Maggie Gyllenhaal finds her inner minx in movie Secretary.

QUESTION: I recently accompanied my husband to a school reunion and, while there, I learnt that most of them had been caned occasionally. On the way home, my husband confessed that the thought of this turns him on and he persuaded me to spank him that night before we made love. I feel lucky to still have an active love life after many years of marriage and am always happy to spice things up, but in this case I don’t know what to do, as he’d like to make it a regular thing and I don’t share his impulse. How should I handle this?

ANSWER: Oh dear, I do sympathise. Understanding a sexual preference is not the same thing as sharing it. The good news, however, is that despite your differences on this occasion, it’s a tribute to your closeness as a couple that after many years of marriage your husband feels able to share his sexual quirks with you.

It’s obvious your husband isn’t a full-blown aficionado of what the French call ‘le vice Anglais’ or he’d have asked you to indulge his desires years ago. The school reunion has reawakened a teenage fantasy that probably happened at a formative age - those of a boy’s first sexual stirrings - so it’s also touching that, despite many years of marriage, your husband’s romantic imagination is firmly fixed on you and he casts you as the star of this erotic scenario.

The fact that you are even contemplating indulging him speaks volumes about your erotic generosity.

In relationships there are often some boundaries we do not feel comfortable crossing. I must admit that when an old boyfriend suggested my giving him a little light smacking once, I burst out laughing and couldn’t participate for giggling.

Having said that, I’ve met plenty of males who harbour fantasies about being dominated by a strong woman. Often these men are the boss in their professional lives, but long to cede control in their private lives. Some psychiatrists also believe that men who have had imposing but emotionally distant mothers seek to replicate that dynamic as adults.

It’s tricky for a woman to be made to play a certain role in the bedroom if that’s not her thing. It’s far more common among my female friends for a woman to express a longing for a strong, virile caveman type to make energetic, passionate love to her. If these circumstances are reversed - and I suspect that’s the problem in your scenario - it can make many women feel uncomfortable.

I have always agreed with the motto of the American sex adviser, Dan Savage, who says the most important thing in couple dynamics is that the two people involved are ‘”ood, giving and game”.

Having said that, there are limits to everyone’s reservoirs of empathy. Having to participate in anything that doesn’t rock your boat - however loving and close your relationship is and however well-meaning your husband - is as unkind as making a TV soap hater watch every single episode of Coronation Street. Sex is the most mutual of conjugal pleasures, so it should thrill both of you. - Daily Mail