Why Do We Touch Our Mouths So Much?

This photo documents something anyone can notice: While we’re sitting, we touch our mouths a lot.

The photo shows the full faces of 22 men; 7 of them are touching their mouths. I have noticed something similar at many faculty meetings. I started to notice this after I read about its observation in a study designed to measure something else.

I’ve known about this for many years but have never read an explanation. Do we enjoy touching our mouths — or is the absence of touch for a long time unpleasant? If so, why?

7 Replies to “Why Do We Touch Our Mouths So Much?”

  1. Maybe to hide emotions? I notice sometimes people hide their smiles, or hide a yawn. Perhaps hiding our emotions in some cases helped us pass on our genes and so the behavior has been encouraged via evolutionary pressures.

  2. What about a means to sample the local microbial environment? A safer route to building immunity to bugs common in your environment by constant, low-dose intake (whether swallowed or inhaled)?

  3. “Who is that woman and what could she possibly be doing in that room? ”

    I count 6 guys who are eying her up. Maybe the reason they’re all covering their mouths is because they’re all saying “:cough: dude, check out the hottie :cough:”

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