Stay calm and get your flirt on
Photo by: shurkin_son / Shutterstock
I?m not old fashioned when it comes to dating.
Sure, I want a guy to be a gentleman and I like to be chased instead of having to do all the pursuing. But I also want all of it to happen online, at least for a while.
I?m a demisexual, which means I need to form an emotional connection with someone before I feel any real attraction to them. That makes my approach to dating a little slow. I want to get to know someone before I actually start doing any of the datey stuff.
I also have some pretty serious social anxiety. I avoid a lot of social situations and I?m a mess on the inside when I interact with service people. Meeting someone new for an in-person date would probably make me panic.
I?m also in a bit of a complicated situation. I?m non-monogamous and married. I?ve got a few young kids. I?m a full-time writer on top of all that. That makes fitting another person into my life tricky to say the least.
Because of all those things, my ideal scenario is a long-distance relationship that builds slowly, with the possibility of eventually becoming something that takes place at close range.
Online flirting is a crucial skill for me. If I don?t have game over text, I might as well kiss all my extracurricular romance goodbye.
But flirting online is tough. It?s harder to convey tone and intention over text. You can?t rely on your body language to communicate all the things your mouth isn?t saying. And you have to create and sustain sexual tension without any physical proximity.
Now that we?re all social distancing, flirting online is one of the only ways we get to feel close to others. Judging from the activity on my Twitter feed, we?ve all been very horny and lonely.
But if you?re going to put those feelings to good use, you?ll need some decent game when macking online. Here are some tips for improving it.
Lead with Your Personality
When you hit up someone who doesn?t really know you, give them a little indication of who you are and what your deal is.
Approach them as if they get hundreds of DMs a week (some people do) and make sure your message would still stand out. Just saying ?hey? wouldn?t differentiate you from the crowd, neither would asking if they?re interested in talking.
I don?t mean you have to write a twelve-paragraph bio, but give them enough of a sense of who you are. Give a little bit of detail about yourself and say something cute about their profile. Don?t overthink it ? just let your personality show.
And make your intentions clear. Sometimes, I?m hesitant to respond to a message because I can?t tell if the person sending it is trying to hit me up for a work collaboration, looking for a bit of friendly conversation, or because they read my articles about phone sex and they want in on that.
So, if you?re coming on flirty, be up front about it. Tell them they?re cute and seem fun. Don?t tell them you just want some advice when what you?re really hoping for is a cyberfuck.
Find the Right Way to Communicate
Are you going to slide into someone?s DMs? Are you going to email them? Are you going to start something by commenting on their Instagram posts?
I personally like when things start with a little bit of public flirting on social media. It feels safer when things are happening in the responses to a post. There are no expectations ? we?re just two people having a little bit of fun.
When it gets one-on-one, I kind of prefer starting over email, or at least slow texting, because it?s low pressure. I don?t have to feel like I should respond immediately or worry about my read receipts. I can take my time and let things sit for a little while. That pace is especially nice because I?m a busy gal and when I start talking to someone, I don?t know if I want to make a lot of room for them in my day yet.
Once things get going, though, texting and DMs work best. Rapid-fire responses make it easier to feel any chemistry there is between the two of you.
Plus, I?ve had cybersex via email and it wasn?t ideal. Don?t get me wrong, it was hot and I?m all for building anticipation. But you don?t want to feel like you?re left hanging while you wait for the next one to show up in your inbox.
Then there are phone calls and video chat. I consider those advanced. To me, that feels like relationship shit. Unless we?re not talking at all. If you get there with your flirty buddy, congratulations!
Don?t Act Too Thirsty
Unless you?re looking for the most casual of casual sex, you shouldn?t bring it up too early or too often.
If you go too hard and too fast, you?re basically waving a red flag. You?ll come across like a digital fuckboi or a girl who just wants to fuck and go. That will reduce your chances of getting anywhere, because being played makes you feel more alone, not more connected.
If you?re interested in fucking, that?s fine. There are clear but subtle ways to make those intentions known.
So, let things escalate naturally. Let the flirting lead to sexy stuff (if it does) instead of trying to force it.
Pickup Lines Are Fine
This one might be a little controversial, but I think cheesy pickup lines can work. As long as they?re clever and not overused, they can be decent conversation starters.
I?ve even seen a few decent pandemic-specific ones, like ?You?re the only snacc I wanna stock up on.?
Just make sure you?re not relying on the line to do all the heavy lifting. No one ever swooned at a pickup line. At their best, they?re just cute little ways to say hi and signal some flirty intentions.
Ask a Lot of Questions
Everyone wants to feel desired, but it?s hard to feel that way when you?re flirting with someone who doesn?t care about getting to know you.
