Role-playing is the act of living out your fantasies in a safe, private space. It can lead to a lot of fun, orgasms, and sexual experiences that might not be possible in the real world.

It’s important to discuss your interests and comfort levels with role-playing with your partner ahead of time. You’ll also want to come up with a safety word so you can end the experience quickly if needed.

1. Decide on a genre

There are many different types of role-play. Find one that appeals to you.

Role-playing can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. Often, it’s best to start with something less intimidating, like an office setting. It’s much like how professional basketball players look so comfortable knocking down free throws; they practice hundreds of times each week.

If you’re looking to try something with a more fantasy element, try a game such as Paranoia or Call of Cthulhu. These can be a great “gateway” game and give you an idea of what to expect before you dive in head first.

2. Pick a partner

Role playing can be an intimate experience, so it’s important to choose a partner with whom you feel comfortable. You should discuss your sexual fantasies with this person before you get into role play, and figure out what kind of scenario will satisfy both of you.

You might want to role play as a couple simulating sex, or you might like to take it further and have a little fun with punishment scenarios (you dirty spy, you). Be sure to negotiate what’s okay ahead of time, and be sure to set a safe word that will bring the scene to an end if you are feeling uncomfortable.

If you are interested in consensual non-consent or a taboo like incest, then it’s especially important to discuss boundaries and set up a safety word ahead of time. This can be a great way to explore your deepest desires and push past your boundaries in a safe, controlled way.

3. Make a character

Creating your character is one of the most fun parts of role-playing. However, it’s also where many new players get stuck. Often, they put too much emphasis on their history and appearance, which is understandable since these are the easiest to differentiate from the rest of the game world. But personality is what really sets characters apart from each other, and it can be equally as challenging to create.

4. Create a scene

A key to successful role-playing is the ability to create a scenario that will give players the opportunity to practice their new skills. Whether the scene is one of a sudden sexual encounter or an argument between two co-workers, participants will need to find ways to manage conflict and explore different solutions.

Scenarios can be as simple or complex as the people involved in them. Depending on the genre, some common scenarios include love affairs, casual hook-ups, threesomes, blackmail, rewards and punishment, photo shoots, travel, humiliation, or dominance and submission.

“A work-related sexual situation is a powerful way to play with power dynamics,” says Davis-Fainbloom. “You and your boss might not get along all the time, but you can set up a scene where the workplace tension becomes sexy.” This is an especially great way for those interested in BDSM to explore power dynamics without taking the big leap. It can also be a good way to explore fetishes such as voyeurism or age play.

If you’re nervous about trying role-playing for the first time, there are a few things you should keep in mind. One is to make sure you and your partner have defined their boundaries.

Another is to be very clear about what you want to happen in the role-play scenario. You don’t want to end up creating a situation that is a mix of real-life and fantasy.