As You Desire: The Art of Flirting

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The butterflies in your belly … racing heart … sweaty palms … Is that how you feel when flirting or being flirted with?  When you first meet someone or see them across a room … Do you enjoy the batting of the eyelashes and tossing of the hair? How do you feel when you catch someone looking at you a little longer than just a quick glance?

What about that “accidental” touch as someone walks by? Personally, I love “The Flirt” and feel wildly alive when engaging in it. It is usually (smile) harmless, and when done well makes others feel good, too.  Are you a flirt? Can flirting be innocent or does it always have an ulterior motive?

Flirting be a fun, lighthearted way of communicating friendliness. Smiling at someone actually changes the brain. The pleasure center in the brain lights up when you smile and when someone smiles at you. Simply put, the very act of smiling and being smiled at makes you happier.

Have you lost your ability or desire to flirt? I’d love to hear from you!

What does seem to be changing is our willingness to get into each others’ personal space. Is physical connection becoming less accessible? The Internet has made real-live flirting a social dinosaur. Cyber chatting in lieu of meeting for a drink or coffee is the now the norm. Has cyber dating become like … where you can go to buy anything and everything? Now we just “shop” for a mate online?

Before you smack me down about being out of touch, let me say I am a huge proponent of the Internet … I love Facebook and; I have even been known to tweet on Twitter. I prefer email and texting because it is efficient.

Yet when it comes to human connection, can we really get a feel for someone based on a photograph and bio? What about being able to look into someone’s eyes, sniff their scent, hear their voice and watch their facial expressions and body language? It is said that more than 50% (some resources say 85%) of our communication is non-verbal. So how can we really expect to communicate without being able to experience someone up close and personal?  How important is that first impression? Do you realize that chemical attraction is decided by: 55% body language, 38% the tone and speed of your voice and 7% through what you say? How do we know if we have chemistry through just our written words? Is there more to attraction than chemistry? Are we getting our “flirting” needs satisfied via cyberspace?

This brings me to my next question;

Is loneliness at an all-time high? Protected in the safety of our homes, tapping away on the keys of our computers, iPhones or maybe taking a chance and Skyping, we are disconnecting from humanity. Or are we? Do you feel you can be more or less revealing online? Does it feel safer? More convenient? Are you finding the satisfaction you are seeking? I’d love to hear your voice on this subject.

If loneliness and lack of intimacy are on your list, there are ways to climb out of these protective cyber cocoons and actually reach out and touch someone!

First you have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone and be uncomfortable. It might help to know that everyone else is probably a little uncomfortable too. Being face to face is real and revealing. That can be scary; but the risk will be outweighed by the benefits.

Second, you need to remember that PHYSICAL TOUCH is the most basic of human needs. Without it, we die … Really. We die. So there is a good chance that if you gently touch the arm of a stranger or the shoulder of your date they will like it and not reject you. If they are startled or seem uncomfortable you can always ask, “Are you comfortable with me touching you?” (Asking permission to touch someone may feel awkward, but can open the door to some great communication.) For those who are out of practice with physical touch, it can take patience to regain comfort with it. Practice, practice, practice! I highly recommend frequent professional massages during times you are not receiving enough touch to maintain a healthy dose of human contact. It will leave you open and receptive to safe and loving touch instead of leaving you starved and vulnerable.

Third, it’s important to create situations where you’ll find people with interests similar to yours; such as clubs and organizations with mission statements. Having mutual goals, common interests and ideals create great bonding opportunities. Yes, it takes effort to make new friends, and the payoff for that effort is joyfulness and life satisfaction. Being around like-minded people will inspire you and motivate you. You are much more likely to find a compatible partner (or playmate) in a group of your choosing than at a neutral place like a bar or nightclub.

So when exactly does flirting go too far? We all know there are lines … sometimes they are easier to see when we are not the ones doing the flirting. It’s fair to say that if you are in a relationship and you still enjoy the art of flirting the line would be if you are willing to do the flirt in the presence of your partner or not. And if you enjoy and are good at the art of flirting, does your flirting create problems for others? When does it go from “Art” to “Tart”? I’d love to hear your “flirt” stories and concerns!

Counteracting loneliness and finding fun in life can all start with flirting. Be willing to put yourself out there and watch the world open up. The art of flirting can be applied to friendships and love interests. It’s all about communicating the desire to get to know someone; saying “Hey, you’re interesting and I’m drawn to you.” Whatever your motives, be willing to step off that ledge and let someone know when you find them fascinating, brilliant, sexy or desirable. If you are feeling it and thinking it, please express it. It can be subtle; pay attention and remember something personal about them or create an opportunity to spend time with them doing something you both enjoy. The sadness comes when we discover there was a mutual admiration and interest but we were both too afraid to take that risk and express it. What is the worst thing that can happen? You might be rejected? Have you ever survived rejection before? Notice the word “survived”?  I’ll bet you have. I know I have.

Nora Roberts said, “If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”

My theory is that we regret what we have not done more often than what we have.

Do you enjoy kissing? Watch for a lip-smacking episode of As You Desire next month!

