How do you get someone into your bed? There is no universal answer, but you could do a lot worse than follow these basic steps.
Book the best and best-lit restaurant you can afford. There's a reason why dinner remains the best place to seduce someone. The food-sex connection has been around forever. Few would deny that the best lovers are hedonists: those who enjoy all life's pleasures. Never is this more evident than when someone eats: a good appetite means a lusty libido. There are those who eat to live and those who live to eat. Be one of the latter better to have love handles than be potentially boring in bed.
This means eating sensuously. Eat the way you might nibble on a partner's ear, neck or other bits and savour each mouthful rather than inhale the plate. Demolish a hamburger in 10 seconds flat and she'll dismiss you as a wham-bam-thankyou-man. The only-do-it-on-Saturday-night-with-the-lights-off girl refuses to eat anything but comfort food if you're not into experimenting with exotic fare, you're hardly going to dish up the Kama Sutra behind closed doors. Bread-and-butter taste in food equals bread-and-butter sex.
Even worse is being a fussy, finicky type who hassles the waiter and sends things back to the kitchen four times. If your date's looking alarmed, it's because they're thinking "Christ! What are they going to be like if my body's not up to scratch and the sheets aren't starched let alone if my sexual technique is somehow lacking?"
So: impress with your mouth (steady) and, while you're doing so, find an opportunity to touch. As a general rule, the first person to touch sends the first "I'm keen and want to take this further" signal. Most women know this and don't want to appear pushy or "easy". If you're female, the way around it is to put your hands, arms or legs deliberately near his so he'll "accidentally" touch them.
Even one brief touch has a profound effect on how you relate to each other. Just like moaning in bed, once you've broken the ice and done it once, the embarrassment eases and it seems to flow from there. Start by tentatively touching the back of their hand to make a point; when things have moved to a more intimate level, stroke it back first, then turning it over to stroke the palm teaming meaningful eye contact with a seductive but never smarmy smile. When you're at the point where there's no doubt of your intentions, he can lift her palm to his mouth and start making lazy, wet, sexy circles with his tongue in the centre of it; or the equivalent for her she can maintain cheeky but semi-serious eye contact as she deliberately but subtly licks and sucks his fingers. The invitation could not be more obvious...
Save the first kiss for when you're in the cab on the way back to your or their place. But, first, close your eyes and cast your mind back to when you were 14 and snogging for Britain behind the school bike shed. Back then you'd spend hours locking lips; as "grown-ups" we ignore the pleasures of puckering up because it seems more adult to be aiming for multiple orgasms. Which is a shame, because a gob-smackingly great snog can transport you to another world one inhabited only by your mouth, theirs, and the delicious sensations you're experiencing. Our mouths, tongues and lips are a minefield of sensory apparatus: packed with nerve endings and remarkably responsive. Quite apart from that, the first kiss is the litmus test of whether the other person is going to let you take it further. Deliver a snog that's melt material no stiff tongues please and they'll predict that good sex is to follow. If it's awful, then they won't go there.
If you've got them pegged as the romantic type, cup their face in both your hands before moving in for the kill. Lusty types will prefer you to showcase a variety of kissing techniques nips, chews, bites and licks that really explores all of their mouth.
If you've done the job properly so far, once you are home, the obligatory night caps and coffee become merely polite pathways to the inevitable, slow, teasing removal of clothes and a quiet retreat to the bedroom.
Tracey Cox is author of 'The Sex Doctor' (Transworld, 7.99)
Visit LoveHoney for relationship tips and advice from Tracey Cox. Every week, Tracey answers questions from visitors to the site.