Role play: a beginner's guide

Getting into role play can be a daunting prospect for many reasons, from figuring out what you like to actually trying that out with a partner. It can, however, be a fun and sexy way of exploring new characters, situations and places during sex, and make sex more exciting as a result! Here's all the basics you need to know before getting into role play.


Role play

Role play during sex involves acting out erotic fantasies for mutual satisfaction and gratification.


  1. Open and honest communication:

    • The key to trying anything new during sex is communication first. And this isn't just with your partner. In fact, before you have that conversation, figure out why you want to try it and what your expectations are - you might just want something to spice up sex this week, or you might want them to take the role you want to play very seriously. Once you've thought about this yourself, have an honest conversation with your partner about your desires and boundaries. Discuss what you're comfortable with, what you're not, and when to stop if one of you wants a break.

  2. Get on the same page:

    • This step doesn't require having the same fantasies! In fact, having slightly different fantasies to your partner can mean you have more varied sex, and can introduce you to things you like but wouldn't have considered. Chat about what you both want to try and make sure you're both committed, so one of you doesn't feel embarrassed or underwhelmed.

  3. Choose your fantasy:

    • Role play is an area of sex that incorporates a wide range of scenarios, some of which require more or less effort than others. Remember to make clear with your partner before that whatever situation you want to try, there's no shame in it. You might want to try something public, like pretending to be strangers in a bar, or dress up, trying the classic doctor-patient scenario. You might even want to go further, using accents or pretending to be out-of-this world beings (think Lily's alien kink in Sex Education..) Start with whichever feels right for both of you and make sure you're both comfortable (consent is key!)

  4. Team work makes the role play work:

    • Approach this as you and your partner trying something new together, rather than it being a big, unknown thing. Start small if you don't know how to dive right in (you don't need to go straight into pretending to be other people) and test the waters. Make sure to discuss having an obvious safe word, or signal, so that you both know when the other is serious about stopping.

  5. Don't worry about staying in character:

    • A natural part of role play, particularly when you're new to it, is that it's funny! Laughing makes it less awkward, so don't be afraid of breaking out of character and appreciating that the situation can feel funny at first. But remember, role play is a way of trying out and fulfilling your deepest fantasies, so stick at it.

  6. Aftercare:

    • After any type of sexual encounter, aftercare is important, but particularly after one which requires vulnerability, such as role play. So make sure to pay attention to each other afterwards. This might mean being physically affectionate, offering affirmation or taking time to debrief. Chat about what you liked and didn’t like, and laugh about it.

Role play is worth a shot for anyone, even if it just means you discover that you like some light BDSM or you find you're really into your partner dressing up as an English professor… Either way, it's a fun, hot and sometimes silly way of lightening and spicing up your sex life. 

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