I remember the first time it happened. My adventurous lover started talking dirty and somehow this spilled into a "scene." He was my teacher. I was his student—his failing student, desperately in need of a passing grade and willing to do almost anything to get that A. I became wildly turned on—the added mental element of a forbidden scenario rocked me in a surprising and powerful way. My orgasm came fast and hard. In the next few weeks we acted out fantasies that I’d masturbated over for years. I was thrilled yet also felt like a sexual schizophrenic—this was too good not to be wrong.
Can raucous sex play with your partner continue after the honeymoon period, after having children, after your 10th or 20th anniversary? Should it? When we ponder the estimate that infidelity occurs in 30 to 60 percent of all marriages, we can guess at all sorts of reasons for affairs—to escape the crushing monotony of domestic life, to have a fresh sexual experience with someone who won’t ask you about the phone bill or where Billy should go to preschool.
There is an undertow of thought in American married life to "settle down." There is a prevalent belief that married sex should be vanilla and politically correct. This may be one of the reasons infidelity rates are high—we are operating within a Puritanical framework, feeling lousy about our partners, and ourselves and then go against the "rules" anyway, having sex outside of the marriage for some excitement and release.
There may be a step in between. What if we role played being other people?
Role-playing allows you and your partner to try on different personas without having an illicit affair. One of my favorites "games" is to meet my husband at a bar as strangers. One evening I actually put on a wig and dressed in a new outfit he’d never seen. I arrived at the bar first and was flattered when a few guys tried their best to buy me a drink and interest me in conversation, which I declined.
“Role-playing allows you and your partner to try on different personas without having an illicit affair.”
A while later my husband arrived and sat at the barstool by my side. Within 10 minutes we were making out, then requesting the bill. On the sidewalk, exhilarated, we giggled at the bewilderment of the two men at the bar who had struck out.
But what was more intriguing was the magnetic pull and liberation we both felt. Preening in front of the mirror preparing for our date brought back a seduction ritual that should never be lost on long-term committed love, but often is.
According to a study in Journal of Sexual Medicine, people in the BDSM scene reported higher levels of well-being than people outside it. When tested on indicators of mental health they scored higher than the "vanilla" test group. They also had less anxiety, fear of rejection and felt more bonded with their partners. People into kinky sex may be psychologically healthier. Although you may not be into ropes and domination, the creativity and attention given to planning scenes and dates may be a beneficial habit to adopt.
Roleplaying works best when there’s forethought to your "games." Here are some thoughts to consider as you plan:
“Preening in front of the mirror preparing for our date brought back a seduction ritual that should never be lost on long-term committed love, but often is.”
* Eroticism is important and needs to be nurtured. Take some time to explore what are the turn-ons, triggers, and boundaries for you and your lover. Describe people, events, scenarios. The more you talk and plan before you actually get in bed, the better success of your scenes.
* Your sexuality is sometimes contrary to who you are out of bed. Upstanding feminist husbands may want to spank their wives, and shy and quiet wives might turn into lions. Be open to the ridiculous and the startling.
* Don’t laugh or judge each other. Revealing sexual proclivities can be the ultimate in vulnerable revelations. A misplaced word or offhand quip can shut down the whole party. So have a "safe zone" where you get to talk and explore possible scenes.
* Have a safe word. If a scene feels suddenly off, give yourself permission to stop and/or shift gears. Use a word or phrase that will signal to your partner where you are at emotionally. Because it can be fun to say "No!" but mean "Yes" while role playing, many people use the universal Red – Yellow – Green—to mean full stop, slow down, and keep it coming! Come up with something that works for you.
* Make time for an aftercare check-in. Set aside time for after the scene is over to hold each other and talk about what felt good, scary, exciting. This closing ritual will build better scenes in the future and more intimate satisfying bonding.
* Don't forget to have fun!
Gracie X is the author of “Wide Open: My Adventures in Polyamory, Open Marriage and Loving on My Own Terms.” For more information and articles visit www.GracieX.com.