The Art of Seduction (2001) is a mix between a dark psychology text and a seduction manual for men.
Robert Greene, the author, delves into the psychology of dating and seduction, including the more Machiavellian aspects of seducing people independently of who gets hurt.
- Bullet Summary
- Full Summary
- Part I: The 9 Seducers Types
- Phase III – The Precipice
- Phase IV – Moving In for the Kill First
- Pick targets who are easy to seduce, not just targets you like
- Pick a target whom you really like too -and never your same type-
- Seduction is about fantasy and idealization. Provide an out of the ordinary experience
About The Author: Robert Greene might not be a seducer himself and he doesn’t have any educational background in psychology.
Yet, when he talks about power dynamics and seduction he delivers more insights and wisdom than most pick-up artists or psychologists.
He is one of my favorite authors and his other books include “The 48 Laws of Power“, “The Laws of Human Nature” and “The 50th Law“.
Part I: The 9 Seducers Types
The 9 seducers types are sirens, rakes, charmers, charismatics, ideal lovers, dandies, naturals, coquettes, and stars.
In the first part of The Art of Seduction Robert Greene describes the personality types of the most successful seducers.
For a deeper overview of male seducers types, check out:
The siren is highly sexual, confident, offering the promise of endless pleasure and a bit of danger.
Examples of sirens are Cleopatra and Marilyn Monroe.
Watch Marilyn Monroe here and read more on seduction here:
Robert Greene says sirens are the most powerful seductresses as they operate on a man’s most basic emotions, and these work on everyone.
Dangers of Sirens:
Members of the same sex can get jealous.
Robert Greene righteously talks about Marilyn Monroe’s orgasmic faces. Here is an example for you:
#2. The Rake
The Rake insatiably adores the opposite sex, and their desire is infectious.
The Rake is a great female fantasy figure: when he desires a woman he will do anything for her. Sure he may be disloyal, but that only adds to his appeal.
The Rake is a guilty pleasure offering what society does not allow women: an affair of pure pleasure with the added bonus of danger.
To learn more about the rake type of seducers read:
Charmers want to please and know how to please: they are highly skilled social creatures.
Charmers seduce by removing themselves from the equation and taking full interest on their victims.
They will know what makes you tick, understand your pains and… Your weaknesses. Charmers make you feel understood and they feel better about yourself.
- Also read 33 Strategies of War
The Dangers of Charm
Robert Greene righteously says that some people tend to view Charmers as slippery and deceitful, and it can create problems for you.
Charmers must know then when to get rid of their flexibility and start acting inflexible.
- How to be charming (with video examples)
Charisma is an exciting presence.
It comes from inner qualities that make you stand out. It can be confidence, sexual energy, sense of purpose or contentment.
Most people lack these qualities, and what’s what draws them in.
Contrary to Charmers, Charismatics thrived during turmoils, when they can show off their daring.
The examples in The Are of Seduction are Joan of Arc and Rasputin.
Dangers of Charisma
Charisma is as volatile as the emotions it creates, says Robert Greene.
#5. Ideal Lover
Ideal lovers thrive on broken dreams.
You long for adventures, romance, losing yourself in the moment?
The Ideal Lover will reflect your fantasy.
Appeal to lofty ideals together with the carnal desires and sexual affairs will become sense-engulfing love affairs.
The Ideal Lover is rare in the modern world because it takes much effort and time.
Dangers of Ideal Lover
You create a fantasy that involves the idealization of your own character. If your faults get in the way, you will destroy that fantasy.
Dandies like to play with their image, creating a striking and androgynous allure.
They live for pleasure and surround themselves with beauty.
The sexes tend to have a chasm between them and they don’t understand the other. The Dandy is reassuring and feels comfortable for having similar traits.
The key is ambiguity: you are heterosexual, but you move delightfully back and forth between the two poles.
A difference with the Rake is that while the Rake’s insolence is tied to conquering a woman, the insolence of the Dandy is aimed at society and conventions: it’s no a woman he’s trying to conquer, but a whole social world.
An example of the slightly androgynous dandy is Russel Brand:
Dangers of Dandies
The Art of Seduction nails when it says that Dandies are likely to be accused of being too masculine -for women- or too feminine -for men-.
