Kiss Right to Kiss Well

Cristen Conger

A scientifically valid, right head tilt kiss.
A scientifically valid, right head tilt kiss.
© 2009 Jupiterimages Corporation

Here's a fun finding from a 2003 study: Twice as many adults turn their heads to the right as to the left when kissing. Over two and a half years, German researcher Onur Güntürkün stealthily observed 124 "scientifically valid" kisses and came up with the 2:1 right turn smooch ratio. And what's a "scientifically valid" kiss, you might ask? Güntürkün only included lip-to-lip, head turning, free-handed kisses; no cheek pecks allowed.

Güntürkün suspects our tendency for right turn kissing has something to do with our preference for using our right eyes, feet and hands (only 10 percent of humans are left-handed). Babies even turn their heads to the right more often in the womb and up to six months after birth. "I think head-turning comes first, and the body has a tendency to attend to the right side," the researcher told the journal Nature.

This prediction probably makes kissing a lot easier for us; imagine all the head bonking that would happen if we didn't turn our heads in complementary directions when going in for a canoodle. Then again, I'm a southpaw, so I'm wondering whether I tend to go toward the left, which could explain all those awkward date endings I've encountered over the years...

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