Monday, May 07, 2007

Letter From A Reader

Greetings Mistress,

Consider it a newbie question - how do vanilla types who want to role play start? I guess my situation is that I would like to try to add some excitement but my other half of 20+ years doesn't really get the fantasy thing . . .so I thought, I might ask for a few tips on setting the stage...

This is a good example of why communication skills are such a highly valued trait in the BDSM community. I’m perfectly willing to help this person – but I don’t really know what they mean by the terms they are using.

Vanilla types who want to do role-play? Well, ok, role play doesn’t have to involve dominance and submission. I’m sure there are egalitarian role plays. (Don’t ask me to name one, though.)

But even a role-play with no power differential is going involve fantasy – that is the whole point, surely - so if your partner doesn’t get that, how exactly are you going to add it to your erotic life?

And the phrase “setting the stage” – to me, that would refer to objects and surroundings, not the acting out of the role play itself. Is this reader asking me about where to play and what props to use? But I can’t answer that without knowing the nature of the roles.

This is why, when people negotiate with me, I don’t allow them to say things like this. It’s that list thing I was talking about a few days ago. Words such as “spanking” have a very precise meaning. Phrases like “a fantasy role play” are so vague as to be useless.

Let me offer a possible re-write of this letter…It’s just a guess at what the person might, possibly, have meant. I may be completely off base, I don’t know.

Dear Mistress Matisse,

I’d like to do an erotic role-play with my long-term partner that doesn’t involve any intense sensation or BDSM trappings. Are there are any you can suggest? Where should we do this? And what kinds of things might we do?

My answer: I’d try a role-play where the power differential is one that’s at least somewhat familiar and non-threatening. Boss/employee is a good one. You can do it in almost any physical surroundings, it doesn’t require unusual props, and either identity can be the one directing the action. You can be the typical bossy boss with an underperforming employee. Or you can be the boss who’s been caught embezzling or leering at his secretary once too often, and who is thus over a barrel.

While you can do it at home, it’s often easier to step out of your everyday self in non-everyday settings. Consider getting a nice hotel room to add a little spice.

If doing a role-play is your idea, regardless of whether you want to be the top or the bottom, you should have a basic idea of where you want it to go, and you should communicate that to your partner, very clearly. For example: “I've called you into my office and I scold you for not doing the quarterly reports on time and threaten to fire you. You're acting all flirty, and you offer to make it up to me by giving me a blow-job. I pretend to resist for a minute, but then I can’t deny my attraction to you. While you suck me, I confess that I’ve been watching you bend over your desk and lusting after your ass for weeks, so you bend over my desk and pull up your skirt and tell me to kiss it, if I like it so much.”

That's all just off the top of my head. My other advice: Pat Califia wrote an excellent book called Sensuous Magic: A Guide for Adventurous Lovers that had a lot of really good step-by-step instructions for sexy role-plays that aren't about heavy BDSM. Unfortunately, the book has gone out of print, but you can find used copies around. Anyone who's looking to play some sexy games in their relationship would find it useful reading.

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