I wish I had more time and energy to write this post. In the meantime, I'll link and paste. The post is well worth reading in its entirety.
I haven't read any of the referenced source material. Please chime in on the comments, especially if you have read it.
Hat tips to Tyler Cowen and Susan Walsh:
"Even if the pickup artists have developed the craft of seduction to a degree of refinement not yet seen under the sun, they still cannot claim the erotic arts for themselves. The pleasure and duty of restraint belong just as much to love as they do to mere seduction. And so the proper antidote to the poison of the pickup artists is not a staid, predictable courtship absent of vitality, followed by an equally staid and predictable relationship. The antidote is rather to have the best of both worlds, love and eroticism. In an important sense, “the game” belongs to the lover much more even than it belongs to the pickup artists, because with the lover the game is redeemed and heightened. The lover’s eroticism is always subject to a greater end, an end greater than himself: it is flirtation in the service of commitment, complication in the service of sincerity, playfulness in the service of seriousness.
But remember that love cannot simply be the seduction of someone who happens to be the lover’s beloved: that path leads to paradox and despair, as Julien Sorel was kind enough to show us. Julien’s crucial error was to separate his love from his “technique,” to use eroticism like a tool for the attainment of some unrelated end. And he paid the price: crying in his arms, Mathilde was in love with someone, to be sure—but it wasn’t really Julien. There is only one way out. The lover must combine his passion and his restraint, as much as possible, in the very same moment. In other words, it is not enough that playfulness be taken up in the service of seriousness; the seriousness must always be present alongside the playfulness, bound up with it in a constant synthesis. This means that the lover will have to show his hand every once in a while, even if he is quick to hide it again. And this also means that love will always bring with it some portion of terror. Because his heart is at stake, the lover will feel the terror of losing the beloved, even in the moment she gives herself to him. This is the terror the seducer believes he has bypassed. Maybe he has—but in doing so the chance for love has slipped through his fingers. Because he does not sow, he cannot reap. There is no way around this."