How do I introduce sexual role-playing to my wife?
October 23, 2009 5:33 PM   Subscribe

How do I introduce sexual role-playing to my wife? She doesn't seem to get it and/or is very threatened by it.

She is not against it, but seems very afraid. Feels she can’t do it, although she doesn’t say that. She feels very badly about herself for not being able to do it, I think. She definitely doesn’t want to talk about it.

Example (which I thought was fairly tactful/non-aggressive): She has just finished reading the novel Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant for her book club and was much taken with the herbalist Suora Zuana. I bought a (fairly tight) black T-shirt and had “Suora Zuana” printed across the front in white and gave it to her. When I asked her if Suora Zuana was going to try on her new T-shirt and show it to me, she said, “She can’t be in the same room with you. You’re a man. She’s cloistered.” When I protested, she said, “She’ll have to send me. It will be me who you see.”

From this, I conclude she doesn’t get role-playing. And this is why she hasn’t taken to it in the past when I have suggested it more explicitly.

I’d especially be interested in hearing from women who have been initially reluctant to take on role-playing but have subsequently grown to like it.

I have nothing extreme in mind, just the conventional secretary, schoolgirl, maid, virgin scenarios, or anything she would like to suggest. I understand that these could still be threatening to her (and obviously are), but I’d like some suggestions – either about how to introduce them directly, or about how to talk to her about them and explain what it’s all about and make them less threatening. I’d like something to spice up our sex life, which even she admits has become boring. We have been married 35 years.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (38 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
It sounds like she does get it, isn't interested, and doesn't want to talk about it. Have you considered another way to spice up your sex life?
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 5:38 PM on October 23, 2009 [28 favorites]

Like Chesty said, it sounds like she's well-aware of what's going on and is trying to emphasize that she wants you to be you and she to be herself. It sounds like she's not opposed to other people doing it but is not interested in partaking in it herself. Are you sure you'd even enjoy them or is it just the first thing that comes to mind to spark things again?
posted by june made him a gemini at 5:44 PM on October 23, 2009

She responded that way because she thinks you want to screw someone else. Maybe she doesn't "get" roleplaying, as you say, because you haven't talked to her directly about it. Try another tack.
posted by bunny hugger at 5:45 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

This exchange:
“She can’t be in the same room with you. You’re a man. She’s cloistered.” When I protested, she said, “She’ll have to send me. It will be me who you see.”

Reads to me:
"I could wear the T-shirt, but it'd still be the same old bag in bed that you're bored with"
posted by selton at 5:45 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]

Did you discuss it with her in advance during non-sexy time or did you just spring a t shirt on her? Talking is good, such as over a non-nakey cup of tea.
posted by By The Grace of God at 5:51 PM on October 23, 2009

She gets it. She's not interested. Maybe you should try to get why she's not interested, and respect her wishes if she doesn't want to talk about it after that.
posted by runningwithscissors at 5:51 PM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]

Some people find role-playing stupid, inauthentic, and alienating. Maybe she's one of them. To each his/her own, but I can imagine feeling insulted that my lover found me so boring she wanted me to be someone else totally unlike the actual person I am.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:52 PM on October 23, 2009 [21 favorites]

Does she agree that your sex life is boring to both of you, or does she admit that it's boring to you? I think you need to have a conversation about what each of you would like your sex life to be like before you start asking her to do the things you think might get it there.

I can't help but notice too that all your role playing ideas seem to suggest very similar (female innocent/submissive) dynamics. Maybe that's just not a dynamic your wife is interested in acting out?
posted by crabintheocean at 5:55 PM on October 23, 2009 [6 favorites]

Sounds like, although spicing up your lovelife is a great idea for both of you, you are pushing *your* agenda on her. Ever asked what she might like to do to spice it up, as chesty_a_arthur suggests?

If are absolutely set on role play, you could try maybe being less aggressive about it. Instead of buying a shirt with another person's name on it (albeit fictitious), make it clear that it is her you want, with just the conditions changed for fun, to add a little variety to your shared sex life.

