Magazine article Newsweek

A Kiss Is Not a Kiss

Magazine article Newsweek

A Kiss Is Not a Kiss

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Weller

Leave it to a scientist to think anyone has to explain the importance of kissing.

A recent study confirms what most of us already know: Kissing is a great way to find and keep that special someone, but it also establishes how puckering up may be essential to the survival of the species. To say nothing of Hollywood movies.

"Kissing in human sexual relationships is incredibly prevalent in various forms across just about every society and culture," says Rafael Wlodarski, an Oxford University researcher who carried out the research. "And we are still not exactly sure why it is so widespread or what purpose it serves."

Wlodarski conducted the study (in which more than 900 adults were questioned) with the aid of Oxford psychologist Professor Robin Dunbar. The team asked subjects how important they believed kissing to be in assessing a partner's genetic fitness; how important kissing was to initiating sexual arousal; and to what extent kissing helped sustain a romantic relationship.

Readers of Jane Austen will be shocked to learn that good-looking people enjoy much more selection when it comes to choosing a partner. Winners of the genetic lottery tend to value kissing more than their less-attractive counterparts, the researchers found; they also had more casual encounters, not surprisingly. This suggests that kissing is, in part, a means of testing a partner's potential: The more men a woman kisses, the more likely she is to be selective when it comes to Mr. Right, or Mr. …

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