Role-playing is easier said than done. The idea of donning a skimpy costume and fleshing out your innermost desires sounds insanely hot on paper — but what about in practice?
It's natural to feel shy, vulnerable, or embarrassed about trying something so new with your partner. But when you fully embrace it, acting out sexual role play fantasies can seriously spice up your sex life. You need a little help getting into character.
What Is Sexual Role-Playing?
First thing's first — what is sexual role-play exactly? At its simplest, it's the exploration of sexual scenarios that require imagination and a bit of acting. Role-playing intrigues people of all sexual orientations and preferences because its root is universal — we all have deep, sometimes secret sexual fantasies. They can be impractical in real life, but anything goes with a bit of creativity in the bedroom.
Have you always wanted to partake in a clandestine affair with an authority figure, or perhaps a steamy and spontaneous session with a stranger? Or maybe you want to play a selfish dominator because you're selfless and sweet in real life? We've got just the thing for that.
Thankfully, nothing stops you and your partner from stepping into character to fulfill those desires. How to role-play in the bedroom depends entirely on your unique needs.
So how do you start the discussion with your beloved about your newfound interest? Sexual role-playing conversations can be intimidating, but there are ways to breach the subject without feeling ridiculous.
There's no need to put a ton of pressure on yourself. If you're shy or embarrassed, try to ground your interest in real life first. Say you're watching a period movie with a rakish duke or a crime drama with a domineering detective. You can casually mention to your significant other things like, "If you were that character, I'd love to be your plaything." Or — ask if they'd mind if you ordered them around as that detective would.
Psychotherapist Dr. Jenn Mann also likes the "dream approach." Tell your partner about a dream you had where the two of you acted out a fantasy. Then maybe ask if they would be up for making that dream a reality. This conversation doesn't have to be in person, either. If you're particularly bashful, you can bring it up via text.
Pair your saucy new suggestion with plenty of reassurance. Both of you might be scared of seeming foolish or being judged. Everybody benefits if you set the tone with an open, no judgmental mindset. Let your loved one know that you are more than satisfied with your current sex life and that your desire for role play is simply building on that. Please make sure they're comfortable with the conversation. And it's okay to say that you're nervous or feel a little silly! You're likely both tentatively excited about the idea of exploring each other's urges.
Choose your adventure
No one expects you to bring intricate costumes and props into the bedroom initially, although you might want a toy or two as you become more advanced. That doesn't mean you can't start with a bang.
Role-play sexually depends on what you're comfortable with, and it doesn't have to be solely physical. You can start in your head, imagining yourself as the character you want to be. You can do this during masturbation, sex with your partner, or even performing mundane tasks. You can also text or email back and forth in character as you test the waters.
Behind the Scenes
So you've both decided you're game to step into someone else's (sexy) shoes for the night. How do you decide what type of role you should take on? Take inspiration from your favorite movie, video game, and TV characters if you're into cosplay. Or bring up scenarios you've always been curious about. A little planning can not only build excitement but can also keep you from having to improvise at the moment.
You can also riff off real-life situations, like a routine traffic stop that turns sensual or losing your virginity. Your fantasies may not always be perfectly politically correct, and that's okay too. Part of what makes things arousing is that they're taboo, so if you're a feminist who wants to be dominated or a scholar who wants to play mindless and naive, that's just fine. And if you're feeling timid, know that your fantasies probably aren't as bizarre as you think.
This is where a frank discussion of your desires and boundaries can help. Talk about any phrases or scenarios you're uncomfortable with and establish a safe word to help you step out of character if things start leading in a direction you don't want to go.
Don't worry if you're not feeling particularly creative and want to pick a scene from a hat.
When you're looking to role-play sexually, examples run the gamut. From acting like your first-date selves or strangers to going all out as a distinct character (voracious vampire, anyone?), there are plenty of personalities to assume. Here are a few popular and beginner-friendly sexual role-playing suggestions to get you started:
- Your alter-ego (dominating, confident, submissive, selfish, naive, etc)
- Strangers at a bar, library, club, party, etc.
- Cheating spouses
- Police officer/criminal or innocent citizen
- Not-so-platonic best friends
- Delivery person/customer
- Evil twin
- Peeping Tom
- Obsessive fan/idol
Slipping Back Into Yourself
Unless you're an award-winning actor, there are times when you might lose steam or feel self-conscious. Just roll with it. A little humble humor can only help as you become more comfortable with the situation. Everything else will fall into place as long as you're connecting with your partner. Changing your makeup, wearing a wig, or donning something a little different or scanty can help you step into character. You can also lighten the mood with a bit of pre-show massage.
After you've yelled cut for the day, take a few moments to debrief. Talk about what you liked, what you didn't, how you felt, and any ideas for next time. Do you want to switch up the location or start somewhere else and end up back home? Maybe incorporate a few luxury sex toys or a tingling lubricant? Enthusiasm and creativity are what sex is all about.
Keeping these lines of communication open is critical to the health of your sex life and relationship. If you feel insecure or uncomfortable with something, speak up! Worrying that wanting to role-play means you're unhappy or that it will disrupt your everyday life is natural but often misguided. As long as you prioritize consideration, empathy, and honesty, you and your significant other will be all the better for your experimentation. It's all about having some frisky fun, and we here at JimmyJane fully encourage sexual exploration and interpretation.
Take a Bow
Everyone has their brand of sexual fantasy, whether you dream of hooking up with a celebrity, a stranger, or a firefighter. But at the end of the day, those fantasies should be helping you spice up your sex life, build trust and connect with your partner. Role-playing with communication might strengthen your relationship and keep that spark alive — and that's no fantasy.
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How to Role Play in Bed Without Feeling Stupid. (August 2020). InStyle.
A Little Kink Goes A Long Way: Why Roleplay Is Healthy In Relationships. (June 2015). Elite Daily.
40 Erotic Role Play Ideas That'll Totally Spice Up Your Sex Life. (Febraury 2019). BestLife.