The Evolution Of Kissing

Or, a brief history of tonsil hockey.


If you're like us, you've wondered from time to time how this or that guy's tongue ended up in your mouth. And no, we're not talking about how a certain Air Supply song and a specific number of drinks led you to do something that you might feel compelled to deny the next day. Rather, we've wondered how the whole practice of kissing came about in the first place.

Fortunately for us, the geniuses over at Discovery have made a very short video entitled the "Skinny on Smooching," which attempts to lay out the history of kissing, and how it evolved.


In the video, Vaughn Bryant, professor of anthropology at Texas A&M University, explains that kissing dates back 1000 or 2000 BC, and that the earliest written records of kissing come to us courtesy of northern India. Of course, back then, they didn't actually call it kissing, and it didn't look exactly like it does now. Rather, as described in those old northern Indian documents, it was something more akin to sniffing, and involved running one's nose over another person's face, from cheek to nose to cheek.

Fast forward a thousand years or so, to roughly the year BC, and Dr. Bryant says we see records of full-on erotic kissing as we know it today, courtesy of the Kama Sutra (which mentions kissing over 200 times) and some other brilliant texts whose names he doesn't mention.


Seeing a good thing and liking it, Alexander the Great, took kissing from India (which he was trying to conquer) back to the west, and before you know it, the Greeks were doing it. The Macedonians were doing it. By the time the Romans came around, kissing was all the rage and they (the Romans) took the practice even further west, until the Celts and others who'd never had a history of kissing, started doing it too (with some instruction).

Columbus then brought kissing to the Americas (quite possibly one of the only things the Native Americans were happy he brought over), and a few centuries later, here we are. Rhett is smooching Scarlet. Barack is laying one on Michelle. Tom is sucking the hell out of Katie's face. And, against our better judgement, we're playing tonsil hockey with some guy who's name we don't know in a pink polo shirt and brown jeans...and all because of some very smart northern Indians who enjoyed sniffing each other's cheeks and noses roughly 4000 years before we were born. And maybe also because of Air Supply.

More Juicy Content From YourTango: