What’s the Origin of Kissing? Is it Practised in all Cultures?

Kissing is for sitcoms and movies with little to do in most cultures and many traditions abhor the open kissing as uncomfortable and even flat-out repulsive act. How did it origin by the way?

Going by some anthropological studies, kissing is not universal and some cultures abhor it while some interesting studies show that kissing originated from chimapnzees.

Justin Garcia from Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, co-author of a paper titled “Is the Romantic-Sexual Kiss a Near Human Universal?” and published in the journal American Anthropologist has taken the pain to study at 168 cultures throughout the world to relate kissing and its practice.

The study found out that fewer than half of all cultures surveyed, 46 percent to be precise, engage in romantic/sexual kissing, which means lip-to-lip contact.



“We hypothesized that some cultures would either not engage in romantic/sexual kissing, or find it to be a strange display of intimacy, but we were surprised to find that it was a majority of cultures that fell into this category,” said Garcia from the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences, pointing out how Western ethnocentrism is biased that kissing was universal.

Romantic kissing was most prevalent in the Middle East, where all 10 cultures studied engaged in it while in North America, 55% of cultures practised romantic kissing, along with 70% in Europe and 73% in Asia.

But there was no evidence of romantic kissing in Central America, and no ethnographer working with Sub-Saharan Africa, New Guinea or Amazon tribes or cultures reported any evidence of romantic kissing, said the study.

It is not clear where romantic/sexual kissing evolved from, Garcia said. She says it could have come from chimpanzees, which are known to engage in open-mouth kissing. So, there it is!

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