Valentine's Day at #metoo time

Seduction, a well-oiled mechanic?

At the beginning of sexual life, we know each other badly and we are dependent on social expectations or we are rebellious, which is just the opposite, that is to say that we are not really freely ourselves, but just guided by extrinsic motivations. In addition, we are ticking off a kind of unconscious checklist, but valued socially: studying, having a good job, finding a partner, all this for… reproduce. 
Sorry for the immediate and merciless destruction of the glamorous side of dating 😉 !!!

To compensate, here is this photo that I found particularly attractive…

Now, what are the personality traits that stabilize, or on the contrary explode the couple? And what happens to quarantine, a particular zone, also called a mid-life crisis, a pivotal period, during which the person accesses in a more authentic and finer way who he is, intrinsically?

Without glamour again, the primary goal of any living being is to keep itself alive, in the best possible condition. This is how strategies are put in place for the selection of genetic heritage, privileged behavior in terms of lifestyle, socio-cultural environment, food, energy saving, reaction to a predator, to preserve its bodily integrity. We talk about homeostasis, all the processes that allow the individual to be as close as possible to an ecological behavior: live as well as possible, consuming the least energy.

However, sexual behavior is a considerable risk-taking and a large consumption of energy: the sexual parade is visible and noisy, the opposite of strategic discretion to preserve maximum bodily integrity. It is therefore an aberration: a waste of energy coupled with risk-taking! Its sole objective is fertility. Physiological mechanisms are then put in place to deceive the individual and bring him to this risk-taking. These include the reward and punishment mechanism, which is anti-Homeostasis. In humans, it is diverted to the search for pleasure, especially sexual pleasure, disconnected from the goal of fertility.

In the animal kingdom, some males offer food to immobilize the female during the sexual act. Anti glamour, 3rd! On the human side, the first meeting is often over a drink or a meal.

Human seduction behaviors are elaborate and elegant… Or not! These behaviors include dancing, colors, singing, perfume… They are partly innate, partly learned. Learned behaviors evolve faster than those that are innate and adapt, which allows a diversification of the species. They also rely on mirror neurons, which make it possible to anticipate the movements of the partner and synchronize. This then gives the dance of seduction, synchronous and coordinated. Kiff insured!!! Ecological, without toxic substances, repeatable. Better than dope…

These learnings are done during childhood and more particularly in adolescence, for all that concerns the codes of love rites, which are also, partly cultural, as evidenced recently by the positions relating to #metoo and #balancetonporc. Then emerges the dominant male, in the competition to get the best females. He can thus switch from seduction to flattery to keep control of the environment – the coveted females in this case – while being perceived as socially pleasing by the group. And here, active brain governance is different: we move from emotional governance (nourished by values, learning, experiences and emotions) to gregarious governance (nourished by the balance of power).

In humans, the characteristics that distinguish them from other mammals are: otherness, emotions, consciousness, fantasies, the ability to communicate through speech. And this eminently complicates the rites of love.

Researchers have shown that romantic places significantly increase attraction. Why? The level of emotion triggered by the places where the activities are, is perceived as related to the attractiveness of the other. For example, inviting your beautiful to the top floor of the Eiffel Tower where the fear of emptiness can be triggered, will increase the desire. The roller coaster or the motorcycle are also fabulous emotional grounds! It is therefore a bias of confusion of emotional sources. "I feel a big emotion" becomes equal to "I'm attracted". This bias has been proven in different experiments where the dimension of physiological activation – triggered for example by physical activity or an activity generating strong emotions – exacerbates desire and attractiveness. Other filters are, for example, value judgments or aesthetic judgments.

On the men's side, the judgment is very focused on the appearance of women, physical appearance, beauty, health, youth, genetic heritage -estimated since the dawn of time by the ratio width of the waist to hip width, promise of a good reproductive capacity-. A man is therefore instinctively looking for a breeder. The dress codes of seduction, the suggestion of body areas partially revealed by semi-transparent fabrics, the choice of colors – what is THE color of seduction in the West? – echo this cultural construction.

