Pucker up as we span the globe in pursuit of everything there is to know about everyone’s favourite social gesture—the kiss.
Snogging, smooching, necking—whatever you call it, it seems just about everyone’s doing it.
Or are they? The answer might surprise you. Kissing isn’t universally accepted and, even today, there are some cultures that have no place for it. Indeed, some 650m people—or about 10% of the world—doesn’t partake at all. Until contact with the West, for example, kissing wasn’t practiced among Somalis, the Lepcha people of Sikkim or Bolivia’s indigenous Sirionó.
So, while most cultures engage in the embrace in some form or another, many have differing views on its practice. This has led some to suspect that that kissing is simply cultural. While others believe it serves a biological function to aid in sexual selection. It’s more likely the answer lies somewhere in between. While we all share the biological imperative to kiss, its style and expression is shaped by our culture and experience.