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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

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