K is for Kissing

Hi everyone!  Welcome to the A to Z of Sex.  I’m Dr Lori Beth and I am your host.  We are working our way through the erotic alphabet one letter at a time.

Today’s letter is K and K is for Kissing.

I have always thought kissing is under rated.  It is how many cultures express affection and often deep kissing is the first part of a sexual encounter.   When we are children, many of us learn that a kiss from a parent can heal wounds.     As a parent, there is nothing like a kiss from your child.     As for lovers, if kissing doesn’t work, often the relationship ends right there.  Kissing can be formal and ritualistic – seen as a sacrament.    Kissing the hand can be the symbol of respect.  But where does kissing come from?

There are two schools of thought as to where kissing began.

One school of thought sees kissing as developing from feeding where the mother would pre-chew the child’s food and transfer it mouth to mouth.   The other school of thought is that kissing is instinctual.

Kissing as part of sex is mentioned as early as 3500 years ago in Hindu and Bhuddist writings.  The Kama Sutra devotes an entire chapter on kissing!

Kisses in the Kama Sutra include:

The nominal kiss – The receiver allows the lover to initiate the kiss and merely responds with a press of the lips.

The throbbing kiss – The receiver opens the mouth slightly, moving the lower lip only.

The touching kiss – The receiver places her hands over the lover’s and also touches the lip with their tongue.

The straight kiss  – both parties share equally and place their lips together.

The bent kiss – lovers bend their heads towards each other as they kiss

The pressed kiss – The lower lips of both lovers are pressed tightly against each other.

The greatly pressed kiss – One lover cups the lower lip of the other with two fingers and then touching the lip with their tongue, presses it tightly with their own lip.

The wager kiss – Each lover tries to grab the other’s lower lip first.  This is a teasing game played and women are advised to cry in order to win the game or increase the wager.

The kiss of the upper lip – Both lovers concentrate on one of the lips – or the or one partner initiates the upper kiss by getting the upper lip of the other and the other gets the lower lip and they use the whole of their lips in the kiss.

The clasping kiss – One of the lovers takes both the lips of the other in to theirs and smooches.  If the tongue touches palate, teeth or tongue of the other then it is called the fighting of the tongue.

The Kama Sutra goes on to talk about the emotions induced by different types of kisses.

Kissing is noted in the Old Testament on a number of occasions.

The Song of Songs has probably the most often quoted lyric on kissing ‘May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth for your love is better than wine’.

The Romans adored kissing and were probably responsible with spreading it from North Africa through to Europe.  They defined several types of kissing – the hand or cheek, the mouth with closed lips (for relatives) and with open mouth (passionate kiss).

The study of kissing began sometime in the 19th century and was named philematology. Darwin wrote about kissing and kissing-like behaviours (rubbing noses, sniffing the other person). Darwin believed that kissing was innate behaviour.

Wherever there is deep affection in western cultures, kissing is used to express it.

It has been used as an expression of extreme gratitude.   In East Asian cultures, sniff kissing (sniffing the person and kissing the cheek) is the most common form of kissing and mouth to mouth kissing is reserved for sexual foreplay.

So what is it about kissing that draws us in?

Kissing uses all of our senses.   Take a moment and think about the last really good kiss you experienced.   Do you remember the smell of the other person, the taste of their mouth, how their lips felt?   Kissing gives us the opportunity to connect intimately.  It is one of the best ways to reconnect as well.

Your lips have TONS of nerve endings.  In fact, they can feel as much or more pleasure than the clitoris and the penis.  Helen Fisher, who is an anthropologist from Rutgers University  believes kissing most likely evolved to encourage three essential needs: lust, attraction and attachment. Our libido drives us to find sexual partners, romantic love drives us to commit to a relationship (or multiple relationships) and attachment keeps us together over the long haul.

Kissing causes the release of oxytocin – the bonding hormone which promotes trust, attachment and bonding.  So it increases intimacy as well as passion.   Passionate kissing will get your libido started by raising your blood pressure, your heart rate. Open mouth kissing with a man allows for transfer of testosterone which increases the libido of the partner. It burns calories (1 to 2 per minute) and lowers your stress levels.  It can increase your life expectancy: research demonstrates married men who are kissed goodbye by their wives each day live 5 years longer.

When we kiss, it helps us to choose the right mate because we take in so much biological information via saliva and pheromones.  It can let us know if we are biologically compatable or too closely related biologically.  When you are healthy, kissing can boost both immune systems.  It uses all 34 muscles in the face.

Great kissers use their whole bodies.   They nibble, use their tongues, move with their partners and most of all take their time.

Movies had to contend with the Hay Code from 1928 to the mid -50’s where kissing for 3 seconds was all that was allowed. They were creative and broke off the kisses every 3 seconds – and yet the kisses lasted a long time.  For example, in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1946 film notorious there is a two and a half minute kissing scene.

Valentino was famous for kissing a woman’s hand and then up her arm finishing at the back of her neck.

Kissing all over the body is incredible foreplay.   The Kama Sutra describes different types of kissing on different areas of the body and gives specific instructions as to how to gain specific emotional and sexual responses.    When staying aroused has become a problem in a relationship, returning to just kissing can help move things on.   I have often had couples restrict themselves to kissing for a few weeks and note their responses.  They often report a large increase in desire and higher levels of intimacy while they are spending lots of time only kissing.

Kissing may let you know how satisfied a man is with your relationship.   A study done at the Kinsey Institute for Sexual Research demonstrated that kissing and cuddling were the most important predictors for relationship satisfaction. A study at University College London found that men who kiss their partners goodbye before leaving the house have fewer car accidents.

Kissing acts as a brilliant pain killer.  Endorphins are released and these are the body’s natural pain killers which are far more powerful than morphine.

Kissing increases confidence. When you kiss someone, you are telling them that they are valuable to you, attractive to you and that you want to be intimate with them. All of these messages increase your self-confidence and self-esteem. A German study found that men who left home after having a good deep kiss from their wives earned more money.

The same hormones (oxytocin and endorphins) can help boost self-esteem and self-confidence.

As your kissing prowess increases, your confidence increases because you can see that you are creating intense joy in your partner, increasing his desire and increasing his sexual satisfaction.

If your relationship has reached a bit of a stall, your desire has decreased, why not use kissing to help get things moving again?

I would love to hear your stories about kissing – email me at

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Join me next week when the letter will be L.

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