What makes a ladies' man? A new book reveals the secrets of successful seducers. Deirdre Reynolds gets an education
A new book reveals the secrets of succesful seducers
Monica Lewinsky last week broke her decade-long silence on her affair with former US President Bill Clinton.
In a tell-all column for Vanity Fair, the 40 year told: "it's time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress".
But the former White House intern admitted that the fling, which led to Clinton's impeachment in 1998, was a two-way thing.
"Sure, my boss took advantage of me," Lewinksy, who was 22 at the time of the scandal, said, "but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship.
"Any 'abuse' came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat."
In her new book Swoon: Great Seducers and Why Women Love Them, author Betsy Prioleau says she isn't surprised Lewinsky fell for Slick Willie in the first place: "For all his squalid delinq-uencies and sexcapades, Clinton is beloved by women – insanely so.
"When he speaks to women (and men), he's "almost carnal", squeezing their hands and wrapping his arm around their shoulders as he locks eyes with them."
Earlier this month, a survey published in the Journal of Evolution and Human Behaviour showed that while men tend to choose women on looks, women are more drawn to an attractive bank balance.
Speaking about the findings, Professor Gad Saad, who co-authored the study explains: "Choosing someone who might be a poor provider or an unloving father would have serious consequences for a woman."
Whatever about love though, money can't buy you lust, says Swoon author Prioleau: "Legendary ladies' men are a different, complex species, often without looks or money. They do not fit a template but possess a cache of powerful erotic secrets."
Here, she reveals some of them...
Sense of humour...
Cuddly James Corden may be no competition for David Beckham. But the Gavin and Stacey star has no shortage of female admirers. "For women, the funny bone is a high-volt erogenous zone," explains Prioleau. "Men who amuse women also advertise cognitive fitness." Although a married man now, Corden confesses: "I was quite popular with girls at school, even though I wasn't the best-looking, and I think that it was because I was always trying to make them laugh. I'm a believer that you can laugh a woman into bed."
Ability to dance...
Talent, charm, good looks: there are lots of reasons to lust after Michael Fassbender. Seeing the Kerry man bust a move (right) to 'Blurred Lines' with X-Men co-stars Hugh Jackman and James McAvoy on The Graham Norton Show recently only gave us another. After all, it's not called the horizontal tango for nothing. Prioleau says: "Dancing is intrinsic to mating. Men whose feet smoke prevail because they demonstrate greater health, strength, co-ordination, speed and higher levels of testosterone."
With his square hair and high-waisted pants, Simon Cowell seems an unlikely sex symbol. Still, ex-girlfriends Sinitta, Terri Seymour and Mezhgan Hussainy don't have a bad word to say about TV's Mr Nasty, ignominiously voted 'sexiest celebrity smoker' in 2010. Prioleau says: "Great lovers are undeniably shot through with flaws – vanity, intemperance, irresponsibility, and more. Their personalities, though, are custom-crafted to gain and sustain female desire."
He's foul-mouthed, chauvinistic and was forced to deny cheating on his wife, yet celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay can still whip the opposite sex into a frenzy. Proving there's no accounting for taste, the dad-of-four was even crowned the world's sexiest chef ahead of Jean-Christophe Novelli and James Martin back in 2008. "Eating is intrinsically sexual," says Prioleau. "Television chefs are the new sex gods, and movies like No Reservations [starring Aaron Eckhart] feature fetching young men in white aprons who can rock a stove and a woman's heart."
"A great lover can voodoo women with his voice," says Prioleau. "That's because women hear better than men and listen with their libidos. Even as babies, girls are better at detecting tones of voice, and they remain good at it, sizing up potential mates by the sound of their speech."
It certainly explains the current obsession with baritoned British actor Benedict Cumberbatch. The strangely swoonsome star played the voice of dragon Smaug in The Hobbit sequel last year. But it's his Alan Rickman impression that really leaves fans swooning.
As telly's Mr Selfridge, US star Jeremy Piven has been transformed into a sex symbol overnight. "It's that three-piece suit," says Prioleau: "Fantasy ladies' men dress to kill. If you take a non-looker, groom and clothe him in pinstripes and a Rolex, most female subjects will choose him over a male model in a fast-food chain's uniform."
Piven (48), certainly isn't complaining about his newfound erotic capital: "It could be a lot worse. I can think of 150 terrible things they could say about me, so if that's what they are saying, fine."
Beefcake or boy next door? Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the best of both. And that's why the ladies love him, reckons Prioleau: "Although some women do fancy wild and wicked reprobates, especially for flings, a bigger turn-on are men who scramble the good/bad categories and are nice with spice."
Speaking about his transition from child star to Hollywood hunk, Gordon-Levitt (33), says: "I've played the nice kid, and the smart one or funny one and even the angry one, but [Mysterious Skin director] Gregg Araki was the first one to call me sexy, and I'll always be really grateful for that."
SWOON: GREAT SEDUCERS AND WHY WOMEN LOVE THEM BY BETSY PRIOLEAU, €14.99, PUBLISHED BY W. W. NORTON & COMPANY