And of course, insolence can get someone really angry at you.
Naturals are spontaneous and open.
They bring us back to childhood, the golden paradise we consciously or unconsciously try to recreate.
They bring us back to that time by embodying those child-like qualities such as spontaneity and sincerity.
The key is to infuse your play with the conviction and feeling of a child, making it seem natural. The more absorbed you seem in your own joy-filled world, the more seductive you become.
You can see an example of child seduction in my article “how to drive him crazy“.
Dangers of Naturals
Total childishness can be annoying, so the best Naturals combine adult traits like experience and wisdom with a childlike manner.
It’s the mixture of qualities that is most attractive.
Coquettes are self-sufficient.
They seem to say they don’t need you, and their narcissism is devilishly attractive.
Imitate the alternating heat and coolness of the Coquette to make your target chase even harder.
The real essence of Coquettes is to trap people emotionally. The secret of the coquette it’s not much tease and temptation, the secret weapon of the coquettes is emotional withdrawal.
Their withdrawal makes them mysterious… And it makes us insecure.
What if they’ve lost interest?
You can see video examples of coquettes in action in “how to seduce a man“.
Dangers of Coquettes
Coquettes play with volatile emotions as love can easily shift into hate. Their absence can’t be too prolonged, anger but must be followed by smiles as the negatives can’t overweight the positives for too long.
Stars are ethereal and envelop themselves in mystery.
Daily life is mundane and can be harsh. The star represents the escape into fantasies and dreams.
To be a star, The Art of Seduction says, you must transform yourself into a glittering object.
Dangers of Stars
The danger is that people will tire of your illusion and move to the next up and coming star.
Once that happens you will find it very difficult to regain your spot in the sun.
Greene dedicates a chapter to the personalities and traits of the anti-seducers.
Avoid them at all costs unless you want to repel everyone:
- Brute: no patience and wants to skip seduction
- Suffocator: cling incessantly & loves too soon
- Moralizer: wants you to become like they want you to be
- Tightwad: money above seduction
- Bumbler: self-conscious and awkward
- Windbag: talk incessantly
- Reactor: terrified of having their ego hurt
- Vulgarian: ignores the rules of seduction and yet expects to win.
- Greedy: make it too obvious they’re after things
See an example of the bumbler here:
The 18 Types of Seducer Victims
Don’t think that everyone lacks what you are lacking and don’t try to seduce your own type.
- Reformed Rake or Siren: long to escape what restricted their freedom
- Disappointed Dreamer: stuck in a boring life and long for adventure
- Pampered Royal: long for prince charming to let them live the pampered fantasy of a royal life
- New Prude: concerned with appearance and judgment, secretly long release
- Crushed Star: long to being adored again
- Novice: excited of being introduced to a new, darker world…
- Conquerer: give them an obstacle to overcome or a mission
- Exotic Fetishist: want novelty, experiences, edgy stuff
- Drama Queen: long for drama in their lives
- Professor: analyze and ponder, but long being overwhelmed by a free spirit
- Beauty: used to being appreciated. Focus on hidden features like her intellect or wit
- Aging Baby: immature and looking for supportive parent
- Rescuer: long to feel like they’re saving someone
- The Roué: experienced in life and desire to educate someone more naive.
- Idol Worshipper: seeking for meaning in life
- Sensualist: driven by their senses. Overwhelm their sight, smell, and touch
- Lonely Leader: they’re not used to being bossed. Act as their equal or superior
- Floating Gender: float with them
Part 2: The Seductive Process
Phase I: Separation
Your victims live in their own world, their mind is busy with their daily lives and daily worries.
Your goal in the first stage is to enter that world and becoming their great escape.
#1. Choose The Right Victim
The perfect victim is the person who stirs you in a way that cannot be explained. There should be some tension, the victim might fear you or even slightly dislike you. T
Here are a few categories of people easy to seduce:
- Unhappy: Happy people are much harder to seduce
- Imaginative: a person with a good imagination is easier to seduce (they can fantasize about you)
- Manly: turn the aggression around with coquettish tricks and make him your slave.
