Page:The Kiss and its History.djvu/198

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Naturally, the longing to touch the beloved one's body, to approach it as closely as possible, is a very essential manifestation of erotic emotion; but so far as the contact of the lips is concerned, there is reason for assuming that, originally, without its being the direct object, it had been, moreover, and perhaps in an equally high degree, a means of attaining a definite sensual gratification—a gratification that can be realised by the co-operation of the lips and mouth.

As the nose-salutation partly originates in smell, so the mouth salutation may, to a certain extent[1] at least, have its origin

  1. Besides the passive or receptive element of the kiss, which is essentially the object of my investigation, there is also, as we have previously noticed, an active element which must not be overlooked, viz., the contact and muscular sensation at the pressure. During the erotic transport, which excites the desire for something further of a brutal and violent nature, the body trembles with powerful muscular tension, and a pressure or bite of the mouth is one of the forms by which the passion of love finds expression. It is difficult, in these pages, to go further into this aspect of the kiss, which is regarded by certain philosophers as the main one, which it really is in respect to certain kisses under certain circumstances; but there are other kisses which are equally so originally, and in which the passive element seems to me the most essential. The origin of the love-kiss ought scarcely to be sought in any single source, whether in the sense of touch or in that of taste and smell combined. Unquestionably both these elements co-operate in its production, but under constantly varying conditions, just