Critics of The Game have waited a decade for Neil Strauss to issue a mea culpa. Plenty of readers saw his 2005 embedded investigation of the pickup-artist industry as an instruction manual on how to cajole beautiful women into bed. Strauss did, too: He seemed to morph from journalist to self-help guru, following up The Game with a step-by-step guide to best practices from the “seduction community” and a fee-based coaching system to teach eager men his sex-securing tricks, with regular “field reports” of each new notch on his bedpost.
Now, as Strauss puts it on his website, “The Game has changed.” With a new book, The Truth, and a new set of self-help materials, Strauss is re-branding himself as a relationship authority. After his infidelity almost cost him his then-girlfriend, now-wife Ingrid, he was compelled to face the demons that drove him to seek sexual novelty in place of true intimacy. This reckoning took him to a French orgy, a masked Las Vegas sex party, and a Tantric puja in Northern California, all described in graphic, field-report-worthy detail in his book.
The Truth also contains some real talk about the roots of Strauss’ insecurity and me-versus-them outlook on women. His father was an amputee fetishist (!), and his mother smothered him in what his therapist deems “emotional incest” (!!), leaving him with internalized trauma and a “love avoidant” disposition. By the end of the book, after lots of expert help, Strauss has rejected non-monogamy and convinced himself and Ingrid that he’s kicked the pickup addiction for good.