Whether you want to add some excitement to your long-term relationship or crave to live out a fantasy with a new partner, role play is a fun way to enliven your sex life. In role play, partners take on new identities to fulfill a fantasy. You can reenact pornographic classics like pizza deliveries or French maid scenarios, or you can let your imagination run wild. As adults who probably left make-believe in your childhood, role playing can be awkward or intimidating. But like all sexual activity, it requires communication. Doing so can expand your comfort zone and help you discover fantasies. If you’re new to role play, here are some tips and ideas to make it work for you.
Talk about role play with your partner(s).
Talking about sex in relationships isn’t always easy, especially when you want to introduce something new into the bedroom. Whether you’re telling your partner(s) your needs aren’t being met, you’d like to have a threesome or you want to try role play, it’s important that you initiate the conversation in a way that’s gentle and effective. Start by telling them what you love about your sexy time together and then ask them about their fantasies (or disclose your own). It’s critical that you have an open mind. This conversation isn’t one-sided, and you need to show the same amount of respect and curiosity toward their fantasies as you want them to have for yours. With both of your sexual desires now out in the open, you can suggest bringing them to life through role play.
Plan out what you’ll role play together.
The possibilities for role play are endless. Before getting into character, all partners need to be clear on which sexual fantasies you’ll be bringing to life. Oftentimes, people want to take on characters that help them stray away from their lived reality. This is what makes scenarios that play on power dynamics so popular. For instance, if you manage a lot of responsibility throughout the day, you may want a submissive role like an employee, student, maid, patient or tenant. Conversely, if much of your day is spent acting in service to others, you might be more interested in playing a dominant or selfish role like a boss, teacher, guest, nurse or landlord.
Some common roles include food delivery, strangers, roommates and massage therapists. Meanwhile, popular scenarios might involve love affairs, casual hook-ups, hitchhiking and photo shoots.
Like indulging in make-believe when you were a child, role play should be fun and playful. If there are words or scenarios that make you uncomfortable, it’s important that your partner(s) know ahead of time. Be sure to talk about your needs and boundaries before you start role playing. You never want to incite a partner’s insecurities. If a word or scene makes them feel vulnerable, tap into your creativity to plan new, fun ways to explore your fantasies while being respectful of their needs. Additionally, establish a safe word that you and your partner(s) can use to signal any discomfort.
Create the scene.
Role play doesn’t require costumes, props or travel—though it totally can. For beginners, consider testing out a simple scenario at home that all parties are comfortable with. You can write and practice a script or you can improvise. For those already comfortable with role playing, take your scenario public: meet as strangers at a bar or pick up a friendly traveler along the road. The possibilities are literally endless.
Work through any awkwardness.
If you’re feeling awkward or self-conscious, that’s OK. It might have been decades since you played pretend, and getting into character while naked may not come naturally. If you’re home and nervous, consider masturbating first. If you’re out, don’t rush feeling aroused. Instead, just engage with your role and, as you feel more comfortable, get as naughty as you’d like. It’s OK if you get tongue-tied or start to giggle. Play time means fun time, so revel in the joy of make-believe. Also: Laughter eases discomfort, which may help you feel more natural and focused in your character and scene.
Establish an aftercare plan.
During role play, you temporarily adopt a persona that may be totally different from who you are or even what you value. Once playtime is over, you might feel scared, vulnerable or uneasy about the scene. Knowing this, it’s important to have an aftercare plan set up so partners can get what they need. For some, it could be cuddling, while for others it may be checking in, reflecting and emotionally processing the experience. Again, communication is key before, during and after sex. Hearing what each partner liked or didn’t like will help you maximize role play the next time around, should you want to try again.