Sex can become boring if couples continue, from day one, on a routine that does not vary. Couples who want to maintain a healthy sex life look for ways to spice it up and avoid routines as much as possible. There are many ways to spice up lovemaking and one of them is playing love games. Almost all couples play some sort of love games, if only from time to time. These can be varied and simple as having a private language for communicating sexy things in public; or organised formal sex games that may include dressing up or acting out various roles. Couples who play sex games do so simply for fun and to enhance their lovemaking. It can be a form of recreation, too – like playing tennis or hockey – and for the creative couple, sex games add to the fun in their lives just as other hobbies and pastimes do. Sex games can be used as ‘presents’ to one another when you feel particularly loving, sad, depressed or just grateful. Playing a game that you know your lover enjoys can be a wonderful way of saying ‘I love you.’ It speaks louder that the words.

For the vast majority of people, however, sex games are used as enhancers to personalise sex and to increase their sexual repertoire. After a few months together, most sexual relationships settle down to become fairly predictable. That is why many couples are eager to extend the range of their sexual activities together, after a few years of marriage. There is no way sex can remain enticing and fulfilling if it remains the same old thing ten years down the road. The next most common reason for playing sex games is to fulfil, at least in part, a particular fantasy or dream that one or both partners may have. Within a long-standing, loving and caring relationship, both partners should be able to declare their wishes and needs, safe in the knowledge that they will be indulged in and not ridiculed or put down.

Intolerance of the other partner’s needs and desires can be very damaging to a relationship.

Most people have at least some sex-related wishes and desires that are not being met at any one time. It is usually helpful to express those desires to your partner. Sex games can be a good way to defuse frustrations arising from unmet needs. Through such games, couples can easily express what their wishes are, without having to give long narrations that can sometimes be misunderstood. Many people, especially women, are shy to express themselves verbally when it comes to talking about sex. Sex games can also bring a couple together by enlarging their horizons – at personal and mutual level. For instance, a man who previously thought his wife to be shy or prudish could totally change his mind about her once she declares her wishes to indulge in a particular game.

Being open to each other about individual sexual needs is, of course, a major advantage to the whole relationship. It helps protect the relationship against attacks from outside – especially from members of the opposite sex. There is no need to look outside the relationship if a couple’s needs are all being met at home. Meeting each other’s sexual needs creates confidence in a relationship and defuses many of the petty jealousies that so easily creep into even the best relationships.

Most things that make sex more enjoyable for one or both partners, including sex games, are usually acceptable in a loving relationship and should be gone along with wholeheartedly.

Rules of the game

Difficulties may arise when the sexual needs of one partner cause anxiety in the other. This can be a real problem, especially if the couple misunderstand each other’s needs and intentions. Talking over sexual needs and desires helps because it could be that the one making the objections has totally or partly misunderstood the needs of the other partner.

Many people, for example, imagine that if they start experimenting with sex games it will escalate to a level, which they will not enjoy or be unable to cope with. In reality the partner asking for sex games may well have not been thinking along such lines at all, and the problem is largely an imagined one.

While most uninhibited women, and younger women generally, are likely to be innovative, in most cases men take the lead in sex games. This may happen partly because, as the ‘operators’ in sexual matters, most men are expected by women to ‘make things happen.’ This can, of course, lead to a situation in which the man stands to be rejected or put down as ‘dirty’ or ‘perverted’ for even thinking of playing games – and this can be a real problem in many relationships. A man who feels rejected for asking his partner to be a bit adventurous may indulge his wishes in fantasy during masturbation or intercourse, or he may even seek fulfilment outside the relationship. This kind of crisis need not necessarily occur in a relationship with good communication. The answer is not to reject your partner’s requests but to find a way of indulging in his or her needs in more acceptable ways. For example, if your partner is asking you to dress up for sex in clothing not acceptable to you, find out why he wishes you to dress up that way, and look for alternatives within your wardrobe. A man may, for example, want you to wear a G-String, but you may not have one, and you may not feel comfortable in one, anyway, because of your body shape.

Those who may feel repulsed by sex games for fear of addiction should know that the very nature of sex enhancers such as sex games changes so rapidly and repetition surely becomes boring. Playing sex games is not a perversion. A true perversion does not change – it is a fixed need every time a couple has sex. Unfortunately, in many relationships, what starts off as a fairly trivial request for a sex-enhancing game of some kind gets blown up into a major battle because the unwilling partner thinks he or she will get stuck into playing it forever.

