The Dating Escalation Ladder

In Depth Reading Time: 11 minutes
What are the stages of dating

How do you approach a woman you are interested in? Do you flirt, ask her out, or wait for her to make a move?

If you’re like me and most guys, we would have no idea what to do or where to start.

Maybe we’d try to be friendly. Perhaps we’ll try to talk to her more and get her comfortable little by little. And that’s all I could ever do. Let me tell you why.

When I was younger, I had no idea about dating. I didn’t know the word “flirt” existed or what it meant. I kind of have an idea that you should ask women out, but I don’t even know how.

It was like I was thrown to the wolves with no weapon. I was walking blind.

Later on, I was introduced to the concept of a “dating ladder.”

What is the Dating Ladder and Why it Matters?

The dating ladder is a concept that describes how romantic or sexual relationships develop over time.

It is often depicted as a metaphorical ladder with different steps showing progress and levels of intimacy or commitment.

How close and committed two people are to each other is described at every stage.

This concept suggests that the first step is initial attraction, followed by casual dating, where people get to know each other and have fun.

The next steps are exclusivity, moving in together, engagement, and marriage or long-term partnership, where people make more serious decisions and plans for their future.

The dating ladder shows that relationships usually start from the bottom and move up to the top, but not every relationship follows the same path or speed.

The Stages of the Dating Ladder

The phases of dating every guy must know

Below is a typical dating ladder. An average guy can follow. It can take around 4 to 8 hours or 1 to 3 dates until sex.

If you’re going for something casual, like a hookup, it can take less than that. Because you’re going skip some steps. And will definitely be moving fast.

We will discuss the stages you’re in. What are the signs verbally and physically? How can you “micro-progress” through these stages so that you can climb the dating ladder more easily?

Let’s say you’re in the small talk phase; of course, it’ll be a couple more hours or dates before you get in bed. That means you still have a lot of stages to go through.

If you’re kissing or making out, you’re a lot closer to going in for some hot bedroom intimacy.

But then, how can you go from doing small talk to kissing? That’s what we’re going to discuss.

Unlock the Strategies

1. Getting ready to meet women.

If you want to succeed in dating, the first step is to prepare yourself. You must ensure you are ready to approach women and make a good impression. Here are some things to consider:

  • Dress well. You don’t need to wear anything fancy but look neat and clean. Choose clothes that fit you well and match your style.
  • Have a positive mindset. Be confident, relaxed, and friendly. Don’t be nervous, desperate, or rude. Show that you are enjoying yourself and having fun.
  • Pay attention to your body language. Avoid any habits or gestures that might make you look insecure or uncomfortable. Smile, make eye contact, and use open and relaxed postures.
  • Have a balanced lifestyle. Have some hobbies, interests, and goals that make you happy and fulfilled. Don’t make dating your only priority or obsession. Show that you have a life outside of women.

2. Gathering information and data.

If you are meeting a girl online, you should plan and do some research. Here are some things you should know:

  • How will the date go? Have a clear idea of what you want and where to go. Think of the different stages of the date, from the first meeting to the goodbye.
  • Where does she live? Find out if she is close to you or far away. Be ready to go to her place or invite her to yours if things go well and she agrees.
  • How is she feeling? Pay attention to how she responds to your messages. Does she seem interested, happy, and excited? Does she use positive emojis and words?

These details will help you gauge your chances of having a good night with her. A good night could mean a kiss or maybe more.

If you are not meeting women online, you should also gather some information before approaching them. Here are some things you should observe:

  • Analyze the environment. Look for the best way to approach her without being interrupted or blocked. Avoid crowded or noisy areas.
  • Check her company. See how many people she is with and how close they are. Is she with a guy who might be her boyfriend? Is she with friends who might cockblock you?
  • Assess her mood. Try to determine if she has been approached before and how she reacted. Is she open and friendly, or cold and distant? Is she sober or drunk?
  • Have a backup plan. Think of another place to take her if you want to talk more privately. Make sure it is safe and comfortable for both of you.

