Why do we as humans enjoy kissing?

  • Thread starter mollymae
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I have read that chimpanzees have also been observed kissing each other. Are we (humans and chimpanzees) the only apes (or animals in general) that do this? From an evolutionary perspective, how did we develop this behavior?
 

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  • #2
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I think it's entirely a cultural thing. People enjoy physical intimacy with those they consider sexually attractive. Since they have to endure long periods of courting before they can mate, especially during adolescence (when kissing is more or less OK, but mating is usually not), they end up trained to enjoy kissing as a proxy to mating.

I recall reading that isolated hunter-gatherer tribes usually have different rituals, e.g. rubbing noses, in place of kissing.
 
  • #3
We have a large number of very sensitive nerves in our lips and tongues, and that is a common link with pretty much everything we enjoy doing with other people in this context. I would go on, but I think you get the point.
 
  • #4
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I think it's entirely a cultural thing. People enjoy physical intimacy with those they consider sexually attractive. Since they have to endure long periods of courting before they can mate, especially during adolescence (when kissing is more or less OK, but mating is usually not), they end up trained to enjoy kissing as a proxy to mating.

I recall reading that isolated hunter-gatherer tribes usually have different rituals, e.g. rubbing noses, in place of kissing.
For further evidence, in Slavic cultures, (until recently) kissing was a totally non-sexual form of greeting.
 
  • #5
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I have read that chimpanzees have also been observed kissing each other. Are we (humans and chimpanzees) the only apes (or animals in general) that do this? From an evolutionary perspective, how did we develop this behavior?
There are two aspects of this as has been mentioned, but I will try and elaborate a little more.

First the non-sexual where kissing is done as a sign of caring. This may take place when greeting someone or departing or during some other situation in which we want to establish an intimate contact. Like some other primates, kissing is a form of contact which is something we seem to require right from birth, the contact aspect. it makes us feel good and it makes us feel wanted.

Now for the sexual aspect of kissing. In this case, kissing not only makes us feel good and wanted, but it excites (as has been mentioned already) and helps prepare both parties for the ultimate, which is sex. Kissing is particularly important because the arousal period for the female takes longer than for the male. And so reaching that point can be helped through long and intimate kissing. This is nature's way of preparing couples for a successful sexual experience.
 
  • #6
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiss" [Broken] is a good read if you're interested in this. Kissing as it is now is European in origins, and many cultures did not engage in kissing until introduced to it. One study shows that kissing between lovers evolved from the more innocent kiss from a mother to their child, and that kiss had the benefits of inoculating the child and strengthening its immune system, which I suppose may have some reason as to why it began.
 
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