seduction and voids

Sex and Seduction;

Recently Wing and I have been discussing Robert Greene’s book “The Art of Seduction” extensively. (Here’s an amazing summary!) The book reminds me of Esther Perel’s very viral TED video on “Rethinking infidelity”– Why Do We Cheat? And Why Do Happy People Cheat?

Here, let me share some of my favorite quotes from her TED talk:

Definition of “an affair”: “Now, I like this definition of an affair — it brings together the three key elements: a secretive relationship, which is the core structure of an affair; an emotional connection to one degree or another; and a sexual alchemy.And alchemy is the key word here, because the erotic frisson is such that the kiss that you only imagine giving, can be as powerful and as enchanting as hours of actual lovemaking. As Marcel Proust said, it’s our imagination that is responsible for love, not the other person.”

In this definition, Perel highlights the three elements of an affair:

  • Secretive relationship
  • Emotional connection
  • Imagined sexual erotism

What is interesting with this definition is that there is shame associated with secret, and that an affair is clearly associated with voids in a person’s emotional fabric and psyche.

In addition, there is an imagined component to this because perhaps of the intense desire to fill up this void. We see what we want to see and fantasize about.

This also means one thing: Physical looks theoretically has nothing directly to do with imagined sexual erotism. You can be below average looking, but if you can establish the elements of “secret” and “fill a void” in the other person, then suddenly the other person will feel very emotionally intimate with you.

Having said that, looking a certain way (as propagated by the mainstream media of that particular culture) will catalyse the process. And in sales sometimes, speed is everything because time is moohlah, lololol!~

This sounds very much to me like a replicable system and a process, almost akin to a means of “human psyche hacking”.

Boredom with self:  “…When we seek the gaze of another, it isn’t always our partner that we are turning away from, but the person that we have ourselves become. And it isn’t so much that we’re looking for another person, as much as we are looking for another self. Now, all over the world, there is one word that people who have affairs always tell me. They feel alive…”

To me this is a very educational point. Because it means that if we were to want to establish an intimate connection with someone else, we just have to structure the relationship to–

  • Step #1: introduce an element of “it’s between you and I, nobody else in the world knows”;
  • Step #2: Identify a void/ voids in the other party;
  • Step #3: Actively work to fill up the void(s).

What are the benefits of intimacy, you may ask? Well it depends on intention, whether you are using the intimacy for good, or bad. But either ways, when a person feels intimate with you, there is trust, and things can move faster.

Personally, to me, a good and positive intention is everything. Well, because I’m at the core a kind person, so if you ever observe that I’m using these techniques on you, it’s with good intentions 🙂


“And contrary to what you may think,affairs are way less about sex, and a lot more about desire:desire for attention, desire to feel special,desire to feel important.And the very structure of an affair,the fact that you can never have your lover,keeps you wanting.That in itself is a desire machine,because the incompleteness, the ambiguity,keeps you wanting that which you can’t have.

I like how Esther Perel define “voids” as “desire machines”.

Voids and imagination are two sides of the same coin. So due to childhood or some past trauma, we have voids, and perhaps nothing in reality could fill these voids. And therefore we cope by imagining, fantasizing and wanting these voids to be filled.

Voids are also very interesting concepts to human nature, because we all have voids. Voids are always measured against ideals. It is then important to be aware of where these ideals come from, or why we desire such ideals, especially whether it is even us who desire such ideals. It is also important to identify accurately the ideals that we are going after.

The next step is then to be aware of our personal voids so that we won’t be exploited by people of evil intentions.

And, if we were to want to influence people in a good way, to be aware of their voids and how to frame our messages to positively fill their voids.

Communicating Standards Competently;

The last question is then to see people as they are. Not as what we imagine them to be.

Of course, it seems that experts suggest to build only good feelings and fun at the start of any relationship, before opening up about the “bad/ nasty” sides. So one of the signs to meet people where they are is to not share intimate details so fast. Non-public details is to be earned via real intimacy, backed by actual actions, time and money.

This is a bit difficult for me to do sometimes too, because I tend to see/imagine only the best in people. So what I’ve learnt is to practise meeting people where they are as I tend to have blind spots!

Meeting people where they are refers to “communicating standards” and then encouraging them to act in accordance to these standards. This of course utilizes a lot of techniques in positive and negative reinforcements. And also pre-framing.

Interesting yeah? Same content said in different ways/ linguistic frames will yield different results. Human beings are not as “free” as we hope we could be, if buttons can be pressed at will so easily.