3. Show signals before talking.

Before you start a conversation with a woman, you are already sending her signals. That’s why you need to pay attention to these things:

  • Eye contact: Look into her eyes and hold her gaze. This shows that you are interested and confident. Don’t stare too hard or too long, though. That can be creepy or rude.
  • Smiling: Smile at her and show your teeth. This indicates that you are friendly and happy. Don’t smile too much or too wide, though. That can be fake or weird.
  • Posture: Stand up straight and relax your shoulders. This shows that you are comfortable and secure. Don’t slouch or fidget, though. That can be unattractive or nervous.
  • Be positive to others: Be friendly and polite to the people around you. This shows that you are warm and respectful. Don’t ignore or insult anyone, though.

4. Initial Conversation

The initial conversation is the first impression you make on a woman. It doesn’t matter if you meet her online or in person. Here’s what you should do:

Say hi and introduce yourself. Ask for her name and remember it. Be polite and friendly.

You can shake her hand if it feels natural. Don’t hug her unless she initiates it. You don’t want to invade her personal space. You are still strangers.

If you’re trying to hook up, a thing to try is not to shake her hand but to offer your hand. If she holds it, it’s a good sign. Then don’t let go. Now you’re holding hands.

This stage takes around a few seconds to less than half a minute. So, do your best to create a good impression while introducing yourself. Have a great, open, friendly vibe.

5. Talking

This stage a.k.a small talk, is when you get to know each other and find out if you have anything in common.

You should talk about your background and her background, such as your career, hobbies, interests, plans, and lifestyle. You should also ask her questions and listen to her answers. Be curious and respectful.

This stage can be awkward initially, especially if you just met her. Don’t worry. It will get easier as you talk more.

If you have a good connection, this stage should last 10 to 20 minutes or longer.

But don’t make it too long because you don’t want to bore her or run out of things to say. You want to leave some mystery and excitement for the next stage or dates.

But talking doesn’t mean you can’t touch her at all. You can use light and friendly touches to show interest and make her feel comfortable.

Here are some examples:

  • Lightly touching her shoulder: You can do this when you want to get her attention or when you want to point something out. It’s a polite and gentle way to touch her.
  • Brushing arms: This can happen naturally when walking together or sitting close to each other. It’s a subtle and casual way to touch her. A typical thing to happen.
  • Giving a high-five: You can do this when joking, or she says a joke or does something awesome, and you guys laugh as a funny situation happens.

6. Light Flirting

The next stage is flirting. But only light flirting.

This is when you start to show more interest and attraction to the woman. You want to make her feel comfortable and happy around you. And she is responding positively.

Here are some signs and tips for light flirting:

  • Laughing and smiling: If she laughs at your jokes and smiles a lot, that means she likes your sense of humor and personality. You should also laugh and smile back to show that you enjoy her company.
  • Sharing secrets: If you both start telling each other things you usually wouldn’t say to a stranger, you build trust and intimacy. You can share some embarrassing moments, funny stories, or personal opinions.
  • Getting closer: If you and her are sitting or walking close to each other, that means you are comfortable with physical proximity. You can lightly touch your legs or shoulders and see how she reacts.
  • Light touches: If you want to get her attention or make a point, you can touch her leg, arm, or back gently. Don’t do it too often or too hard, though. You can also linger your touch for a few seconds and then pull back.
  • Side hug: If you want to show some affection, you can offer a side hug to her. This is when you wrap one arm around her shoulder or waist. You can do this when she makes a silly joke when you agree with her, or when you walk together.
  • Hand holding: If you want to show more interest, you can try to hold her hand. This is a very romantic gesture that can make her feel special. The best time to do this is when you and she sit or walk close to each other and you feel connected.
  • Full hug: If you want to end the date on a good note, you can give her a full, frontal hug with both arms. This is a warm and friendly way to say goodbye and thank her for the time. You can also use this to kiss her if she is ready. Go for her cheek first and see how she reacts. You can escalate more afterwards.

