Lifestyle Dominant and professional sex educator – Master Dominic – helps to answer members' questions and provide advice to those exploring BDSM and fetish relationships.
I'm having a lot of play dates with a guy and the naturally flowing sex/kink is great. He's really into roleplay though, varying from superhero to prison/interrogation and to be honest, I just don't get it. I'm not freaked out by it, but I'm confused by it. I don't know how I'm supposed to get into it without feeling stupid, so I'm interested to read what your thoughts on it are. Thank you!
Master Dominic writes:
This is always a bit of a tricky one! There are so many different facets of role play and so many reasons people are into it. For some, it's just silly fun. For others, it's a necessity to get into a different head space, and for others it can be something quite deep; exploring trauma or fear, for example. There's no right or wrong reason to be into a certain role play, and it's good to remember that.
I've been in your shoes several times – whether somebody's said they're into something I just can't get my head around (I was once invited to be part of a Little Bo Peep scenario…) or when I've sat and looked at the messages and just thought "How on earth am I supposed to pull this off?!" The biggest thing that eventually dawned on me is that it's okay – and a good idea – to just ask! I think we're so used to thinking that sex should come naturally that when we're faced with something outside of the box, we still think the same rules apply and they just don't. It's something you have to ask the person about. Perhaps not on a 'give me your entire life story' level at first, but just a simple response of "that's really interesting – what is it about this that turns you on?" It's important to brace for a deep conversation if it is something more serious than just thinking a certain outfit is sexy, and to be understanding and open minded about it if that's the case, but for the most part the answer you get is pretty simple and easy to understand. Each roleplay has a clear role or theme – bondage for interrogation, pain for medical experimentation, humiliation for cuckold/slave scenarios – it's quite easy to think about what your partner has proposed and figure out where to take it.
It's equally important to be open about your thoughts on it, too. If it's something you find upsetting or offensive (racial degradation, for example) you are never under any obligation to get involved. Some people just find certain things too challenging to enjoy, and that's okay! Even I turn down certain session ideas because I think it'll put me in a negative head space. I'm not able to look after my sub properly if I've been put in an uncomfortable mood, so I politely decline anything that I think is too challenging or confusing for me. That doesn't mean it's okay to be judgemental or a dick about it, though. Consider your words so you don't make your partner feel ashamed of themselves. Never yuck someone's yum.
So, you've had a natter about it, you're understanding why they're into it – now you've got to actually think about how you're going to do it. It sounds daft, I know, but I try to approach role play like a piece of theatre. Do a bit of character study and write some lines! You don't need to lock yourself in a hotel room for 3 months to get into character, but a little thought about who your character is and what they might say or think helps a whole lot when you find yourself stuck for what to say halfway through a scene. Let's take the prison officer; I'm likely to raise my voice more than a kindly Doctor would and be more aggressive than encouraging. A prison inmate isn't likely to be treated particularly gently, are they? So, it stands to reason that somebody who wants to role play as one doesn't want to be treated easily either. Short, clear, loud instructions are called for in that case, so I'll write a few standard lines that I can bark at them without really thinking. Then, if you're a supervillain tormenting their captive superhero, you're likely to be more sneering, intimidating and have some sort of insidious monologue to deliver to him as he struggles to get free. In the case of the supervillain I'd be inclined to make it a bit more light-hearted and humorous – his interest in that indicates he has a sense of imagination and a love of silliness, after all.
Silliness is a key word there. Even if you are engaged in something quite serious in tone, it's important for both of you to remember it's a bit daft! You might say something in the wrong tone and get a laugh unintentionally or get word salad and temporarily spoil the tension. Happens to me constantly. It's the same as any kind of sex – if you can't laugh at it, you're taking it far too seriously. At the end of the day, you're two grown men pretending the governor of Guantanamo Bay has ordered all inmates suck a dick by the end of the day. What's there to feel silly about once you've accepted it's silly? Sounds like great fun, to me. Get stuck in, enjoy it, and see how long it takes you to start coming up with your own scenarios… joy is infectious, after all.
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