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Imagination and Sexuality Self-Help Advice

Written by Dr. Marty Klein

If your sex life is in a slump, role-playing may rejuvenate it.

Role-playing involves a special relationship to sexual fantasy. It requires that you consciously acknowledge your fantasy, and that you share that fantasy with a partner who consents to participate in it.

 
Advice
If you're not sure how your mate will handle your fantasies, ask about it when you're not in bed.
If your role-play involves power games, decide on a word that means "I need to stop the game for a minute."
Don't assume you know what your mate really wants in life based on fantasies or role-play.  
 

The simplest kind of role-playing involves a person pretending to be different than he or she typically is. A meek person may pretend to be demanding; a voracious person may pretend to be inhibited. 

Some role-playing involves specific roles or even scripts: doctor/patient, queen/foreign prince, Barbra Streisand/Ross Perot! Couples can simply imagine themselves in these roles and speak a sentence or two about them. "You haven't had a checkup in two years. I better examine your prostate." Or they can get more involved, speaking in role for most of the sexual encounter. A few simple props such as an apron or baseball cap can make these games even more engaging. 

Erotic role-playing requires certain psychological and relationship tools. You have to believe that you're eligible to step outside the usual limits of your everyday personality. You have to not care how you look or sound. You have to transcend the idea that certain words, behaviors, or attitudes belong only to people who are "sexy." You and your mate have to trust that you won't be judged by each other. 

Another challenge involves reentering real life after role-playing. The couple who can look at each other after playing mentor's wife/apprentice and agree that "we can do anything we want, now let's go make dinner" have an important tool for keeping their relationship exciting. 

Role-playing contains no predictions about how people really wish to behave; in fact, the contrary is often true. Role-playing is a safe arena in which to live another life without any of its disadvantages. 

Ultimately, erotic role-playing is a way to celebrate two of our most divine gifts: imagination and sexuality. 

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Marty Klein, Ph.D., is a licensed marriage counselor and sex therapist in Palo Alto, Calif. He has written for national magazines and appeared on many TV shows, including Donahue, Sally Jessy Raphael and Jenny Jones. You can read more about his books, tapes and appearances on his Web site, www.SexEd.org.

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