The Game of Seduction: What Does Psychology Say?

As if it were any other game, in seduction we can improve a lot. Knowing the rules of the game and some tricks offered by Psychology can help us achieve it.

Share Give it a Spin!
Follow by Email

The seduction, contrary to what many people can believe, is not a concept attributable only to the sexual or erotic. In our day to day there are often many situations in which we have to “seduce” in one way or another.

Do not we have to seduce whoever gives us a job interview? Or to those who come to witness an exhibition of ours? Seduce consists of convincing, persuading a person or group of people to choose us in a certain context or choose an option that interests us.

The word ‘seduction’ comes from the Latin seducere, which combines the suffix se (separation) with the verb ducere (to guide or direct), and involves separating or directing someone out of their way or position. This is only the original meaning, but throughout history it has been given different meanings.

It is in the Bible, in its translation into Latin, where this verb happens to have a much more concrete connotation, reducing its meaning to the act of deception or the concealment of information to obtain some reward (when Eva is seduced by the serpent in the garden of Eden).

However, this time we will address the most popular and widespread meaning of seduction, which involves a suggestion or a conviction to achieve an erotic encounter or any type of erotic or affective attachment.

Seduce is a game?

Absolutely yes, it is. Seducing is a very complex game; sometimes pleasant, sometimes funny, sometimes unfair, sometimes painful, sometimes frustrating … But a game, and the first thing you should do is try to understand it; its rules, its tricks, its risks, its limits and its times.

If we have all that information we will be able to decide whether to play or not, and we will be able to know how to play in the event that we decide to play seduction. If you decide to play seduction, it is because you have taken into account every aspect of the game and, on the scale, you have weighed more pleasure or satisfaction than pain or suffering.

Seduce is not a zero-sum game in which if you “win”, the other person “loses”. Rather, it could be included in cooperative games: those in which the participants do not compete, but seek the joint benefit. In fact, more than being a cooperative game per se, if in the process of seducing the game happens to become cooperative, it will be an unequivocal signal that you are playing well.

In the same way that it is about framing seduction within game theory, it is also necessary to separate it from some myths that surround it. Seduction is not mathematical, it is neither exact nor excessively predictable.

Movies like Hitch: a specialist in ligues (2005) have reinforced ideas such as the guru who gives “infallible” advice about how to flirt or seduce, no matter what else. This idea is very far from reality, because there are so many variables that come into play at the time of seducing that it is impossible to control them all.

What psychological variables influence seduction?

Psychology comes to our rescue to better understand seduction. This discipline, through the scientific study of human behavior, introduces us what variables are determinants in the game, in order to be able to give our best version.

These variables are far from being advice, guidelines or instructions that work universally in any context and with any person, but rather describe what should be taken into account when participating in this game.

Self-knowledge and acceptance

To the extent that we know each other at all levels we can be the ones who fix the limits that have to do with what we like and that we do not like, as well as knowing how far we can get in the game.

There are contexts that favor us more and contexts in which we can not show our best version. Accepting as one or one is, a much more difficult exercise than it may seem in advance, seems inevitable to be able to play the best cards when seducing.


It is one of the variables that can cause the most discomfort, because it is a source of misunderstandings and confusions when it is not taken into account. Setting realistic expectations is a way of preventing uncomfortable situations and avoiding suffering.

In the same way that expectations are too high with respect to getting to maintain a relationship with someone can frustrate us -if finally this relationship does not occur-, setting too low expectations will prevent us from having a relaxed and secure attitude.


By focusing on the basic psychological processes, attention is the process that allows us to discriminate between what is important and what is not, which makes it a main variable when seducing.

The attention will allow us to focus our cognitive resources on actions such as looking at the communication of the person with whom we play to seduce, on their physical features, on their dress, on their style, on the other people who are at our around and in all context keys that give us some type of information that we consider relevant, giving priority to other types of stimuli.


It is the ability we have to obtain direct information from the environment through our senses. While attention allows us to focus and discriminate between stimuli, perception allows us to process and interpret them and thus choose the best option to interact.

