This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Sexual roleplay" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (April 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
A bondage scenario using period costumes

Sexual roleplay is roleplay that has a strong erotic element. It may involve two or more people who act out roles in order to bring to life a sexual fantasy[1] and may be a form of foreplay and be sexually arousing. Many people regard sexual roleplay as a means of overcoming sexual inhibitions. It may take place in the real world, or via an internet forum, chat-room, video-game, or email—allowing for physically or virtually impossible erotic interests to be enacted.

How seriously the play is taken depends on the participants, and the scenario may be anywhere from simple and makeshift to detailed and elaborate, including costumes and a script. The role-play may involve a fantasy based on any social role and could incorporate any kind of sexual fetish desired by the participants. Examples include items of clothing experienced as erotic or one or more participants being nude. The role-play may involve elements of dominance and submission including sexual bondage and erotic humiliation.

Depending on the play scenario, the roleplay may be before spectators, and bystanders may be unknowing participants in a roleplay. For example, the roleplay may involve house guests or may be taken out of a couple's home and into, say, a bar, street, park etc. A role may require, for example, one or both partners to flirt with a stranger, or for one partner to seduce the other partner's friend, etc. It may also call for one or both partners to, say, strip in a car or park.

The popularity of the Internet has also allowed for online sexual encounters, known as cybersex, which may involve roleplay. In a 2015 US survey, up to 22% of respondents stated that they had performed sexual role play in their lifetime.[2]


Many of the most common sexual roleplays involve a power differential and form part of the dominance and submission aspect of BDSM. Roles can be general designations of power positions, or very specific, detailed fantasies. Some people, such as those living the Gorean lifestyle make use of an entire imaginary world. The controlling player is often called the top or dominant while the controlled individual is called the bottom or submissive. It can be considered dangerous and therefore a safeword is advised to continue the safety of other(s) in such acts.

Examples of scenarios

Uniform fetish: A Japanese woman dressed as a school student.

Common scenarios include:

Other scenarios include:

Sexologist Gloria Brame lists a number of these scenarios,[5] as does Trevor Jacques.[6]


  1. ^ Cosmo's Fantasy Sex Games: Steamy Role-Playing Challenges for Next-Level Bedroom Fun. Hearst Home. 13 October 2020. ISBN 978-1-950785-08-7.
  2. ^ Herbenick, D.; Bowlin, J.; Fu, T.(J.); Dodge, B.; Guerra-Reyes, L.; Sanders, S. (2017). "Sexual diversity in the United States: Results from a nationally representative probability sample of adult women and men". PLOS ONE. 12 (7): e0181198. Bibcode:2017PLoSO..1281198H. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0181198. PMC 5519052. PMID 28727762.
  3. ^ Brame, Gloria; Brame, William D.; Jacobs, Jon (1993). Different Loving – The World of Sexual Dominance and Submission. Villard Books. ISBN 978-0-6797-6956-9.
  4. ^ "100+ sexual roleplay ideas for ridiculously hot sex". Lust Nerd. 29 August 2022. Retrieved 2022-11-10.
  5. ^ Brame, Gloria (2001). Come Hither! A Commonsense Guide to Kinky Sex, Fusion Press, London, ISBN 978-0-684-85462-5, pp. 140-148.
  6. ^ Jacques, Trevor; Dr. Dale; Hamilton, Michael; and Sniffer (1993). On The Safe Edge: A Manual for BDSM Play, WholeSM Publishing, Toronto, ISBN 978-1-895857-06-1, ISBN 1-895857-05-8, ISBN 1-895857-06-6, ISBN 1-895857-07-4, pp. 38–42.

Further reading