What Do You Really Know About Your Valentine's Lips?

Today's The Day -- there are likely to be more smooch fests on Valentine's Day than usual, and while kissing should be celebrated in all its glory, take just a minute now to think about in a different way. Two people part their suborgans known as lips, with variations from tightly-closed to gaping, and for at least a second or two, engage in direct lip-to-lip contact. We won't go into tongue exchange here... Thinking about kissing that way is kind of like saying a common word over and over until it sounds unusual. South Bend Tribune staff writer Christine Cox talked to a couple of lip experts about these handy little body parts called lips, and here are some of the tidbits she turned up that might make you go "hmmm": Lips are part of your mucous membrane. Their color, reddish, is due to the fact that lips are actually a transition zone between our very red mouths and our other-colored facial skin. Like other organs, lips can be sensitive to extreme temperatures, chemicals, products, and food. Using waxy lip balm does not create a need to use more of it. Because lips do not have oil-producing glands, adding moisture to them is a good thing. Lip appearance and function haven't evolved much from homo erectus to our present state. From a biosocial perspective, lips are "sexual signaling devices" that utilize a color (red) that denotes fertility in animals. Chimps and other primates kiss, too. Our desire to touch lips may have developed from wanting to share food. Kissing might help us get used to each others' bodies by way of giving us a chance to create antibodies. On a strictly cultural note, there are rule in all societies and groups that dictate when, where, with whom, and how kissing is approved. Read Christine Cox's piece, then go on out there and pucker up!
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