Sex + Dating

Role Play Can Be Super Awkward. Here's How to Get Past That.

role play ideas for beginners
JIM VONDRUSKA/THRILLIST

There are far too many of us who want to try role play, but don't even know where to begin.

There are so many questions! How do I even bring up a fantasy? What do I buy? What if my partner judges me for wanting to be the cheese to his mouse or the princess trapped in a tower?

Trust me, anyone who is into role play started out as a beginner. Look no further, role-play neophyte! We've got your ultimate guide for newbies right here.

You have to talk about it

The golden rule of all things sex is to communicate. You don't just jump in and throw on a robber's mask without discussing it beforehand.

As a beginner, you really have no idea what you're doing. Sure, you've probably been masturbating to this fantasy for a long time now. But actually putting it into action is a whole other ballgame.

"Have a sex date," suggests sexologist Michelle Hope. "This is where you and your partner stay in, grab takeout, perhaps a bottle of wine, and just start the sexy conversation. It can be pretty hot just having the conversation. This is the point in which a couple can create boundaries."

Talking about it shouldn't intimidate you -- it should actually make you more comfortable. Communicating frees you up to become fully immersed in the experience without feeling afraid of crossing a boundary you're not ready for.

Role play doesn't require expensive props

The thing that hinders many people from acting out a fetish or fantasy is the assumption that you need to buy a buttload of gear to make it happen.

This is not the case! You don't have to go out and buy a full leather corset, whips, chains, and a chastity cage just to act like a dominatrix for 15 minutes. You can just wear black and use a wooden kitchen spoon as a paddle.

Your brain is your biggest sex organ. You can use it to create scenes and get yourself hot without purchasing all the bells and whistles. Simply unlock your imagination and you're well on your way.

Don't let potential awkwardness trip you up

This is a GAME and feeling stupid or silly is normal. This is all about having fun. It's OK to laugh! Role play doesn't have to be super serious from start to finish.

If you stress about maintaining the mood, you'll just wind up anxious and uncomfortable -- and no one has an orgasm under those circumstances. If you need to take a break from being the pirate king about to pillage the booty (literally and figuratively), just say so. It's no biggie.

"The hardest part about role-playing is allowing yourself to be free," Hope says. “As we age, we become overly consumed with work and life. We also forget how to pretend, how to imagine, [and] how to daydream. Sadly, as adults we often become lazy with our imaginations, quickly turning to porn to satisfy the urge of a quick nut." Fantasy is such a vital element in healthy sexual relationships; don't get so distracted by reality that you forget how to have fun.

It's OK if your fantasy is totally weird

So much of what our minds create is shamed. We're terrified of being classified as sickos for thinking about something we're not supposed to think about.

I've been there. As feminist and a woman I've felt deeply ashamed of some of my "darker" fantasies. How could I be into acting the part of the submissive, or get turned on by the thought of the handyman coming to "fix my pipes," when that's not at all who I am in real life? I can fix my own damn pipes!

Then it dawned on me that fantasies aren't real. And role-playing is a great way to explore your subconscious -- which for me, plays with the idea of giving up control in a safe, consensual space.

It doesn't matter if you want to be a clown, kidnapper, or priest: Your fantasy life is the place to explore these desires. It's a safe space. "Wanting to do outlier [stuff] is totally OK because it is in the context and understanding that it is fantasy," Hope says.

Everyone has weird, creepy, or unusual fantasies. Most of us are turned on by the taboo. You can't always act out those turn-ons in real life, so the bedroom is the optimal place for that abnormal investigation.

Have a safe word

Safe words, which became popular among members of the kink community, are vital tools for role play. Using a safe word lets your partner know that something has become overwhelming, frightening, or is not working for you. You can use your safe word without breaking character, thus protecting the integrity of the scene.

"This word should be one that is far from the normal language that you would use with your partner in the bedroom," Hope says. "It would be my suggestion that the word be one syllable." Having a word that's unlike normal bedroom talk prevents confusion if, say, you're acting out a hostage scene and yell, "No!" or "Stop!" -- either of which could be construed as part of the role-playing itself.

Have a plan in place for aftercare

Role play often means taking on a persona that is completely different from who you are in real life. And sometimes, that can be scary. It's commonplace to feel vulnerable and fragile after a kinky role-play scene. So it's essential that once orgasms have been had and the fantasy has concluded, you and your partner take care of each other in what's referred to as "aftercare."

Different people want different things out of their aftercare. One person might want to be held tightly and cuddled; while another may need space to recover. "Partners can discuss what they liked about the experience," Hope says. "It's the time when the couple can recalibrate the equity in the bedroom."

Use aftercare as a time to comprehend and reflect. Role play is an emotional process, and needs to be dealt with accordingly. Going over boundaries, desires, and a plan to maximize that post-sex afterglow is an intense bonding experience that will bring you closer than you thought possible to your partner. Now go forth and enjoy yourselves!

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Gigi is Thrillist's Sex and Dating staff writer. She does actually do that handyman thing on the reg. Follow her lovable crazy on Twitter, iTunesFacebook, and Instagram @GigiEngle.