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Kissing is proven to be good for your health - but only half of the people in the world like to do it. On Valentine's Day, here are 15 unforgettable smooches and a few fun facts about the romantic pastime.
A kiss can move the world - like the first film kiss ever shown on screen. In 1896 in the short film appropriately titled "The Kiss," the first cinematic smooch caused quite a stir. It not only got the morality police up in arms, it also made so many people curious that they turned up in droves to buy movie tickets.
In movies today, kissing knows no boundaries, regardless of gender. There are still quite a few people who look away with disgust when two men or two women kiss, but for the most part homosexual kissing has become completely normal - here in Germany, at least.
Bizarre kissing laws around the world
Elsewhere in the world, it's a different story. In some places, you can even go to jail because of a kiss. In Dubai, for example, kissing in public is strictly forbidden, as it is in most Arab countries like Malaysia or Indonesia. Even in Russia, it's seen with a frown. It's probably best not to plan your honeymoon to these countries.
Some states in the US even have unusual anti-kiss laws. In Colorado, it's forbidden for a man to kiss a woman while she's sleeping. And in Nevada, bearded men aren't allowed to kiss at all. After eating garlic, you're not allowed to kiss in Minnesota, and in Connecticut and Michigan, couples must refrain from kissing in front of churches and on Sundays.
Why kissing is good for your health
While kissing bans in religiously conservative countries should be taken seriously, the old American laws should not, since they are no longer enforced. On the contrary, modern science has proven that kissing is a very healthy pastime.
Kissing is good for your skin and your blood circulation. Even though mouth to mouth contact means you can pick up bacteria, that actually boosts your immune system.
What's more, kissing causes our bodies to produce hormones that make us happy: serotonin, endorphins and adrenaline.
Studies have also shown that people who kiss a lot are more successful at work. And some researchers have even claimed that regular smoochers have fewer car accidents (as long as they're not kissing while driving).
The dangers of kissing
Kissing can, however, endanger your health if your partner has bacteria that your body cannot fight. But that is only rarely the case.
Should an epidemic break out in your area, then it's time to start curbing your kissing habit. In 2009, when the swine flu broke out in Germany, some took extreme measures to avoid contracting the disease. At Wacken Open Air, Germany's largest heavy metal festival with some 80,000 annual visitors, kissing was banned.
Another danger associated with extended pecking sessions is that the nerves on your lips and tongue direct the stimulation via your central nervous system directly to your genitals. If that kiss lasts too long, you and your partner should either seek out a private room or call it a night.
Only half the world likes to kiss
As much as we in Europe may take kissing for granted, in many countries it's not part of everyday life. In 2015, 168 ethnic groups on all continents were researched in a study on romantic kissing. The researchers from Indiana in the US came to the conclusion that kissing was not valued by more than half of the ethnicities in the study. They found it either too gross or too erotic.
The researchers assume that kissing has a lot to do with our surroundings. People in highly industrialized societies tend to pucker up more frequently than those in rural areas like the Amazon.
Click through the Spotify playlist below for 25 musical kisses.