Celebrating The Kiss: Leonore Tiefer

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For an interesting twist on the usual Valentine's Day blog fare, check out a presentation at the Kinsey Institute called "Ode to the Kiss."

kiss

Photo: Michela Castiglione

Celebrate the kiss.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few weeks, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the card and gift aisles of most stores morphing into a sea of pink and red cards, stuffed animals, special chocolates and all those other key indicators that Valentine’s Day is upon us.

Time to dust off those old stand-by gifts of roses, chocolates or dazzle your loved one(s) with some a little more special like a fun sex toy or day at the spa. Two very different gift ideas, I understand.

Amusingly enough, this year Valentine’s Day is preceded by a supposedly unlucky Friday the 13th, which screams out for some sort of zombie Valentine’s Day dance or other mockery of the romantic events surrounding this “holiday” of sorts.

Most of you have probably heard about the origins of Valentine’s Day as you were cutting out your paper hearts in elementary school or handing out little cards to all of your classes, but just in case you check out this website for a short refresher.

A Kinsey Institute Valentine

I’d like to direct you to a different sort of informational website in honor of Valentine’s Day – the Kinsey Institute’s ode to the kiss. This page was created from a presentation done a few years ago by Leonore Tiefer in honor of the Indiana University School of Fine Arts Gallery featuring an exhibition on the Kinsey Institute for its 50th anniversary.

Her lecture is full of humor, history, and commentary about why we are all so fascinated with kissing, from our psychobiosocial model of intimacy in human sexuality to the kiss as a symbol of both good and evil. It’s a fascinating tale of why the kiss is one of our great human mysteries – and pleasures.

Natalie Ingraham (M.P.H.)

is a recent graduate of Indiana University and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Medical Sociology at University of California San Francisco.
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