Roleplay is Intimate Improv
Sometimes clients want to try roleplay, but they have no idea how to get started. When I’m asked about how to do it, I always think about improv comedy. The reason good improv works is because the performers follow the rule of “yes, and.” This means that instead of denying what one performer suggests, it’s better to agree to their suggestion and add on to it. For example:
Person A: Welcome to my candy store!
Person B: What are you talking about? We’re on a beach in Mexico.
It would be hard to move on from here because these performers can’t agree on a scene. But if Person B said “yes, and”….
Person A: Welcome to my candy store!
Person B: Thank you! I’ve been dying to try your famous beef fudge!
…then these performers would have somewhere to go! With each additional thing any performer says, the other performers will just keep saying “yes, and.” The scene builds from there. (By the way, did you know beef fudge is a real thing? Okay, okay, I’m getting off topic…)
I think the rule of “yes, and” applies well to roleplay, too. It can be difficult to know where to go with a roleplay, and the “yes, and” rule provides the necessary structure to get over any apprehension and just jump into it. So, let’s say you’re doing a therapist/client roleplay. It might go something like this:
Therapist: You’ve been coming late to all your sessions.
Client: I know. To be honest, it’s because I get a weird feeling around you.
Therapist: I thought it might be something like that. Is it possible that weird feeling is attraction? It’s common for clients to feel what we call “transference.” In some cases it leads to wanting a different kind of relationship, beyond the one of therapist and client.
Client: I mean, it’s hard not to be attracted when you always wear those short skirts.
Therapist: It must be even harder for you when I uncross my legs.
Client: It’s like you want me to notice that you’re not wearing panties. It’s like you’re testing me. You know I’m in therapy to work through my sex compulsions, but you dress like that.
Therapist: Well, you know, there’s more than one way to treat sexual compulsions…
Each response agrees with what the other person said and adds onto it, and the roleplay builds from there.
Roleplay can be intimidating. The fear that you might “mess up” somehow and make the whole thing awkward and un-sexy is very real. I definitely felt that when I started trying different roleplays! If this sounds like the kind of thing you worry about too, my suggestion is to take a step back and look at the situation for what it is: you’re exploring a fantasy in private with someone who is excited to explore your fantasy with you. Things might not play out the same as they did in your mind, but that’s part of the fun of it! Give yourself permission to make mistakes and say the wrong thing. Allow yourself to laugh if you feel awkward or silly. Allow yourself to be silly! After all, it’s kind of a silly situation. Nothing about it has to be perfect, and nobody is there to judge you. There’s another rule in improv that there are no mistakes, only opportunities. I invite you to embrace this attitude as well. It might just make that nervous anxiety melt away.
If you’re curious about roleplay but can’t think of a scene, I find the best inspiration comes from noticing which situations in your day-to-day life make you tell yourself “stop thinking about sex.” Do you find yourself fighting to keep your thoughts rated PG when you see a beautiful woman in line at the post office, or when you get a taxi and hope your driver is hot, or when you’re on a plane and everyone is asleep except for you and a stewardess? All of those are great prompts for an absolutely filthy roleplay. And if you still can’t think of one, don’t worry! I’ve got a few unique ideas up my sleeve. How about:
The Shy Art Student: I’m a student in your life drawing class. I diligently show up for every session, pencil in hand. Not that you understand why, considering I turn beet red and run out of the room every time the model I’m supposed to be drawing is a man. One day you pull me aside after class to tell me you’re concerned I won’t pass, considering I’ve left so many sessions early. I confess to you that I run away because I’ve never actually seen a naked man before, and I become too nervous to stay as soon as I see a model start to unbutton his pants. You suggest that there’s a way you can help me - maybe if you take off your clothes, you can coach me through my shyness. The only problem is, as soon as you’re naked my anxiety turns to excitement, and I find it hard to keep my hands to myself…
The Demanding Boss: I’m your boss, and I’m always treating you like shit. I give you double the amount of work as everyone else, I tell you that you have to work overtime without extra pay, I even make fun of you in meetings. Finally one day you decide you’ve had enough and demand to know why I always single you out. I freely admit that it’s because you look exactly like my ex-husband. He could never keep up with my sensual appetite, and I still harbor resentment for him and the men who remind me of him. To you, this seems like an opportunity. What if you offer to fulfill my every intimate whim, to visit my bedroom and do exactly as I say? Maybe then I’ll be able to let go of the anger that you’ve become the target for… Curious about female domination? This session is perfect for it.
The Teasing Neighbors: My girlfriend and I never close our blinds. Even when we’re moaning in bed together, making the mattress squeak and the headboard bounce against the wall, you can see us clear as day. It’s proving to be a real distraction for you. As you sit in your home office trying to get work done, your eyes are drawn to our open window and the show that we’re putting on. One day as you’re coming home you notice we left the window open, and this is just too much for you. You walk over to us and speak through the mesh of the window screen, “Do you know everyone can see and hear you?” Instead of answering your question, we decide to invite you in. This time, we close the window and the curtain. You can tell that if this time we decided we needed some privacy, you must be in for the experience of a lifetime… This would be an amazing scenario for a duo session with me and whichever provider you fantasize about seeing me with!
I would also love to explore whatever fantasy you’ve got floating around in your head. The pleasure I get from roleplay comes out of watching dirty thoughts become dirty realities. Tell me what you’ve been dreaming about and I might just say “yes, and.”