Role-play: escaping into pleasure from everyday life

Author: Kitteh
A to Z | Basics

What is role-play?

Role-playing is an important part of our social education from an early age. By putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and imitating him or her, empathy grows. For this reason, role-play is also often used in psychotherapy. Basically, any form of (show) play in which you embody a specific, usually different person, can be described as role-play.

When we talk about role-play in an erotic or BDSM context, it is also about slipping into a different role. Usually together with a partner who takes on the opposite role. It is about recreating a certain identity with its corresponding character traits and understanding yourself as this role for the duration of the session.

What types of role-play are there in BDSM?

The variations of role-play in BDSM or in a sexual context in general are countless. There are those in which you remain yourself, but turn other or only certain character traits outwards. Staging the typical BDSM power dynamic is also a kind of role-play. One side takes on the submissive role, the other the dominant one. Age play is another example of role-play in which you retain your own identity. Here, the role changes with age.

Of course, role-playing games also offer the exciting opportunity to shed your own identity. Namely when you portray a different, fictitious person. Many kinksters also love to transform themselves into an animal or an object. They don’t want to play as a person at all.

What is so appealing about it?

Every role-player will probably be able to give their own personal answer to this question. It can be about experiencing humiliation through a different role. For example, in connection with feminization or sissy play. Or practicing or experiencing a certain type of treatment, as in clinic games. Pet players enjoy the role of (pet) animal or owner: in education, control and a different kind of tenderness.

However, many role-playing games also have something to do with fantasies, social taboos and the allure of the forbidden. It is often about miming a power or status imbalance, a certain relationship, interaction, authority or dependency. Why else are the typical nurse and schoolgirl outfits, nun costumes, the role play of secretary and boss or uniforms so widespread? And certainly not just among BDSM enthusiasts. Costumes, accessories and disguises have long been popular with all genders and sexualities. Role play doesn’t have to be, but it can also be visually staged and thus reinforced.

In other roles, we can do things that would be unthinkable in real life and for our actual person. Some people get a kick out of pretending not to know each other. Or staging dangerous situations, perhaps even pretending that there is no consensus. In such scenarios, we can live out our fantasies freely. As long as everyone involved agrees, (almost) anything goes.

Why role-play makes many things easier

As already mentioned, role-play gives us the opportunity to slip into a different skin. For a while, we are no longer ourselves, but someone or something else. This can be very liberating. Experiencing something that you don’t experience in your actual identity is a great, enriching and sexually stimulating experience.

Role-play can also be linked to other kinks and even support them. For example, as a Top you become sadistic in a certain role. Or as a Bottom during a certain role-play, you become submissive and obedient. For some, this can make it easier to carry out certain practices without remorse. Because these are part of the role. As soon as you take them off again, there is a certain distance again. Especially when it comes to humiliation and degrading games, it can be nice to link these demanding emotions to a role.

Role-play is not a blank check

Despite everything, it is important to remember that we always have responsibility for ourselves and our partner, even in a different role. Role-playing is not a free pass to suddenly do whatever suits the scene. It is important to discuss beforehand what exactly your role-play should look like, what your wishes, possibilities and limits are.

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