Pop stars Rihanna and Britney Spears exchanging a kiss at the Billboard Music Awards wouldn’t have shocked anybody. Spears has a penchant for locking lips with women on stage - remember her smooch with Madonna during their infamous Grammy Awards performance? Like the attention-seeking popstars, it’s increasingly common for women to get up close and personal with their female friends. Behaviour therapist Seema Hingorrany says, “People are more open to experimenting because society has become less judgmental now. I’ve had female patients confess that they’ve kissed a girl when they were drunk.”
Alcohol, according to psychologist Limara Ferro of Ascend Psychology, is known to reduce inhibitions. She also points out that two women kissing might amount to nothing more than experimenting with sexuality: “Experimenting during adolescence is common. Since taboos have reduced, people are more willing to indulge in certain behaviour.”
Psychiatrist and psychotherapist Dr Syeda Ruksheda of Trellis agrees, adding, “It could start off as a dare. Also, people are more physically affectionate now and less averse to public display of affection.” She adds that watching celebrities indulge in similar behaviour might also reduce inhibitions: “It’s also more common in higher socio-economic groups.
They might consider this to be westernised and therefore, cool.” In some cases, Hingorrany observes that women might reach out to close female friends when depressed. “A girl going through a bad break-up had reached out to hug her friend and the girl kissed her back,” she reveals, adding, “At that point, she enjoyed it, but felt guilty later.”