We recently had a chat at The SafeworD/s Club about Roleplay. In my preamble to the topic I described roleplay as the marmite of BDSM as people either seem to love or to hate it. It turned out that most of us who attended the chat were fans, although we’d all had some good, as well as bad scenes and all felt that there were limits as well as secrets to what would or wouldn’t work. No one wants to fall off the stage, or be left in front of an audience with their trousers down, so I thought that I would share what has and hasn’t worked for us.
HisLordship and I do like roleplay. We have found that it is a good way to introduce new things and to push our own boundaries a bit. We started with school girl scenes, introduced medical scenes and really took it from there. In fact, Sir has even said at times that in the early stages he felt a bit like being a Dom was another role that he was playing. Thankfully since then it has become a lot more natural for him, but I think there is still an element of tapping into that sort of head-space so that he can think and feel as he wants to do. This will happen more often when we are having a high protocol scene and he is being quite formal and issuing lots of instructions.
I think it is important too, when choosing a role, to find something that you feel at least a bit comfortable with. While you may be using roleplay to push your boundaries and fulfil the kinky desires of your partner, for me, it would need to be a role that I could relate to. The ones that are most successful for me are ones where my vulnerability is heightened and also ones where there is some humiliation. That is because these things turn me on anyway so it is easier for me to let go and be responsive to it. I am always submissive in the bedroom so a role where I have to take the lead will be much more challenging for me and will mean that I am more likely to stay in my head instead of letting go.
Passive roles work usually work if you are a sub because most of us are able to follow instruction and be led in the right direction. But part of roleplay is about providing something different than the role that you would usually take. Whatever the role, you need to allow the other person to explore their kink in a way that they would not be able to usually; this is the difference between roleplay and what is your own dynamic. Even with a relatively passive role, such as a slave girl, you will probably still need to tap into the inner part of yourself that your Sir is looking for and respond to him in that way. Playing the role of a school girl or a bunny or a slave is not the same as identifying as a little or a pet or indeed being in a M/s dynamic.
I have found that often roles which seem to be quite close in terms of what they require can actually be further apart for me that HisLordship might think. There are subtle differences in the way that I see myself and rather than tap into something positive inside, it can actually tap into my inner fears. We had a disastrous scene where he wanted me to be a porn actress auditioning while he filmed me. This was so far removed from anything I would do that my confidence to see it through just fell away. I ended up in a bit of a downward spiral and had to be scooped up and taken in a different direction. So ‘no’ to the porn actress but ‘yes’ to the private dancer. ‘No’ to the high class hooker but ‘yes’ to the courtesan.
This confused me for a while but I have come to see roleplay more as having to fit in with who I am. As a person I think many of us wear different faces for the different roles we have in life and really a role with a sexual theme is no different. As with anything it is about finding the path where your fantasies cross with each other so that you can more easily explore them together. It is thinking about the things you would like to try but are afraid to, and working out if hiding yourself under a different mask will allow you to do that in a way that will mean you can break down the usual barriers which allow you resist.
Roleplay has allowed us to touch on consensual non-consent, primal play, age play, pet play and objectification and realise that these are areas that we would like to explore further. It is an easy vehicle to do this as it can be discussed beforehand so that you have an idea of how your partner will react, but because you are ‘not actually you’, it is easy to let go and take things further than you might usually. For me one of the things that I love is being able to get out of my own head and leave the thoughts that hold me back there behind. If you can escape into this new role then I find that is a relatively easy way to achieve this sort of freedom of mind and action.
If you are just starting out with roleplay then I would suggest thinking about the kind of personality you have and the sorts of things that you like. Do you lean towards the bratty? Do you get excited by fear? Do you like to feel vulnerable or to be overpowered? Are you passive or active? Do you like pain and torture? Do you want to be worshipped or want to be tamed? I think that if you are able to dig deep to find what makes you work then you will be more able to bring that to the discussion about suitable roles and scenarios and then more able to bring yourself to the role that is chosen.
We do talk before trying a new roleplay scene, however, this is usually in general terms. We never follow a script although there may be something to set the context, such as a scenario, some dialogue or some instructions which will help to get us started. We will ad-lib from there and go with it together which is why it is important to have something that we can relate to. We usually have quite open ideas and expectations and that fits with the sorts of scenes that we have and the sort of Dominant that Sir is. A Dom who was more particular in expectations would likely have more structure and more instructions so that their desires were met that way.
Because of the way we spark off each other, we have often found that things have come up during role play which we have gone on to discuss after, and then explore and incorporate in our other scenes and play. It isn’t that we go out of our way to keep things hidden usually, but sometimes we have discovered interests and kinks which we didn’t really know were there. In this way we have been able to push our limits a little which is always quite an exhilaration experience.
I guess like every other type of kink and BDSM play, roleplay is something that you either want to do or don’t. Some will enjoy it and find it a good fit and others will prefer to stick with the things that do it for them. I think that, while you need to make sure that you are safe and sane and consensual, it is always good not to take yourself or the activity too seriously. The point is to have fun with it and through that shared pleasure to build a deeper connection with each other. Most of our roleplay will end in sex and at some point along the way, the role will probably take a back seat to the events that are happening and the mask will fall away as we arrive at our destination.