I’m not sure where the idea of kisses as a magic act that is arousing to all came from—probably some puritanical folks who didn’t want to promote the other stuff you can do with your mouth. In any case, kissing is a farce. The idea that pressing your mouths together and doing some French-attributed tongue-licking is the peak of romance is so misguided. I understand that a lot of people love it, but no sex act is exciting for everyone. We’ve accepted, for example, that not all women get off from penetrative sex, but kissing has somehow remained an unimpeachable part of foreplay.

I’m not alone in thinking that kisses are unromantic and overrated: Over half of the world’s cultures don’t kiss romantically. It simply doesn’t have to be like this. Kiss scientists—a job title only a notch less creepy than “pick-up artist”—have suggested two theories about kissing. Either it’s something biologically inherent, like smiling, that comes from moms “kiss feeding” their babies (a.k.a. regurgitating food into their child’s mouth—the absolute zenith of romance). Kissing may also have been a way for early hominids to smell each other’s saliva to see if their pheromones were compatible, which seems like a risk in a time before oral hygiene, when everyone in your tribe fought over a long-dead rabbit carcass for lunch.