Guest Author - Lori Phillips
“A Private Affair – the Erotic Game of Secrets, Plans & Promises for Couples” Price: $34.99
Buxton House, Inc.
Seventh Floor, Craig Wireless Building
177 Lombard Ave., Winnipeg, MB R3B 0W5
It’s surprising to learn that a lot of married people don’t talk about sex. They either have sex or don’t. It might be good but it could be better. It might be bad but it could be worse. The problem is no one knows how to bring up the subject.
Sex is a private matter to most of us. Opening up to our spouses about sex can be bonding. Canadian couple Dr. Todd and Jan Sellick have invented a new game that they say “…presents a unique opportunity for couples to enjoy deeper conversation, to risk more together, to explore and scheme new plans, and to commit to following through in their day-to-day living and loving.” Unlike other sex-type games, theirs focuses on communication about sex rather than making sex the goal.
A Private Affair provides 500 cards filled with questions and prompts that spark discussion about “intimate secrets, opinions, plans and promises.” Most but not all have an erotic tone. Two examples: “Complete this sentence…Couples who videotape their lovemaking…” “Name your three core values. What is worth dying for? What is worth living for? What is worth more than most anything?”
The cards are color coded: Scarlet – invitations for sharing secrets; Olive – requests, wishes or erotic vignettes; Cobalt – expert opinions and definitions; and Mocha – fantasies and quotes. There are blank cards for your own inquiries and ideas. And SUDS sheets (I have no idea what the acronym stands for) - or rather a notepad – on which to write down ideas and plans that spring from these intimate conversations. Interestingly, included are two tiny lapel pins with a symbol of an open window that serve as a reminder of “your membership in a very secret club” the game rules state. A partner can don one to show when he or she is in the mood for more game playing, too.
Those who find talking sex difficult with their mates will love this game. I can see where marriage counselors might recommend this for those who need to work on intimate communication. There are only winners, and any card may be skipped if it touches upon an uncomfortable topic. Sexual intimacy through talking about it, not the sex act itself, is the goal. For some that is titillating foreplay. Even those who, like me, enjoy liberal and open sexual conversation with my spouse might like playing along because you don’t have to think up your own questions.
I pulled a card and read aloud to my husband: “Recall a more unusual sexual position that the two of you have tried, and that you recall as having been quite good! Recall and describe this memory with as much detail as you can. Explain exactly what this arrangement was like for you. How often have we tried this lately?”
We thought hard. The key word here was “unusual.” When we were slightly younger, we were quite adventurous and flexible and nothing seemed unusual, but lately we have fallen into our comfortable routines. We’re at the age when routine isn’t a bad thing. We enjoy our favorites more than new, less satisfying things.
“What’s unusual?” he mused. “Remember when we got that Kama sutra book and everyone looked like pretzels?”
“Remember we tried one position and you pulled a groin muscle and couldn’t walk for a week?” We laughed hard at the memory. But we were getting away from point of the card prompt so he pulled a new card: “Complete this sentence: One thing that you do…or sometimes say, that I feel closes me off to you sexually is…”
He thought a moment then said, “…when we’re in the middle of sex and you start talking about the bills or the kids. I always lose it.”
“Really?” I said. “You mean, that’s all it takes for me to get you to stop?” I laughed until I noticed he wasn’t laughing with me. “I was only joking. Well, one thing you do that closes me off sexually to you is when you play World of Warcraft until past midnight then expect me to be sexually available.”
He frowned. This game wasn’t much fun so far. Quickly, I reached for a third card: “When are we most likely to kiss each other? And why?” We kiss a lot more than the average couple. We kiss as we pass each other in the hallway; we kiss when we’re doing chores, during a commercial, for no reason at all. Kiss, kiss, kiss. But he always kisses me before he leaves and always another when he returns so I said, “We’re most likely to kiss before one of us leaves.”
“That’s because you always shout, ‘Kiss me in case I die!” he said. “…which by the way, creeps me out.” It was true. I inherited a rather morbid gene from my hypochondriac grandmother.
“I think it’s rather romantic,” I protested. “You never know if it could be our last and final kiss.” Once again, we digressed from the point of the cards which was to ignite some intimate and loving conversation. We’re a rather odd couple so no doubt, you’ll have better success with them. But I’m not giving up. We have 498 more cards to go.