[h=2] WE talk about "sex games" and it sounds so jolly, but arguments about just what sexual behavior is and isn't OK cast a big cloud over some couples' lives together. [/h] In general, I would say that no form of sharing physical pleasure and satisfaction is wrong between a loving couple, as long as you are both joining in willingly and with genuine enjoyment, and as long as neither of you is being hurt, either physically or emotionally. In other words, if all that is holding you back from enjoying oral sex is that your mother said it was disgusting, the fact is it's none of her business how you run your adult life. You can make your own decisions now. However, it's rarely that simple. All of us have different lines we instinctively draw. What one of us finds erotic, another finds degrading. What one thinks of as stimulating and exciting, another rejects as pornographic and disgusting. It helps enormously when trying to sort out this sort of issue as a couple, not to start taking moral standpoints and judging one another, but to see it as a practical problem you need to negotiate your way around. First work out whether there are real grounds for ruling some things out - such as that they might hurt one of you or you would find it degrading. Be firm that you will not consider anything you feel deep inside yourself isn't for you. Don't fall into the trap of trying to justify any objection. If you start trying to say it's wrong or dirty, then your partner will just attack every point you come up with. What actually matters here is that you don't want to do it. If you try only under pressure, then it's not a game, is it? It cannot be fun or pleasurable for you. However, be willing at least to try sex games which are actually harmless but which you have been rejecting as embarrassing or too naughty. If the rest of your relationship is strong then you may surprise yourself and find you are wonderfully turned on by the very thing you never dared try. At the least, even if you don't enjoy everything you try, you may find you and your partner can enjoy enough variation to take the heat out of the conflict. But let me emphasise again, all I have said so far applies to a couple who share a lasting and loving relationship. If yours is a new or unhappy relationship then you could get seriously hurt or worse if you trust your partner too far. Until you know someone well enough, you should follow the rules for safer sex - I can send you details if you're unsure - and not be out of range of calling for help until you are truly confident you can trust them with your safety. Any partner who really cares for you will understand your caution. Certainly, you should not agree to any games which include you being tied up, bound or gagged in any way, blindfolded or having anything put over your head unless you are with a partner in a really long-term relationship who you have no doubts cares for you deeply. Couples who are committed to one another and do both enjoy that sort of sex play should still for safety agree a signal that shows when you've had enough and want to stop. Serious conflicts about sex games usually come down to a problem in the relationship generally. If you are with a partner who really loves you, they aren't going to want to upset you by pressing for out-of-the ordinary sex games that you find distasteful or worrying. If this is causing a great deal of conflict between you, it's well worth making an appointment to see a counsellor - such as from Relate - to find out what is really at issue and how it can be resolved (0300 100 1234, www.relate.org.uk). Don't worry that they will be shocked. Relate have special sex therapists and even their ordinary counsellors are specially trained and pretty unshockable. Sometimes for example, men are excited by an idea and keep pressuring their partner to try something she doesn't fancy. Because they are a little insecure, either sexually or emotionally, if she objects they set it up as almost a test of their love. "If you love me, you'll do this for me?" they say. The reality is often that, if they do it, they will both be left feeling rather shocked and degraded by the experience. This is especially true of sex games involving threesomes and foursomes, which are best avoided by any couple who aren't both sure it's totally right for them. People can also be particularly attracted to sex games if they find their usual pattern of love-making disappointing. Most couples need sometimes to vary their love-making patterns to stop it all just seeming too routine but, if you find you are going down the path of seeking out more and more sex games in order to experience any real pleasure and satisfaction, then chances are the real problem is that you don't actually open your inner self up to experience the full rich potential of making love in even quite ordinary ways. You have a fear of real intimacy which holds you back from experiencing true passion. This is something well worth exploring with a counsellor because it can transform your life. The real problem may well be that you were hurt at an earlier stage in your life, probably as a child, so you keep up the barriers, even against those you love. I hope this has helped you. If you have particular worries, do write to me and I will do my best to help. You might like my free leaflets on Threesomes or Swinging and Swapping. If you realise that your real problem is that your love life has become rather dull and/or infrequent, then you might like my free leaflets on How to Have Great Sex, How to Revive Your Sex Drive or 50 Ways to Add Sparkle to Sex.