On the women's side, the judgment focuses on the social status of the man through his income, his level of education, his profession, his attachment to children, his height, and his genetic heritage. In short, a woman instinctively seeks a breeder, protector of her offspring.

Well, I warned you that glamour was not necessarily at the rendezvous!

An essential filter in the lasting constitution of a couple is the type of individual attachment, linked to the parental model, which has a strong imprint on the individual. The different types of attachment are: secure, insecure–anxious–ambivalent, insecure–avoidant, fearful.

With a secure attachment, the first sexual intercourse takes place older, the person is more faithful, more satisfied with his sexual relations, more easily in love, judges himself more beautiful. For a woman, the secure attachment of a man is decisive. But insecure-avoidant attachment is more common in men.

The other filters that intervene in the romantic encounter are also subtle signals such as attitudes and behaviors.

We observe that it is the woman who leads the ball, who authorizes or not the relationship. For this, it has different assets: the smile, the look, the position of the head, the head movements, including the manipulations and movements of hair, the unveiling of the neck, and … the conversation!

The assets of seduction of a man are: to be noticed, to occupy the space, to have ample gestures, to look into the eyes, to caress his cheeks, chin, torso or shoulders, as well as to touch his partner. All these signs belong to those of gregarious dominance which reassures the partner about the individual's ability to protect his offspring.

That said, and to avoid caricature, all these elements increase, without any guarantee, the probability of success. The game of love being, fortunately, much more subtle!

So finally, how to seduce?

To seduce is to deceive the brain of the other!It is to create a mistake of attribution: to make a strong emotion take for an attraction and a strong desire. It is flattering, by a strategy of the chameleon: imitate the other, put oneself on the same wavelength, adopt verbal and non-verbal behaviors, gestures, postures, mimics that allow to synchronize. It is to stimulate the emotional system of the other, in particular by the compliment, by a feedback on the pleasure generated.

Researchers have demonstrated the "guitar effect" for men: posing with a guitar increases appeal to women. And this attraction is all the stronger as the instrument is more prestigious, such as a violin, a double bass or an oboe! That said, the effect is not at all symmetrical for a woman, who is not perceived as more attractive to a guitar than without.The voice is also an exceptional medium of seduction. Women love men with a low voice, an outward sign of masculinity, men, on the other hand, love women with a high-pitched voice, an indication of estrogen concentration, therefore fertility. As a coloratur soprano, I can confirm 😉 !!! 

I quote here Iva Barthélémy: "Perfect instrument, organ of seduction, using an infinite range of colors, capable of transmitting the deepest emotions. Mysterious alchemy that gives each of us a unique timbre, nevertheless inherited from all our ancestors. Incredible luxury, living, incomparable, irreplaceable material. The human being is perfectly aware that the voice, because it conveys speech and song, is the richest, the most perfect, the most subtle means of communication. Working on your voice means deciding to perfect the relationship you establish with others. To find one's voice, whether light or ample, low or high, at least like no other, is to discover in oneself living sources, to find one's deep identity, a factor of balance and authenticity that brings self-confidence." Self-confidence being very connected to the ability to seduce, the circle is closed!

Facial features are also very important. Women like men with a wide chin, a sign of masculinity, which develops in adolescence. Men like women with a symmetrical face, and it turns out that at ovulation, the symmetry of the face increases slightly. Finally, men and women love similarities, which is found in the saying: "who looks alike comes together".

And last, but not least, sapiosexuality is the faculty to seduce with its intelligence, its charisma, its instruction, in short, its brain.

And when the seduction is locked?

For some people, seduction abilities are curbed or even behaviorally locked. It is then a question of analyzing the reasons for these obstacles, and of removing them by a cognitive and then behavioral approach, in harmony with the intrinsic dynamics of the person: introvert, extroverted, social or individual… Brief therapies and behavioral coaching are good approaches for this. Some facets of personalities are turned towards intimacy with the other, others less so. We can for example mention the spontaneous pleasure to seduce by the well-being, the lasting friendship, the integration into a team; seduce to create harmony and federate a collective; seduce to go further, stronger; seduce to anchor the pleasure of the present moment captured by the five senses…

In the digital age, what evolutions of Cupid 2.0?

