Some great advice on reading female nonverbal signals
How does a guy know when it's ok to attempt to increase the level of physical intimacy in a new relationship?
Context: Someone has asked how he was supposted to know when to come onto someone he was interested in romantically.
and I responded by pointing him to my Female
Courtship Strategies paper and pointing out:
>I think there's a lot more to it than a guy asking and getting
>rejected or vice versa....I think it involves noticing and accurately
and then Pokeypot wrote:
I couldn't agree more!
I'm a body language nut. I love to watch people's actions, facial expressions etc. I'm also amazed at how many people really have no concept of how to read basic body language and how many of those same people don't know what their own body language is saying. (EG: equal to saying "I love you" and "shaking their fist" at the same.)
I also think there are others who just haven't learned how to recognize basic simple body signals such as: Don't stand too close (moving their shoulder away from you), don't touch me (hunching of the back and a backward movement), I don't like you (squinting of the eyes and/or narrowing of the irises of the eyes), or I do like you (widening of the irises, moving proximity to another person, mirroring the actions of a person they happen to like).
One of the most memorable examples of a body language "failed test" that I saw, was 2 people dancing (not slow/close dancing). She was dancing far enough away from him to be exhibiting "keep your distance" signals. Suddenly out of the blue the guy got the urge to become Clark Gable or some relic 1940's movie star and become amorous.
He reached out and clasped her head in his hands like a basketball player man handles a basketball, takes a huge step forward and starts sucking on her face! (there's no way in hell I could begin to adequately describe this scene, all I can say was it was like watching a time warp back to some 1940's ridiculous movie where the actor was SUPPOSED to overcome a timid/sexually repressed female, kiss her til she subdued and then OF COURSE as we all know eh girls? *wink* ...this action somehow magically made us fall madly hopelessly in love with the he-man ;))
She was aghast! She was fighting to pull away and get his lips off her mouth. Watching this, I was struck by the absurdity. He wasn't watching for "go ahead" signals. He was solely acting on his own primal urges. I somehow doubt that this was the first faux-pas that he made and probably wasn't his last.
Clearly he acted on the signals of "I want to do this" therefore that MUST mean she wants me to do it, as opposed to her sending signals of "go ahead and kiss me, I'll be receptive."
In a strange way, I kind of felt sorry for the guy. I can't help but think that many who make these kind of mistakes must wonder "what" they're doing wrong. It's almost like no one has taken them aside and said "hey,...there's certain clues that you'll get, there's certain things you can do to test the waters first before you jump in with both feet and then get your face slapped, kneed in the groin or have your friendly neighborhood sexual harassment lawyer slapping a law suit on your ass! ;)
A seminar I took a while back discussed the topic of kissing. I happen to be someone who loveeees kissing so this was of particular interest to me. I forget what studies they quoted or even how they collected the data, but what they discussed was basically how certain men seem to get receptive return kisses when they initiate their kiss on the female.
First naturally the interest/chemistry etc had to be there. (They also said that some people just tend to learn body language clues quickly and don't even realize how good they are at interpeting the signals). Anyway, long and short of the discussion was how women will often cock their head to one side (the invite), positioning their face so that the couple don't bash noses, (the practicality) and then of course the exchange of (green light/go ahead) silent signals such as direct eye contact, the gaze into each others eyes and other subtleties like moistening of the lips or a quick lowering of the eyes then returning back to that "gaze/eye contact".
They then emphasized the "testing of the waters". Men who seemed to get positive responses to their kisses often would very subtly move their face forward slowly only a matter of an inch or more...then wait a second...before either retracting their head back to the "safety zone" or then proceeding to move in a little closer, in hopes that the female will mirror his actions and then finally they'll get lip contact. (They described "mirroring" as: the female then either tilts their head a little more or will move in that inch as well etc.)
As a little side note to this, they also suggested that this moving an inch, then retracting to the safety zone could happen a few times before the kiss actually took place. That was dependant on lots of factors they said. Some factors I happened to agree with, others I thought were too broad to be conclusive "evidence". I'm sure we've all seen that "hesitant/passion" kiss in the movies lately. Seems that's the 1990's version of the sexy he-man love scene.
