You say "so that 'se faire désirer' means 'to be desired'"; this not correct; "se faire désirer" means "to act in such a way that the persons witnessing your behaviour will find it appealling and therefrom have a desire for you".
Your translation which precedes that, namely "if you want a woman, you need to be desired a little" is therefore not correct. There'll be several ways to put that and possibly none to satisfy everyone; but here are a couple;
- If you want a woman you must make yourself desirable to her.
- If you want a woman you must make yourself appealing to her.
You are correct though in saying that the meaning is not "to make yourself desire/to make yourself desirous".
It's very difficult however to adhere to your theory of the male playing hard to get ("you should keep your distance (since by being absent you'd be desired")) as this way of acting is —It seems we all know that— representative of the behaviour of women sometimes and looked down upon by the rest of society, whereas typically the male shows an outgoing attitude and knows where his chances are; he is never reproached with indulging in such "tactics". this is more or less true in all cultures, I think, and the French do not escape the rule. On the contrary, "se faire désirer" for a male lies in the way of being true to his kind and being outgoing, in engaging in real interaction rather than in wrapping himself in a passive and glittering aloofness. This present point of view not being explicit in the sentence, your suppositions that it could be a prescription for passivity might very well be realised in the interpretation that some rare person might have, but that can't be what should come to mind for most readers; the traditionnal roles, although less important as guides of social behaviour, still predominate.
Whatever the modern attitude towards this behaviour, it is of the sort that in American psychology of days not too long gone by and probably still today was called "games" and "games" are not viewed as a desirable type of behaviour; society at large (the Anglo-Saxon societies in particular) does not like people who play games.