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The kiss is a most deceptive gesture. Seemingly simplistic, it is a highly complex action. Indeed, depending on the depth of passion, a kiss can ignite a plethora of emotional, sensual and physical reactions, from the meeting of lips to the dilation of one's pupils and pounding of one's heart. There may be heat beneath one's collar, perhaps even an erotic tingling. What other gesture engages all the senses: touch, taste, smell, sight and sound? This pressing of lips upon another's can ultimately involve every muscle in one's body, from the mouth to all the facial muscles, the neck, back, shoulders, the arms in which to hold each other and the legs with which to entwine.
The Physical Nature of a Kiss
It has taken mankind 2000 years finally to determine the anatomy of a kiss, otherwise defined as the "anatomical juxtaposition of two orbicularis oris muscles in a state of contraction."1 The scientific term given to kissing is osculation from the Latin word osculum, "mouth" or "kiss."
In the early 1990s, a team of scientists at University College of London, led by Professor Gus McGrouther, revealed that in order to pucker, one requires the use of all 34 facial muscles, along with 112 postural muscles which are drawn together in an action similar to a drawstring purse being pulled tight.