The Science of Kissing

Science of Kissing

“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

“In the vein of Stephen Pinker’s The Language Instinct, scientist Kirshenbaum examines one of humanity’s fondest pastimes [writing] 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.”

~ Publishers Weekly


~ Adam Frank,

“Read this book and I guarantee you’ll start seeing the kiss and physical affection overall in an entirely new light. Kirshenbaum’s triumph is that she’s able to pull that off without leaving us with a clinical, sanitized aftertaste. There’s a fine line between scientific insight that broadens and enriches our perspective, and dispassionate knowledge that dulls our appetite for being human. Fortunately, Kirshenbaum knows where that line is and doesn’t cross over to the dark side.”

~David DiSalvo, Forbes

“The year is very young, but author Sheril Kirshenbaum is already way ahead of the pack for brilliant nonfiction book moves of 2011.”

~ Bret McCabe, The Baltimore City Paper


“The Science of Kissing might just be the definitive work to date on the eons-old habit of locking lips..If you’re the least bit interested in how your body (and lips) work, this book is an interesting romp through the chemistry of it all.”

~ Craig Wilson, USA TODAY

“Turns out there’s a lot more to kissing than you might think..Kirshenbaum draws on psychology, biology, history, and other disciplines in this highly engaging, highly informative book.”

~ Booklist

“Kirshenbaum’s honesty, wit, and creativity make this book a journey to treasure.”

~ Catherine Ramsdell, PopMatters

“One of my favourite science books of the last year..a whirlwind tour through an instantly relatable topic, told with warmth, pace, and a perfect balance of accuracy and accessibility.”

~ Ed Yong, Discover

“The Science of Kissing is a unique book full of delightful adianoeta and all manner of insight into human physiology and culture..what an exceptionally thoughtful, cool gift this would make for Valentine’s Day.”

~ Darksyde, Daily Kos

“Kirshenbaum arouses both the senses and the mind by exploring myriad theories of why and how we smooch. A playful yet comprehensive look at recent research [covering] everything from evolution and attachment theory to gender and cultural preferences.”

~ Michele Lent Hirsch, Psychology Today

“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
Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: A Day in the Life of Your Body

“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. This is a must-read for everyone, and I can’t wait to see what Kirshenbaum comes out with next.”

~ Fiona MacDonald, Cosmos Magazine

“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


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 Kissing. 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.

Watch the book trailer / Sheril on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown and The Today Show / New York Times / The New York Post / The Washington Post / The Austin Statesman / New Scientist / RedBook / NY Journal of Books / The Toronto Star / The Daily Mail / USA TODAY / / Daily Kos / Salon / Reporte Indigo / Skeptically Speaking / / TIME / iVillage / PRI’s The World / Tufts Now / The New Yorker / The National Post / Los Angeles Times / ABC News / The Daily Beast / The Martha Stewart Show / PopMatters / The Boston Globe / Oprah Radio / The Sydney Morning Herald / USA TODAY (II) / Jezebel / The Chicago Sun Times / The Independent

GOOD Magazine’s video about Sheril’s book

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