The real reason you’re more likely to tilt your head to the right for a kiss

Imagine standing face-to-face with your partner/current Tinder date, and going in for a smooch. More often than not, you’ll imagine yourself titling your head to the right as you pucker your lips for your big moment. But, why do we rarely ever see ourselves letting our heads move to the left?

Well, according to a new study, humans are hard-wired to favour leaning to the right for a kiss given our tendency to match our partner’s head-leaning action.

Will kate

Researchers from the universities of Dhaka, Bath and Bath Spa also found that men were approximately 15 times more likely to initiate kissing than women, and more than two thirds of partners showed a bias for turning their heads to the right.

The study — published in the journal Scientific Reports — studied 48 married couples in Bangladesh, where displays of affection are commonly reserved for behind closed doors.

Couples were asked to kiss privately in their own homes, before going into different rooms and reporting back on various aspects of the kiss.

Dr Rezaul Karim, from the department of psychology at the University of Dhaka, said: ‘This is the first study to show sex differences in the initiation of kissing, with males more likely to be the initiator, and also that the kiss initiators’ head-turning direction tends to modulate the head-turning direction in the kiss recipients.


Meanwhile, a person being left or right-handed predicted their head-leaning direction, but usually this was only the case if they initiated the kiss.

The head-leaning direction of the person going in for the kiss also strongly predicted the head-leaning direction of the kiss recipient.

As a result, the researchers believe that kiss recipients have an inclination to match their partners’ direction in order to avoid that uncomfortable moment of bumping heads, and tongues.

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The setting for the study was important as Bangladesh is known as being relatively private when it comes to public displays of affection and intimacy on television or in film, however the fact practices from more Western countries might have contributed to the tendency for subjects to tilt to the right could not have been ruled out.

‘It turns out we as humans are similar, even if our social values differ,’ said Dr Michael Proulx, from the department of psychology at the University of Bath.

The study’s findings echo that of psychologist Onur Güntürkün of Ruhr-Universität-Bochum who in 2003 observed 124 kissing couples and found that two thirds titled to the right, which is the same ratio as the bias toward the right foot, ear, and eye.

Kissing with a new partner for the first time can be awkward enough, let alone knowing which was to tilt.

Thanks, body, for doing the hard work so we don’t have to.


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