Sex and Dating: You’re trying to seduce me

James Love, Ph.D.

According to a probably reliable internet dictionary, the fourth definition of the verb “seduce” means to win over; attract; entice. As in, “the baker seduced customers with her delicious pie.” This example shows the two primary aspects of seduction—interaction and subtlety.

It is true that being honest about what you want and how you feel is important, but there is no reason to look like an idiot while doing so. Learning the art of seduction is helpful in understanding how to send and receive signals that denote interest. This interest can be but is not limited to: a person’s mind for conversation about the universe, social life for platonic activities like basketball and video games, and physical appearance for sexual activities like intercourse.

The first step to seduction is interaction. Find a way to interact with whoever you are interested in. Be friendly, but respectful of personal space. DO: say hello, be polite, and make small talk. DON’T: breathe on them, use a pick-up line, or talk too much about yourself. Be pleasant and talk about something you have in common, like the weather, your chem lab, or a mutual friend.

Finding a way to break the ice can be difficult, and requires practice. Find whatever strategy suits you, from non-sequitur comments about platypuses or the Jonas Brothers, to observational humor or even simple chit-chat. Don’t just go up to someone and say “You’re really pretty. Want to hang out?” Instead, say, “Hi, my name is James. I think I’ve seen you around here before. Are you a chemistry major?” Note that recently, it has become customary to introduce oneself after the introduction, rather than before.

Be aware that while receiving friendliness is indicative of interest, it does not express a particular type of interest. If you have an interest in someone who is acting friendly toward you, return the friendliness. Finding out what types of interest exist requires the elegant part of seduction, subtlety.

To express interest in a person’s conversation and social company is easy; simply maintain a friendly attitude. To express interest in affection, ranging from holding hands to the mattress mambo, more finesse is required. A delicious pie must be baked, and the customer must be enticed. To seduce someone with whom you interact, any of several strategic maneuvers can be employed. The trick is to gauge the other person’s level of interest, and then return the same amount of seductive energy. For example, go to IMPROVment!, and gently slap their leg after a hilarious scene. If they react uncomfortably, play it cool and pull back. If they hide a smile or turn red, try something more seductive in the future. It can be simple, like finding innocuous reasons for touching them, such as picking a fuzzy off of their jacket or out of their hair. The keys are showing off assets (such as the skin, even a naked shoulder; or the buttocks, in tight jeans; or even personality, by listening and being supportive) and creating reasons to spend time together.

Whatever happens, please remember to be courteous to other people. Although it is typically considered “very unsexy” to verbalize whether or not seduction techniques took place, it is necessary to be honest and direct during an actual discussion.