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From romantic to lustful and political, the stories behind the most iconic kisses of all time

Let's face it, we all like a good snog - even when we're not necessarily on the receiving end of it. The French even have a dedicated word for it; the verb 'galocher' - to kiss with tongues - was officially added to the 'Petit Robert' French dictionary in 2014.

Kisses have a way of capturing the visceral emotion of a particular occasion or event that few other gestures can do justice to. They become indelibly printed on our imagination.

Think of the joie de vivre captured in Alfred Eisenstaedt's exuberant image of a solider and a nurse locking lips in Times Square during VJ Day celebrations in 1945. Or the highly charged moment a naked John Lennon curled up to his wife Yoko Ono, in an Annie Leibovitz image shot hours before his assassination. 

We all felt the thrill from Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr's knee-trembling turf in the surf in 1953's From Here to Eternity, in a scene that was hugely contentious at the time.

We were all moved as Chilean miner Osmán Araya embraced his wife Angelica, after being rescued from a 69 day hellish ordeal trapped underground. 

And we were all cheering on as two women sailors marked the first ever same-sex version of the Navy homecoming kiss in December 2011, to mark the repeal of the US military's contentious "don't ask, don't tell" rule on homosexuality.

These are the kisses where both parties have been swept up in the moment, where the rest of the world has faded away as two people celebrate in the right here, right now. It's the very definition of seizing the day.

From polite wedding day pecks to lustful caresses and politically explosive gestures of affection, here are the stories behind history's most iconic kisses.


Images: Getty, Rex Features

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