MANILA, Philippines - Sexual role-playing is an activity that is certain to be on the minds of millions of couples that feel that their sex lives need a bit of a boost.
"Sexual role-playing can be a healthy way of putting the spark back into a couple's love life," psychologist Ephraim Gochangco said.
"There are a number of issues that couples have to understand before entering into it. Both women and men, especially in highly religious communities have great hang-ups about veering away from the 'strictly missionary' life," she added.
Gochangco enumerated a number of couples' usses that must be resolved before embarking on sexual role-playing.
1. Trust issues. First is a fear that your partner will laugh at you. Trust is an essential part of a relationship, and thus should also apply to a couple's sex life. Role-playing is a form of play and adventure and should be looked upon as such.
You should trust your partner enough to participate fully in this intimate moment.-- and will keep it private.
2. Infidelity? Second is that role-playing is a form of infidelity since your partner will be making love with a character-- someone you're not. Couples are simply playing roles here, so infidelity should not be an issue.
In fact, role-playing is an effective way for individuals to keep from straying. When people are happy (when their physical and emotional needs are fulfilled), there would be less reason to look for sexual partners outside the relationship.
3. Is it a sin? There is no winning this argument. If your partner is puritanical about sex, stick to the missionary position. What this issue underscores is that you must know your partner well.
A conservative partner may want more romantic scenarios while adventurous ones could pursue "wilder" fantasies.
For example, Gochangco said some women fantasize about the scenario of being raped (paradoxically by a partner they love and trust). It is hence, more about the feeling of being dominated than the actual act of rape.
"The desire to enact a rape fantasy should not be taken as a desire to be raped. Remember, most almost all sexual fantasies are just that--fantasis. A rape fantasy is usually the result of a woman's desire to relinquish responsibility from the day-to-day pressure of having to be in charge," he said.
"Likewise, a man who fantasizes dominating someone else may be his way of temporarily exercising a degree of control. Fantasies should have boundaries in order to be safe and effective," Gochangco said.
Here are some tips for couples who want to explore role-playing in the bedroom:
1. Start slow. Not ready to play slave-and-master? You can always start with something less dramatic like a scenario between a teacher and student. Also, if you are not ready to dress up for the part, you can start by changing your usual dialogue to simulate the roles you have chosen to play.
2. Encourage your partner. Appeal to your partner's best features. If you think your partner has a great body, you could say, "I always thought your breasts were gorgeous! I can imagine you in a harem girl's outfit or a cheerleader's uniform! You would take my breath away!"
3. Be sensitive. Always be conscious of your partner's comfort level. If you feel that he or she can really get into the act, then go to the next level by being more bold with your words or consider dressing up for the part you're playing. If you feel that role-play makes your partner uncomfortable, step back until your partner is comfortable enough to pursue it further.
4. Team sport. Take time out to find what your partner's fantasy is. Chances are, it would be easier to convince your partner to role-play with you if you are following his or her choices instead of your own.
5. Visual aids. Watch a romantic or erotic movie to get you in the mood. Visual and aural (sound) stimulation heightens a person's ability to take on a role.If anything, Gochangco said, role-play and fantasy exploration should allow a person to "unleash their alter ego" and "explore their sexuality in a trusting environment."