Kissing: A Brief History

With Valentine’s Day approaching, many of us are filled with thoughts a of romantic love. Kissing is the natural next step, which had me wondering recently where the meeting of lips as a form of romantic expression began.

Some believe that kissing evolved from mothers chewing their food and feeding their babies from their lips, much as birds do. Um…that is if birds had lips.

Many believe the origination of kissing developed from a wholly unromantic source. It seems that in many ancient cultures, mothers, by necessity, chewed their food and then transferred the mashed bits directly into their babies mouths, much as mother birds do today. Historically, Mommy as food processor was a necessity, as one couldn’t just hop down to the local supermarket to pick up a case of baby peas and carrots.

The leap however to romantic kissing remains a tad vague. Originally, folks went around kissing hands and cheeks in a show of respect or fealty. The Romans, especially, were big kissers, though they had rules on how and when you kissed certain people.

Somewhere around the second century, the Kama Sutra was complied. The Indian text, that was the precursor to the best-selling, 1969 book Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex but Were Afraid to Ask, has an entire chapter—that would be Chapter 3, if you’re interested—on kissing. And it’s illustrated, just in case the verbiage confuses you.

Romeo and Juliet were rather fond of kissing, though things didn’t work out so well for them.

Romantic kissing had been around for a while when, near the end of the 16th century, Shakespeare penned what is arguable the greatest love story of all time, the tale of the doomed lovers Romeo and Juliet. “My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand. To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss,” said poor Romeo. We all know how that turned out, though the demise of the young lovers didn’t seem to dissuade others from smooching their hearts out.

While romance novels can be traced back to ancient Greece, the genre as we know it today appeared in the 18th and 19th centuries, and anyone who has ever cracked the spine on one of those babies knows that kissing is a big deal. In fact, it’s an actual plot point: the steamier the buildup to the event the better.

Perhaps it would be safer if we got our kissing from romance novels.

It might surprise you to know that there are cultures around the world that completely eschew kissing, mainly pointing out how dirty our mouths are, since they contain between 500 to 1,000 different types of bacteria. Still, for most of us, the pleasurable aspects of kissing override the inherent ewww factor.

Today, kissing is under assault. We are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic courtesy of Covid-19, so we are tasked with holding others at arm’s length. Social distancing is keeping our lips seriously separated, and we can’t work up much kissing action from six feet away.

Perhaps, when the virus has run its course, we can return to the lip locks of yore. In the meantime, can anyone recommend a good romance novel?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is wild-horses-on-the-salt-cover-2.jpg



Published by Liaison – A Next Chapter Imprint

Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.

Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?

Order your copy here:

4 thoughts on “Kissing: A Brief History

    • annemontgomeryauthor2013 says:

      Thank you, Linda. I am a bit jealous that you get to be with sweet horses. I only get to glimpse them occasionally down on the Salt River here in Arizona. That said, thank you for your interest in Wild Horses on the Salt. I hope you enjoy the read. Happy Valentine’s Day back at ya. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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