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In many cultures, it is considered a harmless custom for teenagers to kiss on a date or to engage in kissing games with friends.

These games serve as icebreakers at parties and may be some participants' first exposure to sexuality.

He notes, however, that the categories are somewhat contrived and overlapping, and some cultures have more kinds, including the French with twenty and the Germans with thirty.

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The word came from Old English cyssan ("to kiss"), in turn from coss ("a kiss"). During the later Classical period, affectionate mouth-to-mouth kissing was first described in the Hindu epic the Mahabharata.

Anthropologists are divided into two schools on the origins of kissing, one believing that it is instinctual and intuitive and the other that it evolved from what is known as kiss feeding, a process used by mothers to feed their infants by passing chewed food to their babies' mouths. Academics who have studied it say kissing spread slowly to other parts of the world after Alexander the Great and his army conquered parts of Punjab in northern India in 326 BC.

And kiss me when I die, For life, compelling life, is in thy breath; And at that kiss, though in the tomb I lie, I will arise and break the bands of Death.

Kissing was not always an indication of eros, or love, but also could show respect and rank as it was used in Medieval Europe.

When the Apostle Paul took leave of the elders of the congregation at Ephesus, "they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck and kissed him" (Acts ).

Kisses can also be exchanged between total strangers, as when there is a profound sympathy with or the warmest interest in another person.Nyrop writes that "the kiss is the last tender proof of love bestowed on one we have loved, and was believed, in ancient times, to follow mankind to the nether world." According to the psychologist Menachem Brayer, although many "mammals, birds, and insects exchange caresses" which appear to be kisses of affection, they are not kisses in the human sense.Surveys indicate that kissing is the second most common form of physical intimacy among United States adolescents (after holding hands), and that about 85% of 15 to 16-year-old adolescents in the US have experienced it.A kiss of affection can also take place after death.In Genesis, it is written that when Jacob was dead, "Joseph fell upon his father's face and wept upon him and kissed him." And it is told of Abu Bakr, Muhammad's first disciple, father-in-law, and successor, that, when the prophet was dead, he went into the latter's tent, uncovered his face, and kissed him.Men will give themselves away by a certain excited trembling in the muscles of the lower jaw upon seeing their beloved.

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