What Aziz Ansari can Teach us about Dating and Seduction

What Aziz Ansari can Teach us about Dating and Seduction

In the past week, allegations of sexual misconduct were released by a website called Babe.  According to the allegations, Mr. Ansari asked a 23-year-old out on a date that, in her opinion, turned into a nightmare and led her to conclude that she had been sexually assaulted.

My Background Working with Sexual Assault Survivors

I want to be clear that I consider myself an advocate for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.  In the past two weeks, I have walked 3 personal friends through reporting very significant date rapes.  All three of them made the choice to report it to police, to have a rape kit completed and go through the process of getting a restraining order.  All three women were scared and told themselves that maybe it was a “hookup that went bad.”  In their cases, there was nothing that put them at fault.  These situations were clear abuses of power and caused physical and emotional harm.   Judges did not stall in giving these women their restraining orders.  One of them has been harassed by his family members and wishes that she didn’t report the incident just so the re-traumatization would stop.  Date rape happens more often than we think.  I routinely deal with this in my professional career as a psychologist and have special training in the assessment of domestic violence and abuse (including sexual abuse).

The Ansari Allegations Raise Other Issues: What Does it Mean to be a Man?

I, however, do not see the Ansari allegations in the same manner. Rather, the allegations bring to light a huge problem we have with American dating and hook up culture: None of us really have a clue on how to communicate about dating, relationships, and sex. We are too afraid to just be honest about what it is we really want.  Every woman in New York has had a version of this dating story but with differing outcomes.

It is hard for women, let alone young women to really understand what it is like to be a man in the United States. I’m obviously not one but I do work extensively with men who struggle with their personal definition of masculinity.  They worry that if they don’t make a move that women will think they are not interested.  They now worry that if they do make a move, they will be at risk for sexually harassing their date.  What most women don’t know is how much men’s masculinity is tied to their ability to get women to like them and ultimately sleep with them.  Most of my coaching conversations with men under 40 revolve around how to increase the number of women they sleep with.  It often becomes my job to dig a little deeper as to why they are not yet ready for a serious relationship.  The response is almost always related to previous rejection and pain associated with a bad experience with a woman.  Women simply do not understand the power they have to make or break a man’s ego at a young age. Eventually many grow up to use women as a form of validation that they are indeed “a real man.”  Tinder becomes a tool to recieve the self-esteem boost he lack on the inside.

Why We Can’t Always Simply Blame Men

To further complicate things, we can’t blame all men for this point of view.  We essentially train them to be this way as teens and young adults.  We teach them that women like assertive and confident men.  We teach them that persistence is the key to getting a woman to sleep with you.  We teach them that if they want something, they need to go get it.  We mistakenly tell them to “man up” when they are struggling to express their emotions.  The documentary The Mask you Live In beautifully discusses the toxic culture of masculinity we have cultivated in this country.

We DON’T teach young men how to read body language or read the state of mind of their date.  We don’t teach them that they are more likely to misinterpret a woman’s interest in sex. We don’t teach them how to calibrate their approaches to fit the woman sitting in front of him rather than memorizing a list of universal rules.  We don’t teach them that the REAL definition of seduction is about being selfless and socially calibrated so she feels safe enough to pursue sex, a hookup or a relationship. The real definition of seduction is more about sensuality and respect – the very things women need biologically to feel comfortable with having sex with any man.

Rather than learning these skills young men, who were not good with women at a young age, focus on achieving high levels of financial success and/or status.  While women may be more likely to make more careful determinations of whom they share their bed with as they become more successful, most men do not think that way. Success and wealth can become a tool of manipulative seduction whose aim is to get a beautiful young woman into bed as quickly as possible.  These men truly believe that being seductive means using explicitly sexual language and acting sexual. They simply do not understand that the real definition of seduction requires an understanding of the other person as a human being and selflessly providing what she needs to feel comfortable enough to consent to sex.

Most Women Want to Have Sex Way More than our Culture Allows us to Believe

What is funny about this viewpoint is that most young women today would be more than happy to sleep with a man quickly if he treated her like a gentleman, made his intentions known, and asked for her opinion or allowed her to lead. There is no shortage of one night stands in NYC. Many men and women happily hookup without a problem and the men that are successful with women do not have to work so hard – their behavior makes her feel safe enough to consent in the affirmative.  It is a healthy interaction where both parties feel happy with the outcome.

