The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page - WO R D S //

For many, the mo­ment Rhett But­ler pulls Scar­lett O’Hara into his arms for a pas­sion­ate kiss is the most iconic li­plock in sil­ver screen his­tory. But that mo­ment in the 1939 block­buster is not en­tirely what it seems.

The ac­tress por­tray­ing Scar­lett, Vivian Leigh, did not en­joy kiss­ing her co-star Clark Gable be­cause he had den­tures which caused no­to­ri­ously bad breath, and she was heard com­plain­ing about film­ing their more pas­sion­ate mo­ments in be­tween scenes.

If even the most sen­sual on-screen kiss is a lie, then what hope is there for the rest of us?

Why do peo­ple kiss? And what makes a good kiss? What does it say about a re­la­tion­ship when there is a lot of kiss­ing or no kiss­ing?

Mel­bourne dat­ing coach Chris Manak says that when it comes to kiss­ing, our sub­con­scious re­ac­tions are just as im­por­tant, if not more im­por­tant, than our con­scious minds. Our sub­con­scious minds are much more ac­cu­rate when it comes to recog­nis­ing some­one we have strong chem­istry with and it can of­ten tell from the mo­ment two peo­ple’s lips first meet.

“Sig­nif­i­cant ar­eas of the brain light up when you’re kiss­ing some­one,” Manak said. “A lot of sub­con­scious ac­tiv­ity goes on.” Manak said women are usu­ally at­tracted to men with an op­pos­ing im­mune sys­tem be­cause it en­ables them to have strong, healthy chil­dren. Of­ten peo­ple were at­tracted to one an­other, kissed, but felt in­stinc­tively that it wasn’t quite right.

Hu­mans, along with mon­keys, are one of the few crea­tures on this planet who kiss.

In fact, a study un­der­taken by the Amer­i­can An­thro­pol­o­gist journal looked at 168 cul­tures from around the world and found that even among hu­mans, only 46 per cent of cul­tures kissed in the ro­man­tic sense. The study dis­puted the be­lief that ro­man­tic kiss­ing was a univer­sal hu­man be­hav­iour, in­stead sug­gest­ing it seemed to be the prod­uct of western so­ci­eties, passed on from one gen­er­a­tion to the next.

But it’s not just so­cial con­di­tion­ing that makes us want to kiss some­one to whom we are at­tracted.

Sci­en­tist and love guru Sa­man­tha Jayne, who owns and op­er­ates a match-mak­ing and in­tro­duc­tion ser­vice, says there are many nerve end­ings in the tongue and lip area which in­ten­sify the sen­sa­tions we get from kiss­ing.

Lock­ing lips also makes us feel good, helps with bond­ing and re­duces stress.

That all comes down to the re­lease of a hor­mone called oxy­tocin when our lips meet. Oxy­tocin is widely known as the love hor­mone or cud­dle chem­i­cal. Some peo­ple even pur­chase nasal sprays con­tain­ing oxy­tocin to en­hance pos­i­tive feel­ings and so­cial skills.

But it’s not the only hor­mone re­leased when we kiss. Testos­terone also gets re­leased, which in­creases arousal.

The act of kiss­ing can help men pre­dict fer­til­ity, whether a woman is ovu­lat­ing, while women use it to as­sess chem­istry and DNA.

“Kiss­ing can help you bond – and gather ge­netic in­for­ma­tion,” Jayne said.

Pheromones also play an im­por­tant part in pick­ing a part­ner – sim­ply en­joy­ing the way some­one else smells can play a huge role in at­trac­tion. In fact, Jayne says if you have a laun­dry list of qual­i­ties you are look­ing for in a part­ner, you might as well tear it up right now.

“Peo­ple have these mas­sive laun­dry lists, he’s go­ing to have that or he’s go­ing to have this, but that laun­dry list has noth­ing to do with chem­istry,” she said.

Jayne rec­om­mends that her clients go on three dates be­fore they share a first kiss with some­one.

“The longer you spend with some­one, the more you get rid of that laun­dry list and let chem­istry hap­pen,” she says.

The good news is, there is no limit to how much you should kiss in a re­la­tion­ship. In fact, the op­po­site is true, be­cause kiss­ing will in­crease the bonds of any re­la­tion­ship.

“The more you kiss in a re­la­tion­ship, the bet­ter it is,” Jayne says.

“Women in par­tic­u­lar look out for pheromones, some peo­ple smell so good, oth­ers smell weird. It’s just com­pat­i­bil­ity, kiss­ing is a great way to test that.”

Ac­cord­ing to Jayne, a good kiss is a lot more im­por­tant to women than men.

“Women place a lot of im­por­tance on a good kiss,” she said.

“Men are more about the other phys­i­cal in­ter­ac­tions. Men can over­look a bad kiss.”

There are sci­en­tists out there who study the phe­nom­e­non of kiss­ing.

Philema­tol­o­gists aren’t re­ally sure why hu­mans started lock­ing lips, but Jayne says one the­ory is that it’s part of evo­lu­tion passed on from pri­mate moth­ers.

The the­ory sug­gests pri­mate moth­ers chewed food and passed it along to their tooth­less ba­bies. But kiss­ing is now about a lot more than re­ceiv­ing sus­te­nance.

“Kiss­ing is about hu­mans bond­ing, so­cial bond­ing and love,” Jayne said.

Mary­bor­ough’s Ju­lia Bate has kissed the same man each day for more than 65 years.

She will have been mar­ried to her hus­band,

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