Kissing is something we’ve often taken for granted as a standard part of romance, but scientists have been all over the world and they’ve come back to tell us we were wrong the whole time.
Previously, it’s always been believed that romantic kissing happens in most cultures, but the first ever worldwide study has revealed that only 46% of the world’s cultures kiss romantically. In fact, some cultures find the idea of lip-to-lip contact strange, or even repulsive.
Researchers from Indiana University studied 168 cultures around the world to see what part kissing played in romantic relationships, publishing their findings in the American Anthropologist journal.
If these results seem surprising, it might show that we can tend to view the world through our own perspectives and experiences, sometimes taking things like kissing for granted. Knowing that we kissers are in the minority might be a fun excuse to enjoy it that little bit more.
The Middle East seemed to like kissing most, with all of the cultures studied there engaging in kissing. 73% of Asian cultures, 70% of European cultures, and only 55% of North American cultures were fans of kissing. The researchers found no evidence at all of kissing in Central America, or among the foraging cultures of Sub-Saharan Africa, New Guinea, and the Amazon.
Interestingly, the results suggest that the more complex a society is, the more likely its inhabitants are to engage in kissing. So the fact that we have varying degrees of social and economic statuses may be connected to why we have evolved into a culture of kissing those we are attracted to.
Kissing can be a way of finding out how we feel about a potential partner, testing out whether or not there is chemistry, and whether a person ‘feels right’ to us.
Further studies may be done into how a society evolves from being a non-kissing one into a kissing one. In the meantime, let’s be grateful that we live in a society where kissing is part of the adventure of sex and romance.