While the series so far has included its fair share of snogging, last night’s episode involved a cheeky kissing challenge, which meant there was a heck of a lot of saliva swapping.
And the lip-smacking, sloppy sounds made some people very uncomfortable.
Some viewers were so grossed out by the slurpy sound of smooching, they have even taken to begging show producers to turn the contestants' mics off, particularly when they’re puckering up.
I never knew my nostrils could flare until I heard that kissing noise just then 🤢 👃🏻 #Loveisland— Helen Wood (@Helen_Wood86) July 1, 2019
someone teach the producers of love island how to turn down the mic sensitivity when people are kissing so I don’t need to hear their spit being swapped— taylor (@taylorlleahy) July 1, 2019
petition for love island to mute the microphones when people kiss— josie™ (@josierobs) July 1, 2019
every time they start kissing in love island and you hear that awful noise pic.twitter.com/7VMiBdu42J— cian (@herbz1996) July 1, 2019
The thing is we see on-screen kissing all the time. And, for the most part, kissing on TV doesn’t actually gross us out. Who didn’t enjoy watching when *spoiler alert* Fleabag finally got to snog the Hot Priest?
But when smooching moves to reality television, somehow our reaction is more eugh that aww.
So why is the sound of the kissing on ‘Love Island’ giving us all the ick?
Perhaps part of the problem is that it's simply too real. On screen in films and TV dramas and sitcoms actors are, well, acting. They are told when to kiss, how to kiss (stage kisses = no tongues) and they’re doing it in a room full of crew.
With ‘Love Island’ it seems like we’re intruding on actual intimacy. Real people, who are really kissing, tongues and all. And it feels kind of uncomfortable.
Then there’s the fact that the participants of ‘Love Island’ are all mic-ed up, and while that’s fine for capturing every aspect of the ‘grafting’, when it comes to them actually ‘cracking on’ the mics are magnifying every slurp.
Gwendolyn Seidman, a psychology professor at Albright University explains, told Vice that we each have personal tolerance levels for what grosses us out when it comes to things like kissing.
“People differ in their level of disgust sensitivity, [which is] the extent to which you find different types of things disgusting,” she says.
“So people higher in disgust sensitivity might find visual displays of PDA to be especially disgusting.”
Seidman goes on to say that how you see yourself acting in a similar situation can influence what you think of public kissing.
“People tend to use themselves as a source of comparison to other people,” she told Vice.
“They judge others based on themselves.”
So if there’s no way you’d snog the face off someone you’d just met then you’re likely to be more impacted by the kissing on the show.
Lucy Beresford, psychotherapist and author of Happy Relationships: at home work and play has an alternative theory about why we’re so affected by the lip smacking in a reality show.
“The slurpy sound of sloppy kisses can make us feel uncomfortable because it reminds us of our basic primitive urges, especially the bodily secretions that occur during sex,” she explains.
“Our sub-conscious shame and embarrassment then comes out in disapproval at people being much less inhibited in the moment. The shame can even be felt when we're enjoying a happy sex life, it's just that it takes us back to an earlier time in our life when sex was embarrassing.”
So in a way Love Island takes us back to that feeling of cringe when watching kissing on the TV with our parents.
“Plus, sloppy kisses can remind people of receiving a wet kiss on the cheek from a relative in childhood!” Lucy adds.
But if the slurpy, slurpy goings on are evoking a reaction a little stronger than eugh, you could be suffering from an actual syndrome.
“Some people genuinely suffer from something called Misophonia, where they become stressed out by the sounds other people make, like breathing, snoring or kissing,” Lucy explains.
The good news is that it's perfectly natural to dislike all the kissing on ‘Love Island’, because it is a representation of kissing in real life.
And real-life kissing has real-life problems. It’s wet, it’s slurpy and often a little uncomfortable.
The bad news is, as ‘Love Island’ doesn’t finish until 29th July, there’s still another four weeks of slurpy snogging to go.