One way to do this is to suggest the two of you meet somewhere and act is if you don't know each other, have never met before. You don't have to change who you are, just pretend that she still has her maiden name and you are wooing her. Flirt with her, flatter her, ask if you can buy her a drink. Let her feel less vulnerable and more like she is in control of the situation. She may find this less threatening.

There is also a rather mild book by John Norman, who wrote the whole Gor/slavegirl series (which is much too intense to introduce to your wife), called Imaginative Sex. It's rather old-fashioned, but offers specific scenarios for role-playing.

I do want to repeat, though, that if your wife finds the whole thing frightening or intimidating, you might want to consider other options, like introducing toys into the bedroom, instead.
posted by misha at 5:56 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]

It sounds like she has communicated to you more than once that she isn't into it. The next step is not to try to talk her into it. How about asking her what she might like to do to spice up your sex life, since that window is already open?
posted by so_gracefully at 5:57 PM on October 23, 2009

In all seriousness, I'd consider just straight-up asking her if she'd be averse to a bit of the ol' naughty secretary act. Tell her you're really intrigued by the idea, but you don't want to threaten or upset her, so you'd like to know the best way to proceed.

Just an FYI, this isn't an unreasonable request on your part. (It's also not something that's unreasonable for her to want to deny.) It's on the level of something I'd consider indulging once even if the idea did nothing for me, for the sake of giving it a try. But you're not married to me, and if your wife puts the kibosh on it, see if you can find some other way to introduce variety into your love life.
posted by KathrynT at 6:14 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]

Er, I haven't read this book, but a glance at an Amazon review seems to say that Suora Zuana is a cloistered nun. And if having sex would be totally out of character for this character, maybe you're the one who doesn't get it. Maybe your wife "knows" this character too well from reading the book, and was trying to point out to you that she couldn't get into the fantasy because it didn't fit with what the character would do. If that's the case, maybe things would work better if you just tried a generic scenario (rebellious young novice who runs away from the convent) or asked your wife if there was a particularly sexy (to her) character she'd like to act out. And if your idea of getting her imagination revving is costuming a medieval nun in a t-shirt with her own name on it... you might want to think a little bit harder about how to find a costume that would enhance the fantasy element, not be a complete mismatch.
posted by MsMolly at 6:16 PM on October 23, 2009 [34 favorites]

What if you put yourself into the more vulnerable role, at least at first? I bet you'd at the least loosen things up a bit if you offered to put on a dress and let her do you like you're a girl. Be silly about it. Be ridiculous. Keep the pressure low and keep offering yourself as the one to be on the spot. Let her put makeup on you, let her go in and out of "character". See how that goes before re-introducing other scenarios. Good luck!
posted by serazin at 6:16 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]

Example (which I thought was fairly tactful/non-aggressive): She has just finished reading the novel Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant for her book club and was much taken with the herbalist Suora Zuana.

Unless your partner had expressed a specifically sexualized or erotic interest in the character, it seems a little presumptive and reductive to try to recharacterize her literary interest as a purely erotic one, especially when the character in question is cloistered.

She is not against it, but seems very afraid. Feels she can’t do it, although she doesn’t say that. She feels very badly about herself for not being able to do it, I think. She definitely doesn’t want to talk about it.

There are a lot of assumptions and possible projections here. If she doesn't want to talk about it, it seems pretty likely that she doesn't want to do it, either, though there's also the possibility that she wants to do it rather than talk about it.

If I'm way off base and your partner has in fact expressed a sexual interest in the character, her response to your t-shirt and suggestion still doesn't mean that she "doesn't get role-playing." Role-playing is not necessarily you casting a part; role-playing is whatever make-believe you and your partner[s] agree upon, and those terms can be negotiated in explicit or implicit ways.

Have you tried asking her who this "me" is who is going to show up in place of Suora Zuana? It might be that your wife is creating a persona herself, and that you're not playing into it because it doesn't fit into your proposal that she don a fully externalized ready-made character.

When I protested, she said, “She’ll have to send me. It will be me who you see.”