- Shy and introverts: are better targets than extroverts
- Disorganized & lost: men without a goal are better than focused ones.
- Lots of time: people with lots of time are great targets. More times to think about you
- Boring life
Robert Greene says that we all want to be seduced.
#2. Create a False Sense of Security
If in the opening stages you can make your target think they are doing the first step, you won the game.
Whatever action you take to let them come to you, avoid crowding your target: too much attention early on will suggest insecurity and give no room for imagination.
Robert Greene says:
- Direct approach can be quicker, but
- The indirect, carefully constructed seduction might reduce the number of your conquests but more than compensates by their quality.
I don’t fully agree with Greene’s take on direct/indirect approach.
#3. Send Mixed Signals
Mixed signals suggest depth and it fascinates while it confuses.
A question mark, an elusive personality… It will make people want to know more, drawing them in.
The Art of Seduction says that great ways of adopting mixed signals are to show attributes running against your physical appearance.
Warning: keep your hidden quality subtle or else you’ll seem schizophrenic.
Also, some people prefer things to stay simple: everything depends on your target.
#4. Appear an Object of Desire —Create Triangles
The Art of Seduction says you want your target to see you as someone other want. And that they might lose to these others admirers.
Doesn’t have to be a specific conquest, but can be a number of admirers and even past conquests.
You can make your target feel in competition with both your past and your present.
#5. Create a Need— Stir Anxiety and Discontent
The Art of Seduction reminds us that a perfectly happy and content person is difficult to seduce. Hence, you should stir tension and disharmony in your target’s mind.
The risk is in going too far and making your target angry, or defensive.
Greene says in the beginning charm is better than making people feel bad (so skip the neg of the old PUA style).
#6. Master the Art of Insinuation
A useful skill in the Art of Seduction is the art of insinuation: making your target feel dissatisfied in a non-obvious, socially savvy way.
When the target is already interested in you, skip it.
#7. Enter Their Spirit
Understand them, vibe with them, like what they like, adapt to their moods. Don’t just mirror who they are, but also the ideal person they want to be.
Once they start opening up you can turn the tables and let them enter your spirit.
Mirror for too long and they will see through it and be repelled by it. Mirroring is a tactic, a step in your seduction following by them entering into your world.
It’s important that beyond the mirroring you keep your own solid sense of identity.
#8. Create Temptation
Lure your target with the temptation of the pleasure to come.
Find that unrealized fantasy they have, that weakness they can’t control and tempt them with it.
Keep it vague, postpone the gratification and let their mind fill in the gap.
Phase II – lead astray
Your victims are already intrigued by you, and your goal in this phase is to get them fully hooked and reach the point of no return.
#9. Keep them in Suspense- What’s Next?
Reliable people are boring. When they know what to expect from you, your spell is broken.
The Art of Seduction explains that surprises work because they create a moment when the defenses come down and new emotions can take in.
Take them somewhere exciting, make it seem spontaneous and natural. Or Suddenly appear before their eyes: a great tactic especially if they already like you.
Dogs are reliable, not seducers
10. Use Words to Sow Confusion
Use loaded words, sweet ones, flattering ones. Make them feel better, spun fantasies for them and give them promises. They will not just listen, but start falling for you.
Danger of Demonic Words
Too much flowery language can seem pretentious and it’s a sign of selfishness. Less is more: vague and ambiguous leave more room for imagination.
#11. Pay Attention to Details
The devil is in the details and the details are what will differentiate you from the masses.
Pay attention to your aesthetic “finishing coat”. Remember their details and make gifts that mean a lot to them.
#12. Poeticize Your Presence
People are dying to fantasize about someone.
Embody some ideal or some cultural ideal of beauty. Chivalry, romance, adventure.
Even roguery and evil are better than nothing.
#13. Disarm With Strategic Weakness and Vulnerability
Most people try to hide our flaws, but what’s natural to our character is also seductive. Something you can’t control can be your most seductive quality.
Confess something bad about you, or something bad that you did. One honest gesture will cover many deceitful ones (this is a law of the 48 Laws of Power).
