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Smooched: Why You'll Never Forget Your First Kiss

 An illustration of two people with brown skin kissing with a heart above their heads. One person is sitting on a pink and green moped, with pink-framed glasses, a blue shirt and yellow shorts. They're holding on the handlebars of the moped with the second person in their lap facing them, wearing a yellow jumpsuit and white-framed glasses. The background of the illustration is purple. The word “Smooched” is in the upper righthand corner.
Charnel Hunter

Anita's highly-anticipated (and highly-awkward) first kiss was in eighth grade … but she remembers it like it was yesterday! A scientist tells her why our brains respond so strongly to kissing and how our kissing customs have changed over time. She also unpacks the power of a kiss with a photographer who documents queer Black love in public and three Gen-Zers school her on contemporary kissing culture.

Meet the guests:

  • Sheril Kirshenbaum, science communicator and author of “The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us,” explains what's happening in our brains when our lips touch another person's and digs into the cultural history and evolution of kissing
  • Kadar Small, photographer, director and filmmaker, shares his photo series "PDA," which aims to highlight and normalize images of Black and brown queer intimacy
  • Donna Diaz, Parys Smith and Chris Williams, all current and past WUNC Youth reporters, talk together about their first kisses, how they think about boundaries and what makes a good kiss

Read the transcript | Review the podcast

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Kaia Findlay is a producer for Embodied, WUNC's weekly, live talk show on health, sex and relationships. Kaia first joined the WUNC team in 2020 as a producer for The State of Things.
Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.