Sex: Fantasy Island

Sometimes a girl feels sexiest when she’s not herself.

It’s often said that women wear scandalous costumes on Halloween because it’s the one time each year when it’s acceptable to dress like a total slut. But this special brand of kinkiness doesn’t have to be reserved for October 31. You can have a sexy French maid or a sexy clown (whatever floats your boat) in your bed any night of the week. Think she won’t go for it? Think again. An amazing 74 percent of women who took Maxim’s 2010 sex survey said role play was something they were dying to try. And the other 26 percent? They’re probably secretly nurturing the same kind of fantasy.

Take me, for instance. I never thought I’d want to pretend to be someone else in bed. Until I met Eric, a rugged college professor I was sure had been the subject of many a schoolgirl fantasy. When I asked if he’d ever slept with one of his students, he insisted he’d never cross that line. The more emphatic he was, the more fervent my fantasy of playing his “sexy student” became. After I confessed that I was hot for teacher, Eric didn’t embrace his role with much enthusiasm—until he saw how much it turned me on. The result was, well, let’s just say I wasn’t a very good student, so I got called into his office quite a bit that semester.

Power Play

For most women the appeal of role play is in the escape. “It’s a release,” says Stacey, a 27-year-old attorney who took her old prep school uniform out of her closet when a new boyfriend began complimenting her oral sex skills. “I started pretending I was this innocent girl and he needed to show me how to get even better,” she recalls. “In everyday life I’m confident and responsible, but it’s nice to leave that take-charge persona behind.”

Then there are women who view role play as a safe venue to dominate. “I’d been living with my boyfriend for two years when our sex life got stale and he was getting on my nerves,” says Alicia, 28. “I started ordering him around, saying things like, ‘Go get me water,’ and, ‘Bring me a towel.’ And he’d actually do it. Then one night I said, ‘You’re the worst employee I’ve ever had, and I’m going to punish you by sitting on your face.’ He was shocked, but ended up getting so turned on that he came just from that—he wasn’t even touching himself. And I really got off on being bossy.” According to Gilda Carle, Ph.D., author of 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity, Alicia experienced another common phenomenon with role play: “Scenarios where the woman plays the dominant role tend to be more common for subservient women who are saying, ‘Now it’s my turn.’¿”

For still other women, it’s fulfilling their man’s fantasy that draws them to the land of make-believe. Melinda, a 31-year-old Los Angeles entertainment executive, says the more variety she can provide her boyfriend, the sexier and more secure she feels with him. “If I can be anyone he wants at any time with a wig, an outfit, or just some good acting, why would he want anyone else?” she says. Her favorite scenario is one where they’re at a fancy restaurant and he pretends to be a horny customer to her beleaguered waitress. “I’ll get up to go to the bathroom, and he’ll follow me, grab my ass hard from behind, and whisper something like, ‘You’re the hottest waitress I’ve ever seen, and I’m gonna shove you in this bathroom, pull your skirt off, and fuck you.’ It’s always great.”

Let the Games Begin

Anyone who’s tried role play knows it doesn’t always go smoothly. Having your girlfriend suit up as Wonder Woman and lasso you to your La-Z-Boy could be hot—or incredibly goofy. Recently, 33-year-old Shari and her boyfriend went straight to costume town, and the results weren’t so erotic. “Batman has always been my fantasy,” she says. “Not George Clooney or Christian Bale playing Batman, but literally Batman.” After she told her boyfriend, he bought a Batman getup for Halloween. “He put it on, and I dressed up in my Robin costume, and I started to kiss him,” she recalls. “I thought it would be really sexy, but it was ridiculous. I mean, his costume had fake muscles on the torso.It killed my girl-boner for Batman forever.”

If you’re a role play novice, the best way to find out if your woman is game is to start small, says Lainie Speiser, author of Hot Games for Mind-Blowing Sex. “If she’s wearing glasses,” she suggests, “say, ‘You look like a sexy teacher. Can I stay after class?’¿” Plots that subtly enhance real-life circumstances, like the one I acted out with Eric, are also effective. Layla, a 29-year-old photographer, became obsessed with having sex on an examining table while dating an ER doctor. “I finally confessed that I wanted to be his helpless ‘patient,’ and he said, ‘Absolutely, I’ll prop you up and fuck you right there,’¿”she recalls. “A few weeks later I was buying a nurse outfit to take things to the next level.

Watch Your Mouth

Whatever you do, don’t utter the words “role” and “play.” “In a sexual situation, I think it sounds clinical and vaguely sinister,” says Sabrina, 30. “It would be far better to flatter a woman by telling her how sexy she looks and how hot it would be if she did whatever it is you want her to do.” Tamara, 29, started dabbling in role play after her boyfriend did just that. “One night I’d focused entirely on pleasing him in bed—he wasn’t allowed to touch me—and he said he loved when I acted like his ‘sex slave.’ Now we pretend I’m his courtesan. I’ll show up at his door wearing nothing but lingerie with nipple tassels, heels, and a trench coat, my hands cuffed together.We don’t speak—he just takes me and uses me, then tells me when I can put my coat

on and leave again.”

Not speaking may be a wise move: For many couples the trickiest part of role play just might be the acting. When 27-year-old Elise’s bookish boyfriend tried to indulge her fireman fantasy, his approach fell flat. “Gerry is a nerd, which I absolutely love about him,” she says. “But when he was pretending to rescue me from our burning bedroom, he suddenly adopted this awful ‘New Yawk’ accent.

I was like, ‘Honey, what the fuck?’¿” The attempt wasn’t a total failure, though. “We ended up laughing hysterically,” Elise says, “which made me want to screw him all the more.” To be on the safe side, it might be best to en­courage your lady to take the lead when it’s time for your masterpiece theater. Or if you dive in bravely but find you’re drowning like Gerry, just pretend you were playing the role of stand-up comedian instead.