French kiss

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This article is about the type of kiss. For other uses, see French kiss (disambiguation).
"Frencher" redirects here. For the wine grape, see Gewürztraminer.

In English informal speech, French kiss, also known as a deep kiss, refers to an amorous kiss in which the participants' tongues extend to touch the other participant's lips or tongue. The implication is of a slow, passionate kiss which is considered intimate, romantic, erotic or sexual. Slang synonyms include "swapping spit" and "tonsil hockey".[1]

A "kiss with the tongue" stimulates the partner's lips, tongue and mouth, which are sensitive to the touch. The practice is usually considered a source of pleasure. The oral zone is one of the principal erogenous zones of the body.

Anthropologists are divided into two schools on the origins of kissing, one believing that it is instinctual and intuitive and the other that it evolved from what is known as kiss feeding, a process used by mothers to feed their infants by passing chewed food to their babies' mouths.[2][3]


A French kiss is so-called because at the beginning of the 20th century, the French had a reputation for more adventurous and passionate sex practices. In France, it is referred to as un baiser amoureux ("a lover's kiss") or un baiser avec la langue ("a kiss with the tongue"), even if in past times it was also known as baiser florentin ("Florentine kiss"). The Petit Robert 2014 French dictionary, released on May 30, 2013, added the French verb "se galocher" — slang for kissing with tongues — making it the first time a single word described the practice (except in Quebec, where the verb "frencher" describes the act).

Disease risks[edit]

A light kiss or dry kiss in which mouths are closed and saliva is not exchanged carries basically no risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).[4] Of course, if the other person is sick, such as with the flu or infectious mononucleosis, there is some risk of transmitting those infections. In addition, dry kissing someone with major open sores or cuts on the mouth could potentially transmit herpes or scabies, but this risk is minimal unless the person has oozing, pus-filled lips.[1]

In contrast, French kissing carries moderate risk of herpes simplex virus 2,[1] gonorrhea, hepatitis B, HPV, and syphilis if the other person is infected.[4] As a result, it's recommended to know a partner's sexual history and/or test for STIs before French kissing.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Kissing - Yes, There are Health Risks". Teen Advisor. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  2. ^ The (Mostly) Blissful History of Kissing, NPR February 11, 2007
  3. ^ . (1978. First published 1977), Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behaviour, St Albans, Hertsfordshire, UK: Triad/Panther Books, pp. 51–52, ISBN 0-586-04887-1  Reprinted 2002 by Vintage as Peoplewatching. ISBN 978-0-09-942978-4  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ a b Blue, Violet. "Safer Sex Charts: By Sex Act". Tiny Nibbles. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 

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