Let’s imagine you’re holding hands with your partner as you walk down the street. He says something to really make you giggle and you feel the spontaneous urge to give him a kiss. Ignoring the strangers surrounding you, you tenderly lock lips. What may come naturally to couples in the Western world can be interpreted very differently in other countries.
As researchers at the University of Indiana discovered, kissing culture varies significantly depending on the country and its people. Only around half of cultures kiss each other intimately.
Central America, South America and Africa are particular regions where there is not much of a kissing culture. Only 4 of the 17 cultures researched in South America, 4 of 27 in Africa and 0 of 10 cultures in Central America lock lips romantically. Likewise, passionate kissing is unheard of among the rainforest population in the Amazon basin. In North America and Oceania most people are familiar with intimate kissing, whereas romantic kissing is most common in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The exact reasons behind these global differences have yet to be studied in detail.