The Science of Kissing, by Sheril Kirshenbaum (review)

February 10, 2012 Book Reviews 0

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I’ve been reading Sheril Kirshenbaum’s The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us.  As the title suggests, this isn’t a how-to book, at least primarily; instead, it explores the psychology, physiology, biochemistry, evolutionary biology, neurochemistry, and cultural anthropology of kissing.  Sound dull?  It’s anything but. Kirshenbaum explains how kissing varies from culture to culture, how and why kissing may help people find the right partner, how animal behaviors may or may not be related to human kissing, how men and women view kissing differently, and what goes on in the brain during a kiss.  One chapter even discusses the downsides to kissing: germ transmission and possible allergic reaction — not to one’s partner, but to what s/he has been eating.  Kirshenbaum also speculates on the future of kissing in an age of Internet dating services and robotic “companions” (yes, they actually exist.)  The Science of Kissing will leave you with a new appreciation of a not-so-simple act.

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