I read Josh Pellicer's book titled "Tao of Badass." He discusses the sexual behavior of men and women and how they interact during the dating process. However, I have been unable to find any information if his research is legitimate, tested, and proven by other researchers, or even peer reviewed.

Has anyone formally tested Josh Pellicer's theory on human sexual behavior? I think there are at least 6 theories stated in his book, that I enumerate in the summary provide below.

I read his book a year ago. I will do my best to summarize what I remember. I would like to apologize in advance that this material will appear sexist. These are not my words, but my best recollection of Josh Pellicer’s words in his book. Pellicer classifies sexual interactions of men and women in specific roles, which makes his theory very controversial and sexist. I believe that what he meant was to say that women and men are capable of taking on any role they choose. I personally enjoy watching the success of women and watching them take on a dominant role. I believe what he meant was that these roles are only specific to sexual interactions, and not to anything else outside of these interactions.

Summary of Tao of Badass

(1) Pellicer writes that a woman does not have strong attraction to a man with money, cars, jobs, and so forth, but rather why and how they obtained those things. A woman is interested in a man who displays social leadership, social activity, social confidence, which indirectly leads to success of other things.

(2) Body language makes up at least 90% of mutual communication during dating. Pellicer even claims that a man can seduce a woman across a language barrier, just from body language alone. A man and a woman can communicate body language through either positive body language or negative body language. Positive body language is when one faces his/her chest directly towards the other. Negative body language is when the chest faces in another direction and not directly toward the other. The general rule of thumb for a man communicating to a woman is to spend most of the time not facing the chest toward the woman, but during key points in the conversation to rotate the chest toward the woman and then away again. This attracts the woman to acquire the man's attention. A woman becomes happy when the man's chest faces her. If a man continuously points his chest toward a woman, then the woman will want to break the conversation and leave, because the man displays neediness.

(3) A woman has a subconscious mental process of classifying a man when they first look at a man. If a man looks directly at a woman, and then the woman looks directly at the man, then the woman's subconscious will filter the man as undesirable. However, if a woman sees a man, but the man does not look at the woman, then the woman classifies the man as desirable. This desire is heightened when the man is seen engaged in social activities with others.

(3) A woman displays attraction to a man who is socially engaged with other women. This is Pellicer's infamous gold fish theory, where if a woman's subconscious is unable to determine the worth of a man, if other women are attractive to him, then she will be also me attracted to him.

(4) A woman will qualify a man during conversation. For example, a woman in the middle of a conversation will ask a man to pick up a dropped napkin that is placed in between them. This is a test of dominance and self-confidence. If the man picks the napkin up, then the woman filters him as undesirable and weak. If the man politely tells her to pick it up, then the woman sees the man as dominant.

(4) This is Pellicer’s infamous emotional security theory. A woman seeks a man who is capable of providing her with emotional security. Emotional security is allowing one partner to act emotional, while the other provides an over arching logical decision making, such that the emotional decision making does not dominate the decision making of the two together.

(5) A man who displays dominant body posture is seen as dominant and desirable by a woman. Dominant posture is any posture that takes up the most space, spreading the arms and legs out for example. A woman displays submissive body language, especially if they are sexually heightened. Submissive body language includes crouching forward, arms around chest, legs crossed, anything that makes the person appear smaller.

(5) This is Pellicer’s dominant/submissive theory. He writes in general, two people who are engaged in a mutual relationship will take on opposing social roles. One will play the dominant role, and the other will play the submissive role. This not specific to a man being dominant and a woman being submissive. A woman can play the dominant role, while the man plays the submissive role. This also works in homosexual roles as well. Pellicer claims, what cannot happen during a relationship is that both have the same role.

(6) The act of seduction is complicated to discuss. If a man and a woman are engaged during isolated conversation, then the conversation will be successful if it passes several stages. First is the playful stage. Second is the serious stage. Third is the emotional stage. Fourth is the seduction stage. The playful stage is when the man and the woman discuss something childish and silly to spark mutual happiness and humor. The Serious stage is when they discuss something a little more serious and pressing. The emotional stage is when they discuss something emotional, either happy or sad. The seduction stage is when the man becomes turned on, which signals the woman to become turned on as well. If the man's eyes circle around her eyes and lips, tracing a triangle, then the woman will become seduced, and she subconsciously waits for the man to kiss her. Eye contact is crucial in all of these stages. Proper use of negative body/positive body language is crucial. Dominant/submissive body language is crucial.

(6) This is Pellicer's infamous stages of seduction theory. He claims that under certain conditions, if a man is able to read a woman's body language accurately, then the man can skip these steps and go straight into seduction if she is currently sexually heightened. If a man breaks any of these stages of development, then the woman will either end the conversation or filter the man in the friend zone. If a man rushes through the stages too quickly, then the woman experiences an overwhelming sexual/emotional response, of which she immediately kills the conversation, because she has received an incomplete evaluation of the man to trust him.


