In sociology, seduction is the process of deliberately enticing a person to engage in some sort of behavior, frequently sexual in nature. The term may have a positive or negative connotation. Famous seducers from history include Cleopatra, Giacomo Casanova, and the character Don Juan.
Seduction involves temptation and enticement, often sexual in nature, to attract or influence the behavior of another. Traditionally, the word implied leading someone astray, as when a woman lured a man into a sexual relationship. In contemporary usage, seduction is frequently used more broadly as a synonym for the act of charming someone-male or female-by an appeal to the senses. The seducing agent may even be nonhuman, such as music or food.
Seduction is a popular motif in legend and literature. According to tradition, the biblical Eve was a classical seductress who enticed Adam to eat the forbidden fruit; the Sirens of Greek myth lured sailors to their death by utilizing symbolically feminine wile; and Cleopatra beguiled both Julius Caesar and Marc Antony. Famous male seducers, their names synonymous with sexual allure, range from Casanova to James Bond.
In biblical times, because unmarried females who had lost their virginity had also lost much of their value as marriage prospects, the Old Testament Book of Exodus specifies that the seducer must marry his victim or pay her father to compensate him for his loss of the marriage price: "And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife. If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins."
English common law defined the crime of seduction as a felony committed "when a male person induced an unmarried female of previously chaste character to engage in an act of sexual intercourse on a promise of marriage." A father had the right to maintain an action for the seduction of his daughter (or the enticement of a son who left home), since this deprived him of services or earnings.Mary Ann Mason: From Father's Property to Children's Rights: A History of Child Custody
In more modern times, Frank Sinatra was charged in New Jersey in 1938 with seduction, having enticed a woman "of good repute to engage in sexual intercourse with him upon his promise of marriage. The charges were dropped when it was discovered that the woman was already married."Hollywood Behind Bars - Frank Sinatra Mugshot
Thierry Lodé, a French biologist, proposed in his book that seduction could result from the supranormal stimulus. The trend towards exaggeration is a fundamental biological component which explains the exuberance of certain sexual traits; for instance: the peacock's tail and the uca crab's pincers. Sexual selection and sexual conflict could amplify the maintenance of extreme specific characters by intensifying sexual desire. The bilateral symmetry is also an essential characters in life. Most animals prefer to mate with sexual partners exhibiting symmetric pattern. Actually, symmetric traits are largely altered by growth and health, and asymmetry often reveals genetic problem or immune system (MHC) deficiencies.
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