What does online seduction offer, flourishing market and practice, what are the evolutions?

Our society has moved from a family choice of rational alliance to an individual choice based on love -well seen what is written above it questions ;-)-. That said, today, the individual has individual control – even duty – of his or her love destiny.While in the 90s, unions via social networks were almost zero, today, 10 to 20% of people say they have linked via social networks.

That said, the biases of these online dating are important. These biases are the evaluation of the profile by the qualities announced, the evaluation by comparison of different profiles, or the difficulty of making a good decision in a very wide choice. In addition, the difficulties encountered are the following: the pre-selection time which can be considerable, the fact of having too many choices that inhibits the ability to make the right decisions and which, moreover, increases indecision and decreases satisfaction, the circumstances of meetings, the absence of nuance on online profiles. All of this creates a gap, sometimes huge, between expectations and reality.

So how to discern?

Meet IRL! In Real Life.

This discernment involves in particular the fact of promoting the state of mind of commitment, that is to say digging the option, deepening, versus the state of mind of appreciation, that is to say the comparison. It is also necessary to let go of the expectation of perfection, of the ideal profile, of the most desirable person. In addition, a person mostly considered more desirable than the others, has a highly coveted profile, is therefore not very available, which creates frustration on both sides.

Beyond the criteria of measurements, income, social status, it is particularly interesting to dig into the criteria of ability to communicate in writing, to enter into relationship, to have humor, and in a second time, the ability to resolve conflicts, to react to unforeseen events, because this is the breeding ground for a lasting relationship.

Beyond the first online discovery, it is useful to move on to a "real" meeting without too much delay, because the duration of the virtual interaction increases the risk of disappointment. Basically, the more you sext, the greater the disappointment !!!

In a real encounter, the trigger towards intimacy is a clever mix of experience, biochemistry (smells are particularly important, even if it is culturally rather swept under the carpet) and instinct. Finally, don't forget to give yourself time.

In addition, an experiment has shown that evaluating on photos the effectiveness of a CEO is relevant, on the other hand the evaluation on photos of a compatibility for a couple is absolutely not! The algorithms of dating sites full of promise, are therefore still very far from the account!

What to do, for a relationship that lasts?

The major source of separation is the woman's dissatisfaction. It is she who, at 80%, makes the decision of separation. Even in terms of risk-taking, it is for her that the score is the highest, because of the differences in income, and the involvement compared to children if there are any.Another origin of separations and that of the evolution of the couple which becomes dissonant in relation to individual evolutions. We started on an identical track and over time the tracks separate and distance. There, it is the story of the chicken of the egg, we do not know, at the moment, which drives the other. 

To last over time, it is essential first of all to know yourself, to know your attachment style and if necessary, to be accompanied in personal development in particular. Then, focus on your own state of mind – rather than that of the other – develop empathy, take a step back, manage stress, learn to manage complexity. Do not forget to cultivate your individual social life. And, in the interaction with the other, develop his ability to express his emotions and needs, his ability to respect the needs of the other.The assets of two compatible personalities are: the proximity of the two personalities in terms of conscientiousness -that is to say organization, reliability, punctuality-, a close agreeability -that is to say the trust that one has in others-, an openness to novelty -that is to say curiosity in the face of novelty and the unexpected-. The brakes are made up of significant deviations from these parameters of the Big Five. As for example between a person in search of social harmony and another very individualistic. As for introversion and extroversion it is a story of dosage, in short the right cocktail is a subtle dosage of similarities and complementarities.

After this very glamorous article… Let's put things into perspective: there is no deterministic law! Remember that you are endowed with emotional intelligence, and a brain ;-).So it's up to you to play, in subtlety, and happy Valentine's Day!