• Sat. Jun 3rd, 2023

Our Lips are Unsealed: Exploring the Science & Culture of Kissing


May 26, 2023

Amongst the lots of “firsts” we encounter in our lives, a 1st kiss is 1 of the most memorable.

In addition to getting a novel encounter, our brains acquire pleasure and info from kissing. Our lips are the most exposed erogenous zones on our bodies, and a excellent, consensual kiss triggers hormones that give us a rush of want and enjoy.

Science communicator Sheril Kirschenbaum talks with host Anita Rao about these physical effects of a kiss and how they aid us measure compatibility with a prospective companion. She also describes the cultural history of kissing, like how locking lips has enforced energy structures and how kissing is interpreted differently about the globe, all subjects discussed in her book “The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us.”

Kadar Smaller, a photographer, director and filmmaker primarily based in New York City, also joins the conversation to share the inspiration behind his photo series “PDA.” Kadar photographs moments of kissing and intimacy in between Black and brown queer people in public and at property, exploring what this sort of connection appears like by way of his function.

Anita also talks about the cultural milestone of a 1st kiss with a group of existing and former WUNC youth reporters. Higher college students Parys Smith and Donna Diaz, along with college student Chris Williams, share the stories of their 1st kiss, how they assume about boundaries and what constitutes a excellent kiss.

Thank you to Caroline, Jeanine, Caitlin, Kristin, Lawrence and Steven for sharing with us for this episode!

Remembering the 1st Kiss

How Old Have been You?

 A word bubble over the outline of lips that features these words: 7th grade, PreK, 8th grade, middle school, 17, 16, 15, 6, 13.

We gathered with each other stories of 1st kisses from our listeners, guests, and colleagues … and we had such a wide variety of experiences!

What Was that 1st Kiss Like?

 A word bubble over the silhouette of two people kissing featuring the words: nothing special, making out, exciting, wet, 4 out of 10, awkward, gentle, clumsy, cringey, physically uncomfortable, inconsequential, anticipated, embarrassing, sweet, public, eager, unexpected, playful, nice, awkward, traumatic, simple, naive, biggest letdown of my life.

Who’s shocked that the most frequent adjective is “awkward”?

What Can a 1st Kiss Teach Us? (from former/existing WUNC youth reporters)

“My 1st kiss, there have been no boundaries. And even although I was young, it created me incredibly robust, in like, what I want and not letting folks come into my space.”
-Parys Smith

“There does not require to be tongue all that, like, it can just be sweet for a couple seconds.”
-Chris Williams

“It has to be the suitable moment. Kissing in basic, I assume it ought to just be energy”
-Donna Diaz

Why Do We Bear in mind Our 1st Kisses So Effectively?

“Novel experiences can spike all sorts of distinct neurotransmitters and hormones in our bodies … But we’re working with that kiss to inform us much more about the circumstance, how we’re feeling: Are we comfy? Are we stressed? So that memory is potent.”
-Sheril Kirschenbaum, author of “The Science of Kissing”

Leave a Reply