Most sex games are transitory but with some couples, and especially with certain men, they are often replaced with another more exciting one when the last one gets boring or predictable. Changing sex games too often can lead to one partner becoming disenchanted with the endless variations and to long for ‘normal’ sex. A lot of sex books and magazines give the impression that if you are just having straight sex all the time you must be odd or plain boring. This need not be the case at all, as it all depends on the sexual personality of the individuals involved. Many couples stick to a very small repertoire of lovemaking techniques and positions they find reciprocally pleasing.

An obsession with endless sex enhancers such as an ever increasing demand for different sexual games, some of which might be offensive, is not, as might be expected, a sign of sexually uninhibited person but, rather, the opposite. Very often such an individual is so intimidated by normal sex that to enjoy it he or she has to have ‘extras’. This kind of person needs professional help from a sex therapist or counsellor, as this is not healthy and his or her partner may not be able to cope. Most people, however, do not fall into this category – they simply enjoy a change from time to time and play harmless sex games.

Communicating sexual needs

A common complaint couples have is that their partner is boring in bed. This can be a cruel irony because often the individuals may have a rich fantasy life and would be willing to be much more adventurous if the other partner made his or her needs known. Unfortunately, one partner may be afraid or too shy to tell the other what he or she would like most. A good way to overcome these fears is for each to take turns writing a short outline of what they desire in sex to give the other the lead. This can give valuable clues as to what the other wants, but cannot ask for directly. Also, a sensitive couple will discover what turns the other on when they are, for example, watching a romantic movie or reading a magazine together.

Games couples play Many couples add to the pleasure of sex, and to the anticipation of what is to come, by playing sex games. There are endless possibilities and it is up to each couple to write their own rules. The only limitations are imagination and a joint desire to play them. Of course it’s important that the games they choose are acceptable to both and not offensive in any way. It is best when couples invent their own games. To give you an idea, we give you a few examples below. The simpler and normal the games are, the more appealing they will be to the couple.

Talk games: Many couples, especially those who have been together for a long time, or who are particularly in tune with one another, have a private language that refers to their sex life together. This may be verbal or non-verbal. For example, a couple may have designed a secret body language to express their needs to each other. They can use this body language to tease and arouse each other, even in public, thus preparing each other for what is to come in the privacy of their own space. Verbal language may include terms of endearment for the sex organs or parts of them and, of course, pet names for each of the partners.

There are many exciting sex games couples can play with words, sometimes even allowing themselves to be naughty.

Secrecy games: These are extensions of the ‘talk’ games. Having a secret between you that no one else understands can be a great turnon. For example, you can share your secret at any place as well as tease each other with it.

Danger of discovery: Making love in unusual places heightens excitement. There are people who find it exciting to make love in the back of the car or in public places like parks, but it is important to know that it is illegal to make love in public and besides that, you could be exposing yourself to danger. If you want to play this kind of sex game, do it in your own house or private compound where you will not be breaking any laws or exposing yourself to danger. But you can choose to play this game in areas of your house where you would not normally make love, such as the kitchen, living room couch, bathroom and so on, when the children have gone to bed and workers have left.

Card and board games: There are couples that adapt card or board games and use sexual favours as prizes. The simplicity of snap or the intellectual battle of chess or backgammon can be turned into sexual delight. Playing cards for sexual favours is certainly more fun than playing for financial stakes. A very enjoyable game involves giving one another love tokens.

On these pieces of paper, you write what you would most like to do, or have your partner do to you. You can build up your excitement by giving each other tokens in advance, or you can put several in a container and ask your partner to choose one. A tantalising variation is to send the token to your partner’s place of work addressed to him or her privately.

Dressing up games: Dressing up to turn on your partner can be fun for both of you, and a sexy outfit need not be expensive if you use your imagination. Putting on sexy underwear and nightwear is perhaps the commonest form of ‘dressing up’. Many couples greatly enjoy sex if the woman is dressed in sexy undies, especially if they answer the man’s (or woman’s) need to fulfil a fantasy. Sexy underwear does not have to be tarty – it can be expensive and classy. Alternatively you can don a sexy outfit and dominate your partner with style before making love.