I would argue that, of the two of you, it is you who "does not get"role-play. Role-playing is like improv: you don't protest your partner's self-defining character and scenario improvisations (though obviously you respect boundaries and safewords). The suggestion that "she'll have to send me" is a major concession for someone reluctant to play the scene: she tried to find a way to incorporate your fantasy without crossing her boundaries too fast.

Also, you don't mention who you would be in this scenario; all emphasis is upon your partner's performance. That's worth considering.
posted by Elsa at 6:22 PM on October 23, 2009 [10 favorites]

all of your suggested scenarios (secretary, schoolgirl, maid, virgin) put your wife into a submissive role. perhaps that's what she's not interested in?
posted by radiosilents at 6:23 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]

I'm with Chesty and Radio. Have you tried asking her to come up with roles? Or tried roles that make her dominant (i.e. Lady cop & bumbling burglar, Queen & slave, or something involving a pool boy.) ?
posted by debbie_ann at 7:06 PM on October 23, 2009

Is it possible to role play in such a manner that the person you're sleeping with is still Mrs. Feelingood, but Mrs. Feelingood when she was a virgin, or Mrs. Feelingood "working" as a secretary, etc.

To clarify, I personally would be really turned off if my boyfriend asked me to pretend I was, for example, Lindsay Lohan, or Madonna, or whoever. But if he wanted me to be my alter-ego rockstar-self, that would be totally okay. It's the idea of having to be a SPECIFIC other person that is kind of insulting to me (tho other people might like pretending to be a real other person.) However, playing a role as myself, i.e. myself --were I to have gone to catholic school and been very naughty-- is a whole 'nother ball of wax.
posted by np312 at 7:17 PM on October 23, 2009 [7 favorites]

As others have mentioned, she may not find submissive roles appealing, or it just may be that after 35 years of her regular marriage bed she's not interested in trying on other personas at all.

It may also be that she's not comfortable playacting (not everyone is good at it), and pressuring her to adlib her way through sex might be more than she can handle. Maybe you could shift your role. If you want an element of unfamiliarity, maybe she'd be okay if you pretend to be someone else who is lusting after her. I think you should talk to her first and not spring any dress-up or verbal role play on her, but maybe she'd be open to a little bit of play if she can just be herself.
posted by contrariwise at 7:19 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Honestly, the t-shirt thing is not remotely sexy. It's like, "here, I want you to pretend to be this nun character, so I made you a t-shirt with the character's name on it." I would be kind of confused if my partner did that. Also, unless she finds something sexy in the book, it's not really sexy to roleplay it. If there was some book she talked about as being really romantic, that would be a good choice to suggest role-playing.
Also, all of the roleplaying ideas you mentioned are what SHE is role playing. She is the schoolgirl, she is the secretary, etc. You didn't say what you would be, other than the dude who bangs the schoolgirl or the secretary. I agree with everyone who also said that you are putting her in the submissive roles. I personally would not be into that at all.
posted by ishotjr at 7:43 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]

You know your wife better than anyone on here, is she shy about acting? I know I can't even pretend to act around people, I just feel plain STUPID when I have to read lines or act. Recently at work we had a workshop where we broke up into groups and had to role play for conflict resolution, and I seriously had to fight back tears because I am SO UNCOMFORTABLE saying someone else's lines. Is she like that at all? If yes, then you might have to think of other things to do in bed.

I don't know if this helps, but strangely enough I'm not shy about dressing up (Halloween rocks!) just as long as I don't have to talk or act in character. Maybe you can work from there. Maybe it was the combination of your cheesy line ("is Suora Zuana dressing up for me?" which already puts pressure on her to act as someone else) and the dressing up that made her uncomfortable?
posted by KateHasQuestions at 7:47 PM on October 23, 2009

From what you describe, she doesn't sound like she doesn't get it or is afraid. So unless there's something you left out, I nth the comments that she doesn't want to do it because she's just not that into it, and it would probably be better for her to suggest something that she *is* into.
posted by Ashley801 at 7:57 PM on October 23, 2009

I bought a (fairly tight) black T-shirt and had “Suora Zuana” printed across the front in white and gave it to her.

