The Art of Seduction

The Art of Seduction

by Robert Greene

The Art of Seduction guides the reader through the process of seduction. The book also introduces the nine different seducer types and encourages each seducer type to work on their strengths and weaknesses.

Summary Notes

The Seductive Character

“Yet all we need to do to realize our potential is understand what it is in a person’s character that naturally excites people and develop these latent qualities within us.”

Successful seduction begins with your character. Most of the things that happen during seduction are beyond our control. For that reason, begin your process by learning more about yourself. Identify the qualities in you that attract people and invoke emotions in them. Determine which of the nine seductive characters most resembles your personality. Then, learn about the Anti-Seductive type to root any anti-seductive traits out of your personality.

The Characters

Sirens have strong sexual energy and they are skillful in using it. They should be careful to avoid coming across as a courtesan or whore and pay more attention to their psychological qualities as they age.

Rakes have an insatiable appetite for the opposite sex and a worry-free attitude. People admire a strong, unshameful Rake but a half-hearted Rake gets no respect. Therefore, the Rake should cultivate their personality, especially their dominant character traits.

Ideal Lovers know how to observe people. They can sense how people feel on the inside and they reflect these fantasies. However, they should beware of the consequences if reality surpasses the idealization of their own character. 

Dandies create their own persona by being more fluid or androgynous than most people. They make people feel freer in their daily lives. While people may feel drawn to their difference, they may also feel anxious and insecure around them.

Naturals portray many childlike qualities such as spontaneity and openness. People feel playful and at ease in their company and, as a result, lower their defenses. The older a Natural gets, the more they should focus on the qualities that work for their age range.

Coquettes remain elusive. They make their target chase them by using the promise of a reward such as physical pleasure or fame by association. The Coquette never offers total satisfaction. And they are never jealous. Be aware, however, that they might face deep hatred from their victims. 

Charmers know how to make other people feel comfortable. Deep down, however, they are manipulators who are hiding their true intentions. Charmers cannot seduce cynical people or those who do not need validation. They should know when to stop and when to resume their persuasions.

Charismatics excite people by having something that most people lack and want: self-confidence, sexual energy, or a sense of purpose. They seem superior and can seduce masses of people. It helps them to display a need for love and affection but they should avoid coming across as manipulative or needy.

Stars stand out from other people. By keeping a distance, they maintain a sense of mystery and let us imagine there is more to learn about them. People tend to imitate Stars without being aware of it. They might, however, grow bored with them and look for another Star to admire. 

Finally, Anti-Seducers do not seduce people. Instead, they repel them. This is because they have no self-awareness. They have difficulty seeing when they are annoying other people. They are usually insecure but can also be self-absorbed, impatient, clingy, ungenerous, critical, judgemental, selfish, reactive, and indiscrete. They are unable to understand the psychology of another person. An Anti-Seducer may also lack a sense of timing and they might be inattentive to details. 

A relationship with an Anti-Seducer will be unsatisfying. You should recognize anti-seductive qualities in yourself and other people. Most people have at least some anti-seductive traits, and we can become more seductive by rooting out these qualities.

Actions to take

Choose The Right Victim

“The right victims are those for whom you can fill a void, who see in you something exotic.”

Successful seduction starts by selecting the right victim. It is important that you are interested in the person you want to seduce. After finding a person who attracts you, study their behavior to determine if you should continue the process of seduction.

Actions to take

Create A False Sense of Security—Approach Indirectly

“If you are too direct early on, you risk stirring up a resistance that will never be lowered.”

After you have chosen your target, continue the seduction by getting their attention and making them develop feelings of desire for you. Try to learn more about them. Try to get information about their character, their tastes, their weaknesses, and deep-rooted yearnings stemming from childhood that affect their adult behavior. Spend time with your target to make them feel comfortable and secure around you. Do not approach them directly yet. When the target believes you are only interested in their thoughts and company, they will lower the resistance that people naturally feel for the opposite sex.

Actions to take

Send Mixed Signals

“Paradox is seductive because it plays with meaning.”