1 Answer 1


Bottom line: No, Josh Pellicer's work is not based on science, not tested, nor peer-reviewed. However, I will qualify this statement slightly below.

Many years ago, I listened to a few episodes of the The Tom Leykis Show, yet another highly sexist advice columnnist for men. Josh Pellicer is not the first, and certainly not the last, in a long line of dating coaches, pick-up artists, seduction scientists, romance advisers, and other non-scientists claiming to know secrets of human sexual behaviour. If you are not very familiar with scientific literature in general, then here are a few tips for spotting pseudoscience:

  • No citations / bibliography of peer-reviewed research
  • Heavy reliance on anecdotal evidence (personal experiences)
  • Broad statements / lack of rigour, especially failing to quantify assertions
  • Use of non-scientific terms such as "proven"
  • Appeal to authority rather than evidence

Although Pellicer's "theories" (note that they don't qualify as scientific theories as they stand, so the term is in quotes) haven't been tested specifically, there have been several reviews of the industry in general. Scientific research does occasionally slowly trickle down to public media and becomes part of general knowledge, so inevitably, some of Pellicer's assertions are bound to be based on science, while others are opinions or conjectures with no basis, and yet others contradict available evidence.

One of the more favourable reviews of the industry is by Nathan Oesch of the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford (from 2012). If you are truly interested in the scientific basis for claims about dating and relationships, then I would recommend reading that paper. Personally I think Oesch is too kind - much of the research supporting dating preferences comes from self-reports, that other research demonstrates to be practically useless, so any claims made on this basis are speculative at best.

The reality is that human sexual behaviour is still largely a mystery. So anyone claiming to know its secrets is not basing that on available evidence.

For completeness, I'll include a few quotes from the Oesch paper to directly address some of the claims listed in the question (I haven't read the Tao of Badass, nor have any intention to read it, so just going by what's provided). Notice that even though Oesch doesn't review Pellicer specifically, many of the same themes are found in other works reviewed. And while evidence does seem to support some of Pellicer's claims (as you have reported them), there is a clear difference in the rigour, detail, and language used in a scientific paper, which is typically much less confident than what someone like Pellicer would write.


... in a study of 37 cultures around the world, Buss (1989) and his collaborators found qualities such as having an exciting personality, intelligence, adaptability, and creativity as among the top ten most desirable traits for both men and women. Bale, Morrison, and Caryl (2006) has further shown that “pick up” lines that demonstrate qualities such as helpfulness, generosity, cosmopolitanism and wealth are significantly more attractive than straightforward propositions for sexual activity.


... from a study of courtship behavior in singles’ bars, Moore (1985) found that incidental touching, prolonged eye contact, swaying the upper body towards a prospective romantic interest while talking, and a number of other tactical devices designed to attract attention were frequently implemented.


... Place et al. (2010) found an increase in male attractiveness among women who observed mutually interested romantic couples, while Jones, DeBruine, Little, Burriss, and Feinberg (2007) found a similar effect if other women were observed smiling at male faces; a reverse effect was found for unsmiling faces (Jones et al. 2007) or uninterested romantic couples (Place et al., 2007).


... psychological research has shown that many particular moral virtues are not only sexually attractive, but also relationship-stabilizing (see Miller 2007, for a review). For example, many studies have demonstrated the importance of honesty, niceness, agreeableness and nonviolence (Boon and McLeod, 2001; Haselton, Buss, Oubaid, and Angleitner, 2005; Botwin et al., 1997; Urbaniak and Kilman, 2003), both in the early stages of a romantic encounter for soliciting Attraction, as well as later in the sequence of courtship for establishing Comfort and Trust. Still further, as an acquaintanceship develops, empathy, fondness, forgivingness, trust, perspective-taking, and kindness (Kilpatrick, Bissonnette, and Rusbult, 2002; Fincham, Beach, and Davila, 2004), , defined as emotional responsiveness to the needs of others (Jensen-Campbell, Graziano, and West, 1995; Li, Kenrick, Bailey, and Linsenmeier, 2002), have been shown to be critical for both establishing and maintaining an intimate relationship.


... research has shown that expressions of social dominance (Sadalla et al. 1987), social risk-taking (Wilke, Hutchinson, Todd, and Kruger, 2006), and courageousness (Farthing, 2005; Kelly and Dunbar, 2001) are often attractive to women ...


... women typically require more time and intimacy to develop the same amount of passion as men (Baumeister and Bratslavsky, 1999).

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    $\begingroup$ I was hoping for a plethora of answers, but your answer is very good none the less. Thanks. I wish there was a way to attract more people to post their answers. $\endgroup$ Feb 23, 2015 at 1:50

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