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Casanova's Seduction Tips

The name of Casanova has long been synonymous with seducer, yet the notorious Venetian lived many lives: preacher, musician, gambler, swindler, occultist, Good Samaritan, spy, swashbuckler, gourmand, self-made gentleman, entrepreneur, prison escapee, wit, poet, translator, philosopher, librarian, world traveler, and general bon vivant. But why is it, really, that Casanova remains such a fascinating figure more than two hundred years after his death? Surely we must admit it is his legendary sexual appetite. And the fact, moreover, that he was a man who loved, respected, and appreciated women (and they him). So how does he fare in today's post-Sex and the City world? Let us offer a few lessons culled from his experiences as a seducer and recounted in his seminal—and hilariously entertaining—memoir, The Story of My Life

1. Don't beat around the bush.
"The very next morning I sent the following note to La Valville: I would like, madame, to have an affair with you. You have awakened distressing desires in me, which I challenge you to satisfy."

2. Appeal to her rational side.
"She told me it was in my power to seduce her, but that if I loved her, I should spare her this shame. I made it clear to her that an intelligent girl could only be ashamed of giving herself to a man she did not love; but if she loved me, then love, assuming responsibility for everything, would justify her in everything."

3. Agonize over her.
"After giving her a faithful account of the state in which her charms had put me and the pains I had suffered for having resisted the inclination to give her clear signs of my affection, I told her that, as I could no longer endure the torment her presence caused my enamoured soul, I found myself with no choice but to ask her please not to appear before my eyes any more.... I described to her the frightful consequences that might bring us unhappiness if we were to act otherwise than in the manner her virtue and mine had forced me to propose to her.... We then spent a good hour in the most eloquent silence, broken only by Lucia's crying out from time to time: 'Ah! My God! Is it possible I am not dreaming?'"

4. Be persistent, if you think she's the woman for you.
"We sat down to eat; and in his speech, his attitude, the expression in his eyes, and his smiles, Bellino seemed like a different person.... Once in bed, I shuddered as I saw him draw near.... At last we took a rest. An intermission was in order. But we were not exhausted; our senses merely needed for our minds to calm down before they could fall back into place. Bellino was the first to break the silence, asking me if I thought she was a loving mistress. 'Mistress?' I said. 'So you admit you are a woman?'"

5. Be patient.
"She could see I was burning for her, and as she seemed pleased with my restraint, I asked her if she would mind if I called on her often.... Our intimacy began one evening after supper, when she was overcome by convulsions that lasted the entire night. I did not leave her bedside, and the following day I was justly rewarded for my twenty-six years of constancy."

6. Praise her experience.
"I finally realized she was afraid I would reproach her if I found she was not a virgin. Her anxiety amused me, and I was pleased to assure her that the virginity of girls seemed to me nothing more than an invention of boys, since nature had deprived most girls of even the signs of it. I ridiculed those who made it a question of honor. I could see that my wisdom pleased her, and she came into my arms full of confidence."

7. Show your gratitude.
"Each discovery I made raised my soul to love, which in turn fortified me in the demonstration of my gratitude. She was astonished to find herself receptive to so much pleasure, for I showed her many things she had considered fictions. I did things to her that she did not feel she could ask me to do and I taught her that the slightest constraint spoils the greatest pleasures."

8. Give as good as you get.
"Cultivating the pleasures of the senses was my principle concern throughout my life; none, indeed, was ever more important to me. Feeling as though I was born for the fair sex, I have always loved it and let it love me as much as I could."

Who could resist that? Hardly anybody did.

The Story of My Life
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