12 Fun Facts about Kissing

1. The word “kiss”.

The Romans had words for each type of kissing: “basium” for kissing on hand or cheek, “osculum” for closed-mouth kissing and “saviolum” for passionate kissing. Greeks, on the other hand, didn’t have a word for kissing, but they did have several words for love, such as “philia”, “eros” and “agape”. The English word “kiss” comes from the Old English word “cyssan”, which technically means “to kiss”. There is no confirmation as to where “cyssan” comes from, but linguists suspect that it represented the sound of people kissing.

2. Kissing in numbers.

Studies have shown that we spend about 20,160 minutes of our lives kissing. That translates to about 336 hours, which is 14 days. That doesn’t sound like a lot, does it, though? But maybe if we try imagining kissing non-stop for 14 days… no, still seems short. Oh well, at least we don’t transfer as many bacteria as we would if we kissed longer – scientists in Netherlands have discovered that we transfer up to 80 million bacteria when we kiss for 10 seconds! Wow. 14 days divided by 10 seconds… but hey, don’t let this stop you from kissing!

3. The science of kissing.

There is actually a specific science that studies kissing. It is called philematology. This science defines kissing as “touching or pressing of one’s lips against another person or an object”. It focuses not only on the biology and chemistry of kissing, but also the reasons we kiss. Besides that, it examines the cultural context of kisses. Studies of kissing can be traced back to the 19th century, and scientists like Charles Darwin, Ernest Crawley and Elaine Hatfield have been involved in it. It would be interesting taking a part in one of the surveys concerning this phenomenon, wouldn’t it?

4. The longest kiss.

According to the Guinness World Records official website, the longest kiss lasted 58 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds and was achieved by Ekkachai Tiranarat and Laksana Tiranarat (both from Thailand). This record was set on February 12-14 2013. There was a competition in Pattaya, Thailand, and nine couples competed, including a married couple in their 70s. In the end, the Tiranants won (and not for the first time), setting a new record and earning a money reward, as well as two diamond rings. It looks like it pays off to kiss!

5. We turn our head right when we kiss.

Various studies have shown that around 80% of people turn their head to the right when they kiss. This is something we do instinctively, it is believed. A German psychologist Onur Güntürkün of Ruhr-Universität-Bochum did a study where he secretly observed the head-tilting preferences of 124 kissing couples on train stations, airports etc. He came to this conclusion as well as some other researchers before him. It is interesting that apparently this preference is developed while we are still in the womb or while we are very small babies.

6. Kissing is still illegal somewhere.

Yes, there are still some parts of the world where public affection is illegal – believe it or not! Just last year, for example, a University teacher in Mexico was arrested for kissing his wife in public. As unbelievable as it sounds! And that is not the worst punishment there is. There was a man in Saudi Arabia who was arrested for the same reason, and after being found guilty, he was sentenced to several months in prison, as well as three sets of 30 lashes each. It may be a good idea to check, at least online, whether kissing is legal in your next travelling destination… you know, just in case.

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