So here is what I think went wrong in the Ansari situation:  She expected to be courted and respected because that what she needs to be turned on.  He failed by this account.  She gave him complete control of the date. He thought he was on a roll and that it was time to seduce her into bed.  Had his approach been completely different, one in which made her feel taken care of and respected, I doubt that this would have been the outcome.  Had he made his intentions known from the start by telling her he was not interested in anything more than a night of fun, it would have given her the opportunity to consent or not. The problem may have been sidestepped all together.

What Now?

For everyone to move forward, we really need to be mindful to deal with the lack of respect we have toward each other in general. Online dating has commoditized women and women are tired of feeling like an object.  Women also need to communicate with men when they do things we do not like.  Simply stopping communication and disappearing does not help to resolve the issues that transpire.  We as a culture can put a stop to these types of behaviors if we are simply brave enough to communicate and behaviorally match our actions to our words. 

We are all going to have problems in the dating department – I just hope this story encourages women to assert themselves without anger or defensiveness so that men can learn how to treat women appropriately and women can learn to simply walk away from experiences that make them uncomfortable sooner.  I also hope that men can begin to simply be upfront and honest about what they want to avoid this type of mismatch. If you just want sex, find the woman who just wants sex.  Be open, honest, and direct.  You may be surprised how many people are willing to share your vision and how happy that relationship oriented women will be if you stay away from attempting to seduce them with overly sexual behavior on a first date!

If all else fails, keep it classy – in today’s world, you can’t risk ruining your reputation over a bad sexual experience.

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Licensed Psychologist and Founder of Rapport Relationships

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes is a relationship expert and licensed psychologist.  She provides dating strategy, consultation, and date coaching services to clients all over the world.  Dr. Rhodes is a frequently sought out media expert on the topics of seduction, sensuality,  dating, divorce, and relationships.

Seduction Matters: A Woman’s Guide to Dating in San Francisco

So many women are sick and tired of dating in their current city that they actually fantasize about what it would be like to meet someone in another city.  Technology and the lowered cost of traveling have inspired many women to follow their career paths around the world.  However, few women are able to anticipate how much a city’s culture impacts the rules of dating.  It is no secret that many New York women who have been flocking to San Francisco and Silicon Valley have been quite unhappy with their dating prospects in New York.  Women in New York are used to a pick up artist mentality that places seduction in the category of over sexualized behavior rather than true sensuality.    So when these women arrive in San Francisco, there is a little bit of a culture shock.  It can be a shock that lasts for years as women contemplate where all the “good” men have gone.

Much to the contrary, men have not gone anywhere.

San Francisco and Silicon Valley have many eligible, single men looking for a real relationship.  They are not all Peter Pans avoiding commitment and they are not all gay either.  For a NY woman to be successful in her dating life in San Francisco, she is going to have to learn some seduction and dating skills to learn her new environment.  That’s right.  All the seduction and dating skills you learned in NY can go right out the window if you plan to stay in the Bay Area.

San Francisco is NOT New York.  You need to use your seduction skills to entice men to speak with you.

While New York has most definitely been ripping off the best of San Francisco (thank goodness for the better coffee), a New York attitude will not get you very far in the Bay Area.  Neither will your black wardrobe.  San Francisco is a culture based off of breaking with conventional rules, innovation and relationship building.  Then man sitting at the coffee shop in what looks like a dirty t-shirt and jeans may actually be a billionaire.  Money is not used to buy status driven material possessions (although there are a few car fanatics in the area).  Money is used to disrupt the status quo and make the world a better place.

How does a New York woman improve her chances of dating in San Francisco and Silicon Valley?

 

Learn some dating strategy and seduction skills.

New York is a move conventional dating city with more clearly defined gender roles.  San Francisco is blurry and people like it that way.  If you see someone you are interested in at a party or event, be willing to make the initial introduction or at the very least, give a signal (a warm smile, lingering eye contact) that you are indeed interested.  If you appear in a foul mood, unapproachable or too status driven, most men will not want to speak with you.  Men would rather invest their time in someone with a sunnier disposition.

Offer to split the check immediately.  

It is common convention in New York for the man to pay the bill – no questions asked.  Some men even get offended if a woman tries to hard to pay the check.  In the Bay Area, not offering will guarantee that you never see the guy again.  If you asked him out, also be willing to pick up the tab.  He will kindly reciprocate on the next date and this should not be seen as a red flag in the Bay Area.

Become the best dinner party hostess you can be.

The culture of the Bay Area is very health focused.  As such, drinking at bars and lounges does not last well into your 30s as it might in other cities.  Many people feel more comfortable at more intimate dinner parties.  The best way to work you social network is to offer to host and encourage your friends to invite new people (who are hopefully single) to your party every time.

