Kissing is Not Universal
Jankowiak and his colleagues looked at academic observations of 168 cultures from around the world to assess how common romantic or sexual kissing is among humans. The results surprised them: They found that the romantic-sexual kiss was present in only 46 percent of these cultures. In general, the less complex the culture was (think hunter-gatherers), the less likely they were to engage in intimate kissing. Parent-child kissing was present almost everywhere. This suggests that intimate kissing develops as societies become more complex, perhaps due to increased leisure time. "It's a nice reminder that the world that we live in, and we think is so natural and so typical of just being human, is often an artifact of a particular historical moment in time," says Jankowiak.