THE average wife has her secret of getting her own way with her husband. Making his favourite local delicacy, fetching the remote control or perhaps giving him the occasional massage. But there is, of course, another trick women can deploy to win over recalcitrant spouses – one as old as time, but rarely admitted to in polite company. And that is sex! In the marital arsenal, there are few more powerful weapons – especially when couples are years into a relationship, when the fires of passion are fading, eroded by child care, work and familiarity. Only, using sex as a bargaining chip to get wht you want remains one of the last taboos in these sexually liberated times, a great unspoken truth, despite the fact that it’s a dynamic which lies at the heart of most marriages. But there are some women brave enough to lift the lid on this most controversial form of bartering. And they confess that they either use sex by offering it up like a particularly tantalising prize, or withholding it until their man accedes to their demands. They happily testify that such a practice can get you everything from exotic cars to designer spending sprees. What’s more, these women see little shame in their behaviour, instead saying their exploitation of their husband’s weakness is just another part of marital politics. Juliet is a 37-year-old mother of three and runs a successful bakery and would be the first to admit that using sex as a weapon has strengthened her marriage to Zeb, her husband of eleven years. “The truth is Zeb will do anything for sex,” she says. “That’s why I use this fact mercilessly to negotiate what I want for me, for the home and our future. During the course of our marriage, I have dangled the promise of an ‘early night’ to secure astonishing number of purchases – washing machine, impressive furniture for the house and for myself, I splurge on regular visit to the spa and expensive hair extensions. Not to talk of countless pairs of shoes and a Rolex wristwatch. “My husband has made tremendous strides in his business and I’ve helped in my own way, bagging one or two marketing courses abroad in the process. The first time I used my feminine wiles in the bedroom as a tactic was for a bit of joke a couple of years into our marriage. I wanted a complete make-over of the living room using a professional interior decorator. Zeb thought I was being too extravagant. In an off the cuff remark, I jokingly promised himm a night he wouldn’t forget if he agreed. I got my way – he got the sex. It was that easy! Since then, I’ve used it whenever I’ve needed to. “Our bedroom is out of bounds to our three children. They know it’s where Mum and Dad sleep together. They each have their own rooms. Zeb and I have a rule that we always go to bed together. Once we’re snuggled in, it’s then we’ll talk. We’re a very tactile couple and Zeb adores a back – rub and it helps that he’s at his most pliable then. I’l1 only pick my moment if I sense he’s sufficiently relaxed. Call it feminine intuition, but then if I whisper in his ears about going on holiday, for example, he’ll say yes. He’s never said no. “I’m not what you’ll call a sex bomb. I have a very low sex drive. Only about 30 per cent of our love-making is for pleasure. The rest of the time, I use sex for negotiating. While I do make myself get into the swing of it, there are times I lie there and, for example, think of my next shopping spree! Giving my husband what he wants means I get what I want. We’re both happy. It doesn’t mean I don’t fancy my husband, I do, and I love him to bits. But our sex drive are so different. It’s human nature to put more of an effort into lovemaking when I know there’s something for me at the end of it. “I believe my method is normal even in my social circle and I swap tactics with my girlfriends. Every wife, deep down, is keen to ensure that she gets what she wants out of her marriage. My husband is not a fool, he’s perfectly aware of what’s going on. We both have different needs. I love shopping, he loves sex. This way, both our passions can be met. Some may accuse me of behaving like a prostitute. But I disagree. I believe that what you put into a relationship, you get out. And I have no doubt our marriage would last … “ Therapist Lizzie Falcorner has serious misgivings about such sexual bartering – and believes that women who use these techniques in the bedroom are degrading themselves. “Offering sexual favour is deeply troubling,” she said. “What happens when you lose your libido while going through the menopause or long-term illness? What do you fall back on? I have huge misgivings over someone using the sex part of a relationship as a bargaining chip rather than a loving act which brings you closer together. These type of tactics aren’t part of a grown-up relationship.” Want To Get Pregnant? So What’s Stowing You? Here is a compilation of what the medics believe might work against you when trying in vain to get pregnant: Age: The younger you are, the easier it is to get pregnant. After 35, your chances get slimmer, and it increases the risk of your baby having a genetic disorder. Period: Regular periods? The best time to conceive is days between 13 to 16 than 31, see your doctor to check your hormone levels. Painful periods can be a sign of endometriosis) which affects fertility. Taking painkillers can lower your chances too. Excessive bleeding might indicate that you have fibroids which can make it hard for an egg to be implanted in the womb. Weight: If you’re obese, planning a baby is the perfect incentive to lose a few pounds. Too much body fat affects hormones and infertility. Getting regular exercise will boost your immune system and improve circulation as well. Booze and fags: Drinking over five units of alcohol a week greatly decreases your chance of getting pregnant. Cigarettes contain at least 30 chemicals that decrease fertility. Additives: Avoid artificial sweeteners in most diet drinks and sugar-free foods, and try not to use air fresheners or perfumes that contain artificial musk. They can affect your hormones. On the other hand, a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement may help boost your fertility. Him: Swap your man for a younger man! Men over 35 are less likely to get their partners pregnant in a year than they were at 25. A healthy weight and diet are important for him too. Steam rooms can decrease sperm count, as tight synthetic pants and smoking. Drinking too much can also cause impotence and sterility. Worry: Most of all, don’t get stressed about not getting pregnant! It will cripple your libido, interfere with your menstrual cycle and deprive your body of vitally needed nutrients. If you’ve done all the right things and still haven’t conceived in 18 months, visit your doctor for tests.