If the term "role-playing" conjures up images of furry handcuffs and a policewoman outfit—or a desperate couple pretending to be strangers in a bar—then it’s time to leave these old-school clichés behind. Temporarily taking on a different identity in the bedroom doesn’t have to be cheesy—and it shouldn't be something you only view as a last-ditch attempt to recapture some sizzle. Do it right, and it can shake up your bedroom routine in all the right ways, says Ian Kerner, Ph.D., author of She Comes First. Here, five reasons that should convince you give it a try ASAP.
1. You Get to Explore Your Craziest Fantasies
Even the most confident woman can feel ridiculously awkward telling her partner that she’s turned on by men in uniform or that she wants to be blindfolded in bed, says Kerner. Frame these fantasies as part of a role-playing scenario, though, and they come off as fun games—not a weird fetish confession. Next time you’re in bed, get things going with phrases like, “I had this hot dream last night that you were a police officer and I’d broken the law” or “I wonder what it would be like to not be able to see you touch me during sex?”
2. You’ll Engage the Sexy Side of Your Brain
The right stroke or touch can set you on the path to an incredibly hot orgasm. But if you’re not using your imagination, you’re shortchanging yourself in the pleasure department. “Role-playing taps into the mental aspect of sex, and that gives the physical sensation you’re feeling a whole extra dimension,” says Kerner. You’ve heard that saying about how the brain is the most important sex organ? Totally true, and role-playing helps you engage it.
3. Three Words: The Novelty Factor
Role-playing is all about stretching your boundaries and trying out new things—both of which are amazing for your sex life. “When you introduce novelty into the bedroom, your body produces more dopamine, a brain chemical that’s linked to greater pleasure,” says Kerner. If you’re usually the more dominant partner, play against type by reading aloud a scene from 50 Shades of Grey, then acting it out together. Or take things out of the bedroom by meeting up in a swanky hotel room, with you pretending to be secretary to a Mad Men-like boss enjoying an afternoon affair. “These scenarios call for props such as new outfits, a wig, and other accessories, so experiment and see where it takes you,” says Kerner.
4. It’s Actually a Lot of Fun
If you’re afraid you won’t be able to keep a straight face while pretending to be a princess in distress, don’t let that keep you from trying it out. Role-playing has a built-in element of silliness to it, and in the end, it’s supposed to be fun, says Kerner. The point is to feel sexy and excited and break new ground, not to permanently lose yourself in character or become the next Jennifer Lawrence.
5. Your Bond With Your Partner Can Deepen
Role-playing exposes a different side to yourself to your partner, which increases your intimacy. It also compels you to share your fantasies, and that honesty and openness can deepen your connection, says Kerner. Even if you don’t exactly pull things off and your innocent schoolgirl to his stern headmaster scenario was a fail that left you both cracking up, you’ll have that memory to laugh—and bond—over.