” job, buying a house, being accepted into a college, passing a professional exam, writing your first novel… These are all Rites of Passage that deserve their own bottle of champagne (or sparkling apple cider!)
But what about that first kiss? Why’s that so special?
Kissing raises a relationship’s commitment level. It strengthens romantic and emotional attachment. (Click here for a fun montage of ‘Classic Movie Kisses’). From a biological perspective, it’s a weed out process. It’s your body’s first tool in screening your mate for compatibility issues. Kissing allows a more efficient exchange of pheromones. Some scientists believe that women subconsciously prefer a man whose pheromones indicate an immune system that is different from their own (because mating between such a couple would produce offspring with a stronger immune system).
So if biology is the why of it, what about the how? Is kissing innate or learned behavior?
No one knows for sure. Some anthropologists believe kissing evolved from the practice of rubbing noses together. If kissing is about swapping scents, then this makes sense. Other animals also rub or touch noses: dogs, dolphins, even turtles! On the other hand, not everyone does it. (But those of us who kiss are in good company: 90% of the world’s people kiss).
You may now kiss the bride — What’s up with kissing on the altar?
By the time a couple gets to “I Do,” they are long past the stage of selecting their mate. During church ceremonies, couples are appearing before God and their community to formally commit to one another. So why kiss? Because kissing serves as a public declaration of your intention to be bound. The kiss seals the marriage contract, a practice dating back to ancient Rome. In the Greco-Roman culture, a kiss had legal significance and was often used as a means of sealing an agreement, similar to a handshake today. This is likely where the phrase “Sealed With a Kiss” originated.
Okay, so kissing has deep cultural, legal, and biological significance. Can’t it be just plain FUN? Of course! When you pucker up, chances are you’re not thinking about the why and how of it. You’re just doing it because it feels good!
- Over 34 muscles are used to make a pout.
- In a long, lingering kiss over 10 million bacteria are exchanged. (Okay, that one’s kinda gross…)
- The study of kissing is called “philematology.”
- Passionate kissing burns 6.4 calories a minute.
- The average person will spend two weeks of their life kissing.
What about you? Have any (rated G!) first kiss stories to share? Does kissing forge a deeper romantic commitment? Or are we just being silly looking for meaning in something that’s just plain fun? Want to tell us how you plan on spending Valentine’s Day? Think you’ll give your SO a kiss? How about your kids? Your dog? Your cat? Whatever your plans are — Enjoy! HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, EVERYONE!!
- Sealed With A Kiss: Blind Date (laurasmagicday.wordpress.com)
- 7 Tips for the Romantically Challenged on Valentine’s Day (psychcentral.com)