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EU, Sweden, Online. Title pretty much explains it all. Looking for something long term and someone I could spend my days with playing video games and just be excited about all things nerdy! Especially the video games parts as it is a big passion for me and it would allow us to spend time together doing something we love.
His book The Game made him a fortune, but left Neil Strauss in treatment for sex addiction.
A decade ago, Strauss was a notorious figure: the guy who wrote that book The Gamethe one about seduction, which seemed to endorse all manner of queasy notions about what it was OK for men to do on the pull. It sold 2. These days, at 46, Strauss is different. Whereas he once lived in a Hollywood man-mansion that by his own often had used condoms floating in its jacuzzi, he now lives in relative domestic seclusion in Malibu. It used to be that Strauss arranged seminars for men on how to become better players.
Now, he arranges seminars for them on how to become better men. The shiny suits are gone in favour of a Pacific-side uniform of surfer T, loose wristbands, espadrilles. He fits right in, this lazy afternoon, with the crowd hanging around outside a Malibu coffee shop. While waiting for his drink, Strauss falls into conversation with a group that includes two middle-aged tourists and a young woman.
The woman is in her 20s — tanned, blond, wearing denim short-shorts. He chats with the tourists, about nothing much. Then he chats with her, about nothing much. And then he walks away. Or how to lure her away from her boyfriend, what have you. Even in, like, a work meeting — if there was a woman in that meeting, everything I said was for her, to get her phone afterwards.
But I think that part of my brain was trained for years. Constantly, wherever I went, whenever I walked into a room, these little lights would go on on a switchboard in my head. As he would acknowledge, Strauss is no switchboard-illuminating beauty himself. To say my hair is thinning would be an understatement. Ten years on, it is difficult to read this without anxiety. In an age of consent lessons on campus and school education on the harmful effects of pornography, the conversation has changed.
So has Strauss. He tells me that, without knowing it at the time, he was a pretty troubled man when he wrote The Game.
A new book, out this month, describes these upheavals and the eventual inner peace the author found in domesticity. Clive-marked coffee in hand, Strauss leaves the cafe and he for home, which is a large, white-walled villa on a hill. On a shelf near his study, Strauss keeps a framed letter that was sent to him by Phil Collins, the pop star writing to tell the journalist to fuck off, after a negative write-up in Rolling Stone.
Strauss chuckles awkwardly. Biographies of rock bands, porn stars, CEOs. But, I mean, we only learn from our mistakes, right? Strauss says no. Feeling a healthy sort of shame. I hope to regret and be embarrassed by this discussion five years from now. Strauss grew up sexually frustrated, and moved into adulthood that way. A book about pick-up artistry was suggested to him by an editor at HarperCollins. The subject intrigued Strauss, in part because he was very lonely at the time.
He was an expert quizzer of famous people, able to draw out the Snoops and Britneys to an uncommon degree. Still, he felt he had no natural flair for flirting in the real world.
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Willing himself to become a bolshie approacher of strangers in bars — sarging, to use another phrase The Game popularised — felt all wrong when Strauss first tried it. Then it felt OK. He overcame his shyness around women and started having more sex.
He tells me he always had the intention of pulling free from the world of pick-up artistry when the book was finished. This was not so easily done.
Two years later, and with apparent reluctance, Strauss published a sequel. He endorsed a Game board game. When she learned about the cruellest of his infidelities her best friend, a church car parkIngrid agreed to forgive Strauss only on the condition he be treated for sex addiction.
So he entered rehab for three months. Here his problems really began.
By opening up his psyche to trained therapists for the first time, Strauss learned he had quite an assortment of mental and emotional conditions. In short order, he was diagnosed with anxiety syndrome, depressive disorder, two forms of sexual disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Out of rehab, still in some degree of turmoil, Strauss got back together with Ingrid, but managed just a fortnight together before splitting again.
She started seeing other people. Indeed, he was not. There were chaotic flings with a Vegas showgirl, with a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and with a woman called Sage with whom he had an open relationship before she left him for two Mexicans.
Strauss travelled to Europe to attend sex parties, and later moved to live in a free love commune in California. There was a lot of wallowing, Strauss says, not all of which made it into the s of The Truth. You suspect journalistic motivation in the sex-party trip and his enrolment in the commune Strauss was writing as he went.
But he sounds honest when he tells me it was the act of finishing chapters, and reading them over, that pushed on his recovery. He le us on to his balcony, where we sit on weatherproofed sofas.
His wife stays indoors, in the cool, looking after their son. Throughout my visit, I catch only glimpses of her. She has requested not to be interviewed for this article, a reluctance I can well understand. His wife is Ingrid, the much-messed-about girlfriend who first insisted he seek treatment.
After a whole load of therapy and self-examination, Strauss explains, they met at a wedding.
The day i went to sex therapy: an extract from the truth, by neil strauss
Their son was born this spring. That life would be boring. Strauss laughs. He has the bemused, raw-red eyes of the parent of a six-month-old. His beard shows grey. He looks happy and absolutely exhausted. Therapy, marriage, fatherhood were not the only things that prompted Strauss to change his thinking. Shortly after he reunited with Ingrid, he met a woman in a bar who knew of his books and seemed to want to sleep with him.
She sarged him, basically — kneeling down and miming giving him a blowjob. Embarrassing in the moment, unpleasant when he had to tell her no.
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They just might like you enough to go along with it. A technique to end up making out? It was more about being terrified of rejection, and getting over that. The techniques got him there. Not her. Lost on a wider world, too.
But then it became a part of the culture. And it became a reason for women to be afraid of guys. Strauss is trying to do something about this. Even a decade later, he has found he still has Game readers who look to him expectantly. They follow him on social media, subscribe to his mailing list. Then I did a book about, like, how I learned not to be lonely and get out of friend-zone with girls.
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I think a lot of those people who started to listen to me wanted instruction, advice — life guidance. He tells me he does not regret writing The Game, nor what people might have taken away from it. The seminars he arranges these days tend to focus on ways for men to become more content or confident without resorting to cynical bar-trawling. The goal now is really to be OK with yourself, to not need anything else. To this end, Strauss has convened seminars on improving posture and public speaking, dressing better, eating better.
And there have been more emotionally-charged gatherings: the guest speaker at one recent event, Strauss says, was the therapist who helped him through his own post-Game breakdown. Cultural shorthand, Strauss knows, will have him down as the creep who wrote The Game for a while yet. Maybe always. And the question is, can you keep growing? Or are you going to get stuck somewhere? Outside the villa, in the driveway, Strauss and I wait for a cab to collect me.
The vintage Corvette from his Game days is parked out there.