Anyway, I came away with from that seminar with the definite impression that there had to be intermediate initiation/receptive signal type steps for most kinds of body contact. I started to to watch people doing all kinds of interactions. (Shaking hands, holding hands, hugging, etc). Now by no means is this "scientific", but I noticed the same kinds of little peacock type dances also happened with other kinds of interactions. Handshakes that seemed mutual also had eye contact/smiling/stepping forward actions proceeding it. Hugging was usually a larger version of the move an inch and wait "kiss" concept that the seminar had described. Holding hands was usually proceeded by a quick touch first before actually grasping the other persons hand.
Receptive hugs (even among couples) seemed to have that move in and wait momentarily before completing the hug. Something that struck me even more interesting about hugs was how unreceptive type hugs appeared. I can't recall how many times I watched one person move in with the grace of a bulldozer and hug the other person without waiting to "get" that "go ahead" signal. What was even more interesting was that many cases the one bulldozing the hug wouldn't notice that the unreceptive one would actually move their body position away from the other person or just step back slightly. I can't help but think that if the "bulldozer" had of taken a few pre-steps first, then they would have gotten a more positive response.
The relationship I was in at the time had that kind of bulldozer approach. They guy I was involved with wouldn't wait to do the initiation dance, instead he would simply come at me full steam ahead and not get that consensual green light. (This would include hugging, kissing, and trying to initiate sex etc) (Frankly I think the guy was a bit brain dead, but that's for another post ;)) ...anyways, ...one of the other things that struck me was that he simply wasn't good at realizing that there were definitely signals of "go ahead". He either didn't know they existed, was too wrapped up in his wants to even realize that I was sending "slow down/no" signals or didn't know how to read those that said "stop" and would then naturally get a less than positive result.
I found myself asking him on more than one occasion, what makes you think I'm in the mood for contact/sex? He had no answer. I'd ask him if he knew of any signals that I exhibited that would tell him I wanted sex. He also had no answer. Again I flash back to parallel of that guy who kissed the woman on the dance floor. Clearly he felt that because his primal urges made him want sex/intimate contact etc and that this HAD to mean that I was automatically going to be receptive. He never realized that my receptiveness was dependent on his technique/approach.
I often wonder if those types of people think that getting receptiveness to physical intimacy is done by some kind of magical "laying of hands" effect or something. Almost like one can transfer kinetic sexual energy to another person, similar to how a modem passes information from your computer to the net. *grin* Ah if only things where that easy eh? ;)
To the guy who asked "how do I know if someone" wants to have sex, I wish I could tell you there was some sure fire answer that would eliminate all your questions, unfortunately there isn't. One could suggest that open communication is the be all end all for solving your problem, I don't happen to believe that's necessarily true either. I happen to believe very few people have the balls/guts to just come out and say, I want to have sex with you, I want you to wear a diaper and let me baby you for a weekend or I want you to play with yourself in front of me cuz it turns me on etc.
Hell, most love stories and soap operas make a fortune on the premise that things can go "unsaid" for days, weeks, months or life times. I'm pretty sure most of us, (even those of us that think of ourselves as very good communicators/have an open communication relationship etc.,) at one time or another had to conjure up the guts to tell someone else you love them for the first time, ask them to marry you or even ask a partner to try some new kinky strange game.
I guess if I were to give the "how do I know" guy any advice, it would be...don't put the cart in front of the horse. Take your time and try to learn a little about body language signals. If you're with a person you like, try mirroring her actions instead. If she touches your arm, touch her arm. If she leans in towards you a little bit, then you lean in towards her ...just a little bit. If she leans back..you lean back. Don't get all caught up in having to be the "man" and thus the onus is solely on you to set the tone for sexual contact. Let her take the lead. Mirroring is a great way to test the waters.
After you've done that "dance" for a while, then you can get a little more daring. Try one or 2 small gestures of intimate contact and see if she mirrors you. Touch the collar of her blouse (instead of groping her tits) and see if she pulls away or makes it easier for you to touch the collar again or slips her fingers in your shirt to touch your skin. Try the old hand on the knee trick (instead of shoving your hand between her legs) and see if she pushes your hand away or leaves it there. (Don't nobody slam me for giving these Brady Bunch sex techniques *laugh*)...they DO work!!! IF she retreats...stop. The whole key to really learning to read body language is to not only look for clues, but also do things (subtly) to get more clues to see if you're on the right track. Again, thru the whole sexual experience, try so that you're actually mirroring each others actions, take the time to get some reciprocal energy flowing...Rome wasn't built in a day! :)
Good luck! :)
My 2 cents plus tax.