The Rules of Role Play

February 7, 2019

No, seriously. This is how we talk turkey. And Power Ranger. And Catherine de' Medici. Oh f*^% it, let’s talk KLINGON. 

Everyone has fantasies. Most of us have sexual fantasies. It ain’t a big thing but talking about it elicits the same anxiety as public speaking, dreams of going to school in underpants, or interviewing for that oh-so-special job...

 

...unless you have a conversation with someone who is genuinely interested in your dreams and makes a point of being non-judgmental. Then the flood gates open, and out pours all sorts of compelling, and personal, tidbits. Given the opportunity, we’re desperate to be known in such a way: accepted for our unique thinking, congratulated on our depth of emotion, and inspired to understand why we want what we want. 

 

Who am I kidding? We’re desperate to do what keeps us hot and bothered! When we’re intrigued, mesmerized, and aroused, we feel alive. Not feeling alive (for long periods of time) is bad, bad business. 

 

Why is it we’d rather ask for money from relatives, use fake email accounts to banter with Insta-Fame girls, and pretend we’re getting what we want in the sack, than express our fantasies? Because we don’t see a benefit. The ROI ain’t there. It’s work, dammit. Don’t we have enough of that? When a couple can snap at each other over whose turn it is to take out the trash, fantasy exploration doesn’t stand a chance at becoming the bridge that spans the gulf. Before we can squeak out, “Hey sweetie, this looks fun," we’ve imagined rejection, humiliation, disgust, disappointment, all plastered across the face of our loved one. 

 

Let's not ignore the elephant in the room. You want to play, but the majority of your time and effort is going into making money, keeping the kiddies safe, and building a sliver of recognition and success without feeling like a stale, decrepit loaf of bread at the end of every day. Your place in the scope of time and space is a precarious thing. So why not have fun with it? To help you along, here's ten basic rules to keep you on the path of playful enlightenment.

 

*Note: This is advice for getting into and out of the spirit of role play, not how to spill your guts about that long-term fantasy you've had since you were 12.  See Rule #2.

 

Rule #1. Grant the gift of play. 

You want your fantasy? Be the fantasy first. Ask your lover what little things you can do to make them feel relaxed, excited, and juicy, in that order, and do those things. It does not matter if you are good, bad or neutral in the doing. It matters that you’re setting the example. If you’re willing to be playful and exploratory, it’s going to rub off. 

 

Rule #2. Brainstorm together. 

Start out with a scene, not characters. For instance, if one of you has a thing for jewel thieves, that’s the scene. Then you plot out the action like any story arc: inciting incident, climax, resolution. One of you steals the jewels, a tussle ensues, and to the victor goes the spoils. This would be the time you decide what those spoils would be. Bing, bang, boom. 

Why not character emphasis? If your fantasy revolves around being tied up and breast-smothered by an Angelina-Jolie-like agent, then a comparison, however well-meaning, may set the stage to have your fantasy ridiculed, besmirched, and pissed on—and not because of anything you’ve done. Even if you tell your partner how much it’s meant to you, that doesn’t mean they can be as accepting and introspective as Gandhi. Instead, you’ve just set up a competition against a mythical creature with supernatural powers. Your lover don’t stand a chance. 

 

Rule #3. Forget the script.

Okay, I get the need for auditory cues. A perfectly timed, “Your magic wand is so big and powerful” goes a long way in casting a potent spell. House Gryffindor all the way! But if you’re already nervous, trying to stick to a script is little more than posturing. Until you get a good grasp of the psyche behind the masked man or woman,  go with the flow. You’ll be surprised at what comes out. 

 

Rule #4. Get in character.

This does not mean dropping hundreds on intricate Blade the Vampire Hunter regalia, complete with custom fangs. (If you do that, please send pictures. #roleplayislife.) Getting in character can be as simple as donning a black shirt and pants, but the real trick is to imagine what that character is thinking and feeling. The window dressing of costume can help your lover buy the act, but it will never replace the stoic sweetness of a heroine or the snickering swagger of a villain. Fake it till you make it. 

 

Rule #5. Keep it simple, Scully. 

