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Christmas: The Season of the SMOOCH

With the holidays, there’s a whole lotta kissing going on…..especially now, when mask-wearing isn’t such a thing…..and similar to travel, there seems to be a backlog of pent up desire.

There are all those air-kissing parties, long-lost lovers from around the world are descending from flights and falling into one another’s arms, families are re-uniting in hugs and kisses and all that mistletoe to make use of.

So, with that in mind, how about some enlightenment about the whole subject and science of kissing?

First: a definition.

A kiss is the autonomic juxtaposition of two orbicular muscles in the state of contraction.

Yep. Pretty sexy huh?

“Why in the world would you know that off the top of your head?” a surprised friend asked.

My eighth grade science teacher is to thank for this one.

We were learning the scientific definitions of all kinds of common body functions….like chewing, for example. My teacher could not bear any of our eighth grade “nonsense” when the day came for us to learn about kissing… you might imagine the hormones budding throughout our classroom. She slammed her hand down on her desk as she yelled for us to quit acting like a bunch of “ninnies”.

Mrs. Hildreth was the toughest of old goats with a voice whose vocal chords had turned into gravel years before. We could all imagine her CHEWING most anything; nails, shoe leather, small pieces of lumber. Since our class was right after lunch, most days, we also got to revisit what she had just eaten, with the leftover strings and chards dangling between the gaps in her teeth.


No way.

NONE of us could EVER imagine HER kissing anyone. What a study in undeniable and indelible contrast it became. At the time, I didn’t know the phenomenon or value of what I was actually experiencing but I later learned it was called JUXTAPOSITION…whenever two highly unlikely things get paired together in some kind of unusual contrast…..they will always create a deeper impression and longer lasting memories. A LA, Mrs. Hildreth drilling her eight graders about KISSING. The scientific definition stuck.

Here’s what science has to say about kissing….. compiled by people who actually make a living researching this stuff: 1. We will spend approximately two weeks of our lives…..kissing. 2. Americans lock lips for an average of 336 hours—or more than 20,000 minutes over a lifetime. 3. Kissing can slow the aging process and help you look and feel younger because of the pleasure chemicals released within the brain. It reduces cortisol production…..cortisol is known to be a culprit in increasing our waistlines and aging our skin. Kissing not only involves puckering the lips but toning the facial muscles as well. 4. Kissing can burn up to six calories per minute. Wonder what would happen if you could kiss the person next to you on the treadmill? 5. Kissing provides a healthier mouth. Saliva contains substances that fight bacteria, viruses and fungi. Deep kissing increases the flow of saliva, which helps to keep the mouth, teeth and gums healthy. You and your partner can help boost one another’s immune system. 6. Kissing strengthens the emotional bond between people.

Kissing as an integral part of our culture 1. Americans actually coined the term French kissing in 1923. The French did not have to call it anything. They already knew what they were doing.

2. The KISSING POST at Ellis Island. After immigrants had gone through the long passage just getting to the US, they were then sent through a rigorous process of identification, health evaluations, and personal interviews about their intended contributions to our country. Un-accompanied women and children were sent through a special system of board hearings to try to place them with sponsors and/or family members already residing in the US. The final room after all this assimilation was called the Registry room. That room had a column holding up the structure. It became dubbed by the Ellis Island employees as “THE KISSING POST” in reaction to the joyful reunions and kisses between relatives and loved ones.


Kissing is the foundation of intimacy for all our

relationships. Whether you are kissing a child, a parent,

a lover, or your pet….kisses are most often

a spontaneous act of love and affection

hardwired into our DNA.


Here are the 3 most important things to remember, always, about kissing...

1. No matter the age, the desire for closeness and intimacy never dissipates. A kiss is always something special between two people.

2. A kiss can create a vivid, indelible, pleasurable memory. I bet you remember exactly where you were when you had your very first one.

3. Chances are also good you can recall every detail surrounding the moment you first kissed the person who was to become your husband or wife or significant other. You can take yourself back to that moment instantly. Remembering our kisses, even for a moment, are like a laser, right to the heart. And that’s a very good thing.

SO, PUCKER UP this holiday. Exercise and energize those orbicular muscles.


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