Cosmopolitan (India) - - FRONT PAGE - By Tracy Clark-Flor

Most peo­ple who know what I do for a liv­ing would ex­pect my closet to be stocked with sexy getups—a naughty nurse cos­tume, a frilly maid’s uni­form, a too-tight sec­re­tary out­fit, you name it. I seem on the sur­face to be the sort of woman who would be an ex­pert at role-play­ing, that sexy game where a cou­ple take on new iden­ti­ties to ful­fill a naughty fan­tasy. Af­ter all, I write about sex for a liv­ing, and I’ve cov­ered ev­ery­thing from hookup cul­ture to pornog­ra­phy. Surely, a sex­pert like my­self would have tried her hand at some erotic the­ater, right?

In fact, I’ve never come even re­motely close to play­ing make­be­lieve in the bed­room. The truth is, I’ve been too scared! It’s chal­leng­ing enough to feel com­fort­able be­ing your­self dur­ing sex, let alone some­one else. Plus, what if my part­ner found my fan­tasy freaky? What if I bun­gled the di­a­logue? What if I started gig­gling... or worse, what if he started laugh­ing at me? All th­ese anx­i­eties have kept me from giv­ing it a try, un­til now. There’s never been a safer time to con­front my fears. I’ve been in a lov­ing re­la­tion­ship with my fi­ancé, Christo­pher, for more than a year now. He wouldn’t laugh at my de­sires, even if they in­cluded some­thing kinky like dress­ing up as stuffed an­i­mals (this re­ally is a thing, and it does it for some peo­ple—just do a Google

search for furry). And then there’s the fact that I’m tired of feel­ing like a prude when­ever I hear friends dish about their role-play­ing adventures.

So, think­ing now or never, I de­cided to jump right in... but not with­out some help. I asked sex ex­perts, along with ev­ery­day women, for their tips on how a new­bie like my­self should get started. Here’s their ad­vice and how I put it to the test.

NO. 1 First, Fig­ure Out Your Fan­tasy

If you al­ready have a sexy sce­nario in mind, you can skip ahead... show-offs! But for be­gin­ners, Lau­rie Wat­son, a sex ther­a­pist in North Carolina, says a trick that al­ways works for her clients is head­ing to a ho­tel bar and pre­tend­ing to be strangers pick­ing each other up for the first time—just make sure one of you re­serves a room ahead of time. Then, there are al­ways clas­sic power dy­nam­ics to fall back on, like cop and crim­i­nal or doc­tor and pa­tient—take your pick.

Rose M, a 28-year-old from Van­cou­ver, Bri­tish Columbia, who works at a lux­ury-car deal­er­ship, tells me her favourite sce­nario is that of the naughty house­keeper (she sug­gests go­ing with the ob­vi­ous by bend­ing over a lit­tle too far in your frilly black-and-white skirt to dust some­thing). “I ac­tu­ally used to be a house­keeper when I was younger, and it was some­thing I fan­ta­sised about but never brought to fruition,” she says. “Maybe that’s why I like it now, be­cause it hits close to home!” And yes, many of th­ese sce­nar­ios— house­keeper, hot pro­fes­sor—sound cliché, like some­thing found in the cheesi­est of cheesy porn, but that’s be­cause they work! And like Rose, you can (and should) turn to past ex­pe­ri­ences for in­spi­ra­tion. Maybe you were a swim­mer as a teenager and al­ways wanted to give that other cute swim­mer mouth-to-mouth... it’s def­i­nitely hot­ter when you’re liv­ing a fan­tasy you al­ways wished would hap­pen.

NO. 2 Now Share It

Ian Kerner, Ph.D., a sex ther­a­pist in Man­hat­tan, says that “all good role­play­ing starts with shar­ing your fan­tasy.” Eas­ier said than done, Kerner! What if your part­ner thinks that you need him to take on a dif­fer­ent per­sona in or­der to get turned on or that your wan­der­ing mind means you have a wan­der­ing eye too? Well, Kerner has a trick for that— bring up your fan­tasy as a com­pli­ment. Say, “I had this re­ally hot dream about you last night. You were a pro­fes­sor and I was your stu­dent...” By in­clud­ing your part­ner from the get-go, you make it clear that your fan­tasy is just that—and no, you don’t re­ally want to sleep with your yoga trainer. Once you’ve brought up the what, it’s time to ex­plain the why—and yes, sorry, this part is non-ne­go­tiable! Telling your part­ner that you have a doc­tor fan­tasy isn’t enough—through no fault of your part­ner’s, you could find your­self in the com­pany of Dr. McCreepy when you were hop­ing for Dr. Hot and Stoic. If you want to have a truly sexy ex­pe­ri­ence, you have to de­scribe what it is about that par­tic­u­lar sce­nario that gets you go­ing (the bet­ter you ex­plain your fan­tasy, the more likely it is to come to life in a way that gets you off rather than makes you feel weird). “Maybe a doc­tor is sexy to you be­cause he’s in con­trol but gen­er­ally clin­i­cal and sort of cold, so the idea of roil­ing his pas­sion through your de­sir­abil­ity is sexy,” says Kerner.

