Body Language - Kiss Types
Part 2

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We looked at the reasons behind why we kiss, but since we're in the interpretation of body language business it's also a good idea to look at the different kiss types and their meaning.

It might look unnecessary since kissing is probably the trademark of romance and passion in many parts of the world. But not all kisses are love related or erotic by nature. We kiss in greetings, in religious customs, out of respect and also to comfort and sooth.

It's important to make that distinction between the varied kiss types, especially if you're the one who's initiating it because you don't want to send the wrong message by mistake.

passion kiss

Respect, Patronage and Status

We need to remember that kissing is a type of touch and a very sensitive one at that, so the cultural rules related to our touching rituals define what is the kiss type and is it allowed.

This means social status and context play a big part in who's allowed to kiss whom. The initiator of the kiss is usually the one who's on top of things. That's why men are expected to take the first step, they need to show confidence and control - attractive male characteristics.

A kiss can be a sign for respect, like an advanced form of bowing:

  • A man might kiss a woman's hand to show his admiration,
  • A petitioner the priest's hand  in a religious ceremony
  • The member of an Italian mob will kiss the don's hand in sign of respect and submission.

Notice that this type of kiss appears below the head and chest area, it's a nonverbal cue that the participants are not equal in status.

hand kiss

Kiss of respect

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Kissing on equal ground, like a kiss on the cheek, shows mutual respect, where's no side dominates the other.

And lastly, when we kiss someone from above, like kissing their forehead - it's a symbol for patronage and protection. That's why we can see it in situations where one side comforts and supports the other. Like a parent soothing their crying child.

Kissing Objects

Kissing inanimate objects is often a gesture of religious respect, admiration or gratefulness.

Kissing the ground of a holy site, show the admiration for the place and thankfulness to be there.

A football player who's kissing his medallion or shirt reflects his love or appreciation for whatever the object symbolizes.

We view the kissing gesture in high regard, kept for occasions when we truly like or respect something, don't discard it or use it too freely as you can offend many others. That's why "kiss my ass" sounds so offensive and absurd to us , we hold kissing in high regard and our asses in a much lower one.

Platonic VS Not-so-platonic Kiss on the Cheek

Suppose you met someone and want to take the next step, from mere friendship to something more, how should your greeting\departing kiss be different from the way you greet your aunt?

There are a few key differences:


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  • Puckered lips VS loose lips - Puckering your lips is one of the main signals that this kiss is going to be platonic. When we pucker we tense and close our mouth - not an inviting environment for a kiss of passion. For a more romantic kiss, keep your lips looser and softer.
  • Kiss placement - In a platonic scenario the kiss should be in the middle of the cheek, not too close for the mouth, but not too close to the ear either. To play it even safer, you can do an air kiss - just touch cheek to cheek and do the smacking sound of the lips in the air.

    When you do mean business, do place that kiss near the mouth or closer to the ear.
  • Timing  - like hugging, or any other type of touch - the longer you retain the touch the more intimate the meaning becomes. A platonic kiss on the cheek is brief, the non platonic is a little longer. I repeat, a little longer, you don't need to count to 10 and then release.

The French Kiss

AKA the tongue kiss.

Why is it French?

Not because the French invented it, it's just one of these things that were nicknamed long ago, and it stuck. Apparently it started with US soldiers coming back home from WW1, describing the French as more sexually adventurous and lustful.

So when we talk about the French kiss we talk about passion, lust and an erotic display of love. There's no other hidden meaning here (unless of course it's done as some kind of manipulation).

french kiss

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Because this kind of kiss is a symbol of how sexual and passionate a couple is, many feel they need to prove themselves and perfect the tongue kissing. What in turn can just put more pressure and insecurity rather than good performance. but I'm getting a little out of subject here, in the next article we're gonna explore just that.

In the next page we'll go through some tips on kissing: from preparation, how to survive a first kiss and what can go wrong (and is that so bad?)

Continue to kissing tips - Part 3

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