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Mmmmwah!
February 21, 2008 7:34 PM   Subscribe

Affairs of the Lips. "We kiss furtively, lasciviously, gently, shyly, hungrily and exuberantly. We kiss in broad daylight and in the dead of night. We give ceremonial kisses, affectionate kisses, Hollywood air kisses, kisses of death and, at least in fairytales, pecks that revive princesses." But, why do we kiss?
posted by amyms (40 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
It feels good, duh. Lots of nerve endings.

Also, sharing commensal bacteria.
posted by porpoise at 7:45 PM on February 21, 2008


Scientific American's subscriber numbers must be falling.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:46 PM on February 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


porpoise said: It feels good, duh. Lots of nerve endings.

Yep, that's the first thing mentioned in the article, porpoise:

A kiss triggers a cascade of neural messages and chemicals that transmit tactile sensations, sexual excitement, feelings of closeness, motivation and even euphoria.
posted by amyms at 7:53 PM on February 21, 2008


Sadly, I know not of these kisses of which you humans speak.

Therefore, I am writing a grant proposal...
posted by not_on_display at 8:06 PM on February 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


Because we just want your extra time.
posted by maudlin at 8:12 PM on February 21, 2008 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: Not kissing.
posted by localhuman at 8:19 PM on February 21, 2008


Because girls are yummy.
posted by LordSludge at 8:26 PM on February 21, 2008


Flagged as humming about fire.
posted by emelenjr at 8:28 PM on February 21, 2008


MetaFilter: we just want your extra time.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:28 PM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Because girls are yummy.

Then why don't we eat them?

Oh - disregard that...
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:30 PM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Kissing may have evolved from primate mothers’ practice of chewing food for their young and then feeding them mouth-to-mouth. Some scientists theorize that kissing is crucial to the evolutionary process of mate selection.

Hah. That reminds of once, many years ago, when I got drunk at a party and started making out with some bizarre chick. She said something like, "I feel like you're the momma bird, and I'm the baby bird, and you're feeding me."
Who knew that she had hit on a scientific theory?
posted by papakwanz at 9:18 PM on February 21, 2008


Because you can't get to second, third and fourth bases without passing through first, obviously.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:31 PM on February 21, 2008


Who knew that she had hit on a scientific theory?

No, I think she was trying to tell you that you were so drunk that you just vomited into her mouth.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:43 PM on February 21, 2008 [8 favorites]


But, why do we kiss?

I would like to know the answer to that one, but in practical terms, so if you're reading this and live in Hyderabad, get in touch with me and we can find out...

/never been kissed

posted by hadjiboy at 10:33 PM on February 21, 2008


"I feel like you're the momma bird, and I'm the baby bird, and you're feeding me."

You're doing it wrong.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:50 PM on February 21, 2008


We kiss to spread herpes.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:59 PM on February 21, 2008


Dude, I'm pretty sure the 'kiss' meme just evolved to make us kiss more often, because if we kiss more often it's, you know, more likely to spread. Problem solved. Memetics can do anything, amirite??
posted by farishta at 12:24 AM on February 22, 2008


Cooties are addictive.

Tilting the head right when kissing is something I had not consciously thought about before, and I find quite interesting. Tilting to the left feels weird to me.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:04 AM on February 22, 2008


It's a drag kissing someone who hasn't figured out about tilting heads to get noses out of the way. Also, good kissing involves a bit of subtlety -- something else you definitely miss when a kissing partner lacks it.
posted by pax digita at 3:20 AM on February 22, 2008


Tilting to the right feels weird to me.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 4:19 AM on February 22, 2008


Because kissing feels so good you just want to kiss someone.

*scratches head*

Yeah, that's about right.
posted by loquacious at 4:28 AM on February 22, 2008


My first really juicy kiss was with Alicia Pinkerton in 1976 in San Marcos, California.
Oh Alicia, whither thou art?...
posted by Dizzy at 5:19 AM on February 22, 2008


MetaFilter: your love is sweeter than wine
posted by bwg at 5:28 AM on February 22, 2008


