I think it's because game isn't enough - it doesn't change the dispiriting conditions in which modern dating takes place.
Back in the 1930s an Australian feminist and communist named Jean Devanny wrote a short story about a male communist who believed in absolute sexual liberty. Both men and women were to have sex with whomever they pleased. All went well until our male communist found his wife in bed with another man. In principle he had to accept her actions. She for her part tried to persuade him that sex itself was just a meaningless physical act that he shouldn't be too fussed about:
... she was right; her attitude was the only one if they were to continue living together. He must conquer himself. What was she saying? - "Make too much of this silly sex act. It doesn't mean anything, really. It is the smallest thing in life. It takes up only a moment or two out of millions of moments. The things that matter are comradeship, congeniality, friendship and kindness ...
This is a purely materialistic view of sex, in which sex expresses nothing beyond itself as a physical act. And the logic too is that for sex to be made wholly free it must be made meaningless.
Jump forward to 2007. Laura Sessions Stepp published in this year a book about the attitudes to sex of young upper middle class women. What she found is that these women had decoupled love from sex. They hadn't given up on love, but had deferred it. They were too busy with their "projects" for serious relationships. They treated sex as just sex:
Stepp follows three high school girls and six college women through a year in their lives, chronicling their sexual behavior. These girls and women don't date, don't develop long-term relationships or even short, serious ones -- instead, they "hook up" ...
Why hook up? According to Stepp, college women, obsessed with academic and career success, say they don't have time for a real relationship; high school girls say lovey-dovey relationships give them the "yucks."
Laura Sessions Stepp herself is concerned by the situation:
Stepp is troubled: How will these girls learn how to be loving couples in this hook-up culture? Where will they practice the behavior needed to sustain deep and long-term relationships? If they commit to a lack of commitment, how will they ever learn to be intimate?
But the woman reviewing the book, Kathy Dobie, wants to set Laura Sessions Stepp straight:
The author is conflating what the girls refuse to conflate: love and sexuality.
In other words, Kathy Dobie thinks it wrong to think that love and sex should go together. Sex is ... just sex. It's Devanny's communists all over again, but this time writing in The Washington Post.
Laura Sessions Stepp really does try to hold the line. She advises young women:
He will seek to win you over only if he thinks you're a prize.
She also opposes the reduction of relationships to the physical aspect alone:
Stepp is most thought-provoking when she considers the culture at large: All the females she interviews come from reasonably well-off families, we're told, and all are ambitious. "Hooking up enables a young woman to practice a piece of a relationship, the physical, while devoting most of her energy to staying on the honor roll . . . playing lacrosse . . . and applying to graduate programs in engineering."
Kathy Dobie again disagrees. She thinks it a worthy experiment to make sex a less meaningful part of relationships:
In a culture that values money and fame above all, that eschews failure, bad luck, trouble and pain, none of us speaks the language of love and forbearance. But it is not hooking up that has created this atmosphere. Hooking up is either a faithful reflection of the culture, a Darwinian response to a world where half the marriages end in divorce, or it is an attempt at something new. Perhaps, this generation, by making sex less precious, less a commodity, will succeed in putting simple humanity back into sex ...
And perhaps as this generation grows up, they will come to relish other sides of an intimate relationship more than we have: the friendship, the shared humor, the familiar and loved body next to you in bed at night. This is the most hopeful outcome of the culture Stepp describes, but no less possible than the outcome she fears -- a generation unable to commit, unable to weather storms or to stomach second place or really to love at all.
Love and sex have been decoupled and both have been relegated in significance and priority.
It's worth noting that Kathy Dobie is the modern girl par excellence. She has written a book about her own early sexual experiences. She came from a good family, but at the age of 14 she began to chase boys for sex and, as a sexually liberated modern girl, she went for "the confident, aggressive, dirty-minded ones."
Why did she do it? She explains in the book that she wanted to feel "as alive, as bold, as free" as the bad boys around her (which makes her sound like a vitalist - as someone who responds to a nihilistic culture by seeking out sensation and excitement).
So let's say you're a young man and you are confronted with modern girl culture. You meet women who choose to have sex with the "confident, aggressive, dirty-minded" boys and who aren't psychologically oriented to love or to attracting love or to the entanglements of something serious.
Even if you learnt techniques to make you fit better into the confident, aggressive category of man, would this really satisfy? Wouldn't it be dispiriting to exist within a culture in which sex is both decoupled from love and from any meaning larger than itself? In which women aren't oriented to love? Would you really see the women produced by such a culture as a prize worth fighting for?
I should say at this point that not every woman has taken on the modern girl ethos. There do still exist women who put love, marriage and family first. If game techniques help some men attract these women, then it could have some benefit.
But it often seems to be the case that gamists have accepted the modernist conditions, and then I don't wonder that they seem discontented even when they get more of what's on offer.
Because it isn't enough. It's not that men are incapable of casual sex. But a man's nature can't be reduced to this. We do want to connect in a deeper way with a woman, and this requires a culture in which women are oriented to love and in which sex expresses something of ourselves. We are bound to feel alienated when this is not on offer.