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When you and your man were dating, your friends probably advised you to play hard to get, to keep him interested in you. Don’t say yes to anything too soon, they warned. Don’t appear too willing to do anything, they encouraged. Keep him just at arm’s length, they cajoled. 

Did you know doing the same thing – now that you’re both married – can help spice up things in the bedroom? Playing silly mind games with your husband can keep the sex exciting and help alleviate boredom in the relationship. 

Martha Tara Lee, clinic sexologist at Eros Coaching, says you should strike a balance between letting your husband have his way and making him work for it.


Why it works
“Relationships are not just about building intimacy between the two of you but are also about sustaining your passion for one another,” she says. Playing hard to get once in a while can help you to mix things up and avoid monotony. It adds much needed variation to your sex life.

This is especially important after the ‘honeymoon phase’ of your marriage has passed, where you stop being on your best behaviour and put in less effort in engaging with your partner, especially during sex. 

Another problem married couples face is that foreplay may shorten as the relationship progresses. Martha says most couples only have time for sex late in the night after their familial obligations are done. When either you or your husband is tired from a long day at work, you may just want to get it over with. 

“Women have told me that as foreplay shortens, they experience more incidents of sexual pain. Consequently, they begin to dislike, dread, avoid or even, hate sex,” says Martha. 


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Playing hard to get is a great way to build up the anticipation and improve the lead up to sex. 

Make sure the behaviour is consensual. Both of you should regard it as something fun as opposed to him perceiving you to be manipulative or malicious. You do not want to come across as though you are trying to emotionally blackmail him.


Be a tease
Get your man’s attention by showing a hint of lingerie, or wearing a perfume he likes. You don’t need to be explicit, says Martha, because men have wandering minds and can conjure up all sorts of imagery given just a little provocation. 

What you want is to increase how much he wants you without exposing your intention. So go about your usual business and wait for him to notice. When he does, pretend you haven’t done anything different but smile coquettishly at him.  


Keep busy
You might be married to him, but you also have plenty of other things to care about. At least, that’s the signal you want to send to your husband. For example, you don’t have to tend to him the minute he gets home, or reply to his texts immediately. 

This tactic is not about emotional manipulation, notes Martha. Instead, think of it as role playing. You are taking on the role of an aloof, new love interest he has to chase. Talk to him about why you want to withdraw just a little, so that he understands your perspective and puts in the effort to pursuing you again.  Make it clear that you are not really rejecting him or distancing yourself.


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Time it right
Martha says you should read the situation before deciding whether or not to play hard to get. If Hubby has been stressed out at work, give him all the attention and affection he needs and save your games for another day.

Monitor his emotional reaction too. If this is the first time you’re playing hard to get and he thinks you are withholding sex, he might feel insecure or hurt, and pull away. Be honest and clear in your communication to avoid misunderstanding and conflict.


Be dramatic
Once you have established this play as part of your sexual interaction you both enjoy, you can start to make your husband work for it in the bedroom. When he comes on to you, fake a yawn. But always remember to follow it up with a wink, or a cheeky smile, so he knows you aren’t really turning him down, says Martha.