After getting their attention, stir your target’s interest by creating contrasts. Send them mixed signals and create the illusion of depth. People tend to lose their interest in anything they deem too obvious or too good. A contrast in your character suggests that you are more than what meets the eye. If you are kind, let them see the evil or sad part of you. If you are formal, let them see the crude and tough side of you. However, beware, not everyone enjoys this type of mystery. Observe your target to see if they seem to lack patience for a more nuanced story. Keep it simple with such people.

Actions to take

Appear To Be An Object of Desire—Create Triangles

“We want what other people want.”

To appear desirable, you need to avoid coming across as someone others avoid or neglect. When you can show your target that you are wanted and courted by many, they will draw closer to you and become hungry to possess you. There is no desire without social considerations. People are always attracted to those who other people find attractive. Desire is about wanting what other people have and competing for it.

Actions to take

Create A Need—Stir Anxiety And Discontent

“Once they felt uncertain about themselves, they were susceptible to falling in love.”

Anxiety and a feeling of lack and need are precursors of desire. Without them, there can be no seduction. Most often, it is best to stir thoughts of inadequacy and uncertainty indirectly. A content person is difficult to seduce. In contrast, people who are bored or feel they lack something are easier to seduce. If you lower your target’s self-esteem, even just a little bit, they will be more open to seduction and see it as a way to become happier again. People tend to be lazy and are prone to believe that their life is uninteresting (not because of themselves but because of their circumstances). They feel that if someone else will relieve their feelings of boredom, life will not only be easier but also more exciting.

Actions to take

Master The Art Of Insinuation

“Insinuation lets you bypass people’s natural resistance, for they seem to be listening only to what has originated in themselves.”

Insinuation is the act of planting ideas in people’s minds and making them feel as if they came up with the idea. People are typically very set in their ways and ideas and, for that reason, using a direct approach is often unfruitful. People resent being told what to do. The power of suggestion or insinuation lies in that your target cannot resist or become defensive if they cannot see what is happening.

Actions to take

Enter Their Spirit

“There seems to be nothing else in your life but them—their moods, their tastes, their spirit.”

As the majority of people are stubborn and hard to persuade, they need to be lured out of their shells to be seduced. When you mirror your target’s tastes and ways of behaving, you help them lower their defenses and they become more susceptible to your seduction. Mirroring them gives them the feeling that they are special, and that you have chosen them. To be more successful, try to mirror the person they are now but also mirror the person they want to be. This is the way to enter their spirit.

Actions to take

Create Temptation

“The reverse of temptation is security or satisfaction, and both are fatal to seduction.”

Seduction grows stronger when you give hints to your target about the pleasures you can offer them. Promise them a prize—a distraction from everyday life—but do not let them have it easily. Seduction works best when there is a barrier to cross or tension. You can use a psychological barrier such as bad timing or another relationship to stir an inner conflict in your target. People often want things they cannot or should not have. Create temptation and make your target pursue you by showing an interest in them but being unavailable.

Actions to take

Keep Them In Suspense—What Comes Next?

“The moment people feel they know what to expect from you, your spell on them is broken.”

To avoid your target becoming disillusioned and bored with you, keep them in suspense. Surprise them occasionally but avoid repeating a pattern or going too far. This way, you can keep them under your spell for a longer time and avoid ceding your power. When you let your target discover new things about you, you will stay in their mind and they will want to know more about you. Remember, while reliability is an attractive quality, it will also make you boring.

Actions to take

Use The Demonic Power Of Words To Sow Confusion

“You cannot seduce without an ability to get outside your own skin and inside another person’s, piercing their psychology.”

People are self-absorbed, and it can be difficult to make them listen to what you have to say. You will be more successful in getting people to listen to you when you shift your focus from yourself to them. Flattery, affirmation, and promises are seductive because they make people feel secure and wanted. Invite your target to dream by keeping your promises vague. When people lift their heads into the clouds, they lower their defenses and become more vulnerable to suggestion. This makes it easier to seduce them.

Actions to take

Pay Attention To Detail

“The details of a seduction—the subtle gestures, the offhand things you do—are often more charming and revealing.”