But don’t overdo the vulnerability and read:
Danger of Weaknesses
Some weaknesses like neediness have no seductive value. And timing is everything: only share it when they’re already falling for you.
#14. Confuse Desire and Reality
Bring their fantasy into reality.
Create their fantasy or embody their fantasy.
The best illusions are the ones that do not depart from reality too much. A bit like a drowsy dream.
#15. Isolate The Victim
An isolated target is easier to seduce.
Isolate them psychologically by having them thinking about you and physically by taking them away from what’s familiar to them.
Make your target feel they’re embarking in a great adventure with you, but they are also losing something, like their past or their comfortable life.
Phase III – The Precipice
The Art of Seduction’s phase III goal is to make everything deeper. Once your hooks are deep into them, you will be able to move at will until they snap.
#16. Prove Yourself
A self-sacrificing action will overwhelm your target’s emotions.
Don’t wait for something exogenous to happen, put your target in a difficult position and rescue them.
I’m glad Robert Greene says you should also make your target prove to you: it raises your values and covers your blemishes (read: how to attract high quality men with mutual escalation).
#17. Effect a Regression
The Art of Seduction brings us a super powerful tool when it introduces the Regression.
Regression leverages the transfer phenomenon of psychoanalysis.
Ask about their childhood. As they talk, adopt a therapist pose. Be attentive but quiet, interject with nonjudgmental comments to keep them talking.
Don’t just talk though, you want people to act out their memories in the present. Make your target feel like they are getting what they always missed with you.
The Art of Seduction describes the four types of regression:
- Infantile: the first bond with a mother is the most powerful one. The key for the regression is the unconditional love a mother has for the infant.
- Oedipal: must be tailored to your target because you play the parental role
- Ego Ideal: let them feel they are getting close to being the person they wanted to be.
- Reverse Parental: here you play the role of the child instead. Cute, adorable, but also sexual child.
Some types are more vulnerable to a regression:
- Serious and “adult”
- Full of themselves
- Seem in command
They’re often over-compensating.
And positions of power can be more of a burden they subconsciously want to be free of.
#18. Stir Up the Transgressive and Taboo
We all love to explore our dark side, so make your target feel they are going past those limits and into uncharted territory with you.
You don’t respect marriage vows, religions or age differences.
Someone to theoretically avoid, but in reality terribly seductive.
The shared feeling of guilt and complicity will further strengthen your bond.
In seduction, there is no power in respecting boundaries and limits.
#19. Use Spiritual Lures
We all have some insecurities about our physical appearances and if we only appeal to the physical we risk making our targets insecure and doubtful.
Focus instead on something sublime and spiritual.
Art, the occult, an extra-sensorial experience.
#20. Mix Pleasure With Pain
The greatest mistake in seduction is being too nice.
Try inflicting some pain instead.
Focus fully on them at the beginning, then suddenly appear uninterested. Make them feel guilty and insecure.
The lower the lows you create, the higher the highs will be.
The Art of Seduction says that many of us have masochistic yearnings without realizing it. And when someone inflicts pain on us, the deeply repressed feelings come to the surface.
Works best on those who have it easy, those who have power and little problems.
The lower the lows you create, the higher the highs will be.
Danger of Pain
Don’t do it too early on and on people who recently experienced lots of pain.
Phase IV – Moving In for the Kill First
You seduced their mind, then confused and stirred them up to seduce emotionally.
Now the time has come for the physical seduction. By now, your victims should be weak and ripe with desire.
#21. Give Them Space to Fall— The Pursuer Is Pursued
Once they are under your spell take a step back to let them pursue you. A touch of aloofness, a no show, a hint of boredom.
Don’t make it explicit, let them sense it and let their imagination do the rest. Soon they’ll be aching to possess you physically.
Don’t go absent in key moments of the seduction.
And don’t exaggerate: the strategy is give and take, if you only take away for too long you might lose your target.
#22. Use Physical Lures
Combine a non-defensive attitude with a charged sexual presence.
While your relaxed, cool air is calming your target mind’s and lowering inhibitions, your glances, voice and physical presence is raising the temperature.
To achieve it, it all starts from you. Train yourself to let go of your own inhibitions, doubts, anxieties.
