There has been a lot of talk lately around the Late Night water cooler about change: the changing of seasons, the lengthening nights, holiday-inspired naughtiness, and the shifting of planets. As we move into the colder months, we face an onslaught of challenges and opportunities not available to us in the warmer months; as it cools down, life moves towards the cozier side of the spectrum, calling us out of beach parties and outdoor dinners to movie date nights, flannel sheets, mulled wine, earthy perfumes, and sex in front of fireplaces.

Despite the fact that autumn is my favorite time of year (good lord, the fashion! The hot drinks! The couches begging to be lounged upon with books!), there is a darker side to the fall equinox: all of the aforementioned change generally abounds on multiple levels. Fall and Winter are the seasons when the largest percentages of layoffs occur. Depression, and Seasonal Affective Disorder are in full swing. Pre-holiday pressure and consumerism create tensions in the household, especially for those of you with children. Common illnesses, like colds and flus, abound. It can be a rough world when your body, mind, and economical well-being aren’t as secure as they seemed in June.

However, I am here to offer you a gem of hope. At Slixa, we have a number of articles about how sex, orgasming, and physical intimacy can alleviate illness, bolster self-confidence, and promote a good immune system (here  and here), but what about introducing a little bit of play into your sexual repertoire? If Bette and Tina can overcome Lesbian Bed Death (the most dreaded and challenging of all sexual ailments) by seeing a Sex Therapist, then let’s take a page from their book, and get creative about our sexy times. In these dark times, I’ve got two words for you: Age Play. Not just for the kinkily-oriented, Age Play is defined as any two (or any number, really) of consenting individuals treating each other as if they were different ages. Generally, the dynamic plays out as relationships between submissives and doms, wherein one party acts the ‘elder’, and the other as the ‘youngster’, such as in Daddy or Mommy play.

Though Age Play falls into multiple categories of kink, you don’t have to identify as kinky to participate! In fact, choosing to spice up your sex life (and beat some of those seasonal blues) by role-playing a naughty schoolgirl and a stern, demanding teacher could not only help you develop new levels of fun in the bedroom, but could also provide an excellent space to relieve tension, work out arguments, and turn unwanted negativity (stubbornness, brattiness, or combativeness) into something wholly sexy and fun. Just because Age Play touches upon other areas of kink doesn’t necessarily make it in and of itself a kinky act.

Is Age Play something befuddling foreign to you? Does the idea of pitching a fit as an argumentative teenager make you feel uncomfortable? Remember that Age Play is just that: play! There is no association between pretending to be underage and being actually attracted to underage people. In fact, I would argue that the stark juxtaposition between the age of the player and the age they are playing is what makes the whole experience arousing: you are experiencing a person as you are not accustomed to experiencing them. In therapy, Age Play can be used to help draw a person outside of their normal frame of thinking, and into new modes of thinking that can benefit particular situations. The same is true for your sex life—got problems? Break out the mini skirts and rulers, the toys and bubble bath, and jump into a new level of sexy thinking!

If this depression-busting, therapeutic method of getting down leaves you wondering where to begin, here are a few launch-points to begin with:

1) The tried-and-true Teacher/Student dynamic. This is a particularly hot scene if you and your mature escort lover are in the throes of an argument and just need to let off some power—dynamic-induced steam.

2) Babysitter/girl scene. Choose your ages, and get creative! This one is fun, and can accommodate a wide variety of props, games, hide-and-seek tactics, and ‘quick, before your mother gets home!’ rushes.

3) Solo Age Play. Partner-less by circumstance or choice? No problem! You can imagine yourself as a cranky teenager who needs to be put to bed properly. Use your amazing imagination to summon sexy scenes of the exact adult who will sooth you to sleep, pet your head, or pull you into their lap.

4) Get Festive! What's more jolly than Santa scenes? Be Ol' Saint Nic, an elf, Mrs. Claus, or choose your own holiday-themed adventure!

These are just a few ideas! It is also worth noting that Age Play isn’t necessarily about sex. Though we saw above that it can be used as both a therapeutic and mood-elevating tool, Age Play can also be non-sexual, and can utilize teasing, torture, empowerment, humiliation, and discipline to alter the emotions of those playing.

Want to know more about Age Play and how you can harness the power of pretend for your own seasonal betterment? Check out Lil Jennie, Inner Kids Forever, or join FetLife to meet other age-players and start building community. Happy Playing!