Let's look at the science of kissing. Yes there is a name for it! The science of kissing is philematology. The scientific term for kissing is osculation and kissing uses mainly one muscle, the orbicularis oris, which is responsible for puckering your lips. There, that takes the romance out of it, doesn't it?
The skin on human lips is the thinnest layer of skin on the body and the lips are the body region most densely populated with sensory neurons. Along with the tongue and the rest of the mouth (getting hotter?) kisses send messages to the brain and the rest of the body-- physical reactions, emotional reactions and sensory pleasure. The pupils dilate, breathing deepens, the heart rate speeds up and often rational thought disappears. Kissing can boost brain chemicals associated with pleasure and euphoria and a desire to connect with the person you're kissing.
Kissing is not done in every culture in the world. There are cultures in Asia, Africa and South America where people do not kiss at all. In some culturea, people kiss each other on both cheeks as a greeting, and both Eskimos and Egyptians "kiss" by rubbing noses. Certain African tribes literally kiss the ground of their leaders. In some cultures, worshippers kiss religious symbols. Friends kiss platonically. Relatives greet and kiss with affection (sometimes fake affection, which I call the "in-law kiss". Ahem.) But even though some kisses are platonic and others are romantic, they all are usually a way of expressing some kind of positive emotion.
Analyzing kissing from a scientific perspective will probably never fully explain to us the magic and mystery and thrill of a kiss. How do we explain that one bad first kiss between a couple getting to know each other can put an end to any possible relationship between them? A Gallup survey revealed 59 percent of men and 66 percent of women lost their romantic interest in their kissing partner after a "bad" first kiss. People couldn't explain what was bad about it - it just didn't feel right.
Well, the science is interesting but as a romance writer I'm much more interested in the emotional and sensory responses to kissing. Here is Robert Burns describing a kiss:
To A Kiss
Humid seal of soft affections,
Tend'rest pledge of future bliss,
Dearest tie of young connections,
Love's first snow-drop, virgin kiss.
Speaking silence, dumb confession,
Passion's birth, and infants' play,
Dove-like fondness, chaste concession,
Glowing dawn of brighter day.
Sorrowing joy, adieu's last action,
Ling'ring lips, -- no more to join!
What words can ever speak affection
Thrilling and sincere as thine!
~ Robert Burns
And here's a kissing scene from one of my upcoming releases, Rule of Three:
Dag turned back to Kassidy, bent his head and took her mouth. She opened for him immediately with a small sound in her throat, her mouth sinfully soft, sweetly delicious and warm as summer. Her hands came to rest on his chest. He wanted her to rub there, but they’d get to that. He kissed her, again and again, long deep kisses, licked her mouth, found her tongue and played with it. Her body melted against him, all warm soft skin and pink lace. Jesus.
His other arm slid around her, palm on her back, pressing her against him, her breasts soft, her pussy hot. Damp heat poured off her, in fact, he could smell it, tantalizing feminine arousal. He got lost in it, in everything, the feel of her body in his arms, the taste of her mouth, the vanilla and warm amber and girl scent of her, so much that he forgot about Chris watching them and drifted off on a cloud of erotic pleasure.
Okay now! Research shows that kissing couples tilt their heads to the right twice as often as they tilt to the left, and it doesn't seem to be related to being right or left handed - which way do you tilt your head when you go in for a kiss???