Secrets of Seduction Bootcamp: ‘Escalation’ ‘resistance’ and ‘same-day lay’

Panorama investigates men who seduce women and secretly film their conquests

Myles Bonnar uses hidden cameras to expose men who use hidden cameras

Myles Bonnar uses hidden cameras to expose men who use hidden cameras

 

In Panorama: Secrets of Seduction Bootcamp (BBC 1, Monday, 8.30pm) the journalist Myles Bonnar uncovers a particularly vile practice: men who use underhand techniques to approach unsuspecting women. They persistently insinuate themselves in their company, press relentlessly for the intimate details, and, with enough insistence, sex, secretly record it, and then disseminate it, without consent, for as wide an audience as possible.

Bonnar does this, in Panorama’s time-honoured fashion, by using undercover techniques to approach the unsuspecting gurus of so-called “gaming”, persistently insinuating himself in their company, pressing relentlessly for intimate details, secretly recording it, then disseminating it, over their objections, to as a wide a viewership as possible.

Perhaps you need to fight fire with fire these days, but let he who is without shaky ethical standards throw the first hidden camera.

Whatever the means, Bonnar could not have chosen a more unsavoury bunch to expose: pick-up artists who trade tips – or rather sell them in the form of online tutorials and in-field workshops – on aggressive and accelerated seduction strategies, which make sex seem like a compulsive kind of conquest, dehumanises women, and certainly ignores consent when it comes to a violation of privacy and arguably does as much in the bedroom.

“A lot of last-minute resistance I had to come through,” reports Adnan Ahmed, a Glaswegian scammer joylessly relating what he terms “a same-day lay”.

Bonnar doesn’t go deep into what kind of a culture normalises this behaviour, although it clearly shares some territory with the frustrations and misogyny of so-called incels and owes a lot to the warped views of sexuality engendered by the fantasies of online pornography.

“It’s like seeing women as a dispenser,” says one clear-eyed viewer of the secretly recorded tutorials, “into which you put a certain amount of attention and sex comes out.”

Seduction techniques, as they are preached by such sociopaths, are couched in terms better suited to hostile corporate takeovers, a series of “escalations” over “resistance”, in which, as one sociologist puts it “’No’ can never be legitimately heard as a ‘no’.”

Even if it is consensual, sex is presented as a zero-sum game, in which one person has won and the other lost. Some of the programme is given over to the lagging arm of the law, and under which acts of law such violations may be prosecuted.

Ahmed, of the “same-day lay” school, was finally charged and found guilty for sexual harassment, we learn, but his surreptitiously filmed videos and online dissemination were not part of the case.

This is, in Bonnar’s estimation, “a game where the women don’t know they’re being played”.

If anything, though, the women we encounter here seem all too grimly aware of how it feels to be played. It’s the men involved who don’t realise how demeaned they are too by its playing.

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