Roleplay

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Faete, submissive kitty pet and adult entertainer. Website: The Sub Mission (photo: Macula Pravus).

Roleplay (also spelled role play) is a situation in which people assume and act out roles which are not their real selves. Often this is enacted with the aid of specific costumes and accessories, that also help the players get into the head space of their role.

Role-playing can be seen as a form of improvisational drama or free-form theatre, in which the participants are performing impromtu scenes within a pre-arranged scenario.

Forms of roleplay[edit]

The Pinky Song a roleplay satire by comedian Alicyn Packard.

Humans begin roleplaying as soon as they have an understanding of roles: children play roleplay games such as House, School, or scenes set in a past or future world.

Roleplaying in adults is a complex topic. Some of it is found in everyday life, some is found in games, fun activities and theatre (e.g. historical reenactment), and some is found in the form of erotic (sexual) roleplay. Psychologists use roleplay sessions to break down mental barriers and age-regression therapy to unlock traumatic memories that have been suppressed. Teachers sometimes use it to help students appreciate the opposing viewpoint on a social or political issue.

Adult erotic roleplay[edit]

Adult erotic roleplay can be done with roles that don't imply a power imbalance. Often however, a power imbalance is exactly what makes roleplay in a sexual context erotic. In those cases, the roleplay has aspects of BDSM. The remainder of this article is about the latter.

Roleplay may take place in person, in improptu chat sessions, or as part of an organized online ropleplay game.

A dominatrix, also known as a pro-domme, is a professional roleplay performer. She earns her living pretending to be whatever type of domineering authority figure (goddess, mother, teacher, etc.) the client requests. And the client (in the role of the submissive) may also become a different character or play themself as a misbehaving child, etc. And there are professional submissives (as well as upscale prostitutes who specialize in costume roleplay) who cater to the whims of paying clients who want to play the dominant role.

Characters and scenarios[edit]

Birched male slave or student with donkey cap reading a book (c. 1900).
French pony play erotica (Ostra Studio, c. 1935)

Most roleplaying in the BDSM and spankophile subcultures falls into two basic categories: human and animal.

Human roleplay[edit]

Human roleplay can include ageplay pairings such as "Daddy/girl", "Mommy/boy", "Teacher/Schoolie" and "Coach/Cheerleader". These can be precise recreations (or highly embellished, eroticized variations) of actual experiences from childhood to adolescence. Or they can simply be long-suppressed fantasies that the players desire to act out.

The more popular adult power exchange scenarios includes "Master/French maid", "Host/Houseboy", "Doctor/Nurse", "Doctor or Nurse/Patient", "Master/Slave", "Sultan/harem girl", "Cop/Criminal", "Warden/Prisoner" ("Nazi commandant/prisoner"), "Pirate/Captive", "Boss/employee", "Intruder/Abductee", "Priest/Penitent", and "Waitress/Customer".

In order to get into character, couples often create or purchase role-specific outfits and props. This can include buying inexpensive Halloween and stripper costumes, as well as kinky accessories (handcuffs, whips, etc.) found in adult sex shops.

Recreations of erotic scenes from mainstream movies is another aspect of roleplay. Especially films about forbidden sexuality such as The Night Porter (1974), Secretary (2003), and The Killer Inside Me (2010). Favorite moments from CP/BDSM fetish films and pornographic videos may also inspire a couple to duplicate the setting, action, and dialog to satisfy their personal fantasies.

Animal roleplay[edit]

In animal roleplay, the submissive assumes the role of a domesticated pet. The dominant partner plays the owner or trainer who controls and takes care of the pet girl or pet boy. Doggie training and pony play are the most popular choices, followed by cats (aka kitty play, catgirl, kitty girl), pigs, rabbits, et al.

Sometimes this transformation involves elaborate animal costumes, masks, and specialized equipment (such as a two-wheeled pony cart) to create the illusion. Equestrian roleplay in particular has evolved into a complex and sophisticated subculture all its own.

Human furniture[edit]

Lastly, there is forniphilia, an obscure form of play practiced almost exclusively by dedicated BDSM lifestyle partners. Here the submissive is neither human nor animal. Instead, he or she becomes a piece of furniture such as a table, chair or footstool. There are even specially designed yoke-like nightstands in which a person can be secured. Gags are also available with attachments that can convert one into a human ash tray, toilet paper holder, and so forth.

Domination and punishment[edit]

All of these combinations come with a built-in power dynamic and a set of stock situations which provide an excuse for one partner to dominate (and punish) the other. Roleplaying is often used as a form of sexual foreplay for "vanilla" couples, but it also forms the foundation for serious D/s partners deeply immersed in the BDSM lifestyle.

In spanking scenes, roleplay may be a way of providing a "reason" for the spanking, or a context in which it takes place. This often involves wearing a special costume such as a uniform that defines the roles and makes the situation seem more realistic.

Roleplay is extremely flexible, with the varations being limited only by the imaginations of the players. Roleplay can also be a profoundly cathartic experience. In a number of spanking stories, the characters engage in some degree of roleplay.

Roleplaying videos on YouTube[edit]

Roleplaying hooker in Mexican telenovela Las vías del amor (2002). A kitty pet chases a toy mouse. Ponygirl Starfighter.
Pony play from the 1968 film The Libertine. Domme and doggie slave in TV ad. Riding the Human Pony Girl by Irving Klaw (c. 1955).
The Gamecock, aka La Sculacciata (1974) HBO cable series Bored to Death British TV series Sugar Rush (2006).

Images[edit]

See also[edit]