Focus on details in your seduction to show how much time and attention you are giving your target. Pay attention to how you dress, how you smell, and how you entertain them. However, avoid being too brash. Subtlety works best, and if you are subtle enough, your target may not even see how you are manipulating them.

Actions to take

Poeticize Your Presence

“There is no possible way to seduce without creating some kind of fantasy and poeticization.”

Use the time your target spends alone to your benefit. Spending too much time together and becoming too familiar might break the spell you are trying to put over them. Instead, try to make your target associate you with pleasant thoughts. Get them to fantasize about you when you are not present. Associate yourself with poetic images and objects to feed their fantasies. Use calculated coolness and absences to obtain the desired effect.

Actions to take

Disarm Through Strategic Weakness And Vulnerability

“Remember: what is natural to your character is inherently seductive.”

Reduce suspicion and resistance in your target by showing them your vulnerable side. Coming off as too strong may intimidate them so it is a good idea to let your target feel they are stronger. Vulnerability is attractive, and what people are unable to control is often what is most seductive about them. Remember, we cannot control our weaknesses. Likewise, we cannot truly fake a weakness without appearing inauthentic or unnatural. Thus, start by becoming more self-aware. Once you learn more about your weaknesses, you can start using them in your seduction.

Actions to take

Confuse Desire And Reality—The Perfect Illusion

“The perfect illusion is one that does not depart too much from reality, but has a touch of the unreal to it, like a waking dream.”

Many people have daydreams about adventure, success, and romance. If you can make your target feel that they get closer to their dreams through you, they will fall deeper into your seduction. Avoid going too far, and instead, create an illusion that is not too far away from your target’s everyday life. Start slowly, gain their trust, and gradually construct a dream that matches your target’s desires. The perfect illusion confuses your target’s reality and dreams.

Actions to take

Isolate The Victim

“Disguise all this in the form of a pleasurable experience, and your targets will wake up one day distanced from everything that normally comforts them.”

Strong and settled people are hard to seduce. Things such as friends, family, and daily routines make people feel safe and in control. You can break off this feeling of security by isolating your target. When your target becomes more vulnerable, they will be easier to seduce. The isolation can be psychological: if you manage to capture their attention with pure pleasure, you can make their mind focus only on you. And, as a result, they see and think only of you. The isolation may also be physical. You can remove your target from their normal surroundings, friends, and family. Make them feel they are leaving one world behind to enter another. But you must bear in mind that some people are too fragile to leave their base of support.

Actions to take

Prove Yourself

“Most people want to be seduced.”

During the process of seduction, you will eventually need to prove your words with actions. Your target may resist you because they do not trust your intentions. Are you after power, sex, or their money? By showing your target some evidence about your true intentions, you can flush away any lingering doubts and reveal one of your positive qualities. Understand that resistance in your target may simply mean that they are emotionally invested. You can cover up your defects by keeping them too busy trying to prove themselves to notice your faults. On the other hand, if you are the target, you can raise your value by making people prove themselves.

Actions to take

Effect A Regression

“People who have experienced a certain kind of pleasure in the past will try to repeat or relive it.”

People want to experience pleasurable moments from their past, typically from childhood. The warmest memories are often associated with a parental figure. These memories and feelings come often with sexual and erotic undertones. Let your target relive the feelings of being a protected, dependent child through regression to become more infatuated with you. Start by learning more about your target’s childhood and how they felt about their parents. Avoid repeating behavior from a parent they (secretly) loathed.

Actions to take

Stir Up The Transgressive And Taboo

“Love is supposed to be tender and delicate, but in fact it can release violent and destructive emotions; and the possible violence of love, the way it breaks down our normal reasonableness, is just what attracts us.”

Social limits cause us to set boundaries around what we think is acceptable behavior. People are curious to know what is beyond these limits. They yearn to explore their dark side. There is a seductive element in stirring up the transgressive and taboo. If you cross these boundaries and limits together with your target, you can create a powerful bond. Crossing a boundary or breaking a taboo together with your target helps you share a feeling of guilt and complicity which will bring you closer to each other. If you always stay within the limits of what society deems kind or good, your appeal will remain weak. Do not, however, overdo your dangerous side or you may scare your target away.