Aside from the possibility that your wife just thinks role-playing is stupid, certainly this -- and I acknowledge your good intentions -- would come across as even more ridiculous. If my husband were going to cajole me into doing role-playing when I was iffy about it, I'd either try to imagine everything down to the costumes, or want a real costume. A shirt with a name on it is just... I can't think of a way to finish that sentence that won't come across as mean. You're not an idiot for trying that, I want to stress, it's just misguided to the extent that it would render me speechless in her position, and it's a feeling that's completely opposed to being turned on. I'm personally in the "role-playing feels stupid" camp and if shirts with names on them were introduced, I would have a great deal of difficulty not just busting out laughing.

I'm trying to figure out what precisely is misguided about it, and I would have to say that it's the idea that reading the name would somehow be helpful to getting into the character. If you went to see a play with people wearing t-shirts with their character's name on it, you would probably wonder why they bothered with the t-shirts at all and didn't just wear normal clothes.

And it's also because she can't read her own shirt. So then I think, well, is the name there to help you get into it? And then that just seems even less plausible an explanation, because are you really going to be reading her shirt and would that really help, and you're the one suggesting it so presumably you don't need the help as much as she would, and... yeah. If you did it for your own benefit then you weren't addressing the problem, but if you did it for her benefit it's completely ineffective.

I imagine this might seem sort of embarrassing to you in retrospect, but don't feel too badly about it. I mean, for what it's worth, a woman can be simultaneously embarrassed for you and still think it was sweet you tried. Certainly not the reaction you were hoping for, but it's not as bad as it might seem.

Anyway, the point is that your wife might still be open to role-play if you approach it some other way, buuut you said yourself she hasn't taken to it in the past when you've suggested it explicitly. So if I were in her position, and said I wasn't interested, and then you tried to pressure me into it -- it would feel like pressuring, even if you didn't mean it to -- by buying me this shirt and everything, I think I would be pretty irritated by it. Generally, if you don't think someone is into something, springing it on them isn't going to get good results. Also, there's no bigger turn-off to any person, male or female, than someone trying to tell them they should be aroused on someone's else's terms instead of their own. It sounds to me like you've gotten to a point where you've tried talking about it and now your tack is to force the issue, which is counterproductive among a whole host of other negative things.

Imagine, for example, if your wife REALLY liked the idea of pegging you. Would you appreciate it if, after you told her several times in conversation it just wasn't a turn on, she bought a strap-on anyway and pulled it out and tried to cajole you into bending over and letting her have at it? Wouldn't that just feel disrespectful and like she wasn't listening to you at all? Sure you wouldn't actually get pegged in the end, but geez, shouldn't she have just listened to you in the first place? Why does she have to be so pushy about it, right?

Talk things out with her before you present her with any costumes or start any scenarios. If you've done this, that's where the issue should have died. You say your wife don't "get" role-playing but -- I mean this as kindly as possible -- but you sound way more clueless than she does, and not just about role-playing but about how to approach people in general. Consider for a moment that your wife isn't the problem and that she isn't dumb or that she isn't just thinking about role-playing in the wrong way. Asking this question is a good step, and I don't mean to harangue you for how you phrased your question, but if you approach your wife with this attitude of "you'd like it if only you'd think about it right" you're going to have awful results. Believe it or not, she knows what turns her on better than you do.
posted by Nattie at 8:05 PM on October 23, 2009 [35 favorites]

You say you want to try roleplaying, but your examples list only her as the performer. As mentioned by others, the t-shirt thing was a clumsy, unsexy approach (for starters, you chose a character FOR her instead of workshopping a scenario together, you presented a labelled t-shirt as a costume, and you selected an inappropriate, show-stoppingly non-sexual, character). I think you're the one who doesn't quite get it - but you can work on that.

If you genuinely want to introduce roleplay, you'll need to have a conversation with her (in a relaxed, sexy moment) about scenarios she might fantasise about. How about a scene where she's herself and you're the character? So far, you've presented the idea such that she has do the hard work and perform a character that titillates you . Try reversing this and see if it works any better.