Okay, sure, but how to de­scribe this with­out feel­ing fool­ish? Erin T., a 30-year-old at­tor­ney from Wash­ing­ton, D.C., says, “I ac­tu­ally think it’s re­ally hot to lie in bed and talk about fan­tasies and turn-ons,” she says. “But another thing my boyfriend

and I have done is e-mail fan­tasies back and forth—I send him one, he sends me one. We don’t see each other ev­ery day, and do­ing that builds ex­cite­ment and is ba­si­cally e-mail fore­play for our next visit.” Be­lieve it or not, they have a shared Google Docs spread­sheet that de­tails all the sce­nar­ios they want to try. Th­ese two go straight to the head of the role­play­ing class—naughty vale­dic­to­ri­ans!

NO. 3 Es­tab­lish Some Lim­its

Be­fore los­ing your­self in a char­ac­ter, be sure to let your part­ner know what you’re com­fort­able do­ing and what’s go­ing too far, es­pe­cially if you’re ex­per­i­ment­ing with a pun­ish­ment sce­nario. If you get caught en­gaged in es­pi­onage (you dirty spy, you!), do you want a ver­bal ream­ing or a light spank­ing on the butt? Same goes for when you’re play­ing a role that trig­gers an emo­tional re­sponse. Let your part­ner know your lim­its, and es­tab­lish a safe word that’ll bring the ac­tion to a halt the sec­ond you’re un­com­fort­able.

NO. 4 Set the Scene

A wardrobe change isn’t manda­tory for role-play­ing, but it can def­i­nitely add to the fun. For some women, a wig— go­ing from brunette to red or from straight to curly—can re­ally help you get into the idea of a new iden­tity, says Kerner. The same goes for dress­ing up your en­vi­ron­ment. You prob­a­bly won’t be able to trans­form your bed­room com­pletely into a class­room for a hot-for-teacher sce­nario, but wheel­ing in a chalk­board or desk will go a long way.

Erin T. is a French girl based in Delhi, and likes to wear clas­sic lin­gerie and high heels to get into a 1950s house­wife role. “I take off his shoes, rub his shoul­ders, fix him a mar­tini, go down on him while he’s drink­ing it, and the next thing I know, my high heels are up around his ears,” she says. Think Mad Men, only sex­ier (yes, it’s pos­si­ble). She rec­om­mends con­sid­er­ing what type of man or woman in uni­form turns you on. “If you’ve al­ways thought cops were hot, you can get hand­cuffs and a fake po­lice badge for less than ` 1,000,” she says. Just don’t lose the key!

NO. 5 Don’t For­get to Have Fun

Af­ter all this plan­ning, it might feel like you’re about to au­di­tion for a role on Broad­way, but don’t get caught up in the the­atrics of it all—the aim is to feel turned on, not win an Os­car. If you break char­ac­ter and burst into laugh­ter, don’t sweat it and move on, says pretty much ev­ery­one I talked to. “We were all good at play­ing pre­tend at one point in our lives—think back to your childhood and play­ing house,” says Monika D., a 25-year-old web de­vel­oper from Mum­bai. “Kids know they’re mak­ing up stuff, but they don’t care.” At a cer­tain age, we’re sup­posed to put away the imag­i­nary worlds and stop play­ing make-be­lieve. The beauty of role-play­ing is that you don’t have to give that up (how de­li­ciously dis­obe­di­ent of you).

NO. 6 Do It Al­ready

Okay, back to my first time tak­ing this role- play­ing stuff for a whirl. De­spite my lack of ex­pe­ri­ence, I’m pervy enough to have al­ready had a sce­nario in mind: a visit to a masseur with wan­der­ing hands. I fig­ured that this was a pretty low-stakes propo­si­tion— worst case, I’d feel silly but get a great mas­sage from my fi­ancé; best case, I’d get some knots worked out and ful­fill a long­time fan­tasy. Win-win, right?

