People from rich countries 'French kiss' their partners less

People from countries with higher levels of income inequality ‘French kiss’ their partners more often, new study finds

  • A survey of 2,988 people in 13 countries found the bigger the gap between rich and poor the more likely the country’s citizens were to regularly kiss 
  • The differences didn’t apply to sex or cuddling, suggesting kissing is unique 
  • The team found that women tended to value a kiss’s quality more than men

A new study suggests that the more unequal a society is, the more likely its citizens are to engage in French kissing, what scientists describe as  ‘romantic mouth-to-mouth kissing.’ 

A team of scientists from Abertay University in Scotland gave questionnaires to 2,988 participants in 13 countries, spanning six continents.

They asked a range of questions about the respondent’s general attitude toward kissing, the frequency with which a person kissed their partner, and the significance they attached to that kissing.

A team of scientists from Abertay University in Scotland found that countries with higher levels of income inequality were more likely to have kissing citizens

The people who reported kissing most frequently were those who lived in countries with the highest degrees of income inequality.

‘The results of this research suggest that the environment we live in is related to differences in this particular form of romantic intimacy,’ lead researcher Dr. Christopher Watkins told

‘French kissing has been shown by others to be related to the quality of a romantic relationship, and our data suggests that we do this more in environments where we have less to fall back on, where a gesture which shows commitment to a relationship would be of greater value.’

‘Another interesting factor is that, across the nations surveyed, kissing was considered more important at the established phase of a relationship compared to the initial stages of romantic attraction.’

Interestingly, this difference didn’t apply to other forms of romantic intimacy, such as hugging, cuddling, or sex, suggesting there is something unique about kissing.

The team posited that kissing helps deepen social bonds in countries where people know there’s little protection for the poor to fall back on

On average, women tended to value the quality of kissing more highly than men.

The researchers were able to break down the essential characteristics of a good kiss into two main components. 

The first was the general sensory experience of a partner’s body odor and breath.

The second major component of a good kiss was the physical sensation of contact and the related physical techniques used during the kiss.

The two main qualities that make for a good kiss, according to survey respondents, are odor of your partner and their technique

‘What’s particularly captivating about the data is that it compliments large-scale research in very remote cultures looking at the existence of romantic mouth-to-mouth kissing,’ Dr. Watkins said.

‘Kissing isn’t always present in these cultures, and whether it is or is not is connected to the way in which resources are shared in that society.’

‘Further work could examine regional differences in kissing and romantic intimacy or the importance of the senses in close interactions among couples using similar logic to the current research.’


As many as 80 million bacteria are transferred during a ten-second kiss, according to biologists

There is nothing as romantic as two lovers sharing a kiss. But scientists have come up with an evolutionary explanation which perhaps threatens to kill the passion.

Academics think that kissing helps partners share bacteria, shoring up their immune systems and enabling them to better fight disease.

As many as 80 million bacteria are transferred during a ten-second kiss, according to Dutch biologists.

Sharing those germs means both partners are equipped to ward off the infections they might introduce to each other later on.

Humans carry trillions of bacteria in the body, which together make up a ‘microbiota’ – a complex mix of bugs which play a crucial role in digesting food and warding off infections.

Remco Kort, from the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research – or TNO – said his team set out to discover the evolutionary reason for kissing. 

‘Interestingly, the current explanations for the function of intimate kissing in humans include an important role for the microbiota present in the oral cavity, although to our knowledge, the exact effects of intimate kissing on the oral microbiota have never been studied,’ he said.  


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