Show some genuine interest in them. Ask unique or goofy questions to break the ice. That will give them a chance to showcase their quirks while they learn about yours.
Don?t make it sound like an interrogation, though. If it sounds like you?re running through a list of questions, it?s going to feel one-sided. And even if your barrage of questions makes you look interested, you won?t have any opportunity to seem interesting.
Keep the questions chill and relaxed. If you ask one that seems to make them a little uncomfortable, don?t press on. You don?t necessarily have to apologize, either. Just change to a more comfortable subject without making a big deal out of it.
Some people think using emojis is childish, but they really do help you communicate better. They?re the body language of texting.
You can?t flutter your eyelashes, give gentle touches, or eyefuck each other over text, but you can send blushy emojis when you?re feeling flattered, heart eyes when you?ve got those fuzzy feelings, and flames and eggplants when you?re excruciatingly horny.
Plus, they?re playful and lighthearted. And that?s how flirting should always be.
Just make sure the emojis aren?t doing all the talking. Actually use your words and let the emojis accent them. Relying too much on emojis is another fuckboi move anyway ? it lets them imply feelings they aren?t actually feeling. Stick to using emojis to convey tone and (genuine) emotion.
Give Good Compliments
I know some guys are quick to compliment a woman?s appearance but it doesn?t occur to them to compliment her on anything else.
That might work irl but it gets kind of weird when flirting over text.
It?s also easy to get caught up in the game and forget to do this very basic thing. Banter?s really good and it can steam things up, but you need to sprinkle it with compliments so the person you?re hitting on feels special.
And pick compliments that don?t put too much of a spotlight on them. It can be awkward when someone says something nice about you and there?s nothing you can do but sit there and thank them for it. Instead of dropping them out of nowhere, let the compliments flow into your conversation. Like, when you?re about to bring up something interesting, you can say ?You?re obviously very smart, so you?ll appreciate this.?
Even when most of the action is happening over text, some visual stimulation takes it to the next level. So, send each other photos and videos.
Send naughty and nice ones.
Show them something funny you came across. Send them something that?s an inside joke between the two of you. Let them know what you?re up to with a selfie.
And then show them your junk.
You don?t have to include your face in the photos, but there?s nothing like racy body shots to emphasize how horny you are and give them something to drool over.
Your comfort levels may vary. You could show a little cleavage. You can show the dick print in your pants. And you deserve a damn medal if you send them a tit drop or a dick drop.
Don?t Leave Them on Read
One of the big problems with flirting online is that it?s easy to get enticed by the abundance of opportunities. You could be hitting on eighteen different people at once, just switching from convo to convo.
You can have it all? In theory.
In reality, you?re going to stretch yourself out too thin and it?s going to show. You?re going to get caught up with one person while leaving someone else hanging. You?ll leave people on read repeatedly, which is kind of a shitty thing to do.
Flirting online is just like flirting in person ? you need to be really engaged and in the moment for it to go well. As a non-monogamous person myself, I totally understand the urge to go for multiple people at once, but never take on more than you can handle.
There?s also a difference between playing hard to get and just not being available. Even when you?re playing hard to get or engaging in a bit of a cat and mouse game, you have to be present. In fact, that?s the whole point of playing hard to get ? you?re trying to make them work for it, not leave them wondering where you went.
My personal best practice is to resist the urge to peek at a text until I?m actually ready to reply to it. I?ll glean what I can from the notification and only read the rest when I have time to be there.
If you?ll be too busy to talk for a while, you can also send a quick text saying you can?t be available now but you?re really excited to get back to them soon. That way, you?re building anticipation instead of making them feel neglected.
Again, it?s all about being present. I believe in ghosting someone when things get dicey or weird, but I can?t advocate half-assing things when you want to keep the flirty stuff going.
Above All, Be Yourself
Okay, yes, this is really basic advice, but it?s worth mentioning because it can be so tempting not to just be who you are.
I have that problem. I worry so much about making sure I?m likeable that I end up being a little stiff and overly polite. Or I second guess my jokes and end up not telling them because I miss the beat. And sometimes I get so caught up in my head wondering whether the person I?m talking to actually likes me or not that I end up giving them too many outs and it makes me look uninterested (this is why you have to reassure people!)
But fuck all that. Make the jokes you want to make. Ask the questions you want to ask. Don?t worry too much about whether they like you ? spend more time asking yourself if you?re into them. And if you are, just let go and have fun.
Everyone wants to flirt with a person, not a persona. They want a little intimacy, not feel like they?ve been emotionally catfished.
So, be yourself, say some sweet stuff, send those nudes, and help some lucky person feel a little less lonely.
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