Intimately Yours,


Nancy Sutton Pierce RN, Health Educator is the Founding director of Nancy Sutton’s House of Yoga and Radio Talk Show Host on The Conscious Living Show LIVE every Saturday 11a-12noon on KCNR 1460am You can reach Nancy at with your comment or questions.

As You Desire is proudly sponsored by Body Logic MD; helping both men and women restore their libido and vitality through hormone therapy, fitness and nutrition counseling.

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of

Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce
Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce’s eclectic background places her expertise in a league of its own. The compilation of her career as an RN, health educator, intimacy author, radio talk show host, and yoga therapist all fuel her passion as an International speaker and clinical sexologist. Earning her Doctorate degree in human sexuality has broadened her reach around the globe teaching Conscious Living Sexuality™. When not traveling the globe inspiring others, Dr. Nancy enjoys her home life with the love of her life for more than 30 years. They’ve raised three children and now bask in what she refers to as “the dessert of parenting” -- being grandparents. Website. Contact Dr. Nancy
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18 Responses

  1. Avatar Adrienne jacoby says:

    I really like the inimitable quote at the end. I so believe that. . . . It goes right along with "'Tis better to ask forgiveness than permission!"

    • Nancy Sutton Pierce Nancy Sutton Pierce says:

      Dear Adrienne,
      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment! I like your quote as well. Here! Here! to taking some chances in life, hu?

  2. Avatar JD says:

    Great second article! Flirting for me is as second nature as breathing. I even find myself flirting without realizing it. My husband enjoys that I am a flirt because he gets to reap the benefits of it. The more sexually alive I feel the more sexually interested I am in him. I only feel comfortable flirting with others because of how secure our marriage is, if it wasn't I would be walking a dangerous line.

    Flirt On!!

    • Nancy Sutton Pierce Nancy Sutton Pierce says:

      Dear JD,
      It's a beautiful thing when the lines of communication are wide open and we understand how to access our sexy selves and bring that energy right back home to our partners! It comes down to having clear boundaries and trusting we know where those lines actually are. One of the concerns we will be addressing over time is when couples are emotionally committed and yet mismatched in terms of their sexual needs and desires. How do you then deal with one who needs to explore and express sexuality and the other who is not interested or has shut down that part of themselves? I have some great ideas. Keep reading!
      With gratitude and respect for your sharing,

  3. Avatar John James says:

    After flirting, we are going to get a lesson in kiss and don't tell. Whats next threesomes, wife swaping or husband swaping. It seems that the Newscape is hitting some new lows. I sure it hard to start a new business, but respect and dignity should not be compromised for a little money.

    John James

    • Nancy Sutton Pierce Nancy Sutton Pierce says:

      Dear John,
      I'm not sure if you actually read the column or are commenting on the title? If you had read it you would have noticed I did address many important issues of great concern to a lot of people. Loneliness, cyber-dating VS real live meeting, the importance of human contact for survival, just to name a few. John, don't let the titles fool you 😉

      On a lighter note… yes we will be talking about EVERYTHING related to living in the world as humans who are sexual beings. No topics are off limits. People have questions, curiosities and concerns. I will be addressing them in all as an adult speaking to adults.

      I am in love with the fact you didn't like it yet you took the time to write to me. Something has you curious and interested? You are human. That is normal. You are a perfect example of all of us when something tantalizes us and bothers us at the same time. Such a mixed bag, isn't it? It's what keeps life interesting John! Stay tuned.

      Thank you so much for writing in, you have inspired me to carry on!
      With Respect,

  4. Avatar Ron says:

    A common definition of Flirtation: attention without intention.

    That's my take on the subject and I like to do it in grocery store check out lines. It's good practice and when done properly, it makes the humdrum task of shopping or working as a clerk much more enjoyable for everyone involved. I learned this from dear old dad who was a shameless flirt with the young clerks. He did It respectfully in front of mom, and apparently it didn't bother her a bit for the 55 years they were together.

    My three cents.

    • Nancy Sutton Pierce Nancy Sutton Pierce says:

      Dear Ron,
      It's all about keeping it fun and light. No question about the "intention" when done that way. No doubt your Dad knew when to flirt with your Mom too!
      Thank your Dad for the me and all others who enjoy a good lighthearted flirt!

  5. Avatar Denise says:

    Great topic! This article made me realize, when I'm interested in someone – I cannot flirt. I become a tongue tied moron!

    But flirting is usually a second nature to me and the more I trust someone, the more I am able to flirt. My dear husband loved to be flirted with – it made us both keep our married love young and well, flirty!

    As for crossing lines, the article said it well: when you no longer act with someone just as you would if respective spouses were sitting right there, you're on the slippery slope. I also believe that humans do project true intention, so it is important for me to be mindful at all times of the signals sent.

    In all my years on Earth, flirting freely whether married or not, I have only had one "other man" mis-read me and he was set straight before too much went awry. I laughed it off and said I was "all talk". End of story.

