Sex life: The power of roleplay

Embodying a character can be a joyful, effervescent experience 
June 14, 2023

I’m making out with a friend of mine on a client’s bed while he lies and watches us. We’re pretending that he isn’t there—he’s not part of the roleplay—and he stays silent as we faux flirt and prevaricate and go so deep into the lore of the characters we’ve created that we’re eating well into the four hours he’s paid for.

We’re both in our thirties but for this we’re back in our late teens, two girls eager and tentative with the back and forth of “Do you like that?”, “Are you sure?”, “Does that feel OK?”, “I mean, I want to but only if you want to”, “Oh my God, that’s not, like, too much is it?”, that only two girls can have. 

For this scenario, I’m a uni student who is bicurious and has invited her bisexual friend round in the unspoken hope they may get together, under the guise of dress-ups and other frivolous games. I told her that a girl kissed me when I was out at a party the other night, “But I’m not sure if I liked it because I was on MDMA. It might’ve just been the drugs, I think I need to try it when I’m sober…” and I let the sentence hang in the air, revelling in the creation of play tension that has none of the anxiety but all of the anticipation of real-life tension, more fun than any actual seduction is at that age of fumbling uncertainty. She suggests we kiss to “Just test it, you know,” and once we begin, with the stops and starts and the darting hands that pause suddenly unsure, she says: “This is like that scene in Cruel Intentions”, and I say “Oh my God the one with Selma Blair and—who is it?” and we throw actresses’ names between us for a while as we kiss until there’s a sudden grumble from the corner of the bed that we’d forgotten about. “Sarah Michelle Gellar,” he says gruffly, an offstage prompt that breaks down the fourth wall and makes us giggle even more than we were already. 

I’ve always liked roleplay bookings, partly because ad lib comes naturally to me

I’ve always liked roleplay bookings, partly because ad lib comes naturally to me and I enjoy the synergy with another person when we’re bouncing off each other. It makes sex like a game and a challenge and, to me, that’s the joy of it. I’ve never been able to stand the serious sex scenes you get in romantic movies or, sometimes, in the bed of an incredibly earnest and well-meaning lesbian because, to me, bodies are bizarre and sex is all about laughter. 

My two longest-running regular clients, both of whom I’ve been seeing for seven years, are roleplay regs. In the time I’ve been working with them, I’ve played countless roles in countless scenarios, from “mummy nursing her growing boy”, to “porn director interviewing a prospective star” and “teen girl who claims that she’ll be an entrepreneur like Kylie Jenner”. Sometimes, clients tell me, “Let’s roleplay that we’re in a loving romantic relationship; tenderly make love to me and whisper ‘I love you’ in my ear.” Often, I’m riffing off whatever text instructions I can memorise in the time it takes me to ride the elevator upstairs.

And it’s moments like these, on the bed with my friend, that remind me of the absurdity of my work, an absurdity that I lean into through the ups and downs of life because life is, after all, absurd and weird and unexpected and hilarious and overwhelming, and you’ve got to laugh or otherwise you’ll cry. I recently lost someone important to me, and sometimes it can feel wrong and incomprehensible that life keeps going when you think the world should stop in sorrow, or cease to exist because they have ceased to exist. But it keeps rolling on and you’ve got to roll with it. 

It’s in this mood of “Can’t believe she’s gone, can’t believe she’s dead, can’t believe I have to live years of life stretching ahead of me without her” that I begin to lean harder into roleplay bookings and even to suggest them to clients. They’re ludicrous and they’re something I can disappear into, and I can be someone in them who isn’t grieving but is boisterous, horny and effervescent.