ask maude: how to try roleplay

04 14 19 — ask maude
I want to try roleplay with my partner but I don’t know how to bring it up—what should I do?
— Adventure Seeker, Minnesota

Dear Adventure,

Variety is the spice of life and roleplay can definitely add a certain spark to your sex life—and your relationship. But if it’s something you’ve never tried before, it can be a daunting thing to bring up with a partner.

While roleplaying can be a super fun—and really sexy—the idea of it can also make people feel really awkward, because they think that it (A) requires them to be a great actor,  (B) means they’ll have to adopt a pornstar-like persona or (C) will make them look like an idiot.

Fortunately, none of those things are true.

A subtle way to broach the subject is to mention that you had a dream about a certain scenario and tell your partner how sexy it was to see them in that role. Another, more direct, way to bring it up is to ask them if there’s anything new they’d like to try with you in the bedroom and be open to their suggestions (which, let’s be honest, is a good strategy for anything in your relationship). Hopefully, your partner will then ask you the same thing and you’ll have the chance to bring up your hankering for roleplaying.

If you’re both new to the idea, the trick is to suggest some basic roleplaying first and then let things evolve from there. Role dynamics that aren’t too much of a stretch include doctor and patient, professor and student, massage therapist and client, boss and employee, or two strangers on a train/at a bar/in a public library (you get the idea). You could even ask your partner if there’s a particular roleplay they have in mind, which can help make them more comfortable with the idea.

Roleplaying is usually less about the actual storyline and more about enjoying situational power dynamics, so don’t worry too much about the narrative (that said, if you're exploring a theme of dominance and submission, it’s often a good idea to discuss boundaries or safewords). And, of course, you can always spice things up with a little bit of dirty talk.

Your partner in pleasure,