Ultimately, she may just find the whole thing too ridiculous to take further. But maybe there are other things she'd like to try. From what you've written here, it sounds like you would benefit from listening more to her desires (yes, even if her desire is for you to stop pushing this agenda altogether!).
posted by hot soup girl at 8:18 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]

you don't mention who you would be in this scenario; all emphasis is upon your partner's performance.

Absolutely. Someone who's not naturally into this idea from the get-go is most certainly not going to be willing to play a role for you while being quite aware that you'll be judging them on how well they're alleviating your boredom.

Nthing the suggestions that it's you who needs to select and play a role from one of her fantasies, after conversing with her outside of sexytime about what you would both enjoy, and let her be herself.
posted by Miko at 9:04 PM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]

Imagine, for example, if your wife REALLY liked the idea of pegging you. Would you appreciate it if, after you told her several times in conversation it just wasn't a turn on, she bought a strap-on anyway and pulled it out and tried to cajole you into bending over and letting her have at it? Wouldn't that just feel disrespectful and like she wasn't listening to you at all?

Dude, she's just not into it.

Feels she can’t do it, although she doesn’t say that. She feels very badly about herself for not being able to do it, I think.
What has she said/done to make you think either of those things is true? Given that you took her rather graceful handling of the t-shirt incidence to mean she just doesn't get it, maybe you're misreading her entirely on the subject, possibly because this is something you feel strongly about and you just don't want to accept that it just aint gonna happen.

As well as being submissive, all the roles (with perhaps the exception of secretary) are definitively young. Your post history indicates your wife is approx 61 and while I do think you should drop the subject entirely because it seems to me that your wife has been very clear about it, perhaps you would have more luck with more age appropriate roles.... that aren't nuns (really, could a character be any less sexy than that?!) maybe your wide just feels too old to be pretending to be a teenager or a virgin or a sexy maid. I'm 27 and feel ridiculously too old to be doing the schoolgirl thing, but I started when I was 19 and my real school uniform still fit ;) I think if he hadn't said anything back then and started pushing for it now, I'd be reticent but I'd still do it.... if he asked in 30 years time, I'd probably have a few choice words for him. Also, originally it wasn't actually something he asked me to do, he expressed a fantasy/desire and I chose to act on that information. I've never once felt pressured into doing something I wasn't comfortable with.

Role-playing is silly and embarrassing and really hot if you're both into it. Otherwise its just silly and embarrassing.
posted by missmagenta at 9:09 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]

incidence =incident
posted by missmagenta at 9:10 PM on October 23, 2009

well, some people think role playing is just stupid and can't get past the stupid to the sex.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 9:39 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Role-playing IS stupid, unless you are lucky enough to arrive on set with your creativity pre-uncramped. If one of the people invited to play isn't into it, doesn't understand it, is afraid of it, feels vulnerable, or fears looking silly, role-playing is as stupid as hell.

Gather 'round, everyone, as it is hazily-remembered anecdote time!

I read in an improv workbook about a meeting room full of bank executives taking a teambuilding class. Their instructor asked them to take crayons and paper and draw the wildest picture they could think of. The results were stilted and small, with big margins, and just about what one would expect from a room full of suits attending an involuntary training day.

Then the instructor told them they were "hippies", and asked them again to draw their wildest picture. This time, with no fear of being held responsible for their creations, the pictures were free and colourful and filled the page. Why? This is because the bankers didn't draw them. HIPPIES did. Who KNOWS what those anachronistic patchouli-stank beardos will do next!

This story always hit me with the same hard truth that hits a child the first time the world tells him he Can't (shouldn't) Draw or Can't (shouldn't) Sing -- the fear of being judged for your input. The second you re-gear things to put an escape between authorship and outcome, you lose the fear. This is why brainstorming exercises forbid judging, and why writers in the "flow" don't stop to polish their sentences.

