People kiss each other, usually by using their lips and mouth to touch each other. However, there are many different types of kiss, with different meanings. Also, the meaning of kissing may be different in different cultures. Most often, people kiss to show love or affection for each other. Sometimes people kiss as a sign of friendship, sometimes it is a ritual performed to greet someone.
Types of kisses
Greeting kisses are not given for sexual passion, but simply a sign of friendship. In many parts of the world, women often kiss on meeting female friends, but men do not. And the female greeting kiss may not actually touch the friend's face. In the past of many western countries men used to kiss the back of a woman's hand when being introduced. This suggests that a direct kiss from a man to a woman was too intimate to be just a greeting.
There are different ways of kissing. People might kiss on the cheeks to greet someone, or to bid them farewell. Depending on the culture it usually does not mean that the kisser loves the person he or she kissed. Kissing when female friends meet is usual in many countries, with some interesting variations. Parisian females often do a rapid double 'air kiss' or 'cheek kiss': a kiss on each side twice, but without lips touching flesh.
A kiss may be a ritual, that is, a symbolic or social gesture showing devotion, respect or greeting. Temples, religious books or icon are sometimes given a ritual kiss. A bride and groom kissing at the end of a wedding ceremony or national leaders kissing each other in greeting, are examples.
Kisses and health
It is possible to spread diseases through kissing, but it is also possible to exaggerate the danger. Exotic diseases like herpes and mononucleosis can be spread, but that is rare, and spreading HIV this way is almost unknown. Colds and the flu are much more likely to be spread. Mononucleosis is well known for being spread through kissing. Many diseases that can be spread by sharing drinks can also be spread by kissing.
The upside to this is that, usually, kissing makes people happier. That has health benefits.
- Case of H.I.V. transmission is first to be linked to kiss - New York Times
- Floyd, Kory et al (2 April 2009). "Kissing in marital and cohabiting relationships: effects on blood lipids, stress, and relationship satisfaction". Western Journal of Communication (Informaworld.com) 73 (2): 113–133. doi:10.1080/10570310902856071. http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a910750318. Retrieved 28 March 2010.
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