Since I'm insanely tired for no clear reason, here's a small post also concerning Sex is Not a Natural Act, this time, the chapter on kissing (which is only about 4.5 pages). As Tiefer tells us, the subject of kissing is pretty much absent in sex research. This strikes me as odd, considering that kissing seems to be so important to our culture. However, not every culture feels this way:
But sexual kissing is unknown in many societies, including the Balinese, Chamorro, Manus, and Tinguian of Oceania; the Chewa and Thonga of Africa; the Siriono of South America; and the Lepcha of Eurasia. In such cultures, the mouth-to-mouth kiss is considered dangerous, unhealthy, or disgusting, the way Westerners might regard a custom of sticking one's tongue into a lover's nose. Ford and Beach [researchers] reported that when the Thonga first saw Europeans kissing, they laughed, remarking, 'Look at them-- they eat each other's saliva and dirt.' (78)
I wonder if, with the advent of global communications, these cultures will start to adopt "Western-style" kissing. It's unclear whether these are just traditional beliefs, or if they're actually still in practice. But either way, it made me feel good to know that there are entire cultures of people who, at least at one time, were/are grossed out by kissing. What's "normal" here isn't actually "normal" for everyone-- that fact made me smile. I think it's important to know that some sexual people, like some asexual people, don't like kissing, just like it's important to know that some sexual people are aromantic. Apparently in Bali, their version of a kiss is "...lovers bring their faces close enough to catch each other's perfume and to feel the warmth of the skin, making contact as they move their heads slightly" (78). To me, that sounds a lot more pleasant than our coveted "french kiss".