Sealed With a Kiss: A Little History on Smooching

The first described romantic kiss dates back to 1000 BCE

by Lesley Kennedy • Reporter

We're ready to kiss and tell: Kissing started as sniffing.

Not very romantic-sounding on Valentine’s Day, but Reuters reports sniffing begat kissing oh-so-many centuries ago.

“At some point, they slipped and ended up on the lips, and they thought that was a lot better,” anthropologist and kissing evolution expert Vaughn Bryant tells the news service. “You got a lot more bang for your buck.”

Bryant's got a point. Brushing a nose across a face just doesn’t have the same appeal as brushing lips, now, does it?

Impress your sweetie today with a few kissing facts, courtesy of Reuters:

  • The first descriptions of romantic kissing date back to 1000 BCE in India, with this line from the epic poem Mahabharata: “She set her mouth to my mouth and made a noise that produced pleasure in me.” Ree-ow!
  • Alexander the Great is thought to have spread the kissing love to Europe.
  • A number of popes attempted to put the kibosh on romantic kissing, including Clement V, who in 1312 announced “kissing done with the intent to fornicate was to be considered a mortal sin.”

And to that, we can only say mwah, mwah. Now, go get your Valentine’s Day kissing on, sinners! XOXO

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First Published February 14, 2012

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