Somewhere between watching 20 strangers kissing for the first time, and writing The Kiss into my scarily-soon-to-be wedding ceremony, I realised something: We don’t give the kiss enough lip service. Sometimes, kissing truly can be better than sex.
I’ll say it again: Snogging can be better than shagging. If you don’t agree, you’re probably not doing it properly. Confused? Read on.
Now, it seems the ‘‘strangers kissing’’ video that went viral this week was filmed for commercial gain, not just for artistic merit as initially suggested.
After accruing more than 30 million hits on YouTube we find out that the 'strangers' who kiss so sweetly are actually actors, models and musicians doing it for an ad for Wren Studios' Fall 2014 collection.
Well, whatever. The point is, a video featuring people doing nothing but kiss each other got the kind of traffic some of the world’s freakiest porn clips regularly claim. Which is remarkable, really, in an age when nudity and tits and bits doing naughty tricks seems to dominate every fleshy inch of public discourse.
I mean, all they do is kiss. There’s no nudity, no money shots, no real feeling-up to speak of - it’s all pretty G-rated. Yet it is still hot, it is still mesmerising - what is it that makes it so? Perhaps, in a sense, it’s watchability is comparable to porn. The video does elicit a kind of ‘‘oh-my-god-I-can’t-believe-they-are-actually-doing-that’’ response. It does serve as a sort-of turn-on (I know I was primed for a bit of tongue action by the last frame). It also involves people doing something they wouldn’t otherwise do, with someone they barely know and, probably, all for the sake of some money. It’s a sexual act with a stranger, ultimately, no matter how ‘‘artistic’’ each black and white frame.
But it’s a kind of sexy that is refreshing. There’s the awkwardness, the excitement, the nervousness, the passion - all the things we feel when we’re feeling close to someone, or on the terrifying precipice of closeness, anyway. It’s kissing; the precursor to sex, the playful sign of affection, the thing you do when you love someone, the thing you do when you’re figuring out just how much you might love someone.
Kissing; just about the most fun you can have with your clothes on. Or without. Forget whatever actual porn might ‘‘teach’’ you, kissing is crucial to satisfying, long-lasting, heart-pounding, deeply wonderful sex. Marriages - as I am about to experience - begin with a kiss. Some of the world’s greatest romances began with a kiss. A kiss can make a heartache better, a hangover softer, and doesn’t carry half as many health risks as a dirty bump and grind.
So why don’t we give kissing much attention? Why do we focus so much more on sex acts? Why don’t we stop and enjoy the intimate, tender, passionate pleasure of a sweet, sweet smooch more often? Are we overlooking lip-locking for leg-overing to our social detriment? Have we forgotten how much damn fun a pash can be?
Australia, it’s time we Get Kissed. Kiss your lover, kiss your husband, kiss your partner, kiss your wife. Kiss someone you care deeply about. Kiss while you’re making love. Kiss them, like you mean it. Pass on the perfunctory peck on the cheek. Pash in public, often.
Yet, even as I write those lines urging us all to inject a bit more lip love into our lives, I know there are those who oppose it. Those who are uncomfortable watching kissing scenes in movies, or videos of strangers kissing, or strangers kissing in a park. There are those among us who can’t handle a bit of hoochy-smoochy - who’d prefer such amorous attachments to occur out of public sight. I can understand this. Kissing, like sex, is deeply personal, and In Private is the only place for it. I can appreciate this perspective especially because I worry the lines between what is and is not appropriate ‘‘outdoors’’ behaviour is blurry today, at best.
And I’m thinking about appropriateness a lot lately, planning, as I said, a wedding and all. Weddings - those public declarations of personal feelings. The point when both worlds collide, sealed with, of all things, a kiss. What is an appropriate ‘‘wedding kiss’’? Who’s feelings do you consider - Grandma Jean in the front row, or your own? You’re marrying the man or woman of your dreams - why should you par down the pash for the sake of decorum and polite society? Is it so inappropriate to kiss like you really mean it on The Day you really mean it?
In short, my answer is ‘‘no’’. I figure kissing is beautiful, and beauty shouldn’t be cloistered, so if you want to kiss big on the big day, do it. And if you want to kiss someone for whom you have big feelings, do it, any other day of the year. Do the kissing. Do it, and do it well (as covered by this previous ‘‘art of’’ blog). Short of crossing into the realm of sexual abuse, why not kiss a consenting stranger today?
Seriously, why not? You never know, you might just meet someone who’ll change your life.
Kissing. Why don’t we pay it enough attention? Have we forgotten how beautiful a simple moment of mouth-to-mouth connectivity can be? Has the pornification of our society come at the expense of a pash? Tell me what you think.
Katherine Feeney is a journalist with the Nine Network Australia.