Did you know the average person will spend 20,160 minutes of his or her life kissing? The world record for the longest continuous kiss is 58 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds. But why do we kiss?
If you think about it, it seems a bit weird, especially when our mouths are primarily used for eating, drinking, breathing and communicating.
Kissing today represents peace, passion, respect and love. But when the first two people in human history kissed, what were they trying to do? Why did brains and bodies that love kissing become so common?
The scientific study of kissing is called “philematology” and it teaches us that kissing is good for you. A good kiss burns about 2-3 calories per minute and releasing epinephrine into the blood making your heart pump faster. Kissing also reduces bad cholesterol and perceived stress.
Evolutionary psychologists argue that what we know today as ‘kissing’ may have come from Kiss-Feeding, which is the exchange of pre chewed food from one mouth to another.
Mother birds are famous for doing this and many primates frequently do it as well. Not that long ago it was common between all human mothers and their children, this was before commercially produced bottled baby food was readily available, it made a lot of sense.
Nowadays it is not a practise in the western world, but actually its suggested to be beneficial for healthy mothers and children to continue this age old practise as it can provide nutrients, carbohydrates, protein, iron and zinc and anti body generators which are not always just available in breast milk or baby food. Plus adult saliva can help digest the food making essential vitamins like B12 easier for the baby to absorb.
Mouth to mouth attachment has a history of intimacy, trust and mouth to mouth closeness. Your saliva also carries information about who you are and your level of health. Mucus membranes in our mouth are permeable to levels of hormones like testosterone, making a kiss a great way to taste test a potential mate. So as a strategy for mate selection prehistoric people who enjoyed kissing and did it often, may have made better decisions, picked better mates and reproduced more successfully which would have made it the norm and created people who loved kissing.
Life is full of choices and uncertainty and it is advantageous to find a technique that will narrow down the right choices for you. Not every person out there is the best mate for you, but if it didn’t matter which one you picked, a kiss, a taste test wouldn’t be necessary and it wouldn’t need to feel so good or bring us so much pleasure.