Episode 20: The Art of Seduction

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“To seduce, you have to be seduced by the person you’re seducing. It’s all about noticing because people say they want one thing and often they want something different.” --Robert, OneTaste Resident

Do you like to seduce, or be seduced? In this first of a two-part series on the seduction, hear tried and true ways of seducing and being seduced. Also, a commentary on the methods recommended by communities devoted to teaching men seduction skills. Does being a jerk really turn women on, and is it a practice that will sustain a healthy relationship?


Announcer: This program is intended for mature audiences only.

J : What's your favorite method of seduction?

Woman 1: It's so easy, all one has to do is put attention on the person that they want to get closer to.

J : So, is that for you putting your attention on someone else? Or someone else putting their on you?

Woman 1: It goes both ways.

[intro music]

J : As a straight-forward, pragmatic, down-to-earth, slightly--well, maybe more than slightly--angst-ridden woman, the idea of seduction bewilders me. I don't understand how some people can pursue members of the opposite sex--or for that matter, members of their own sex--with such fervor and fun. As if it were a game, rather than something that causes great stress.

So, in putting together this show, here is what I set out to know: Is there an art to seduction? And can it be learned? Because, clearly, it depends on more than looks.


J : From One Taste Urban Retreat Center in San Francisco, we bring you a Taste of Sex: Reality Audio. A podcast that features personal revelations, stories and perspectives from people engaged in the active exploration of connection, conscious sensuality and relationship. For the next two weeks, our topic: the art of seduction.

[music ends]

J : Part one: Seducers and Seducees. Part two: A commentary on the idea that being a jerk is a winning formula for getting the woman of your dreams. Part three: A story of the ultimate seduction. And part four: An interview with a man who says that seduction is his higher calling.

I'm J . Join us and turn on.

[music ends]

J : Consider this hypothesis: Though we all resist it, I think that what we really want is to be moved beyond our wills. To be surprised into a place where we can let go.

Seduction, whether you are the seducer or the seducee, just gives us a convenient excuse, which brings us to part one: Seducers and Seducees.

J : Do you have a favorite moment of being seduced? Like, a memory of seduction that's, like, your favorite?

Woman 2: Yeah. It was someone who I rejected and then, a week later, just, like, he came back and I could totally tell that he'd put attention--he'd, like, noticed things about me during the week.

[background voices]

J : What sort of attention do you like?

Woman 2: I like someone to ask about me and, like, do nice little things for me.

J : Like what?

Woman 2: Just, like, notice where I'm at and what are the things that I like ... and ask me questions about myself and kind of, like, dig in there to explore who I am. And what are the things that make me happy.

J : So, I'm wondering whether you like to seduce or be seduced?

Man 1: Well, the funny answer is that they're both one in the same. You have to--to seduce--you have to be seduced by the person you're seducing. I like to play the role of the person doing most of the talking and the seduction part. It's all about noticing, really is the most important part.

Because people say they want one thing, but often they want something different. So, my technique is mostly just to notice a person, and when I feel them pulling on me, or I feel they want my attention, I go towards them usually a little more than they expect. And when I feel them backing off a little bit, I tend to back way off, more than they expect.

And, so, both have the experience of people being surprised and usually that's--if I can read them correctly--that's what they want, anyway.

J : Do you like to be seduced or do you like to seduce?

Woman 3: I like to be seduced.

J : And do you have a favorite method for being seduced?

Woman 3: Well, the one that works, that I really feel like I don't like, usually, but the one that works is when people are really brutally honest with me. And really tell me the truth about what they see in me or about me. And oftentimes it's, like, kind of  harsh, what they have to say. But I feel like, "Oh, this person's going to tell me truth and isn't just gonna, like sweet talk me" or something weird like that.

J : And do you have a memory of being seduced?

Woman 3: Um, yeah ... there's a good one. I was in the--when I first moved in--I was in the kitchen with somebody and they were, like, "I'm really familiar with your energy. Like, you're really not that unique. Like, I really know a lot of women like you."

And I was so relieved because I was like, "Oh. Like, cool." Because he's not going to put me this pedestal of, like, "Oh, you're so unique and you're so different and wow! I really like you!"

And he was just like, "Yeah, I know your fucking game. Like, what's going on? Who are you? Like, what's up?" Just like, really, familiarity and he didn't do the, like, "you're really special" thing.  And I just felt like it was really straight forward, and it was nice.

J : Do you like to be seduced?

Woman 4: Yes.

J : Or do you like to seduce?

Woman 4: I like to be seduced.

