08/29/2012 07:46 EDT | Updated 10/28/2012 05:12 EDT

The Good and Bad Lessons Men Can Learn From Pick-Up Artists

Romantic man giving flowers to his girlfriend

Sex therapists generally cringe at the advice given by pick-up artists. They argue that the less-than-genuine techniques create empty, angst-based relationships. The sex is more about power than pleasure and both parties (including the pick-up artist) are left feeling unfulfilled. As young men read pick-up artist manuals, sex therapists remain concerned about their influence.

Take Jeremy, a 40-year-old man who had honed the techniques of pickup artists for over a decade. After years of "getting women into bed," Jeremy was finding dating boring and sex uninspiring. He was having a difficult time reaching orgasm, and the system did not seem to work with women he was really interested in. He was completely lost and terribly lonely.

Which pick-up artist techniques work?

1. The Three Second Rule:

Approach a woman you are attracted to within three seconds of noticing her, says a pickup artist. This rule is a gem when it comes to overcoming fear and challenging yourself to do anything that requires courage. Acting immediately avoids over-thinking, you just DO. While this rule seems to work for dating it also works for sex.

Sexual Analysis: Spontaneity can add excitement to a sexual encounter. Don't over-think sexual exploration.

2. Touch Quickly:

A pickup artist knows what the behavioural sociologists have known for a long time -- touching in a casual and non-threatening way can allow the woman to relax around you, while her reactions to your touch can give you valuable feedback as to her physical limits and her impressions of you.

Sexual Analysis: "Good touch" establishes the physicality of the relationship quickly. Start out with a non-sexual touch -- graze her arm, hand or small of her back as she is getting up or when you are making a point. Her response will give you valuable information as to how quickly you can advance sexually.

3. Give Her Time to Come to You:

The pickup artist will tell you that when it comes to moving on to to kissing and more, first show interest and then pull back a bit and let the woman respond.

Sexual Analysis: When a woman is free to listen to the timing of her own arousal, she can bring her passion more authentically to a sexual encounter.

Pickup artists also follow misinformed techniques that can be destructive to sex and a potential relationship.

Which pick-up artist techniques fail?

1. Negging:

Negging is a technique used to pick up attractive women accustomed to receiving compliments. The pick-up artist criticizes her to catch her off guard, make her self-conscious and look for the negg-ers approval.

Sexual Analysis: Drawing attention to a woman's physical insecurity will only focus her attention on that judgment (called spectatoring), and away from her sexual arousal. A lack of arousal and erotic focus is a recipe for bad sex.

2. Freezing Out:

Freezing out is a negative reinforcement tool in which the pickup artist stops conversation or acts as if disinterested to control a woman's "bad" behaviour.

Sexual Analysis: Not only is negative reinforcement ineffective, but it makes the other person feel bad about themselves (and you). It inspires insecurity, anxiety and promotes bad communication, leading to distant, needy sex.

Once Jeremy identified which techniques were useful and which were destructive, sex started to feel different to him -- more exciting. By being more discerning about the advice he follows, he is feeling less lonely and more connected with women he is interested in.