I’m a long time blogger for Discover Mag, but brand new to Tumblr. So far, I’m impressed with how easy it is to navigate and share. For those not already familiar with my work, I’m a biologist turned science writer. My first book Unscientific America (co-authored by Chris Mooney) came out last year and The Science of Kissing debuts early in January. As the publication date gets closer, I’ll be using this site to share material from the book-including some details that didn’t make it into the manuscript!
SoK is a look at this near universal behavior from many lenses of science. I consider why humans got started and how our bodies respond to the experience. I even bring readers into a neuroscience laboratory to see what we might discover about kissing and the brain.
This site will feature related updates and events, as well as photo submissions from readers. Anyone interested in contributing to the growing gallery of kisses from across time, space, and species should email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for your interest and I hope you enjoy The Science of Kissing!
No matter how old and experienced we get, sex and romance never fail to surprise and perplex us. Three new books explore the origins of human sexuality, whether we are capable of monogamy, and why we kiss.
In The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us (Grand Central Publishing, 2011), biologist and science journalist Sheril Kirshenbaum explores all aspects of a lip lock. For instance, women usually require a kiss to feel intimate with another person, whereas men are more willing to forgo the first kiss and go straight for sex. Although scientists don’t know why we kiss, Kirshenbaum explores several possibilities, such as that kissing rekindles the intimacy we first experienced in infancy when breastfeeding.
It’s exciting as an author to see the first nod to a project that has taken years of research, experimentation, and composition. Feels surreal knowing SoK’s nearly available to share with readers! More coming soon…
Sheril Kirshenbaum, Grand Central, $19.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-446-55990-4
In the vein of Stephen Pinker’s The Language Instinct, scientist Kirshenbaum examines one of humanity’s fondest pastimes. Divided into three parts, the book covers the evolutionary and cultural history of the kiss, the chemistry of kissing, and the future of kissing. In part one, “The Hunt for Kissing’s Origins,” Kirshenbaum examines the role kissing played in the Middle Ages—a businesslike kiss was employed as a legal way to seal contracts and business agreements. Many men did not know how to read and write, so their signature X was kissed to make it legal. Part two, “Kissing in the Body,” will appeal to anyone who has ever been curious about the chemical properties of butterflies in the stomach. Kirshenbaum writes just as gracefully about prostitutes in pop culture as she does the myriad of complicated biological and chemical processes that science uses to explain osculation. Part three, “Great Expectations,” covers Kirshenbaum’s personal attempt to further investigate the kiss and leaves a long list of fascinating questions that demand further research. (Jan.)
The Science of Kissing finally arrived on my doorstep last week. After years of research and writing, to hold the finished book in my hand is a very surreal experience. Even though the official publication date is January 5th, I’ve just learned that Amazon is already shipping copies… early enough to arrive by Christmas and New Years Eve! Here’s a glimpse at Chapter titles:
Part One: The Hunt For Kissing’s Origins
1. First Contact
2. Jungle Fever
3. Kiss My Past
4. Cultural Exchange
Part Two: Kissing in the Body
5. The Anatomy of a Kiss
6. Women Are from Venus, Men Are Easy
7. Scent of a Man
8. Close Encounters
9. There Are Such Things as Cooties
Part Three: Great Expectations
10. This Is Your Brain on Kissing
11. The Open Lab
12: The Future of Kissing
13: The Right Chemistry
Sheril Kirshenbaum’s new book, The Science of Kissing, explores the history and biology behind mankind’s most recognizable gesture of affection.