J : Do you have a favorite moment of being seduced?

Woman 4: My favorite moment of being seduced was when I was sitting on a couch, reading a book, and I was dressed really provocatively but I was kind of nervous in the circumstances, or in the place that I was, and didn't really know what to do.

So, I was sitting there, and I was reading my book and it was, like, a really smart book because I wanted to show that I was a smart person. And someone just sat down beside me and just the first thing out of their mouth was, "You look like you want to be flirted with."

And I couldn't believe he had the balls to say that because he was right. [laughs]

And he called me out, totally, and of course, I kind of turned red and was like, "Uh, no" ...or whatever I said. But, he really impressed me with his cockiness. That, yeah--the rest is history.

J : Do you like to seduce or be seduced?

Woman 5: Seduce.

J : You like to seduce?

Woman 5: Yes.

J : That's interesting. You're, like, the one woman I've asked so far who likes to seduce.

Woman 5: I would much rather seduce than be seduced.

J : And what's your favorite method for seducing?

Woman 5: [sighs] My favorite method is to flash them really intense turn on at first. And to put a lot of attention on them, and they feel really important and really expanded.

And, then, my attention will drift, and they'll be left wanting a little bit. And, then, when I feel them getting ready to give up, then I like to reconnect with them.

J : And that's your method for seducing?

Woman 5: It works every time.

J : So, you go in. Then, you pull out, and then you go back in?

Woman 5: Yes.

J : So do you like to be seduced or to do the seducing?

Woman 6: I like to be seduced and only recently have I been experimenting with being the seducer, like, trying on that role. And, I'm excited by it--I'm excited by the game of it, but at the same time, I feel very uncomfortable in it. And I feel like I'm not doing a good job.

J : What is it that appeals to you? What's the underlying reason for you wanting to do it?

Woman 6: You know, I think it's just, like, I like that feeling of power and creating an experience for someone ...

[background voices]

Woman 6: Or making them go the way that I want them to go. It's, like, I've even thought about this working in the restaurant where I work. It's like when people order exactly what I told them to order, it's, like, you get a little bit of a rush. [laughs]

And it's like you're controlling their experience, and that's good for them because I know what they should order. [laughs] You know, so?

J : [laughs]

Woman 6: They're smart to take my advice and I'm making the best experience possible for them, and, in a way, that's also a kind of seduction that you're creating someone's world the way that you want it to be and creating a feeling for them. And that feels really good.

J : Are you someone who likes to seduce or be seduced?

Man 2: Well, I like both. And I think both happen simultaneously with me almost all of the time. It's, like, if, like, I'm responding to signals that she's putting out, I'm not--so, I've been invited to seduce. So, in a sense, she's seducing me first.

She's saying, "Oh, here I am." You know, "Come and get me," so I have to maybe be the more active one, but I feel like I've already been seduced.

J : Do you have any stories of seduction?

Man 2: I'm trying to think of, like, a real story of seduction, but, like, I have this technique that I use that a lot of my stories would include. So, what happens, what I do is ... [sighs] It kind of feels--I don't want to give this one up.

J : [laughs]

Man 2: OK, so here's the idea: You find a place where you're both looking at the same thing, so you're both facing in the same direction--either looking at a sunset or looking at a piece of art in a museum, whatever that is. And this is in the very early stages, so maybe you're like on a first date or something, and you really don't know. It's like, "Are we friends or are we, you know, potentially more?"

And what I would do is actually position myself somewhat behind her and touch her in some way. Not necessarily coming in too close and crowding, but touching her in some way, and then sensing what her body does.

And if her body leans back into my body, then I know that something's there. And, like, so there comes a point where it's, like, I know that the kiss is going to happen. Like, I know that I'm going to kiss that person, but I haven't kissed them yet. But their body is telling me, like, there's something about the interaction--they lean back into me in a way, it's like, "Oh, I know it's going to happen."

And that's, like, to me, like, that's the part I miss. Like, I don't--if I'm in a relationship with someone, like, and we're exclusive, I don't, like, miss, like, the sex and all the other stuff. It's, like, I miss those first moments. There's something about those first moments which I'm absolutely addicted to.


J : Thanks to Nicole [sp], Rob, Christina [sp], Beth, Harmony, Bob and one other who did not want to be named, for their perspectives.

J : You're listening to A Taste of Sex. We'll be back after this short break. I'm J . Stay tuned.

[commercial break 0:10:30.1 to 0:10:54.3]


J : Welcome back to A Taste of Sex. On the second half of the show, we'll continue with our theme of seduction. I'm J .


