Slate: A Conversation With Neil Strauss: “I look back on The Game and cringe.”

By Christina Cauterucci:


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.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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