French Kissing

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Academic Folklore from the Seventies


The mid-seventies was something of a confused time in the academic world. This was especially the case in sociology. There seemed to be a lot of people in sociology who started out in some other profession. In particular, there seemed to be a lot of ex-clergy in sociology.

Now, the ex-clergy sociologists didn't go into the hardcore areas of sociology like demographics, sociometry or system theory. No, they tended to cluster more in the "service" areas. You'd find them teaching Social Problems {mandatory for future tv-movie of the week fans}, Deviant Behavior {aka Nuts and Sluts} or Marriage and The Family {meet and rate your future mate...}.



So there was this former Roman Catholic Priest teaching Marriage and The Family at a large mid-western university. He was doing fairly well with the "Varieties of Sexual Expression Within the Marital Dyad" chapter until one sweet young thing piped up with a question. She said that she needed to have a technical term defined. When he asked what the word was she said,

Undaunted the professor turned from the class and wrote the word on the blackboard. He then pointed out the ancient semantic roots of the word: cunnus = lips (akin to cutis <-- skin) and lingere = to lick with the tongue. He brought these concepts together by saying that cunnilingus was the technical term for what is commonly known as French Kissing.

The original questioner calmly wrote this in her notebook, but more knowledgeable students had all they could do to keep from soiling themselves. You see, they knew quite well that the technical term for French Kissing is Lingua Franca.

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