By asking your frightened, vulnerable, literally naked wife to role-play with you in bed, you are telling that banker, who already knows you think he's boring, to put on his top-drawer thong and seduce you with book-words. Her statement that her character was "sending her" to you is the same thing as the timid banker drawing a teeny picture. Saying "oh yes, but my character can't be in the same room with you" is a classic improv blocking statement!

You said she is not against sexual role-play, but doesn't want to talk about it. If you are going to try this, you need to find a way to help your wife lose that fear. Getting her a t-shirt (essentially, in this case, a desexualizing nametag that covers half the body) isn't going to work.

You could try introducing some kind of non-sexual role-play first. Try some improv warm-up exercises like passing each other an invisible object, or making up a song together. You need some safe way to be creative together where neither of you feels judged or unworthy, or responsible for someone else's experience and/or boner. When she's ready, play the game where you must say "yes, and" to everything. Later, maybe she will surprise you, and invite you to tell a one-word-at-a-time filthy story.
posted by Sallyfur at 9:59 PM on October 23, 2009 [12 favorites]

First, make sure you're not confusing "doesn't get" role-playing with "doesn't want" to try role- playing. In my experience (and I don't think I'm alone in this) pressure is a absolute libido killer - especially when my partner sends subtle messages that there're something wrong with me for not wanting to do something. Make sure you're not sending the message; "If you 'got' this you would want it, and since you don't want it, you must not get it."

And yes, I think she could have easily interpreted the tee-shirt gesture as pressure to perform. If that's the case, no wonder she shot it down.

You said that "she doesn't seem to get it and/or is very threatened by it." Has she actually said these things or are you make assumptions about what she's thinking and feeling? Women usually like it when men ask us what we're thinking instead of assuming that they already know.

Likewise, you said; "She is not against it, but seems very afraid. Feels she can’t do it, although she doesn’t say that. She feels very badly about herself for not being able to do it, I think. She definitely doesn’t want to talk about it."

Again... you sound like you're guessing about what's going on in her head. Ask her to open up the conversation again when you're not frustrated or irritated. Ask her what she's uncomfortable with and why (be prepared to accept mushy answers like 'it just seems silly'). Ask her what she wants sexually. Ask her if there are other things in your relationship that might be bleeding into your sex life. Ask her what YOU can do to make HER feel more comfortable/sexy/open/aroused.

If she's open to trying new things, start with the small and familiar and slowly weave in novelty and adventurousness. If it's her thing, take her someplace exquisite, dress up, flirt like mad, seduce her when you get home. Try playing versions of yourselves first. Do things that are special and seductive, but not too far out of her range of experience that she gets lost or scared. See what kinds of things develop. Go slow, be patient, be gentle, be loving. Be open to creativity in bed that does not look like standard role-playing scenarios.
posted by space_cookie at 10:28 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

If it were me I would smell the ulterior motives steaming from that shirt and feel like my partner was being condescending, especially if we'd already talked about role-playing and my hesitation about it. You can't "trick" her into thinking it is a good idea and getting into that mindset, you have to really talk about it, set boundaries, and basically do everything that space_cookie said. I especially like the suggestion about starting out in a different location -- being outside of the home, which is steeped in familiarity, might make her imagination run wild.
posted by Juicy Avenger at 11:19 PM on October 23, 2009

This is not snarky: I, like others, seem to have missed the point at which you mention that you had a conversation (or more than one conversation) in which you both spoke and listened to each other regarding your mutual needs and concerns. If that hasn't in fact happened, that's where you need to start. You have to make every bit as much effort toward hearing and understanding her as you would like for her to hear and understand you.
posted by scody at 12:48 AM on October 24, 2009 [3 favorites]

I have a random suggestion. To impress your wife, read the book, and try buying her books buy or about THIS woman, who is almost surely the inspiration for this character.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:42 AM on October 24, 2009

Tabletop roleplayer for the last 15 years off and on here. Us Dungeons and Dragons types have a term for what happens when the person running the game (referred to as the GM, "game master," or DM, "Dungeon Master") absolutely refuses to accept that the players have their own ideas about what their own characters would do and say in a situation.

