26 March 2011


Have you ever heard this word 'philematology'? It is the science (or art) of kissing! On hearing this, some of us may frown(in front of others), some may look shy, some may look naughty. But how many of us knows that kissing is not as simple a thing as it seems?
Several studies show that kissing is the second most popular method for showing intimacy(First place goes to holding hands). Technically speaking, "A kiss is the act of pressing one's lips against the lips or other body parts of another or of an object." Although the meaning and the way of doing it varies widely among various cultures, it is being observed as a common attribute of all human beings, even in the primitives of Africa and Australia.
Dr. Christopher Nyrop(1680-1733) studied about kisses in detail and authored a book The Kiss and its History'. He identified many types of kisses, although many of them overlaps in nature. Adolecence kissing is common in many cultures which is just a harmless growing up custom. Sexual or romantic kiss is another popular type which in itself varies in nature in different cultures. Kiss of affection is another popular type which is far deeper and more lasting than romantic kiss. It is not just among parents and children, but also among memebers of the same family as brothers and sisters. Kissing is also observed as a ritual in some cultures. E.g. ancient warriors used to kiss their swords before going to a battle. Kissing becomes a part of religious belief when you kiss the floor of a temple or the hand of The Pope. There are many other types like kiss of peace, kiss of respect, kiss of friendship etc that are observed in various parts of world.The licking and grooming behavior shown by cats, birds, birds etc are also considered as a form of kissing.

Biology also has some interesting things to tell about kissing. It says, kissing is a complex behavior that requires significant muscular coordination involving a total of 34 facial muscles and 112 postural muscles! Kissing has been studied in a controlled experiment and the result indicates that increasing the frequency of kissing in marital and cohabiting relationships results in a reduction of perceived stress, an increase in relationship satisfaction, and a lowering of cholesterol levels!

Now that I told you this much about kissing, it is not fair to avoid this warning. In India, public display of affection is a criminal offense under Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 with a punishment of imprisonment of up to three months, or a fine, or both. So beware!