"From a psychoanalytic point of view, the kiss is a revealing sequence containing a personal history. The way a person kisses and likes to be kissed shows in condensed form something about that persons's character. In what Freud saw as the individuals' biphasic sexual development, kissing, as a relatively late version of oral eroticism, links us to our earliest relationship with ourselves and other people. It is integral to the individuals' ongoing project of working out what mouths are for. In that craving for other mouths that is central to the experience of adolescence and seems to begin then, the individual resumes with newfound intensity of appetite and inhibition his oral education, connected now with an emerging capacity for genital sexuality. There is the return of the primary sensuous experience of tasting another person, one in which the difference between the sexes can supposedly be attenuated--the kiss is the image of reciprocity, not of domination--but one that is also unprecedented developmentally, since it includes tasting someone else's mouth. Although this is prefigured in the childhood game of touching tongues, children are usually appalled at the idea of putting their tongues in each other's mouths; partly because kissing signifies an inhibited rehearsal for intercourse and other sexual practices, with all the attendant anxieties. Through kissing the erotics of greed contend again, as in childhood, with the reassurances of concern; and again, directly in relation to another person's body. "Animals can be tamed," Winnicott wrote ominously, but not mouths." Kissing, though, is the sign of taming, of controlling the potential--at least in fantasy--to bite up and ingest the other person. Lips, as it were, are the next thing to teeth, and teeth are the great educators."

--On Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored, by Adam Phillips (p. 96)
posted by shivohum at 6:13 AM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


That the quote above takes BS to an entirely new level.
posted by sfts2 at 6:44 AM on February 22, 2008


Metafilter: integral to the individuals' ongoing project of working out what mouths are for.
posted by taliaferro at 7:09 AM on February 22, 2008


"Emotions are boring. Kissing is awesome!"
posted by solipsophistocracy at 7:47 AM on February 22, 2008


There's a fourth base?!
posted by solipsophistocracy at 8:00 AM on February 22, 2008


Aw. Kissing is really sweet.

thanks for reminding me how long it's been.
posted by lunit at 8:45 AM on February 22, 2008


Metafilter: Fourth Base
posted by not_on_display at 8:47 AM on February 22, 2008


The problem with behavioral scientists, especially ones who study human behavior, is they say things like this (or at least articles in pseudo-scientific magazines such as SciAm):
Some scientists believe that the fusing of lips evolved because it facilitates mate selection. “Kissing,” said evolutionary psychologist Gordon G. Gallup of the University at Albany, State University of New York, last September in an interview with the BBC, “involves a very complicated exchange of information—olfactory information, tactile information and postural types of adjustments that may tap into underlying evolved and unconscious mechanisms that enable people to make determinations … about the degree to which they are genetically incompatible.” Kissing may even reveal the extent to which a partner is willing to commit to raising children, a central issue in long-term relationships and crucial to the survival of our species.
This is preposterous. I defy any scientist to demonstrate that people who are in fact genetically incompatible (in that they cannot produce viable offspring), that couples who argue over whether to have children and/or how many, and that couples who are not reproductively inclined (e.g. queer)--that somehow all of these people did not pick up on the "data" transmitted to them through kissing.

Kissing is complex. It is a form of communication and tactile exchange. It does not fucking transmit unconscious data about genetic fitness.

PERIOD.
posted by mistersquid at 9:16 AM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


We kiss because we used to chew the cud, huh? Then in the light of recent research, shouldn't we be worried about the relationship between kissing and HIV?
posted by Elizabeth Pisani at 9:29 AM on February 22, 2008


Dear Scientists:

Ours is not to reason why, ours it but to do and die.

Love, Poets.


*tummy rumbles for some smoochfood*
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:38 AM on February 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


Because we want to. Are compelled to, even.

God bless(ed) Nature, forcing us to compulsively seek and labour to attract mates that we can kiss and procreate with. Males mostly the latter; females the former.
posted by flippant at 1:43 PM on February 22, 2008


Lunit: I'm with you.

I realised last night that the last penis I've seen in the flesh belonged to GANDOLF.

Things must change.

*goes out to hunt some tonsil hockey*
posted by jonathanstrange at 3:21 PM on February 22, 2008


Metafilter: integral to the individuals' ongoing project of ...*Fzzzt*... takes BS to an entirely new level.

I was watching “Name of the Rose” a bit ago (And Jesus was that a bad poster for the movie “Baskerville....William of Baskerville”). I recollect that kissing was mostly done by the clergy. (Maybe there was a blip there in time and place where kissing was reserved for holy stuff). Interesting scene tho’ where Clarence Worely and the feral girl are having sex - no kissing. Seemed kind of awkward.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:23 PM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


There's a fourth base?!

it's around the back.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:20 PM on February 22, 2008


where's the *delete* button here?

*tries again*

"Didn't you know? It's just behind third"
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:57 PM on February 22, 2008


what are you trying to say, UbuRoivas?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:07 PM on February 22, 2008


that we need a *delete* pony.

the second attempt riffed; the first was like a shag on a rock.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:25 PM on February 22, 2008


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