by Andrés F. Tejero González

Did you know that kissing a person for three minutes burns 15 calories? And that it activates more than 30 facial muscles? Or that kisses had a lot of importance in the medieval and that they were comparable to an agreement? Curious to know more – in this encyclopedia you will learn all the essential things about this way of expressing love. About its history, its biological meaning, its impact to health, its manners and its differences in various countries we want to tell you more.

Only one kiss is never sufficient

First of all, let’s start with a definition. A kiss is the act of pressing the lips against the surface of an object (generally the skin of another person). It is like a social expression of affection, of greeting, of respect or of love. The lips are sensitive in the structure of diverse animal organisms. They work like auxiliaries in the identification of the surroundings, like tools of suction or like auxiliaries in the emission of sounds. The kiss has a human social function determinant in the process of courtship.

Kissing means a deep exchange of feelings and of emotions. And it looks that it never suffices with a kiss, what explains because in this moment the brain produces oxytocin, to which is addicted. This hormone influences in functions where establishes a bow among two people – like the infatuation, the orgasm, the childbirth or the lactation. It’s associated with the affectivity, the tenderness and the fond touch. Moreover, it releases endorphins which are attributed to fight against inactivity and avoid to fall in depression.

Comparable with an agreement

A study of the University of Vienna showed that when a person melts the lips with his couple in a passionate kiss, the heartbeat goes of 60 until 130 by minute. So, it releases adrenaline and drops the tax of cholesterol. It looks as if the exchange of bacteria also reinforces the immune system. When a mother kisses her baby she absorbs some germs of the small, discovered the study. But at the same time it increases the production of his defences.

So a kiss is healthy. The researcher Arthur Sazbo, of the University Wilfrid Laurier of Ontario (Canada), found that among the couples that say goodbye with a kiss in the morning there is minor labour absenteeism, fewer accidents of traffic, win 25% more than money and their life expectations will lengthen five years. An explanation would be that both begin the day with a more positive attitude and with more vital energy, what affects in many respects.

In the medieval, the kiss could express things untill changes that produced in politics, in religion and in the system of values – Yannick Carré in his book “Le baiser sur la bouche au Moyen Age”

At that time, the kiss had even the importance of an agreement. Even, gentleman and vassal sealed with a kiss their swearing of mutual fidelity.

Kisses as a prolongation of the lactation period

Although the last thing people thinking about while kissing is health, it is an important issue. To know more about it we have to go back to the past. Studies show that the origin of kissing goes back to prehistoric societies, in which the mothers fed their babies giving them with the mouth already chewed foods. According to other theses, the kiss is a prolongation of the lactancia.

In our times, the kiss has a more psychological meaning. “It is a demonstration of affection, of love, of respect, of friendship. With a kiss you communicate a lot of things”, analysed Francesca Albini, author of the book Bacioterapia, in a report in The Avant-garde.

Through the kiss the lovers develop a main propensity to create strong bows, what includes the desire to form a family, according to Desmond Morris, author of Innate Behaviour.

Profits and risks for the health


  • The release of adrenaline and noradrenalina in the bloodstream causes a series of physical changes in the cardiovascular action. This leads to an increase of the rhythm of the heart and the pumping of the blood.
  • A kiss can burn of two to three calories by minute.
  • The endorfina released in a kiss can be more powerful to the action of the morphine, what contributes to level the stress levels and gives a feeling of well-being.
  • Other profits of the kiss include the increase of the levels of self-esteem, the activation of the facial muscles, the release of the anaesthetic contained in the saliva, minor levels of cholesterol in the cardiovascular system and the improvement0 of the metabolic functions.​


  • Likely are risks to the health respective distinct pains by the transmission extracorporal of the pathogens contained in the human saliva.
  • Some infective illnesses represent risks to the health by the virus and other microorganisms in the saliva.
  • Some possibly transmitted illnesses by the labial contact include any type of flu and the simple herpes.
  • The infections of sexual transmission do not represent a degree of contagion in the labial contact. Except when it exists a buccal injury that favor the contact of the skin without protection against the blood vessels of the exposed skin.

First kiss is the key to continue a relation

A study of the University of Albany of New York published in Evolutionary Psychology found out that for the woman as well as for the man the first kiss is key to continue the relation. “It could have mechanisms in the subconsciousnesse that detect some incompatibility of genetic type”, assume the researchers. Like this, kissing would be a bit like doing a natural selection of the species.  58% of the men and 66% of the women polled in the study admitted that after the first kiss put end to some romance.

Man and woman see the kiss with distinct nuances, nevertheless. They would essentially kiss to win the sexual favours of his couple. For them, it is a way to value the degree of commitment of the man in the relation that can arise. According to  American studies, the women valued appearances like the breath, the flavour and until the health of the teeth. In particular, the smell would improve especially during the ovulation, indicated one of the researchers, Gordon Gallup.

The desire of kissing does not work if it does not achieve an agreement with the smell, explains Alain Montadon in his book The kiss: what about this daily gesture?. 

Having sex without kissing is more likeful for men

As a result, you can say that women would have less sexual relations with somebody that does not know to kiss or whose kiss does not answer to his sensory and preferences. Instead, they fix more in the appeal of the face of his couple, the appearance of his body and until in his weight. And more than half of the men questioned affirmed that they would have sexual relations with a woman without going through the kiss. Women only will do this with a percentage of less than 14%.

The people devote the equivalent to two weeks of his life to kisses. But, for some experts, in the current relations, this gesture has lost importance of the hand of a minor romanticism. A lot of adolescent couples, do not devote the time that took before the enamoured for the previous courtships, the kisses, caresses and erotic games. To them we are used to to be as previous steps to a sexual relation.

There is not any other act that allows a total voluntary implication of a human like the kiss, asserts Jean-Luc Tournier, author of Small encyclopaedia of the kiss.

History of kisses

The kiss is a natural practice in diverse animal species that has developed the labial conjunction like a method of communication among two individuals. An evolutionary antecedent of the kiss arises in diverse animal species of primates, which developed the kiss like a road of diet in which the mother premasticaba the food to deposit it in the mouth of the child, since this was unable to chew the solid food because of the absence of dental pieces.

Historically, the kiss among humans has represented a component in the study of the patterns in the sexual relations of the actuality. The most ancient evidence that describes to the practice of the conjunction of lips like elementary component in the relations extrapersonales of sexual character trace to the Indian culture to 1500 to.C. For the third century of ours was, the Kama Sutra, holy book of Vatsyayana that describes the natural divinity of the sex, already included references to the practice of the kiss like sexual practice.


Kisses as a ritual

The kiss is a practice identified like a social conventionalism of distinct cultures, notably appreciated in the western culture. The kiss, in addition to expressing feelings of affection or sexual intentions, also expresses feelings of loyalty, admiration or respect. The kiss also represents fundamental part in the social code of label, the popular beliefs, the social conventionalisms and the religious practices in the cultures of distinct countries.


The kiss has the function to express respect, admiration or simple courtesy inside the codes of the conventional social behaviour; of this way, in some cultures is common besar to the person to which has him deep admiration or respect. In his more common form is the kiss to the hand of the person, headed to people to which has him deep admiration, with the intention of the galantería or the coquetería, like a response to the traditional courtesy or because it is headed to upper-class people, people of the feminine sex or mandators.

The kiss also is used like an informal greeting to people emotionally near or familiar identities that fulfils with the courtesy and expresses feelings of loyalty, affection, amour or respect. In such a case, the kiss like a greeting can involve distinct intentions that go further of a simple practical of the traditional courtesy.