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The Power of Erotic Role-Play: The 'Why'

Image © 2012 Lori DiLetto
Avatar placeholder Article by Switch Lori DiLetto Blog Slixa Late Night

The thoughtful advice and opinions of the author of this article are meant to be informative and entertaining and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Slixa.

At this point in this series, I’ve already touched on some of the reasons why adults find it so erotic to do something as silly on its surface as pulling on knee-high socks and playing a schoolgirl in the bedroom. Now it’s time to explore them more in-depth, and to discuss a previously unmentioned and surprisingly serious additional reason why people choose to do erotic role-play.

A common motivation for exploring all kinds of kinky activities, bedroom boredom often factors into the decision to role-play. After all, no-frills, lights-out, missionary-style sex can become tedious after a while. Adding some costumes and props to the mix can certainly spice things up, but it’s the unique aspect of pretending to be other people that really draws a lot of long-term monogamous couples. After knowing one another as husband and wife for fifteen years, what can be more exciting than exploring each other as employer and maid or teacher and student or complete strangers?

These foreign roles aren’t just appealing to people in long-term relationships; the novelty of exploring beyond one’s daily roles of parent, worker, and friend can be a draw for anyone. If you’re a low-level grunt at work and want to feel the power of being in charge, taking on the role of army commander can be quite exciting. If you are in a position of authority and long for a time before you had so many responsibilities, regressing to infanthood can be a fun way to let go. And if you want to be able to take on roles outside the realm of possibility, discover ways of engaging with the world that never were and never could be accessible to you, why not try putting on dog ears or an alien costume?

Exploring other roles can be especially enticing for someone who already longs to allow an alternate persona to clamber out. If you’re a man repressing feminine characteristics, releasing your inner woman in the bedroom can be both cathartic and erotic. Cross-dressing personas are often full-fledged subpersonalities with their own interests and quirks waiting to be discovered. The same is true for ‘Little’ personalities— babies and children hiding inside adult minds that long for the ability to regress and explore.

Age play is certainly taboo in a sexual setting, but it can be erotically exciting for that very reason. That’s one of the beautiful things about role-play: it allows us to explore the taboo and dangerous in a safe way. For example, if you ever had fantasies of seducing a teacher when you were in middle school, age play as an adult can finally let you experience that forbidden thrill without the damaging psychosexual consequences that an actual child would experience when engaging in that sort of relationship. After all, there is no such thing as a child ‘seducing’ an adult, just adults taking advantage of precocious displays of sexuality for their own dark purposes.

This brings us to the last and perhaps most surprising reason why people role-play: to heal from psychosexual trauma. Kinksters commonly deny that BDSM is linked to childhood abuse, and that’s true to an extent, as studies have shown that the percentage of people in the kink community who are abuse survivors isn’t statistically different from the percentage of survivors in the general population. However, abuse can potentially shape or re-shape sexuality, and it is not uncommon for survivors to sexualize unequal power dynamics. Role-play provides a safe outlet in which to explore those dynamics. It also allows one to ‘re-write’ the script of abuse. In rape role-play, for example, the sub can dictate the scene and decide when and how the action will stop. This can give survivors a chance to exert their sexual will over scenarios reminiscent of their trauma.

This is not to say, of course, that all abuse survivors are kinky or are kinky in a way relating to role-play and power play. I also don’t mean to imply that everyone who is into taboo power play is an abuse survivor. Some people are simply turned on by the shocking and dangerous, and others role-play nonconsent to confront their fear of it or to play on the emotional edge. But it is also very much a way for people to engage with past traumas and reassert their own sexual desires. Truly, THIS is the power of erotic role-play. It allows us to explore within and without, to grow and to heal, and all with the release of orgasmic bliss with our chosen partners!

Stay tuned for the final installment where I discuss the nitty gritty of how to engage in role-play safely and effectively.

Read the other articles in this installment series:

The Power of Erotic Role-Play: Introduction

The Power of Erotic Role-Play: The 'Who'

The Power of Erotic Role-Play: The 'What'

The Power of Erotic Role-Play: The 'How'


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