How to Flirt Like They Do on the Discovery Channel

April 5, 2009

Not a Subtle Approach  Not a Subtle Approach

I don’t think young women know how to flirt anymore. OK, they know how to FLIRT!!!!! They know how to bag a cute guy for a night by hitting him hard where it counts (his ego). Yes, you can certainly get your message across by hitting someone over the head with a mallet. But then you lose the key to really, really good sex: ANTICIPATION.

Just think, only 200 years ago, the glimpse of an ankle could give a guy an erection (I like to picture Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in that predicament, sigh). Now an aggressive lap dance may be required. Prescriptions for young men in search of Viagra are skyrocketing as libidos wilt in the presence of women who don’t act like porn stars.

We keep upping the ante, but we’re running out of enticements. Every orifice has been fully explored. Subtlety is a thing of the past. It’s a wonder there are any relationships at all. It’s a wonder anyone gives a shit. It proves the power of the human spirit that we continue to seek connection with others, even though we often do it ass backwards. Despite the fact that we start out with no-holds-barred sex as strangers, occasionally we are able to develop a friendship and a meaningful relationship. It’s not pretty, and it’s certainly not romantic, but the desire for intimacy is powerful. Despite our best efforts to muck it up, we find love sometimes.

I don’t want you to think I’m a raving lunatic ranting about the good old days, so here’s some persuasive information from Jena Pincott’s book: Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes? Bodies, Behavior and Brains–The Science Behind Sex, Love & Attraction.

Psychologist Monica Moore of Webster University, who studies body language and sexual signals, suggests that actions may be more important than looks when getting guys to approach you. Attraction is influenced not only by looks but by how much you engage the other person. Even if you are stunning, your beauty is enhanced only when you look at others directly and send the right signals.

  • Women who displayed more than 35 signals an hour were approached by an average of four men, while those with less flirtatious body language often weren’t approached at all.
  • Unattractive women with expressive body language were approached more often than attractive women who did not signal.
  • Men only responded enthusiastically to women whose body language clearly indicated interest.


I am not talking about coy games and bimbo behavior. In fact, I am talking about eliminating artifice altogether. I am talking about letting nature take over. You were born with the intuition and instincts to signal sexual interest. You really don’t need to wield a weapon to get what you want. Here is what the research shows about how women instinctively signal interest with their body language:


  • The most important signal a person can send to communicate sexual interest is a smile and a direct gaze. 
  • When you smile, the amygdala in his brain picks up on the emotional signal as a friendly cue.
  • A smile is a social signal that tells a man you’ve singled him out.

Eye Contact

  • The first glance is a 5-10 second scan of the room, during which women may raise their chins, hold in their stomachs and arch their backs.
  • Next is the short darting glance, targeted at a specific man and repeated several times.
  • Finally, the fixed glance, a direct glance lasting longer than three seconds. Smiling during the fixed glance often seals the deal.

Head and Neck Signals

  • Head toss with hair flip. The hair toss may be a serious shake, or you may pet or caress your own hair.
  • Touching the neck while inclining it, signaling vulnerability and arousal.
  • Lip lick with eye contact.
  • Adopting a pouty lower lip. Bright full lips signal youth and high estrogen levels. Glistening inflamed lips also suggest the vagina. (Don’t say ew.)

Playful Behavior

  • Lots of laughter.
  • Nodding.
  • Subconscious flexing of arms and elbows.
  • Teasing, including pinching, tickling, sticking your tongue out, sitting in his lap, dancing alone in time with the music.
  • Dropping voice, requiring him to lean in to hear.
  • Touching his knee or thigh.
  • Pressing up against him “accidentally.”

So try doing it like they do on the Discovery Channel. Create some anticipation. You’ll have better sex, and you may even find love.


Jones, B. C., Debruine, L. M., Little, A. C. (2006). Integrating gaze direction and expression in preference for attractive faces. Psychol Sci, 17(7), 588-91.

Moore, M. M. (1985). Nonverbal courtship patterns in women: Context and Consequences. Ethol Sociobiol, 6, 236-46.

  • This was good for me. I am what my friend have deemed “flirting retarded”. Apparently when I think I am not flirting I am, and when I think I am flirting I am not. I have is ass backwards, and am so freaking clueless it is not even funny. It’s a wonder that I am still single.

    • susanawalsh

      Haha, I find the idea of a flirting disability pretty funny. Of course, the risk with being subtle is that your cues will be missed entirely, but I’m putting my faith in good old evolutionary biology. I would definitely be interested to see how that works.

  • vanessa

    These most definitely work, they even work on people you;re not attracted to/don’t want to seduce/aren’t sexually interested in you (minus the eye contact/lip licking, I mean)–it;s open, receptive body language, nonthreatening and fun. Look at that person who has a lot of friends and is easy in any social situation and they’re basically flirting with everyone regardless of gender or interest. I try and flirt with basically everyone…but obviously I save the actual I-want-you stuff for those I actually want.

    • susanawalsh

      Vanessa, I think that is exactly right! What you are describing is charm, which is really about singling another person out and giving them your full attention. And that is basically the definition of flirting. Flirt with everyone – I think that’s an excellent idea!

  • Decoybetty

    I am crap at flirting. I think its because I don’t like my own smile, and thus am uncomfortable using it to get guys intrigued.

    Sad day.

    • susanawalsh

      No! Not acceptable! I went to to check it out for myself, but you have no smiling photos that I could find. But here’s the thing – EVERYONE looks better smiling than not smiling. I don’t care if your teeth or your smile are crooked, it doesn’t matter. Let your eyes light up and smile at a guy you genuinely find attractive. Don’t edit yourself. I promise, it will work.

      • Decoybetty

        There is a reason for that! I don’t like my smile – so i hardly ever post pictures of myself smiling – haha. I mean of course I smile when I talk to people, i can’t help – i like to laugh. but in terms of a come-hither beckoning-flirty smile I just feel awkward. I’ll practice though.

  • susanawalsh

    OK, it’s a deal. Just remember we all have things about us we would rather keep hidden. For me, it was my thighs, so I was always mortified when it came time to undress. Not fun!

  • Do it like they do on the Discovery Channel? Is that is reference to the song by the bloodhound gang? The one with all the fun/funny ways of describing sex?

    I act like this when I’m not intending to attract men and then they’re attracted and won’t leave me alone. Its important to not only flirt but to know when you’re flirting and to be able to direct/control it.

    • susanawalsh

      Yeah, it’s the song Bad Touch with this refrain:
      “You and me baby ain’t nothin’ but mammals
      So let”s do it like they do on the Discovery Channel”

      I’m appealing to women’s instincts – stop trying so hard and just let nature take over.

      That’s a really good point you make about intentions. When being flirty with every guy is basically our MO, we wind up sending a lot of misleading signals. And then who can blame those poor guys for following their own instincts and thinking they have a shot?

  • Megan

    Yes, but on nights you feel like crap and you go out with your girlfriends and flash a smile and get like 5 guys coming over regardless of whether you are into him or not you feel much better about yourself. Plus it gives you a little bit of power. We really need to practice it more. Oh the fun of flirting.

    • susanawalsh

      Right, so do the math: five guys smile at you that you would never have even seen if you stood there unsmiling, or worse, stayed in that night. Maybe one of those five is your soulmate! The fun of flirting AND the possibilities!

  • Luke

    Modern times… 60 seconds rule @ the new years eve, nightclub.. If she does not approach you with a drink within 60 seconds.. FORGET ABOUT HER AS YOUR CHILDRENS MOTHER OR SEX PARTNER 4 THE NIGHT!:-)