No matter how many benefits are highlighted, most folks will never go down the rabbit hole of role play for fear of being seen as silly. They aren’t thinking of the fun to be had; they’re thinking how strange and awkward they look and assuming they won't be able to sell it. Stop it. Keep it simple, keep it child-like, and keep the scientific psycho-babble as to why it will or won't work to a minimum. The truth really is out there, but you'll never know for sure until someone is digging a metal probe out of your neck.  (Hey, alien role plays are a big thing!)

 "If only she'd try to play along---just this once." Knowyourmeme.com

 

Rule #6. Take turns. 

If you absolutely must be the dominant in the scene (or the submissive), you are missing the point. Take turns even if the shoe doesn't fit. At the very minimum, you get to see how it feels to live on the other side of the fence. A deeper understanding reduces the impulse to react out of fear and misunderstanding. Plus, it will shock the crap out of your lover. "You mean you're willing to do ____for me?! Honey, you're so awesome!" (Insert something that will make her laugh with you, not at you.)

 

Rule #7. Seek out extracurricular material. 

Yes, I mean porn—or a how-to manual for lovers. Erotica. Go to a sex-themed play, strip club, or cuddle party. Whatever sparks the deeper fires of your primal core, use it for inspiration. 

 

Rule #8. Be relentless.

Happiness means realistic expectations. Good things happen to those who wait. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Rigggght. No matter what happens, don’t take it too personally, and don’t give up. You can't win the lottery if you don't buy a bloody ticket. 

 

Rule #9. Use the force, Luke. 

Whether you subscribe to chi, karma, source, qi, jpeg or gif, you're not alone. It's not all on your shoulders whether a scene works or doesn't. Using the "force" is just a reminder to surrender. It's not about what you or your partner wants; it's about the journey you take together (which is a really over-played and watered-down phrase). So pick a phrase to use as a reminder to lighten up and let Obi-wan take the wheel. 

 

Rule #10. Define Perfection. 

I considered looking through my collection of sex books and scouring the Internet for a mass listing of techniques and advice for this article. Then I remembered, as in my own experience, role play is anyone’s best guess. Any time I do a scene, I don't care how, when, or why they work out. 98% of the time they just work out. (The other 2%, I wasn't honest enough with myself to tell my partner I wasn't in the mood. Can I have a rain-check?) The first dozen times I tried a role play, I was as anxious as a virgin on prom night. I fretted, worried, went out of character, and said stuff that forced my partner out of character. And then I stopped worrying about it because they never worked out how I thought they would, but they were so much fun

 

I'm not perfect because I don't have to be—EVER—especially not in play. The moment is perfect. The mistakes are perfect. The scene is perfect. I have good intentions. I focus on making myself and my honey happy. I'm down for the ride. I don't think about rejection; I focus on the creation. I let the idea of it get me excited and bounce a little when I explain what I want to do. I bounce a little more when I get started. Then I turn into a stone-cold badass bitch while silently cheer-leading my partner through his transformation. That is enough. 

 

Still stuck? Time to go Rogue...Wait. I mean, it’s time to improvise, like with a professional. (And then do the Rogue role play. Can you say limp play and ruined orgasm?) If you have little success at discussing your desire to play, and it seems your partner isn't receptive at all, and it feels like it's getting worse and worse, and you're thinking why do it at all, you should just give up, or find some stranger online, or maybe break up and find someone who wants to play how you want to play...

The X-Men's Rogue has a rather special power. If she touches you, she sucks out your powers and leaves you like a vegetable. 

 

....because the more you try to explain it, the more awkward you feel. And guilty. And ashamed. And weird. Like you're a big weirdy-weirdo. Grown-ups don't do this kind of thing! 

 

Take a really deep breath and repeat after me.

 

nuqDaq ‘oH tach’e’ 

(pronounced nuqh.ˈɖɑqh ʔox tʰɑt͡ʃ.ˈʔɛʔ)

 

That's Klingon for "Where's the bar?" 

 

After a large draft of Bloodwine, consider getting outside support. People like me have been there and done it so you don't have to fall flat on your face like we have. We know the pros and the cons, the inner voices and the outer circumstances that make it so dang hard to connect on this level. When you take it to a neutral party, you get to vent all the icky stuff, the past resentments or ancient scars, and then form a plan of action. It can be the difference between having a "honeymoon" phase that tapers off into quid pro quo, or having every month turn into "Someone pinch me, it's too good to be true." 

 

Yeah, you heard me. Try that role play on for size. 

 

...and contact us if you need some coaching!

 

 

 

 

 

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