Stop comparing San Francisco to New York.  

It is so hard for true New Yorkers to stop this behavior and I will admit that I am very much a culprit of this one.  The more that you can try to embrace your new home and not make comparisons the faster you will transition from a WTF moment to appreciating what the Bay Area has to offer.

Change your dating mindset.  

The most harmful thing that any woman does while she is single is to convince herself that there simply is a lack of eligible bachelors.  Just like with money, this poverty mindset will get you nowhere.  Try practicing noticing the number of men you pass on a daily basis.  Are you missing opportunities to connect with other?  Most of us are.  Try to be curious about other people and stay off your iPhone while walking down the street!  This is a good opportunity to learn some seduction skills.  Use it learn how to connect with men.

Figure out what you really want.  

If dating is not going swimmingly while you are in the Bay Area, use the downtime to figure out what you really want.  It is difficult to find the right person when you cannot even imagine what that life might look like.  Take advantage of San Francisco’s close proximity to Napa, Sonoma, Lake Tahoe or Big Sur and take yourself on a retreat.   The Bay Area promotes personal growth and development and you should take advantage of this while you can.

Understand that dating in this culture may leave you feeling “unfulfilled.”  

Many women complain that the men are nice enough in the Bay Area but these relationships are missing something.  While you most certainly should not settle, you may want to look into your own personality and your desires and make sure you are making healthy decisions.  A lack of drama can often be a sign of a healthy relationship.

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes speaking on seduction at the Commonwealth Club © 2016 Rikki Ward

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes speaking on seduction at the Commonwealth Club
© 2016 Rikki Ward

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes speaking on seduction at the Commonwealth Club

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes speaking on seduction at the Commonwealth Club

Seduction from a Woman’s Perspective

How Scot McKay and I Started Chatting about Seduction

 

I met Scot at the Elite Man Conference in Plymouth, Massachusetts this year.  I was immediately impressed with Scot’s presentation which went through some pretty controversial topics related to masculinity.  It was clear from our conversations and his presentation that Scot knew what women wanted and was a great teacher.  After my presentation on seduction, which many of the men were thankful that the messaging was the same, Scot approached me to be a guest on his podcast.

I never thought that I would do any work related to the topic of seduction.  However, after working with many women and also experiencing the complete lack of romance in my own dating life, I started to realize that this is an important topic to discuss.  Men and women living in urban areas have become desensitized to romance and have replaced romance, sensuality and seduction with overtly sexual behavior.   Modern women do crave to be desired and many men today seem to miss easy ways to package their interest in a sensual manner.  The consequences are not insignificant.  Missing out on the positive aspects of seduction and sensuality leads to uninspired dating.

I hope that this podcast will start a healthy conversation about what seduction really means and why it is important in all relationships.

Here is summary of what is covered in this podcast:

 

  • Has seduction in the true sense of the word  gone the way of chivalry…seemingly irrelevant in today’s post-modern feminist world?
  • Could confusion about this very topic be why men and women are having a harder time connecting these days on first dates?
  • What is seduction really about?  Why is it a necessary social skill?
  • Why do women constantly sabotage their romantic life and deprive themselves of romantic experiences with men?
  • What mistakes do men make in this area?
  • Practical tips and suggestions!
Dr. Rhodes speaking on seduction at the Elite Man Conference 2016

Seduction in Everyday Life: When your Date is Perfect

When you are living a life you love, you become infinitely more seductive to other people and less prone to being a victim of a manipulative pick up artist.  – Jennifer B. Rhodes, PsyD

Is your date playing games?

One of the complaints I hear from all of my clients is that they are tired of “game playing.” They are tired of someone’s “hot and cold” behavior, someone who comes on too strongly in the beginning and then ghosts them, or someone who does not seem to know what they want. At this stage of my work with a client, I empathize with their frustration but I also push them to understand that their date’s dating behavior is conveying useful data. In fact, it can be quite easy to deduce whether someone is really playing games or is simply scared of being in a new relationship. This information is invaluable and should guide your personal dating strategy and help you understand what seduction actually is.

The Date who Seems too Direct, Put Together, and Utterly Different

Recently, I had a conversation with a male friend who broke up with his girlfriend to date other women. He remarked that he was always very direct about his intentions and made it clear to a woman immediately that he was interested. This was indeed new behavior for him and while he was making an attempt to flirt with me, I reminded him that the Rake’s character does not falter when a women shows a lack of interest. He stopped to think and his insecurities were revealed. I knew that he never persisted with a woman in the face of unclear signals and he would not persist with me. He is a nice guy trying to figure out a new way to interact with women.

