If you're like most women, you're probably at least a bit curious about role-play in the bedroom -- acting out sexy scenarios with your spouse. Stacey Burton, CEO of CouplesChemistry.com, says that according to her research, 71 percent of wives describe their relationships as "traditional," but 82 percent say they're interested in getting "kinky" with their husbands. And almost all women say they'd like a sexual relationship that's "experimental and surprising."
It's just that we're not talking about it. No matter how open our communication, a lot of us have fantasies we haven't shared with our spouses ... yet. But maybe it's time we did? We tapped three experts to explain how role-play works, how to get started, and how to make it fun and fulfilling.
Role-play gives you the opportunity to "bring excitement into the routine of a long-term relationship," says sex and sensuality coach Rebekah Beneteau. It helps you reach a "deeper level of intimacy because both partners are willing to share more of their inner life."
Stacey Burton says that role-play gives a couple a safe outlet to explore their relationship and a new dimension of themselves. "It's a way to be authentically you, but it's a side of you that people don't usually get to see."
Clinical sexologist and author Dr. Kat Van Kirk says it's just plain hot. And it's important especially for married couples and people in a long-term, monogamous relationship. "Adding role-playing to your sexual repertoire can not only heighten the arousal in your relationship, but it can also build trust and communication between you. The more you share about your fantasies and allow yourself to become vulnerable by playing out a scene, the more emotional depth and bonding you may experience."
On board? Of course you are! Here are our experts' best tips for sexy-time role-play.
1. Ask yourself what turns you on -- really. Beneteau recommends starting by spending some private time fantasizing. "Give yourself permission to look at what turns you on," she says. It could be anything. "Don't get hung up on the 'how' at this point," she says. "Focus on the 'what.'"
2. Do some research. Consider this the funnest homework assignment ever. Look at pictures, flip through books, watch porn or movies, Google ideas you've always been curious about.
3. Share your ideas. Now it's time to tell your significant other what you've got on your mind -- and to hear what he thinks would be sexy and fun. Be open and don't judge each other.
4. Negotiate and find common ground. Burton enables this through her company, CouplesChemistry.com. Each member of a couple independently fills out a questionnaire about what turns them on, and then they create a custom relationship-building Love Kit incorporating ideas from their shared interests. But this can be done through conversation, too.
Kirk says, "The main thing is for you and your partner to agree upon a scene that you find arousing. If you can’t agree, then take turns."
5. Don't say "no" to things outright. Instead, be creative and how you can meet halfway. For example, Beneteau suggests, if getting spanked sounds scary or painful, consider telling your partner a story about getting spanked.
6. Consider the conversation foreplay. "The more conversation you have, the more planning you do, the more you'll know what to expect," Beneteau says. That will help you enjoy the experience overall.
7. Approach it as an experiment. If you invest too much in making it the BEST sex ever, you can set yourself up for disappointment. Instead, consider it playing a game and then use what worked to plan the next time.
8. Start with little things. You don't have to start with a full-blown fantasy sequence with costumes and everything. Start with a few simple things. Here are just a few examples from Burton: Speak with a sexy accent or voice, try on a headband with ears or a tiara or a wig, give yourself a new name, try a bold red lipstick or dramatic cat eye makeup, try new lingerie and long gloves (men can get try costumes too, like a vest without shirt, or a hat). Read aloud a passage from a book or poem, get into dirty talk, and use a vocabulary you don't usually use.
9. Pick a scenario you both like. If you want to go with a whole scenario, Kirk suggests choosing one "that is familiar so that you will both feel comfortable." Some of her suggestions include professor/student, handyman/stay-at-home mom, masseuse/client, escort/client, mistress/slave, movie/book scenes a la Fifty Shades of Grey.
10. Be careful with power exchanges. Speaking of Fifty Shades ... "In true role play, the person in the submissive role has the real power," says Beneteau. "Before undertaking a power exchange role-play, decide who is going to be what role, and what activities are allowed, and which are not."
11. Give it 15 minutes. Kirk recommends sticking to an idea for at least this long. "If by the end it just doesn’t feel right for either of you, perhaps try doing something else, but if it does work, the action will probably go on a lot longer to the desired conclusion -- if you know what I mean."
12. Keep your sense of humor. "A little chuckle here and there is normal," says Kirk. "After all, you are both seeing one another like you never have." Burton agrees. You want to lead with passion, but "work laughter and humor into it."
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13. It's an experiment, not a performance. Likewise, don't worry about getting it just right. "Just try to connect with one another," Kirk advises. "Trust that the dialogue will come to you if you can get over the first couple of opening lines. It’s okay to be nervous. A little bit of nerves adds to the overall excitement and spontaneity."
14. Debrief afterwards. All three of our experts agree that this is an important part of role-play. Talk about what worked and what didn't. "If it makes both of you feel more secure, decide not to share this tryst with others," Kirk says. "Keeping this private may not only give you permission to have less inhibitions about your role-playing, but it may also create a little titillation by making it all the more taboo."
Have you ever tried role-play in your relationship?
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