I'm sorry, OP, really, but you're a railroad GM.

Your wife was handed a character sheet that said "your character is a cloistered nun," took it in the spirit of "OK, I'm playing a cloistered nun," and then got told "Your character needs to dress up sexy for me and put out." She refused, obviously, because it's out of character, and she's not going to play a character with whom she empathizes in a manner contrary to the existing canon (the novel in question). She took the plot out of your hands by disagreeing, and you-- not having developed your game mastering reflexes yet, which is a process of trial and error and painful learning experiences-- argued the point with her about how she was to play her own character.

If you were in a straight-up power-exchange previously negotiated master/slave or dominant/submissive thing with Mrs. OP, that'd be one thing. You guys would be already be talking about your scenes, thinking about issues of control and consent, comparing notes on things you liked and disliked in the bedroom-- and you'd have jointly worked out a setup where she'd have consented to play her end of it to please you. Her refusal might even be a previously-determined part of the game, that you'd then have to overcome.

You guys aren't doing that sort of thing with that kind of background, though, and you've got as much to learn as she does. Sexual roleplaying, like D&D, is about the story you're telling together, as a collaborative endeavor, to get to the end goal-- a good orgasm, 150 experience points, whatever you want to work towards. It's not about bluntly putting your expectations of the other person's character out there and protesting any deviation from your own singular vision. It's a creative process and you'll have to treat it as such...

...and, well, at the end of the day, she may not be interested and she may not consent to it, and you may have to compromise. Good luck.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 2:12 AM on October 24, 2009 [8 favorites]

Also, you're going to have to think about your setup. If my GM suddenly ran up to me in the student union 11 years ago and demanded that I roll my dice for some skill check right there in the Burger King line, there would've been words, starting with "No, you're fucking nuts, have you gotten enough sleep lately."

There's a time and place for rolling dice, usually set up with "here's the snacks, here's the small talk, here's the books, here's the map and the miniature figurines, we're going to work on this story tonight." Likewise, "here's a sexy garment with a name on it, please go put it on so we can have sexy sex pretend time now" might not be the most tactful or reassuring approach. Whenever you're setting out to radically alter someone's frame of reference, you've got to ease in and ease back out when you're done, or you're going to leave upset and confused participants in your wake.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 2:24 AM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

The scenarios you mention wanting to try - schoolgirl and virgin, especially - bring to mind an image of someone really young. Since you and Mrs. FG have been married for 35+ years, I'm assuming she's in her 50s or 60s. Could it be that she's inferring you have an interest in younger women, and is insulted/intimidated by that?

Personally, I'm really into sexual role-play, but I got CRAZY offended when an ex-boyfriend suggested I play the role of a woman whom I thought he would actually prefer to me. I suspect many women would feel the same way.
posted by arianell at 3:18 AM on October 24, 2009 [5 favorites]

She doesn't get it? You didn't even get as far as Ralph Wiggum:

"I don't think the real Radioactive Man wears a plastic smock with a picture of himself on it."
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:10 AM on October 24, 2009 [13 favorites]

What if you tried a different sort of roleplaying? Play where the characters are still you and your wife, but the situation is drastically different than your normal mundane life. You're the last two human beings alive! You're total strangers who have never met before! You're both characters in some fictional setting or historical time period you both find interesting! Obviously a lot of the above points re: communication, her desires, etc, still stand, but I could see changing up the atmosphere going over better to start with, and let it grow from there if you both get into it. A lot of people get into all kinds of pretendy funtime games, even the non-sexy variety, playing characters who are basically "me if I lived in this fantasy world", branching out as the experience becomes more comfortable.
posted by larkspur at 10:42 AM on October 24, 2009

She doesn't want to do it and she's told you. Listen to her words and accept her decision. If she gives in, please understand she's doing it because she's being coerced. If I were your partner and you kept doing this, I would leave you. If your partner were my friend, I would tell her to dtmfa. Seriously. Stop being a bully or you're going to reap a harvest you don't want. Trust me.
posted by WyoWhy at 9:24 AM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

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