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Apr. 06, 2011

Book Review: The Science of Kissing

by April Garbuz

By April Garbuz, Wilton High School

Sheril Kirshenbaum’s witty book, The Science of Kissing, defies the words of anyone who has ever said, “It was just a kiss!” Between the origins of kissing, the evolution of kissing, and the many studies on kissing, the subject was in need of someone with Sheril Kirshenbaum’s determination and curiosity to finally put it all into words. Kirshenbaum spent two years gathering a wide range of information on kissing -- from its history to its cultural practice, from the psychology to the physiology behind kissing.

As Kirshenbaum highlighted the need for kissing as part of the reproductive process, the biological importance of swapping spit became clear. That distinct taste of your favorite kisser’s mouth is your body’s way of gauging their bacteria level. This information let’s you know if the two of you are compatible to mate. If you love the taste of your partner’s lips, it may not be because they used flavored lip balm; nature is letting you know that you would reproduce well!

One may be under the false impression that a scientific book on kissing would tarnish the romance of the act, but, the book emphasizes the romance while explaining the biology. It is no secret that something happens when lips lock, but what drives us to kiss to begin with? What makes a romantic kiss differ so greatly from kisses from family? How does the battle of the sexes play into kissing? With the first questions that come to mind -- and all the questions you would never think to ask -- answered, Kirshenbaum's engaging voice makes the book an easy read. Both the dedicated research scientist and the kissing enthusiast will learn a vast amount about kissing and thoroughly enjoy their reading.

__________

April Garbuz is a sophomore at Wilton High School in Wilton, CT. She loves studying science, debating, acting, and swimming. April wants to be an epidemiologist and be active in the medical field.

About April Garbuz

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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