This stage could take an hour or 2, depending on how well you get along.

You can start with a coffee date and then move to another location if the vibe is good. Remember, don’t force anything. Just let it happen naturally and have fun.

7. Heavy Flirting

In this stage, the focus shifts from getting to know each other to deepening comfort and trust.

By this point, she already likes you to some extent, but what she’s seeking is a deeper sense of security and confidence in your intentions.

It’s about her feeling safe and relaxed as if she could close her eyes and know you wouldn’t harm her in any way.

She’s also giving you more freedom to be touchy and physical during this stage.

This is a subtle test of your ability to make her feel comfortable and desired. It’s a delicate balance that demonstrates your understanding of her boundaries and desires.

This stage typically occurs after about 2 hours of interaction but rarely lasts more than 8 hours.

It often happens in semi-private settings, like when you’re on your way to a more private location or already in a somewhat secluded space. The atmosphere is becoming more intimate and heated.

Physically, you and your her are much closer now, literally and metaphorically.

You might find yourselves face to face, with your hands naturally finding places like her waist or gently touching her face. Maybe trying to pick an eyelash on her cheek.

These gestures are significant because they indicate a high level of comfort and mutual attraction.

Regarding physical intimacy, this stage includes initiating kisses, starting with soft and gentle ones, perhaps on her forehead or cheek. These innocent kisses can lead to a more direct kiss on the lips if she responds positively.

It’s important to be attentive to her reactions and proceed accordingly. If she’s comfortable and receptive, you might progress to more passionate kissing, including French kissing, as your chemistry intensifies.

Here are some excellent techniques for kissing.

When you feel the moment is right, move your face slowly towards hers. Lower the volume of your voice and whisper in her ear. This gradual approach can be incredibly sensual and can encourage her to do the same, creating a sense of intimacy where it feels like just the two of you exist.

As you get closer, maintain eye contact. Let your gaze communicate desire and attraction. This builds tension as she anticipates the possibility of a kiss but isn’t sure if it will happen.

A technique that often works well is gently placing your hand on her chin or jawline and guiding her face toward yours. This subtle but clear signal can help trigger the kiss.

You can gently pull her closer if you’re already holding hands or have your arms around her. Again, do this slowly and show that you’re moving in for a kiss. You might start with a kiss on the cheek or a light peck to gauge her reaction before proceeding further.

These techniques can help create a romantic and memorable moment, but it’s important always to be attentive to her responses and adjust your approach accordingly.

Here’s what you need to remember: If kissing doesn’t happen on this stage the window for opportunity diminishes over time.

8. Intensifying Tension

At this stage, the focus is primarily on physical attraction, with minimal talking.

You’re likely in a private setting, typically around 4 to 8 hours after meeting the woman.

This phase revolves around teasing and building tension, almost like a form of semi-foreplay where both parties desire each other, but sex has not yet occurred.

Teasing can take various forms, such as:

  • Gently placing her head on your shoulder after kissing to prolong the tension.
  • Going for her neck and smelling her scent.
  • Lightly stroking her face with your finger, maintaining eye contact.
  • Running your fingers through her hair while keeping eye contact.
  • Holding her behind the neck with your palm to the side of her neck, gazing into her eyes.

These actions can be performed before, during, and after kissing. After kissing on the lips, you can explore other erogenous zones like her neck and ears, kissing them gently.

As things heat up, your hands will naturally explore her body, possibly resting on her tummy, back, or even under her shirt.

You might kiss her more passionately, focusing on areas like her chest but avoiding direct contact with her breasts until she’s undressed.

Throughout this stage, lightly running your fingers down her body or gently holding her sides or lower back can enhance the sensual experience.

As things progress, you might begin to undress her, and if you’re unsure how to unhook a bra with one hand, there are tutorials available online.

When undressing, take your time and maintain a seductive pace, continuing to engage in light petting.

This sets the stage for the next move. Do you have any guesses? Sex.

Try It Now


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