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A beginner’s guide to role play.

a beginner’s guide to role play.

How to climax in character.

Maybe you, like me, have an eternal thing for your English professors. Perhaps your deepest-lodged sexual fantasies involve Hogwarts robes and lightning bolt scars—or maybe bloomers and Pride & Prejudice-style frocks. Either way, even if you’ve yet to act upon said fantasies, most of us do, indeed, enjoy the idea of inhabiting other characters or scenarios for the sake of sexual pleasure. Or, more succinctly put, “role play.”

Of course, no matter how kinky (or for that matter, silly) our interior fantasies may be, it can be exceptionally difficult to set about acting them out in the real world. While a pair of bloomers may seem endlessly sultry in your head, actually donning a pair (along with an antiquated British accent) can often feel far goofier than it does alluring. Which is to say, for all the appeal to the notion of role play, it’s relatively common for our character-driven fantasies to remain in our heads. 

Still, that’s no reason not to give it a shot. As the adage goes, don’t knock it ‘til you try it. And for folks willing to surpass that initial hump (get it??), role play can be a plenty fun way to add a little joie de vivre to your sex life—and your romantic life, writ large. So, for the sake of getting your toes wet—without feeling supremely awkward—here’s our topline beginner’s guide to giving role-play a shot. 

Know what you want

It can certainly be intimidating to address your fantasies with your partner, especially if you haven’t broached the topic of role-playing before. So, as you gear up for that initial conversation, take some time to contemplate what it is that you want to get out of your first roleplay experience. Do you want to try something in public—like, say, meeting as strangers in a bar? Do you want to go right for a full-on, costumed period-piece recreation at home? Do you want to lean into a more corporate “business partner” narrative? Either way, sift through all the stock fantasy scenarios in your head and settle in on what feels both most viable and most alluring. 

Talk about it (a lot!)

Naturally, you will want to broach this one with your partner beforehand. Beyond the matter of consent (which is, of course, essential), you’ll also want to align on your approaches. Being that role play is relatively involved—and it’ll require some specific commitment from both parties—preliminary discussion feels important. That said, you need not come out with a fully formed course of action. Instead, ease your way in. Perhaps ask your partner if they have any fantasies they return to often. Gauge the nature of their particular role play ideals. Then see if there’s a way you can integrate both (or try each separately) to ensure everyone feels considered. 

Make a game plan together

Under the larger umbrella of verbally exploring role play with your partner, be sure to take some time to consider your game plan together. No, you need not script out an entire evening. But to properly get into character—and truly lean into the experience—you’ll need to align on some key details. Do you plan to dress up? Use accents? Decorate your space accordingly? No matter your preferred take on role play, you will need to tackle this one as a team, so be sure to spend some time chatting through your expectations.

Start our small with the props (then work your way up)

Sure, going full-on theatrical sounds like a good time for some of us—but for others, it can feel more “drama club” than “sex appeal.” Most experts recommend starting slow on this front to avoid feeling like you’re participating in a high school play. We’re certainly not saying you can’t (or shouldn’t!) work your way up on this front. More so, we’re implying that going over the top with your costume situation may distract you from fully leaning into your chosen narrative. To warm yourself up to grander role-play scenarios, we recommend starting small; easing in. Then, once you’ve gotten warmed up...well, go big or go home. Or, do both.

Don’t be afraid to laugh

At the outset, this may feel a little silly. That’s because it is. But at the same time, it’s a way of indulging some of your longest-standing and most potent fantasies—and exploring new territory with your partner. So, with that said, don’t be discouraged if you need to giggle your way through a few steps, here. It doesn’t mean you’re incapable of getting into character...it just means you’re enjoying one another, and you may need to take your time. 

Don’t underestimate aftercare.

It can be hard to transition after role play, but that is where prioritizing aftercare, a broad term for how people support one another after sex, comes in. Being physically affectionate, hydrating together, offering affirmation or having some alone time can all be forms of aftercare. This can be a time to debrief if you’d like, or make a time to do in the few days afterwards to chat about what you liked and didn’t like.

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