Josh Sway is every man's source for dating, relationships, self-improvement, and more.

Articles advice from Josh

/ 5 Escalation Mistakes

It's rarely a bad idea to escalate. But it's an even better idea to do it correctly.

Escalation is a crucial component of seduction. Without escalating, all the attraction in the world is useless. Not escalating when attraction is there is like being delta pocket Aces in poker and deciding to fold them pre-flop. However, folding a winning hand pre-flop isn't the only mistake a poker player can make. Similarly, even if you do escalate when there is attraction, you can still be misplaying your hand. Here are 5 common escalation mistakes I've seen over the years that you should strive to avoid.
<h3>1. Stopping Escalation Too Early</h3>
By far the biggest escalation mistake most men make is stopping too early. Whether it's at the phone number stage, kissing stage, or whatever, too many men stop escalating when they should be pursuing more. We've written about <a title="Taking It Slow Is A Bad Strategy" href="/articles/view/taking-it-slow-is-a-bad-strategy/">how taking it slow is a bad strategy</a>, and how you should <a title="Always Maintain Forward Progress" href="/articles/view/always-maintain-forward-progress/">always seek forward progress</a>. This advice is core to much of the Josh Sway philosophy. We constantly emphasize it here on the site because <strong>it works</strong>. If the attraction is there, seduction becomes a simple matter of escalation and <a title="Not Screwing It Up Is A Skill" href="/articles/view/not-screwing-up-is-a-skill/">not screwing up</a>. The easiest way to screw up is to just stop moving forward.
<h3>2. Escalation Without Isolation</h3>
It's simple.
<li>Build attraction.</li>
Too many guys fail to <strong>isolate</strong> the woman they're talking to before escalating.  Isolating prior to escalating bestows several benefits:
<li>Isolation is a huge IOI.  If a woman is willing to separate from her friends, that usually means she's sexually interested and you've also built enough trust and rapport.</li>
<li>Escalation can go further.  You can't really escalate past kissing in a public venue, unless your woman is particularly exhibitionist.</li>
<li>She won't feel as self-conscious in public.  If you kiss her in front of all her friends, she may enjoy it but also feel awkward, and then associate that awkwardness with you.</li>
<h3>3. Insecure Escalation</h3>
For the love of god, the following words should never come out of your mouth.
<h5>"Can I Kiss You?"</h5>
<a title="Stop Blaming Pop Culture For Your Problems" href="/articles/view/stop-blaming-pop-culture-for-your-problems/">Bad Hollywood movies</a> will sometimes portray the protagonist saying this (or the slightly-better-but-still-mostly-terrible "I want to kiss you"), and his love interest smiles and says something like, "I thought you'd never ask!" and they end up in a passionate embrace.

Let's break down why you're even tempted to ask, instead of just going for it.  The most common scenario is when a woman seems warm to you verbally but cold physically.  She's excited to see you, she happily engages in conversation, and she talks about all sorts of activities you should do together.  But then you try to sit next to her on the couch, or put your arm around her, or hold her hand, and she flinches and pulls away like you're inflicted with ebola.

So even if she seems interested in her and you've isolated her, you may feel awkward physically escalating if she's seemingly rejected any other physical touch.  But I can guarantee you that it's a hundred times more awkward to ask permission.  You may feel like you're practically lunging for a kiss and she may recoil.  But even if she does that, what would you have gained by asking permission?  She's just going to reject you anyway, and you're going to feel just as rejected.  At least by trying to kiss her, you can say you really tried to get what you wanted, instead of meekly asking for it.

Also, avoid "games" and "tricks."  These can make good conversation openers for an approach, or be part of your efforts to build attraction, but at a certain point you have to get serious and convey physical interest.  Don't ask her, "are you a good kisser?" and then say "prove it," like you're being all clever.  Don't suggest some sort of game where she closes her eyes, so you can "sneak in" some sort of kiss.  These things are childish at best and offensive at worst.  You're better than that.

<h3>4. Backwards Escalation</h3>
Some men don't have an issue escalating; their problem is they escalate with the wrong women. Despite how illogical it is, I see this happen all the time: Men aggressively try to escalate with women who are not interested but act extremely passive with women who are interested. This is backwards, and you should stop doing it.

Check out our article about <a title="Playing Alpha-Cool" href="/articles/view/playing-alpha-cool/">playing 'alpha-cool'</a>. When you have a "winning hand," you want to get as much in the pot as you can so to speak. You <strong>want</strong> to escalate. Constantly push things further and further until you either encounter resistance or you achieved whatever your goal may be.

With uninterested women, it's often best to fold the hand as opposed to waste time and energy mindlessly escalating. Furthermore, you actually have a chance to get girls who start out uninterested if you demonstrate the attractive 'non-needy' trait and paint yourself as the prize. You can't do this if you keep following her around; you've got to back off to start.

<h3>5. Explicitly Unwanted Physical Escalation</h3>
This should be self-evident, but I want to make it absolutely clear.  If a woman <strong>plainly states</strong> she doesn't want you to escalate, then <strong>stop.</strong>  If you're not sure, then clarify.  If you try and escalate and she says, "I don't think this is a good idea," then just ask her, "what's not a good idea?"

If she's hesitant because of some external situation (e.g. you used to date her friend and then broke up, but she feels kissing you is some sort of betrayal), then you can continue to build attraction until she warms up.  But if she shuts things down with a direct statement (e.g. "please don't do this, I don't see you that way especially after you broke up with my friend"), then stop.

There are other guys who will give you advice on how to overcome this kind of LMR.  Just understand that it's easy to give this advice when you're not going to be the one arrested for rape if it backfires.

<h3>It's still most important to escalate</h3>
While it is often easy to screw up escalation, worrying about an escalation mistake (except #5) should not be an excuse not to escalate. Make sure you are escalating first and foremost, then optimize the way you are doing it.

If you've enjoyed the articles on, there's even more advice in our e-books!

Buy Now!