Fol­low­ing the rules above, I tried to ex­plain to Christo­pher what it was about the mas­sage sce­nario that got me so hot—mostly the idea that I could in­spire enough lust in a mas­sage ther­a­pist that he would want to cop a feel. (Look, fan­tasies are rarely mod­est, okay?) I de­scribed spe­cific im­ages that came to mind: “Maybe you could slowly work your way up my in­ner thigh and, you know, ‘ac­ci­den­tally’ brush be­tween my legs,” I told him. Christo­pher let out an in­trigued “Mmm” and im­me­di­ately grabbed at my leg. Turns out, the plan­ning it­self can serve as fore­play— way to kill two birds with one hot-mas­sage stone.

When we set­tled on the sce­nario, the wardrobe was easy. Christo­pher wore a sim­ple white tee shirt and

lounge pants, the uni­form of seem­ingly ev­ery masseur. I wore a tank top and jeans, know­ing that I wouldn’t be clothed for long. The di­a­logue prac­ti­cally came pre-writ­ten. We’d both had our share of pro­fes­sional rub­downs and knew the script well. The great­est chal­lenge was how to turn our home into a spa, es­pe­cially with­out a mas­sage ta­ble. Christo­pher had never tried role-play­ing be­fore ei­ther, but he had taken it as a chal­lenge and told me he had it un­der con­trol. I stepped onto our bal­cony, the ‘wait­ing room’, while Christo­pher read­ied things down­stairs. He came out to greet me, straight-faced: “Tracy? Hi, I’ll be your mas­sage ther­a­pist to­day.” I couldn’t help but laugh as I shook his hand, but I re­mem­bered what my ex­perts had told me about rolling with the in­evitable gig­gles and quickly re­cov­ered.

He walked me down­stairs, where he had turned our kitchen is­land into a mas­sage ta­ble by lay­ing down a yoga mat and layer upon layer of blan­kets. Be­lieve it or not, it looked le­git. As newage mu­sic swelled softly in the back­ground and can­dles flick­ered on our gran­ite coun­ter­top, he calmly in­structed me to take off my clothes and lie face­down un­der a sheet while he went into the other room to wait for me.

My ‘masseur’ soon re­turned and broke out some in­tox­i­cat­ing mint-scented oil. My gig­gles had passed and get­ting into char­ac­ter proved easy—all I had to do was lie still, breathe deep, and let him rub me down. Such hard work! Ev­ery touch was filled with the elec­tric pos­si­bil­ity that his hand would stray un­der the sheet. Thank­fully, it did... but only af­ter much an­tic­i­pa­tion and teas­ing. There were plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties for my pun-ob­sessed fi­ancé to have fun. As he ran his knuck­les over a tight sec­tion of mus­cle, he purred in his best corny-porn voice: “You’re so knotty”. It was hi­lar­i­ous and hot, all at once. At one point, he re­minded me

As He Ran His Knuck­les Over a Tight Sec­tion Of Mus­cle, He Purred: ‘You’re So Knotty’. It Was Hi­lar­i­ous and Hot, All At once.

that I had or­dered the full-body mas­sage and took the sheet off en­tirely. I shyly asked, “Do you do this with your other clients?” He replied, “Never. You’re the first. I don’t know what’s come over me.” Soon, we were both naked, and he was help­ing me to ‘fully re­lax’.

I’ll spare you the ex­plicit de­tails, but I will say that if I could give his ser­vices a re­view, it’d be an en­thu­si­as­tic five stars. Ac­tu­ally, that’s a to­tal lie. I’d keep the se­cret of Mr Magic Fin­gers all to my­self.

Af­ter all was said and done, and ev­ery mus­cle in my body had turned to Play-Doh, I re­alised that my role­play­ing ner­vous­ness had been ter­ri­bly mis­placed. It wasn’t em­bar­rass­ing, it was free­ing, and it gave both of us per­mis­sion to do things we wouldn’t have felt com­fort­able do­ing oth­er­wise— fool­ing around on the kitchen ta­ble was the least of it. Christo­pher— usu­ally the type to ask po­litely rather than or­der de­ci­sively—be­came de­light­fully as­sertive. For my part, I let go of my usual need to please and was able sim­ply to re­lax and re­ceive. I was a ‘pay­ing’ cus­tomer, af­ter all, and I was go­ing to get my money’s worth! Don’t feel too bad for him though—he got a gen­er­ous tip.

Af­ter­wards, in a post-mas­sage glow, we re­viewed our first foray into role-play­ing. “That was awe­some,” he said. “We’re def­i­nitely do­ing that again.” But next time, we’ve agreed to try out a new sce­nario: strangers pick­ing up each other at a bar. Now we just have to find a lo­cal wa­ter­ing hole where the bar­tenders don’t al­ready know our names.

You could play the smooth crim­i­nal…

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