In seduction, only what we perceive is not an option. We have to give meaning to the verbal codes that are provided to us, to non-verbal communication, and even to sets of stimuli that, in principle, are of little importance, such as smells, since there is more and more literature about them, especially of pheromones.


Not only is it important to obtain information from our partner, but also to retain that information: work with it. The ways of retaining information give rise to the two major types of memory:

  • Short-term memory is the one that could help us to retain information that will no longer be available shortly after it is received – unless we make an effort to the contrary or have elements that make it very easy to code-, as a phone number or an address.
  • The long-term memory, which can be used to retain the information of the day in which you have interacted with a person, making that information available for a possible second appointment or encounter, and through the retrieval of information of biographical facts, to make them available for a conversation; for example, to be able to talk about the first concert that we have gone into in a conversation about tastes and musical experiences.


It has to do with the amount of resources we are willing to use to obtain a concrete result. That is, the motivation represents the degree of interest you have in doing something.

In seduction, it is convenient to do a small exercise of introspection to know how motivated and motivated we are with the game, and make sure that we are playing to seduce with the person we want and the way we want and not because there is another type of motivation different from the one that has to do with the game itself. There are two types of motivations:

  • Extrinsic motivation, which represents the interest you have to achieve a goal, regardless of the process to get it (the process to obtain the driver’s license, or study with the sole intention of obtaining a title that we need).
  • Intrinsic motivation, which is one that represents interest in the process itself until you reach the goal, rather than the goal itself (learning to cook or read a book). In the game of seduction it is recommended to have an intrinsic motivation, oriented in the process, in the game itself, rather than in the goal or the result.


And how emotions were not going to be present! It is the essence of the game, that excites us. At the beginning it was commented that we are not always going to report pleasure playing seduction, but there is no doubt that it will always excite us, and if it is not, maybe I will not be your game.

Moreover, in that hypothetical scale in which the advantages of playing more than the disadvantages weigh, the emotions must be present, to a greater or lesser extent. If the game excites us or should not have much weight when it is deciding whether to seduce or not at a certain time.

Sexual or erotic desire and seduction

Sexual or erotic desire, a very complex concept, difficult to describe and with a very high power of motivation, is closely related to seduction. Surely it makes little sense to try to seduce someone we do not want erotically. Desire is also a variable to consider in seduction. Specifically, it is a sexological variable that can determine our way of playing in the following ways:

Direction of desire

When we seduce we look for a concrete goal. In the erotic plane, there are two types of directions that have to do with the goal, with the realization of our desires and their nature.

In this way, we can talk about the “desire of the one”, which represents the desire for a specific person, without going deeply into what is done in an intimate relationship (when we want someone, and we do not care much if we do one thing or another with that someone in a future relationship), and on the other hand, the “desire for what”, it alludes more to the desire to perform a very specific type of erotic activity, weighing more the power to carry it out than the one with whom to do it. To seduce we have to adapt our way of playing to our direction of erotic desire.

Roles of desire in seduction

It refers to the way we play, what behavioral mechanisms we activate to seduce that person we want. These roles are determined, above all, by our personality traits. In this way, there are two trends in this regard:

The erastia, which is defined as the role of “desiring”, in which the person stands as active and who takes the initiative (carry out the first approach, adopt an active attitude, communicate in a more direct, praise and flatter …).

The eromenia, which is defined as the role of “desired”, in which the person seduces from an attitude of being desired and, above all, of feeling desired.

Is seduction a gender issue?

Gender is a social construction and influences seduction. It is difficult for a boy and a girl, of the same age, with the same academic training, similar personality traits and in the same location, to have a similar seduction history.

This is explained because in the game of seduction, to this day, there is a clear reflection of machismo, and that socially is still much more penalized the game of seduction if carried out by a woman than by a man. This situation feeds even the fear that a girl dares to seduce in the way she believes appropriate, especially if she is active at the time of seducing or adopts a more drastic role.

Within our closest environment, the ideal would be to fight to defeat the archaic stigmas about seduction if a woman who carries it out, to equalize both situations and both men and women, we can play this game, only with the same rules.