Researchers believe that kissing originated millions of years ago as a result of mothers pre-chewing food passing it along mouth-to their mouths to feed their young. While prechewing or pre-mastication is common in many parts of the world today, the true origin of kissing remains a mystery. It makes sense though, that providing nourishment by mouth evolved into using our mouths as a way to show love and affection.
Kissing involves all our senses. When we kiss, we see the other person clearly; we hear them, taste them, and touch them. We kiss our kids, we kiss our friends, and we kiss our lovers. As mammals, we enjoy touching and the feeling of skin-on-skin contact. While we don’t normally kiss others when we are sick, and we don’t kiss people who are sick—once we recover, we go back to behaving normally which means that we kiss!
With the corona pandemic, we must protect our health by avoiding close contact with others—possibly for years—so how are singles going to date and establish new relationships in times like these? The good news is that people are turning to dating apps in record numbers so that many of them are having an opportunity to get to know a potential partner well before they agree that they are ready to meet in person.
First dates will probably be socially distanced and, if after several dates a couple agrees they would like to move their relationship forward, they will need to discuss their level of comfort, how they plan to isolate, and they may even agree not to see other people during this phase. By the time they get to their first hug or kiss, a couple will have had the opportunity to develop a deep trust in a modern form of old-fashioned courtship.
For people who are single, “normalcy” will likely come with more health and safety conversations than in pre-virus days. Anyone could have the virus, or a sexually transmitted disease for that matter, so it is helpful for potential partners to know one another well before they agree to take it to the next level. Although physical chemistry cannot be replicated over a video chat, people can certainly figure out if they like one another.
In virtual dating, we miss out on our sense of smell which is one way we determine genetic compatibility. Human beings prefer the scent of a person whose compatibility genes are different from our own. They aren’t called compatibility genes because they help us find a compatible partner; they’re called that because these are genes that distinguish self from non-self and are believed to contribute to the success of pregnancy.
Casual kissing may not come back today or even tomorrow, but it will return because we humans are hardwired to smother our loved ones in kisses. Bisou, bisou!
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