Sex 101: How to Start Role-Playing With Your Partner

Undeniably, one of the best sex scenes in movie history is The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. Are you kidding me? 15-year-old me had a sexual awakening watching Bella and Edward get it on in the water, all to end up in bed. I mean, the scene when she wakes up to a completely broken bed, pillow feathers strewn about the room sounds like exactly what my sex dreams are made of (you know, with less Edward Cullen and more LaKeith Stanfield). And lest we forget the other best sex scene in human history: Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis in Black Swan. You know, I claimed Black Swan as my favorite movie of all time for quite a while; somehow it only dawned on me a few years later that I just might be bisexual.

But you know why movie sex scenes are just so absolutely sexy? It’s acting; there’s a sense of “these aren’t real people” to the whole thing. And you know what? Regular old folk like us can get that same feeling with just a little role-playing. 

I’ll be completely honest: role-playing with your partner can feel really intimidating and, of course, totally weird and awkward if you’re new to it. But as most sexual things go, with practice and communication comes many orgasms! So here we go, a 101 guide to the best role-playing of your life. 

 

Get your boundaries and safe words all laid out

Before you and your partner become entirely different people for the night, talk over what you’re willing to do and what you’re not. It’s important to know what each of you is hoping to get out of the experience. For you, it might just be a fun, one-night-only thing. Your partner might want to add this to your usual rotation. Some people like to use role-playing to act out fantasies. Whatever you decide is amazing, just make sure it fits for both of you. As always, communication with your partner about sex is necessary here.

You’ll also want to come up with any safe words if you’re practicing BDSM or anything similar. 

 

How to decide what to role-play

You absolutely can just come up with a character on the spot and go with it. But if you’re not an Oscar-winning actress just yet (maybe if I flesh out the cash for that Natalie Portman Masterclass, but I digress), it’s OK to take some time to figure it out and come up with it as you go. Of course, the easiest thing would be a different person. Maybe it’s your alter-ego. You don’t totally change your look, but you go by a different name and act a little different (for example, normally you’re more dominant in the bedroom, and instead you act a little more submissive). Pretend it’s your first date all over again. 

On the other hand, you can also decide who to role-play based on your fantasies. What turns you on? Is it a student/teacher scenario? A nurse/patient? Two roommates? Make your decision on truly what turns you on, because it’ll just feel awkward and funny to you both if it’s not something you actually find sexy. 

Will you add costumes? You certainly can! But to be fair, if your partner is of the male species, you might be able to get away with putting your hair in a different style and slapping on a smokey eye, and they’ll think it’s different enough. (If your partner is more observant, wigs are a very fun and inexpensive way to change things up!) If the scenario is a little more complex, think about getting into character. This might feel really awkward for your first time role-playing, so don’t be afraid to start small. Speaking of…

 

Start small

It’s OK if the first time you role-play doesn’t involve the sexy French maid costume of your dreams and a fully flushed-out script of everything you’ll say. It’s really easy and casual to start role-playing through text first. You and your partner can gauge how you enjoy it and feel about it without the pressure of “acting” in front of each other. 

 

Don’t stress if you feel silly

Role-playing can sorta feel like you’re back in high school musical theater if you’re not used to it, and that’s completely normal. It’s different and new, but it takes time to get used to being that way with your partner. Think of role-playing like a game, and of course, very few people are good at a game the first time they play.

 

Change locations

Obviously, we’re not heading out to our local hotel bar to reenact our first dates right now. Instead, change up the location of where you are. You can take a walk to the park and start your role-play there (finishing at home, of course). Or just change locations in your home. Get really into it and turn your kitchen island or dining table into a little bar set-up for the evening. You could pretend your home is a hotel. Get into the fun of it and let your imagination go. Sex is all about flexing your creative muscle.

 

Some scenarios to try

  • Classic power dynamics—boss/employee, teacher/student, guest/maid, nurse or doctor/patient, fitness instructor/student, landlord/tenant, etc. 
  • Best friends
  • Roommates
  • Strangers
  • Long-distance—try Skype/FaceTime sex even if you’re not in an LDR
  • Massage therapist
  • Food delivery (very peak COVID, am I right?) 
  • Non-monogamy—one person remains themselves and the other is a stranger
  • Photographer and model

 

Don’t be afraid to really act

It’s not weird to get into it; it’s your fantasy for crying out loud! Role-playing is about being someone else for a little and acting out all of your desires with your partner. It’s a fun way to try all those things you dream about without a ton of commitment. Try something and realize you don’t really enjoy it? Try something different! Role-playing is about trial and error, so don’t be surprised if you thought you’d love or hate something and it turns out to surprise you. That’s what sex is all about, really: tons of surprises!

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