The man who is confident, direct, and makes his intentions known is considered the Rake. Women love the honesty because they are tired of anti-seductive men who complain about everything. Further, what makes the honesty work is the man’s real and intense desire to have that particular woman. Without the desire, the directness comes off a controlling. The true seductive character, however, thrives off of unclear or “yellow light” signals. As a woman, your best bet is to play hard to get. If he stops pursuing you, you will immediately see his selfish nature.    I do, however, want to be clear – there is a distinct line between a man pursuing a woman who is unsure if she wants to date him and a man pursuing a woman who is clearly communicating “don not pursue me.”  A person who pushes your boundaries when you have clearly  communicated you are not interested is not seductive and possibly dangerous.    Keep yourself safe and do not ignore obvious red flags.

The Traits of the Siren:  A Classic Feminine Seductive Character

Women can play this character as well but are more prone to display traits of a Siren. While the Rake seduces with words the Siren seduces visually. She represents the male fantasy – a highly sensual and yet self-confident woman who displays a touch of danger. Men fall for her easily and I often hear my male clients chasing down these women (rather than courting a relationship oriented woman) because they have been physically mesmerized and intrigued by her energy. To a group of men, the Siren stands apart from all the other women. She is different and easily seduces a room full of men by just being present.

Seductive Characters May Be a Distraction

When you are dating, you will likely cross paths with these characters. You will see your friends fall for the inappropriate versions of these characters.   They are the ultimate forms of distraction if you are looking for a serious relationship. If you find yourself chasing one of them, stop and ask if you are really ready for a real relationship. Falling for fantasy usually indicates some dissatisfaction with your current life. For example, highly intellectual men often fall for the Siren because they have not had much fun or lived life to the fullest extent possible. These women are filling a void and if you can recognize what is happening, you may be able to use the situation for your own personal growth rather than fall victim to these seductive characters.  The antidote to this distraction is to start living the life you want now.

Dating Coach and Seduction Expert

 

Seduction in Every Day Life: When your Date Plays “Hot and Cold”

Is your date playing games?

One of the complaints I hear from all of my clients is that they are tired of “game playing.” They are tired of someone’s “hot and cold” behavior, someone who comes on too strongly in the beginning and then ghosts them, or someone who does not seem to know what they want. At this stage of my work with a client, I empathize with their frustration but I also push them to understand that their date’s behavior is conveying useful data. In fact, it can be quite easy to deduce whether someone is really playing the manipulative game of seduction or is simply scared of being in a new relationship. This information is invaluable and should guide your personal dating strategy.

The Date who Blows “Hot and Cold”

Common conventional dating advice highlights this strategy as emotionally immature. It certainly may be. However, this strategy has long been used as a tool of seduction to increase attraction and desire. In today’s modern dating culture, there are many people who may employ its use on purpose while there are others that simply have no idea what they are doing. I have experienced this first hand and can sympathize with my clients about how frustrating it is – that is until you take your emotions out of the equation. This tool is employed by someone whose character is more of a Coquette who is trying to frustrate you on purpose and only offers a glimmer of hope for happiness, pleasure and perhaps power. This date wants you to chase him or her and it is this game that he or she enjoys immensely.

If you know that your date wants you to chase them AND you can begin to separate your emotions from the situation, you will realize that there are two potential reasons for your dates behavior: He or she is sophisticated enough to do this on purpose OR he does not know what he wants.

What is the Solution for Handling this Type of Seductive Behavior?

The solution? Date other people and do not chase him or her. If he or she is simply confused or scared your absence will likely invite them to stop playing games and ask you what is going on.   This is especially important for women as we tend to fall for these games more often than not. If you stop pursuing and he comes around, it is okay to confront the behavior. Any sign of defensiveness rather than an apology should give you the data you need to know that this person is not looking for a serious relationship. Once you have that data, you may choose whether to continue to enjoy the game playing or move on.

Many of my clients know that I spend much of my time dancing. It is not unheard of in the Latin dance community for men to use their dance skills to try to pick up women.  While there have been many happy couples forged through their love of dance, it is also the place where I personally learned about the man who “blows hot and cold.” These men are usually attractive, have good dance skills and seem aloof and mysterious. You do not find them speaking to many other people and there is usually a ton of chemistry exuded in the beginning. Did I fall “victim” to one of these guys. Probably.  Yet,  I continue to enjoy the game to this day. Once I figured out that he was playing, I cut out my emotions from our interactions. Every once in awhile they resurface and I remind myself that I am human. It happens when you see someone on a regular basis.

