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Sexual Health & Wellness
The Art of Kissing
by Violet Blue
Ever witnessed an act of "osculation"? You have if you've watched two people kiss! Kissing is a social act between people of all ages, and is also engaged in during sex in many (but not all) cultures. The physical act takes several forms: some pucker their lips and make a cursory smacking noise as they touch them to the other person's lips, cheeks, forehead or hand, with each kind of kiss having different social implications. The more a kiss lingers, becomes repetitive or intimate, the more it is interpreted as being a sexual behavior.
Considered the most arousing is the french kiss, where the kisser probes his or her partner's mouth with their tongue. The french kiss was first known as maraichinage, a term to describe the prolonged, deep tongue kiss practiced by the Maraichins, inhabitants of the French region of Brittany. In modern usage, "frenching," "french job," and "french kiss" can also be used as euphemisms for fellatio and cunnilingus in addition to referring to a tongue kiss.
Romans had three different terms for the act of kissing, which distinguished between a kiss for an acquaintance (basium), a close friend or relative (osculum), and a lover (suavium). As for slang terms, we modern English speakers seem to have as much fun making our own terms as we do actually kissing: box tonsils, lock lips, mack, make out, mouth wrestle, muzzle, neck, peck, plant a big one, play kissy-face, play mouth music, play tonsil-hockey, pucker up, smack, smooch, snog, suck face, swap spit, and tongue wrestle. The origin of SWAK (Sealed With a Kiss) comes from the custom of placing an affectionate symbolic kiss in the form of an X following one's signature on a letter, originating from the medieval practice of a largely illiterate European society where the X evolved to represent the actual signature. An important document was usually signed with an X, which was then kissed as a display of sincerity.
Maybe you have philemamania -- an unusual craving for kissing. Are you osculocentric? If so, you become aroused from kissing, and apparently are not alone. In AD 195, kissing was so exciting, and the medieval Christian doctrine so sexually repressive, that the Church set standards for kissing: the lips should never be open, and if any sexual pleasure was derived, the kiss should never be repeated. Such boring princples were easily outclassed in the Kama Sutra, a fifth century Hindu instructional book of sexual techniques which described 10 types of kisses. In the 1750s, young ladies taking refuge behind their fans signaled their lovers with a complex lexicon of over 50 gestures to signal amorous aims. A lady pressing the fan to her lips would be a sign to steal a kiss at the next opportune moment; spreading the fan open wide would tell him to make it passionate.
Looking to put more steam in your smooch? An excellent book which suggests kissing techniques is The Guide to Getting it On by Paul Joannides.
Information from The Bald-Headed Hermit and the Artichoke compiled by A.D. Peterkin, Great Moments in Sex by Cheryl Rilly and Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices by Brenda Love.
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