    So, for me, I have found that most adults know a flirt from an illicit offer. It's all in good fun; it's one way for many of us die-hard flirts to feel vital and interactive. Most people join in on cue and are able to relate, relax and rejuvenate.

    • Nancy Sutton Pierce Nancy Sutton Pierce says:

      Dear Denise,
      I agree that the undertone of any "flirt action" is always felt… so we each need to be clear in our intent. Keeping it light and fun is VERY different than flirting with intent to seduce.
      All communication is subject to interpretation. So if we are being misunderstood, it's vitally important that we clear things immediately; like you did.
      I love what you said at the end about feeling vital and interactive. Its so true!
      Thank you for reading and taking the time to write!
      With Gratitude,

  6. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyde says:

    I work with teenagers, and "light" flirting can lead to confusion and conflict. To many young people, flirting indicates serious interest.
    However, as an adult, monogamous, married woman, I have to confess that I share hugs and friendly banter with male friends.
    I think there is more than we know about what attracts us physically to other people. I think there are chemical messages we are receiving from other people that we aren't aware of. This is the only way I can explain why I am repelled by, or attracted to certain people without knowing a thing about them, or why women in close proximity shares a common menses.

    • Nancy Sutton Pierce Nancy Sutton Pierce says:

      Dear Joanne,
      Although I will be spending time discussing specific teen issues, thank you for reminding me to say that I am addressing adult behavior in my column.

      I appreciate you bringing the difference to the forefront here. Thank you so much.

      Flirt On!
      With Respect,

  7. Dugan Barr Dugan Barr says:

    I saw a professional flirt in action one night. My wife and I have some very good friends who are a married couple in Chicago. He is a lawyer. She is a cop (in fact a Commander in the Chicago Police Department). She is also very attractive. When she was starting out, the department assigned her the task of acting as a decoy for guys who were looking for prostitutes. Her job was to get them to commit a crime so other cops could hook them up. The idea was cut off the customers and the suppliers go elsewhere.

    One night we were in a jazz club and this guy started hitting on her. With it sort of in auto pilot, she responded. Pretty soon, he thought he was, to date myself, "In like Flynn". Then someone said it was time to go, and she just left. I got to see the show because I was the last one out. The guy nearly fell down, he was so dumbfounded. He thought that he was headed in for a landing with the flaps and wheels down, and could not believe that all of his charm had just been shrugged off. Frankly, it was hysterical. Maybe I am just mean.

    • Nancy Sutton Pierce Nancy Sutton Pierce says:

      Dear Dugan,
      What a great story! A professional Flirt! Who out there wants to sign on for that job! I know several who would do really well!
      Note to men: Realize that most of the fun for us women is in the flirt… it's not about "getting something", it's about feeling alive and vibrant! Sometimes, less often than you all would probably like, it results in more. My advise? Just enjoy the playful attention and interaction!
      Thank you for reading and sharing your tale.


  8. Avatar Canda says:

    I used to love flirting with clerks at grocery stores and waiters in restaurants. I remember when it stopped-the first time I was called "maam" rather than "miss". Ouch! All of a sudden, what once was fun, became icky. Talk about a reality check! Great column, Nancy. It really did bring up all kinds of things for me. I'm no expert, but I really do believe people are basically more lonely today than before the flood of technology. How many times do we see couples sitting at a restaurant table texting someone else, or talking on their cell phone? How often do we see two people walking side by side (same gender or opposite), and talking on a cell phone? My husband and I are guilty of sitting at our respective computers answering e-mail for extended periods of time, which I would guess is common in most house holds. One of the nicest evenings I can remember is when the power went out, and we sat on the couch for hours talking (and stuff) by candlelight. It's probably time to go pull that breaker switch again!

    • Nancy Sutton Pierce Nancy Sutton Pierce says:

      Dearest Canda,
      I know you and you have one of the best "flirt's" I know! Even Maam's and Nana's can flirt with the best of em! Don't let that stop you. Have you heard the term Cougar? 😉 Maam does not mean "not sexy". It means you have earned my respect… but you can still be wild and crazy fun!
      Seriously though, "flirting" doesn't have an upper age limit! It's all about living our lives with zest and enthusiasm. If flirting makes you feel alive and vital then go for it I say!
      Here Here to the Flirt within… Let her out to play!
      With much love,

  9. Avatar Karen C says:

    Nancy, may I ask who does your hair? Very edgy!

    • Nancy Sutton Pierce Nancy Sutton Pierce says:

      Hi Karen,
      I am laughing so hard right now at the fact I can write a sex column and still what is sparked is an inquiry about my hair! My hair, as it turns out,, has become an ice breaker. When my husband and I travel he keeps a count of how many comments are made about my hair. I have been stopped in places all over the world for someone to snap a pic of my hair to take home to their stylist. My stylist is very proud of her creation! I just grown it. It's a fun accessory!
      So to answer your question, the artist behind my hair is Cathi Sandall at Exsalonence in Redding. Her phone number is (530) 221-7150 ext 10… be sure to tell her Nancy sent you 🙂
      Thank you for reading and commenting!
      Enjoy this day!