The Science of Kissing

What Our Lips Are Telling Us


By Sheril Kirshenbaum

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$46.00 CAD



  1. Hardcover $36.00 $46.00 CAD
  2. ebook $12.99 $16.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around January 5, 2011. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

From a noted science journalist comes a wonderfully witty and fascinating exploration of how and why we kiss.

When did humans begin to kiss? Why is kissing integral to some cultures and alien to others? Do good kissers make the best lovers? And is that expensive lip-plumping gloss worth it? Sheril Kirshenbaum, a biologist and science journalist, tackles these questions and more in The Science of a Kiss. It’s everything you always wanted to know about kissing but either haven’t asked, couldn’t find out, or didn’t realize you should understand.

The book is informed by the latest studies and theories, but Kirshenbaum’s engaging voice gives the information a light touch. Topics range from the kind of kissing men like to do (as distinct from women) to what animals can teach us about the kiss to whether or not the true art of kissing was lost sometime in the Dark Ages. Drawing upon classical history, evolutionary biology, psychology, popular culture, and more, Kirshenbaum’s winning book will appeal to romantics and armchair scientists alike.


  • "What's the big deal? You pucker up, and there you are-right? Turns out there's a lot more to kissing than you might think. For instance, you never forget your first kiss isn't just a sappy sentiment; it's apparently quite literally true, and the fact that we remember more details about that first kiss than about our first sexual experience speaks volumes about the nature of memory. Men and women kiss differently; that's also true, but you might be surprised to learn why. Why is kissing important to some human societies, and unimportant-just plain foreign-to others? University of Texas research scientist and Discover magazine blogger Kirshenbaum draws on psychology, biology, history, and other disciplines in this highly engaging, highly informative book."
    David Pitt, Booklist
  • "Shows flashes of greatness."
    Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times
  • "[Kirshenbaum's] honesty, wit and creativity make reading this book a journey to treasure. Your desire to kiss will, happily, remain strong."
    Catherine Ramsdell, Chattanooga Free Press
  • "A beautifully crafted book, answering many of the questions you have about kissing, and many you haven't thought of, but are none the less fascinating."
    Vanessa Woods,
  • "Like some memorable kisses, the book is short and sweet but teaches us something new."
    Colette Bancroft, St. Petersburg Times
  • "Sheril Kirshenbaum wittily explores theories about the evolutionary beginnings of kissing. . . Science buffs and the everyday reader can enjoy Kirshenbaum's insightful commentary."
    Laila Barakat, Sacramento News and Review
  • "Wonderful."
    Adam Frank,
  • "Playful yet comprehensive."
    Michele Lent Hirsch, Psychology Today
  • "Borders on the super genius . . . an entertaining and informative read about a practice that we should all spend more time investigating."
    Bret McCabe, Baltimore City Paper
  • "They say you never forget your first kiss-it sears itself into your memory. The Science of Kissing will no doubt do something similar. From the neurology of smooching to practical tips on locking lips, Sheril Kirshenbaum makes reading about this strange and fascinating practice almost as much fun as doing it."
    Sam Kean, New York Times-bestselling author of The Disappearing Spoon
  • "Sheril Kirshenbaum gives you everything you wanted to know about this wonderful way we use our mouths. If you've ever wondered why we kiss under the mistletoe, or why two out of three people tilt their heads to the right when they zoom in for a kiss, Kirshenbaum will tell you, in a way that is witty, wise, and pucker-perfect."
    Robin Marantz Henig, contributing writer, The New York Times Magazine
  • "If you fear that knowing the science of kissing will unweave the poetry of it, fear not. This engaging book, chock-a-block with eye-popping science and fun stories not only makes for great reading but plumps up the pleasure of a smooch itself. You'll never think of kissing-what e.e. cummings called 'a better fate than wisdom'-in the same way again."
    Jennifer Ackerman, author of Ah-Choo! The Uncommon Life of Your Common Cold and Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: A Day in the Life of Your Body
  • "This was the best science book I've read in a long time, offering a new level of understanding to an innate part of ourselves, and making it seem even more enchanting."
    -Cosmos magazine

On Sale
Jan 5, 2011
Page Count
272 pages

Sheril Kirshenbaum

About the Author

Sheril Kirshenbaum is a research scientist at The Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Texas at Austin . She blogs on Discover magazine’s website, The Intersection, and contributes to a variety of blogs and science publications. Visit her website at

Learn more about this author