The 3 Biggest Myths About Flirting

MYTH #1: We know what flirtation looks like.

Society holds a fairly standard image of what “flirting” looks like. Reflected in the media, we generally agree that when someone is communicating with someone else with strong, fairly obvious sexual intention that this constitutes flirting. The problem though, is that the standard image that we have of flirting is only a fraction of what a confident expression of one’s sexuality can look like.


The standard image of flirtation. Sexy, but unfortunately limiting.

As I say in As You Are, at it’s most basic level, the ability to comfortably communicate sexually simply says, “I’m comfortable with all of myself”. It’s an essential component for socializing as a fully confident adult human being. When we keep our sexuality under wraps until someone we want to flirt with comes along, not only will we flirt awkwardly, but in every other interaction where we hold it back we’ll be giving off the impression that we’re not completely comfortable with all of ourselves no matter how outgoing and self-assured we present ourselves to be.

Happiness is a dynamic feeling. You can think of it on a 1-10 scale: 10 and you’re beaming ear to ear. You can’t stop giggling — your face can’t contain how much happiness you’re feeling. 1 and there’s just a little positive tingling. No one gets the overt impression that you’re in a happy mood but there’s a general positivity radiating off of you.

Same with sadness: 10 and you’re sobbing uncontrollably, 1 and people who know you well can tell there’s a little something off.

We know these feelings. We can identify them. As you’re reading about them it’s not a problem for you to recall the feeling at least a little bit.

On the other hand, most people don’t have the same relationship with their sexual feelings. The standard image we’ve accepted of flirting and acting sexually only represents about a 7-10 on the scale (6 if it’s very covert flirtation). Just like happiness and sadness though, there’s a lot more nuance to sexual expression than that.

When you’re feeling around a 1 on the sexy scale, people may find you sexy, but no one’s going to get the impression that you’re flirting with them. Instead, there’s just a little extra buzz about you — a little more personality in your tonality. This expresses confidence, not only because you’re expressing comfort with all of yourself, but because sexual feelings are so often repressed in our culture. When someone shows comfort with something most people have a hangup with it’s powerful — even though it should be no more difficult than being a little happy or sad on any particular day.

MYTH #2: It’s easier to feel sexual around people you find attractive.

Why isn't he feeling turned on?

Why isn’t he feeling turned on?

A lot of people think that it’s easier for them to get in touch with and express their sexual feelings when they’re around someone they’re attracted to — that this individual will make their feelings flare up more powerfully — and while this certainly happens, often the opposite is true.

As I discuss extensively in my book, when we’re in situations that intimidate us it’s much more difficult to tap into and communicate with our feelings in general. In these situations, it is common for people to either jump into their head and overthink things or start talking too much as a way to avoid these feelings. Feeling asexual when we’re around someone who makes our heart beat faster may seem counter-intuitive at first, but it’s already difficult to stay present with more familiar emotions in uncomfortable situations — the less comfortable we are with our sexual feelings, the more difficult it becomes.

MYTH #3: I can’t flirt with someone I don’t find attractive.

In my book, I advise you to “flirt with everyone”, and I admit, doing so using the standard 6-10 representation of flirtation would be absolutely ridiculous — this is where the fears of coming off as a “slut” or “creep”, or questions about how to flirt with someone you’re not particularly attracted to, come in.

Again, however, at it’s lowest level, sexual expression will only provide a little extra zip to your communication — a little pep in your step. Flirting isn’t something you do to someone, it’s simply embracing the feelings in yourself. Embracing the smallest amount of sexual feeling in your body while interacting with people, both men and women, who don’t intimidate you will help you feel more comfortable and confident expressing your sexuality overall. This will in turn give you a better shot of expressing your sexuality when you’re around someone who does make your heart beat faster.

If you can't flirt with the McPoyles, you can't flirt.

If you can’t flirt with the McPoyles, you can’t flirt.

Still having trouble accessing your sexual feelings around others? Start with just yourself. Think of something that turns you on, touch yourself in a way that feels good, watch some porn if you have to — bring up that feeling in your body and sit with it. Meditate on those feelings for as long as you can and enjoy them. Do this every day and the feeling should get more powerful and you should be able to hold onto it for longer periods of time. As you get more comfortable identifying, holding, and enjoying these feelings you can again attempt to feel just the tiniest bit of them when interacting with people who don’t intimidate you. If you’d like to quicken this process all the way through being a confident sexual being around the people who intimidate you most you can always get coaching.

Your sexuality isn’t dependent on anything outside of yourself. It’s yours, and shouldn’t be held back until you see someone you want to date. It should be listened to, embraced, and expressed regularly. Without it you’ll always feel like something is missing, a level of confidence just out of reach. Adding a missing piece this big affects every part of your life — usually in major ways.

The fact that we’re sexual beings gets thrown around a lot these days, however we were operating under a limited picture of sexual expression. It’s time that we looked at a bigger picture of sexuality, embraced this far-too-neglected and misunderstood part of ourselves, and started acting like the sexy creatures we were born to be.

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