Courtship Gestures and Signals

I have a friend named Graham who has developed an art that most males would love to acquire. Whenever he attends a social function he can quickly 'psych out' the available women, make his choice and, in almost record-breaking time (sometimes as little as ten minutes), he may be seen heading towards the exit with the woman, escorting her to his car and drilling back to his apartment. I have even seen him return to the party within an hour and repeat this amazing process two or three times in the same evening. He seems to have built-in radar for finding the right girl at the right time and getting her to go with him. Many people wonder: what is the key to his success? Perhaps you know someone like Graham and have asked yourself the same question.

Research into animal courtship behaviour conducted by zoologists and behavioural scientists reveals that male and female animals use a series of intricate courtship gestures, some quite obvious and others extremely subtle, and that most are done subconsciously. In the animal world, courtship behaviour in each species follows specific and predetermined patterns. For example, in several species of bird, the male struts around the female giving a vocal display, puffing up his feathers and performing many intricate body movements to gain her attention, while the female appears to display little or no interest. This ritual is similar to that performed by the human animal when courtship begins.

Graham's technique was to display male courtship gestures to the prospective females and those who were interested would respond with the appropriate female courtship signals, giving Graham the non-verbal green light to proceed with a more intimate approach.

The success that people have in sexual encounters with members of the opposite sex is directly related to their ability to send courtship signals and to recognise those being sent back. Women are aware of the courtship gestures, as they are aware of most other body gestures, but men are far less perceptive, often being totally blind to them.

It was interesting to note that women described Graham as 'sexy', 'masculine' and 'someone who makes you feel feminine'; their reactions to his constant array of courtship signals. Men, on the other hand, described him as 'aggressive', 'insincere', and 'arrogant'; their reaction to the aggressive competition that Graham represented. Consequently he had very few male friends, and the reasons for this should be obvious - no male likes a rival for the attentions of his female.

'What gestures and body movements do people use to communicate desire for involvement?' is frequently asked. We will now list the signals used by both sexes to attract potential sexual partners. You will note that more space is devoted to female courtship signals than to male signals; this is because women have a greater range of courtship signals than men.

Male Courting GesturesFemale Courtship SignalsRelationships Courtship

While some courtship signals are studied and deliberate, others are given completely unconsciously. How we learn these signals is difficult to explain and a popular theory is that they may be inborn.

Dr Albert Scheflen, in his article 'Quasicourtship behaviour in psychotherapy', noted that, when a person enters the company of a member of the opposite sex, certain physiological changes take place. He found that high muscle tone became evident in preparation for a possible sexual encounter, 'bagging' around the face and eyes decreased, body sagging disappeared, the chest protruded, the stomach was automatically pulled in, pot-bellied slumping disappeared, the body assumed an erect posture and the person appeared to become more youthful in appearance. The ideal place to observe these changes is on a beach when a man and woman approach each other from a distance. The changes take place when the man and woman are close enough to meet each other's gaze and continue until after they have passed each other, at which time the original posture returns (Figures 115 to 117).

Continue reading here: Male Courtship Gestures

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  • marino greco
    What are courtship gestures?
    4 years ago
  • Pasqualina
    What are the gesture towards a courtship?
    6 years ago