J : Part two. Believe it or not, there are whole communities devoted to teaching men the art of seduction. Being a jerk, it turns out, is one of the primary formulas. Commentator Fred McChesney questions whether this is actually helpful to the real goal, which is connection between two people.

Fred McChesney: When Rolling Stone author Neil Stauss' book, The Game, rose to the top of the New York Times' best-seller list, America became aware of a community that had largely operated out of the public view before that time--the seduction community.

The seduction community is comprised of men in cities around America who study the works of a few self-proclaimed pick-up artists with the goal of getting laid. They're drawing largely from fields like engineering and high-tech. Most of the students are smart, many are good looking and most have good jobs. However, there's a problem with this seduction game, and with some of the seduction gurus.

Many of these became gurus, not because they'd been so successful with women, but because they've been such failures with women. They're not building on prior success, they're trying to erase a lifetime of failure.

In the past few years, a phenomenon has swept through the seduction community. Some gurus declared that the way to get women attracted to you was by putting them down, a term which became known as "nagging." They further decreed that a man would have to both nag women and be cocky and funny at the same time. This combination of being cocky, funny and putting her down will turn her into a sex-crazed maniac, they now agreed. It pushes buttons she doesn't know she has and she will be automatically attracted to you.

For many men, this was the perfect answer to a life-long problem. "Women are not attracted to me because I'm not enough of a jerk."

It's actually an accepted belief in parts of the seduction community that beautiful women respond sexually to put downs and that the difference between great seducers and chumps is that great seducers have the "guts" to denigrate beautiful women.

Too many of these men measure their success against a baseline set and graded by other men, not by women. They spend their weekends taking seminars, their nights dialing on the chat boards and their other weekends and other nights out looking for women. Seduction, in many cases, becomes their life.

They've turned relations with women into what is really more like a seduction fantasy league in which "life occurs around other men with the conversation always centering on how to get laid while talking to a woman is always done to further your sexual interests."

In many cases, they also adopt fake nicknames and identities. Picture an engineer with no sexual experience to speak of entering a singles bar wearing big heels and feather boa using some fake, made-up name like Enigma [?] and approaching model-level women and putting them down. This is one very popular version of seduction currently being taught.

The Game itself is now largely made up of guys who've been taught to go to bars four nights a week for three hours a night and to approach a dozen or more sets of women per night. These men change, not only their appearance, but their entire look and fill their heads with instructions and canned routines gained over months or years of seminars. They go to bars, not so much to meet women, as they do to execute sets of instructions.

This isn't to say there aren't many good people who teach seduction--there are, particularly here in San Francisco. But most have the same problem that therapists have: If you truly solve the problem, you've lost the customer. If the goal is getting laid, and the guys keep getting laid, what then?

It's great that guys want to get better at seducing women. The sadness is that some end up spending all of their time around guys and narrowing their lives and thoughts to such a degree that they become uninteresting people, even if they weren't before. Moreover, if a woman's sexual arousal is based on denigration of her and if the relationship goes beyond the beginning stages, will she consistently respond to denigration sexually? Or might her response change over time?

Can consistent denigration of a partner be part of a healthy relationship?

It's not true that women like jerks. It is true that women like strong men who are themselves. What she wants is a man who is real, who can handle her and who will tell her the truth, that may include him sometimes being a jerk because he may tell her something she doesn't want to here. The sad part of the seduction community is that for many men, it is adding layers of disconnect between them and when what is needed is precisely the opposite--an actual connection to the woman herself.

For far too many men, a chance to escape into their head is much easier and safer than being truly vulnerable to women. After all, in one study after another, women rate the single best opening line as, "Hi."

This is Fred McChesney for A Taste of Sex.


J : Thanks for listening to A Taste of Sex. For transcripts of this show, you can find us on the Web at personalifemedia.com. For more information about One Taste, our lectures, classes and workshops on connection, sensuality and relationship, check us out at onetaste.us.

Oh, and let me mention here that the views expressed in this show are not the views of One Taste, merely those of the people who have taken our workshops, many of whom are part of our full-time immersion program. In any case, check us out.

Tune in next week for the second half of Seduction. I'm J .


Woman 7: Sometimes I'll say something, and I'll be like, "Oh, that sounds like something a cheesy guy would say? Why the hell did I say that?" And then I'll be beating myself up in my mind over it, when what I should really do is try to connect to what I would want. Like, how I would want to be seduced and then do that.

[music ends]

Announcer: Find more great shows like this on personallifemedia.com.