Actions to take

Use Spiritual Lures

“Pleasure is the bait that you use to lure a person into your web.”

Using non-physical bait will help your target forget the insecurities they may have about their bodies or sexuality during the process of seduction. Help them forget about their doubts and fears by focusing their attention on something spiritual or sublime such as a lofty work of art, a religious experience, or the occult. Let your target see what is divine about you. Tell them about the destiny or hidden thread that unites you. Your seduction will be deeper when your target feels your interest in them is neither temporary nor superficial. However, beware as spiritual lures might make some people feel anxious or claustrophobic. To avoid this, focus on the intensity and the moment when using spirituality as a lure.

Actions to take

Mix Pleasure With Pain

“Erotic feeling depends on the creation of tension.”

Being too nice to your target during the process of seduction may start to feel monotonous. Likewise, too much niceness may make you come off as if you were trying too hard to please. This can seem insecure. To avoid your target losing interest, try to heighten the erotic charge by inflicting pain on them and creating the excitement of fear. Create lows to allow them to experience the highs afterward. However, avoid inflicting pain on someone with past trauma. Mixing pleasure with pain works best on people who have power and live easy lives. These people often feel, deep down, that they got away with something. As a consequence, they long for punishment to bring them down to earth.

Actions to take

Give Them Space To Fall—The Pursuer Is Pursued

“Your withdrawal will trigger anxiety; the only way to relieve this anxiety is to pursue and possess you.”

Once the target is under your spell, use space as a way to recreate tension between you. Switch the dynamics to make your target active in the seduction. You should not let them feel that you are always doing the work. Instead, let them have the chance to pursue their pursuer. Remember that their appreciation for you will grow in your absence. Be careful, however, to use this tactic only after your target has started falling for you. You should always choose the proper timing because absence at a critical moment in the seduction can work against you. For example, if you use this tactic too early in the process of seduction, your target will lose interest and look elsewhere for something easier and more pleasurable. Also, if your target prefers to stay passive, you might enjoy the seduction more by looking for someone more active.

Actions to take

Use Physical Lures

“Never force the physical; instead infect your targets with heat, lure them into lust.”

If your target sees through your manipulations, they might start to doubt your intentions and turn against you. For that reason, you will benefit from using your physical side in the seduction. Especially for women, using sexuality can make it seem as if the man is the aggressor although the sexuality originated from the woman. Both sexes should target the sexual energy to the senses, not the conscious mind. We are all built with animal-like senses after all. Make your target read your sexual cues from your body. The desire should be in the look of your eyes, in the trembling of your voice, and in your reaction when your bodies get closer to each other. Learn more about your type and with whom you match. You cannot train your body, but you can choose your target based on who naturally attracts you. Do note, however, that using solely physical lures will often frighten and disturb people.

Actions to take

Master The Art Of The Bold Move

“Don’t give the victim time to consider the consequences; create conflict, stir up tension, so that the bold move comes as a great release.”

Delay the climax in your seduction. This proves to your target that it is them, not your libido, turning you on. Society expects politeness and expects you to hide your feelings, but in seduction, you must go beyond what is deemed appropriate or polite. Make your target feel that their charms have let you loose. Make them feel that they pushed you into the bold move. The perfect bold move comes across as if you were being suddenly overwhelmed by desire. A bold move should always stand out from typical behavior. Do not be the timid husband or insecure suitor. Be sure, however, that your target is falling for you. You want your bold move to be a pleasant surprise, but not too much of a surprise.

Actions to take

Beware The Aftereffects

“When you seduce, you are not quite your normal self; your presence is heightened, you are playing more than one role, you are strategically concealing your tics and insecurities.”

After a successful seduction, danger lurks ahead. The feeling of disenchantment is almost unavoidable and you or your target may feel disappointed, distrustful, or apathetic. If you want to continue the pursuit and the game with your target, you may need a second seduction. Never let the other person take you for granted.

Actions to take

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