Monday, January 10, 2011


Time for another tidbit from The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara G. Walker. This time the subject is kissing, a topic near and dear to a romance writer's heart.

The original Sanskrit word for kiss was cusati, meaning "he sucks." The kiss was a variation of a primitive mother-child behavior, true for origins of most forms of affectionate contact. The romantic idea of kissing was believed to have come from mouth-to-mouth feeding practiced among ancient Greeks and others as a form of love play. In Germany and Austria as recently as 19th century A.D. mothers commonly premasticated food to feed to infants by "kissing." Kissing was most common in Europe as a way to create a bond among clan members. This is the origin of the expression "kissing cousins." Yet kissing was virtually unknown in Asia. As another note, Eskimos and Amerindians did not kiss but inhaled the breath of loved ones by "rubbing noses."

So next time you snog, or land a smacker, or get to first base, or smooch, or any lovely euphemism for locking lips, you can be assured that the activity is of tremendous value. It has proud origins in ensuring the continuation of our species. And if the image of sharing premasticated food is bothersome, just block it out by humming an old favorite: "You must remember this a kiss is still a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh; the fundamental things apply, as time goes by."


Wynter Daniels said...

Good post. I always love hearing where things originate.

Cara McKenna said...

I'd heard that—about Asian people not having kissing as a part of their culture—and always wondered if it was just a myth. Fascinating! Thanks, Michelle!

Michelle Polaris said...

The more I learn things the more I realize I don't know a thing.