Pedagogy of the Undressed: The art of role-playing

Pedagogy of the Undressed

Welcome to another installment of Pedagogy of the Undressed! This week, we’re going to be talking about the fine art of role-playing. A reader asks:

“Hi. I imagine you can tell I read your sex ed article and had a question. 
Alright so it’s nothing to extreme but I have no clue how to role play my (sadomasochistic switch) girlfriend wants to try but I (sadist) can’t for the life of me get into it. Any suggestions?”

Role-playing can be an amazing way to explore all kinds of different dynamics, feelings, and fantasies with the people you play with. Getting into a role play can be a bit of a challenge, and you’re definitely not alone in struggling to find the role(s) that fit perfectly and get your juices flowing. Here are a few tips:

      • Get inspiration! Read erotica, watch your favorite porn, re-read your favorite books, and watch your favorite movies. Do you have characters you strongly identify with? Ever wanted to be Harry Potter, Divine, or Storm? Go ahead and start with characters you absolutely love and identify with.
      • Talk to your cutie about what you both want. Talk out some of the scenes you both might be interested in trying out. Ever fantasize about meeting a mysterious stranger in a bar? How about a naughty nurse or sadistic doctor? Write out the things that get you going and then come up with a couple of scenes that feel good to all parties involved. Be as specific as you can so you don’t get caught off guard and fall out of character.
      • Take time to set up the scene. Change rooms around or meet somewhere you wouldn’t normally meet to make it more realistic for you. Props, costumes, and scenery can help you get into your role and also help you get out of the self-conscious part of yourself that makes it difficult to get into it. 

roleplay1

      • You may find it helpful to create a persona. Take time to explore yourself and see if you have a daddy, mistress, girl scout or teacher waiting to be set free into the world! Get all the tools you need to feel fully immersed in your persona (wigs, leather chaps, high heels, whatever they need!)
      • Start getting into character before you play. Walk around the house in the outfit you are going to wear and get comfortable in it. Practice your moves in a mirror, and practice some hot lines you want to use during the scene. This will help you feel comfortable staying in character during the scene.
      • Go to a workshop. Lots of awesome sex toy stores have workshops on role-playing and many other topics. The Smitten Kitten, Babeland, and the Pleasure Chest all have interactive classes you can attend to get tips and tricks in person. Check out your local scene and see if anyone is hosting a workshop in the near future and make a date of it!
      • Don’t forget to keep communicating and setting clear boundaries with your sweetie before, during, and after the scene. When we take on a role in a scene, it’s extra important to make sure the boundaries and roles are clear for everyone involved. Breaking it down afterwards can help you figure out what was amazing, what wasn’t, and what you want to do next time.
      • It’s okay to feel awkward or silly! Most people do at least some of the time when they’re getting their freak on. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you keep falling out of character or can’t fully get into it right away. Sometimes we have to have a few rehearsals before the show comes out the way we want it to.

If you still struggle with role-playing, it’s totally acceptable and fine to say it’s not your jam. Everyone’s sexy is different, and it’s okay if role play is just not your thing.

Thanks for the question, and please feel free to email me more of them at undressed@feministing.com. Next time we’ll be exploring the wild, exciting, and occasionally complicated world of polyamory!

Illustrations by Alex Fukui

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