Your confidence and fluidity will have more intoxicating power than any alcohol or drug you could apply.
Dangers of Physical Lure
Few people feel repulsed by their sexual nature but many are uncomfortable with their bodies.
An approach working only on the physical level then will frighten and disturb.
#23. Master the Art of the Bold Move
Some targets will never make the first move.
And some women can become disgusted if she’s long been ready but the man never made the move.
Don’t give them the time to ponder over what’s going to happen, to consider the consequences. Crete conflict, stir up tension, and the bold move will come as a great release.
If you’re hesitant or awkward it means you’re thinking of yourself. Be overwhelmed by the target’s charm instead.
Dangers of Boldness
While boldness can work wonders, uncontrollable boldness is more scary than seductive. So you need to be able to turn it on at off as needed.
One person must go on the offensive, and it is you.
#24. Beware the Aftereffects
When emotions reach a peak, they can easily swing in the opposite direction if you’re not careful.
If you are to part, make the sacrifice swift and sudden instead.
You can let some reality and routing creep in: too much mystery will create doubts. But never let your target take you for granted.
If separation must happen, make it happen quickly and as beautifully as the seduction.
Appendix A: Seductive Environments
Robert Greene describes seductive environments as:
Spaces with a theatrical, heightened quality -glittery or opulent for example- create a childlike feeling that makes it hard for the victim to think straight.
Something mystical can help block out the real world: astrology books, angelic imagery, mystical music from far away land.
Any environment offering the possibility of playing a different role, of being someone different than in normal day-to-day life, is immensely seductive.
Sometimes out of touch with basic intersexual dynamics
Greene talks about actor Erol Flynn.
He says how he slept with a black woman in Africa -but it’s quite easy for white men to sleep with black women in Africa, let alone for an attractive and confident one like Fynn. Doesn’t even count as a seduction to me-.
In this video Greene also marvels at what a prolific seducer Flynn was:
Greene: and the math was quite insane, at some point he must have seduced everyone woman haver other day, something like that. What was his secret? What made him so insanely successful?
Frankly, I was incredulous.
Is Greene really lacking this basic understanding?
The guy was a rich, attractive, famous actor.
That’s the biggest sexual hack ever.
He wasn’t seducing anyone, he was just busting a nut every other day coasting on his fame and on the women who went after him for his fame.
Not most effective approach to seduction -especially not in the 21st century-
“The Art of Seduction” is tailored to the old, classical times.
Many of the examples are before 1900, and the fact that letters are being discussed as a way of correspondence tells you this is not 100% a “how to seduce in the 2000s guide”.
I’m pretty confident in saying that if successful dating today is your goal, then you shouldn’t follow “The Art of Seduction” recipe.
- Straight Line Seduction: for a more effective and streamlined seduction model
Check my best seduction resources if you’re interested in more up-to-date seduction resources.
The myth of “powerful men are into submissive roles”?
Robert Greene says that powerful men seek respite for responsibility, and often want to be babied, mother, or dominated.
However, Robert Greene’s sources are not scientific research or data-driven analyses. So, personally, I’m unconvinced.
And just for one, Ogi Ogas says that:
Certainly, most alpha males prefer the sexually dominant role. But perhaps a minority feel a kind of psychological relief when taking the submissive role. Or another possibility is simply that the motivation required to become socially dominant is unrelated to one’s preference for sexual dominance.
So it seems like dominance in life is probably correlated to dominance in sex and relationships.
However, it seems that there’s no real data.
The Art of Seduction is an endless well of great psychological insights.
Absolutely recommended to anyone who’s interested in seduction, power dynamics, psychology, and manipulation.
Albeit so much of the information in The Art Of Seduction is great and Robert Greene does understand human nature and psychology, some of the advice is counterproductive if you want to “seal the deal” with someone.
The Art of Seduction wants to give you an “ideal” seduction, but this “ideal” seduction is strewn over a long period of time where games and tactics will have your target fall head over heels for you.
That’s cool, but the longer the time, the more likely something which can derail your seductions will happen.
By moving quicker, instead, you can probably get more lovers in less time.
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