If you’ve ever wondered how to make your sex life go from good to really, really good, let us suggest role-play. Though there are multiple ways to spice up your relationship, role-playing is a pretty accessible and low-stakes way to do it — especially since the fantasy can be as simple or intricate as you’d like.
For some people, they may prefer to keep it easy by role-playing as strangers at a bar. Other couples may choose to go all out in costumes and accents in order to fully commit to the role. Regardless of what you choose, the options are pretty much endless.
But convenience isn’t the only reason we love role-playing. Searah Deysach, sex educator and owner of feminist sex shop Early to Be, tells POPSUGAR role-playing “may even allow you to tap into new types of sex that your “real life’ self wouldn’t think out or feel comfortable asking for.” (When I said this would take your sex life from good to really, really good, I meant it.)
So what exactly is role-playing? What are the best role-play ideas? And how do you actually start role-playing? Details on how to have a more fun and adventurous sex life right this way.
What Is Role-Playing?
Think of role-playing as being similar to acting. “Role-playing is erotic play that allows couples to explore fantasies and add variety to their relationship with or without sex,” certified sex therapist Shamyra Howard says.
The whole “adds variety to a relationship” is the key thing here. For many people, sex can become monotonous. By introducing role-playing into your sex life, you’re bringing in a whole new element of excitement. After all, you’re not just having sex with your partner — you’re having sex with the super-hot police officer who pulled you over.
Different characters might surface different interests or a willingness to experiment. If your partner suggests a Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele from “Fifty Shades of Grey” role-play, for instance, that may open the door to a conversation you hadn’t yet had about BDSM. Or it might simply give you an opportunity to switch up your normal intimate love-making routine for the night. (Remember the whole “I don’t make love, I f*ck. Hard.” scene? Yeah, me too.) When you’re inhabiting a character, you’ll feel emboldened to get out of your usual pattern — and that’s a good thing.
When it comes to deciding what you want to be or how you want to role-play, you can use movies, TV shows, and books for inspiration. If that isn’t quite working, you can also defer to some classic Halloween costumes and go from there. Here are some places to start, according to our experts:
- Chef and waiter
- Plumber (or other maintenance worker) and homeowner
- Taxi driver and passenger
- Pizza delivery person and orderer
- Personal trainer and client
- Porn stars
- Boss and employee
- Massage therapist and client
- Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele
- Harry Potter and Hermione
- Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly
- Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sharma
- Nurse and patient
- Barista and customer
If you’re looking for some storylines to re-create instead of characters, you have options, too. You can act out the following scenarios:
- Meeting in the library
- Having sex in an airplane
- Cheating on your partners with each other
- Picking each other up at a bar
The options are pretty much endless, though, so if you happen to find an old costume in your closet, feel free to improvise with whatever you’re working with.
Note: Some of these scenarios play with power structures and taboos. That can be exciting but is another reason that, as with any type of sexual activity, consent and communication are essential when it comes to role-play. More tips on that here.
How to Role-Play
First, it’s important to communicate that this is something you’re interested in trying with your partner. You can initiate that conversation by saying something similar to, “Have you ever thought about role-playing? I saw an article about it today and thought it may be fun to try.”
If it’s something you and your partner are both down to explore, you can start by discussing what you’d like to role-play as. “Decide what the scene is going to be and set some boundaries,” Deysach says. For example, “If you are going with a power-dynamic scene like doctor/patient, make sure you both are clear on what is OK to say and what is not.” For this reason, you may want to establish a safe word like “red” or “pineapple” to use whenever you want the action to immediately stop.
Once you’ve discussed your wants, dislikes, limits, and hard boundaries with your partner, it’s time to get into character. You and your partner can decide how elaborate or not you want the scene to be, Deysach says. So decide whether you’re just going to act the part or look the part, too.
Once all the logistics are figured out, it’s time to put all of your work into action. But if you’re nervous, don’t worry; you don’t have to be an Oscar-winning actor to reap the rewards. In fact, Howard says you should embrace the awkwardness of it all. “It’s OK if it feels awkward at first. Most things we do feel uncomfortable or different when we first do them. Keep going,” she says. And don’t be afraid to laugh, smile, and giggle — this is sex with your partner, after all — no need to keep things too serious.
Then, proceed to have sex however you think your character would, and prepare yourself for all the lovely orgasms that await. Yes, it’s really that easy.