Why Cultivating a Life your Love is Key

What this person does not know is that I have done a good job cultivating real friendships and relationships in our shared community. Both men and women contact me to share information about this person and it has helped me stay grounded in my conviction that I will never chase him nor will I fall for him. In this way, I can enjoy the flirtatious behavior on the dance floor and not worry about anything else. Understanding his behavior has given me the freedom to just be myself.  The unintended but wonderful consequence is that freedom makes me highly attractive to all the other men in our community as well.

Tips for Navigating your Date’s “Hot and Cold” Behavior

If you have been experiencing the pain of dealing with someone who goes “hot and cold,” sign up for top 10 tips on handling this behavior!

 

 

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Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Licensed Psychologist and Founder of Rapport Relationships

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes is a dating coach and seduction expert.  She provides dating strategy, consultation, and date coaching services to clients all over the world.  She a dating coach based in NYC and a frequently sought out media expert on the topics of seduction, dating, divorce, and relationships.

Seduction in Every Day Life: Why Nice People Have More Sex

Seduction in Every Day Life: Why Nice People Have More Sex

One Theory Regarding why Altruistic People have more Sex: Seduction is Inherently Selfless

Over the course of the past month, the Internet has been thoroughly interested in a new study published by Steven Arnocky, PhD in the British Journal of Psychology. According to his research both men and women who self-rate themselves as being higher in altruistic qualities have more dating, casual and long term sex partners. Even when social desirability factors where taken into consideration, altruistic behavior predicted more dating, casual and long-term sex partners for men and more casual partners for women. Yet, the article was not able to conclude why this is the case.   It surmised that from an evolutionary standpoint, men in hunter-gather societies who shared their food displayed altruistic behavior by sharing their food with other without expecting anything in return.

To me, this sounds exactly like what seduction is supposed to be.

Over the years, the so-called “seduction community” has made a lot of money providing socially awkward individuals with the tools or the rules to better understand women. Yet, what has transpired has been a growing population of men trained to operate from an inherently selfish place, often expecting women to fall to their feet if they successful execute a specific strategy properly.

Not only is this ridiculous but it does a disservice to both men and women by circumventing the opportunity to actually learn what drives attraction and desire. While many may argue that the secret to the seduction community is its focus on short term versus long term mating strategies, research as reported above shed new light on what many women seek even in a casual hook up. Is it then possible to think about seduction as it is meant to truly be – a skill to lead someone along, not exploit others, in an effort to altruistically give someone what he or she wants without the expectation of something in return? Could it really be that men, who selflessly give women what they desire without the selfish expectation of sex in return (and dare I say enjoy this), actually do better with women in the short term as well as long term and vice versa?

In my opinion, I believe they do.

We have long known from an evolutionary standpoint that women are attracted to men who possess resources and are generous with those resources. Altruism would have then developed as a trait to increase the likelihood of increased mate selection for men. In modern times, hunting has turned into displays of financial wealth. As modern women, however, have become more financially independent, they too have grown more attuned to men who showcase wealth for ulterior motives versus men who are selfless givers. Their desires have grown past simple financial security and they are on guard for men who may want them solely for a sexual encounter.

In today’s world, women are looking for more than a hot body and someone who throws their money around to serve his own ego. They are inherently attracted to men who may find a few moments to volunteer for a cause he is passionate about or is dedicating part of his career to a philanthropic cause. The proof is in the millennial generation’s value of authenticity over status.

Simply building a lifestyle is no longer enough. One must have passion and desire to put the needs of others before their own.

To be truly seductive in our modern age, men need to move beyond simple “tips and tricks” and truly cultivate a life that a woman would like to be a part of. Altruism, therefore, collaborates nicely with seduction as a social skill, and begins to take the focus off of doing for others to feed your ego and moves it to doing for others for the sake of the larger community. While we can argue that altruistic behavior may be part of a long term initial investment that does later lead to getting one’s need met, the person with true altruism and seduction skills understands that sometimes an investment does not produce a return and that is still okay. Both men and women appreciate others who are emotionally open enough to invest and not expect something in return.

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Licensed Psychologist and Founder of Rapport Relationships

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes is a dating coach and seduction expert.  She provides dating strategy, consultation, and date coaching services to clients all over the world.  She a dating coach based in NYC and a frequently sought out media expert on the topics of seduction, dating, divorce, and relationships.