Bring More Play Into The Bedroom
Sex and play are a natural combination. The more playfulness you can bring to the sex you are having, the better. Not only because it makes sex better, but also because studies show that play enhances overall emotional well-being.
As the sex therapist and bestselling author, Dr. Mike Dow said, “Sex is the way that adults play.”
So let’s get playing…
Play is a portal to pleasure
An attitude of play can allow us to fully enjoy every aspect of sex. When we are in the spirit of “play” our brains allow us more freedom from worry and mistake making. Being in a state of play also helps check your ego at the bedroom door; there is no place for ego in play, because the only aim is to have fun.
You are much less likely to judge your “performance” when you are in a state of play, and thus, you will gain more confidence. Most importantly, play can be a portal to pleasure, and pleasure is foundational for a healthy, vibrant sex life.
Here are some tips to incorporate more “play” in the bedroom…
Create space for play
As adults, we often feel overwhelmed by life and set play aside, in lieu of more ‘important’ tasks on our to-do lists. Try doing the opposite. Planning time for play ensures (ironically) that you will create a space for spontaneity. Set aside some “play time” the way you would for a dinner engagement or a work commitment. In this way, you prioritize your pleasure as important to you.
On the flip side, it’s important to leave space for some random sex/play sessions too. It can be fun to have a secret code with your lover that triggers a playful flirtation, or a signal that it’s time for some sexy fun to be squeezed into your busy day. Be creative and come up with new ways of signaling play that are personal to you and your style.
Focus on frivolity
Sex should be fun. Marilyn Monroe once said, “Sex is part of nature. I go along with nature.” Scientists and behaviorists have long considered play to be a part of our human nature, and most define “play” along the lines of being silly and frivolous. Play is described as “an apparently purposeless activity.” Sex doesn’t always have to be serious or intense, have some fun with it!
How do we use this purposelessness to play more during sex though? For example, instead of focusing on orgasm as the goal, you can focus on teasing, rough-housing, “playing” with your partner’s body parts, control and release (such as edging), all without even trying to get to the orgasm itself. In this way, sex becomes purposeless and brings you into the present moment. Try to see sex as simply playing a sport, or creating a piece of art.
If you are having trouble treating sex as play, try doing one ridiculous thing to (or for) your sex partner. For example, if you were going to send a sexy selfie to get your partner in the mood, add a touch of silliness to the pic, such as crossed eyes, or playfully sticking your tongue out. You could also caption a sexy picture with an inside joke. You can still be seductive and sexy while maintaining a sense of humor.
Another easy way to incorporate play is to use toys, they are called toys for a reason! Toys can be immensely helpful in incorporating a sense of play, because you take the focus off yourself and place it onto the object and its use. Sex toys such as the magic wand (which you can use on any part of the body- vibrations are fun!) and the we-vibe (which offers several shapes and functions, as well as the ability to connect remotely with your partner via we-connect) are great tools to enhance your playfulness alone, or with a partner.
If you don’t have a stash of sex toys yet, go grab something from the kitchen or bathroom to play with – things such as a spatula or dry brush can be fantastic for sensory play. Blindfold your partner to create some suspense…then lightly run different items along their skin to taunt them. Above all- be creative and think outside the box (pun intended).
Play is unstructured fun that unleashes our imagination. A great way of incorporating imagination into sex is through role play. Slipping into a role helps you find freedom you might not normally feel during sex, because it is not “you” doing it – it is your “character” in the scenario.
If you are willing to try role play, but it feels awkward, my top two tips are:
1) give yourselves “permission” to be silly and
2) don’t break character.
The first tip actually helps with the second. Let’s say you and your partner decide to role play a “doctor/patient” scenario, but you both keep cracking up. Don’t resist the urge to laugh (since it will just grow stronger). Give yourself permission to laugh and then recommit to the scenario.
If your partner is laughing, lead by example and get really serious in your role, committing to it fully. This “putting on the serious face” technique works especially well for example in BDSM play when the dominant partner sets the tone for the scene. (Advanced tip: if you are used to certain roles in the bedroom, try flipping the script and switching roles at least once. It can really help unleash your creativity and help you bond with your partner even more.)
If you or your partner are still finding roleplay challenging, try starting small by using a fun nickname for your partner as a baby step. It might create an opening for role play down the line.
Roleplay isn’t limited to partnered sex. You can find countless characters and scenarios to play out in your mind while you masturbate.
Consider trying BDSM or kink as a way to discover your roleplaying desires. I find that kinksters (as I lovingly call them, myself included) are well versed in the concept of play and fantasy. As a way to get the kink conversation started, I created a questionnaire to help you discover what you and/or your partner might be into.
If you notice yourself or your partner getting too serious, start a game. Games are a great way to lighten up and get into a playful mood. There are a lot of sex games out there to choose from (I really like Box of Dares and Come As You Aren’t), but you can also do something as simple as naked hide and seek. Thumb wars to decide who gets to be on top is always fun. Better yet, grab some oil and start a wrestling match!
One of the fastest ways to change your state to a playful one is through sound and movement. Next time you are getting it on, turn on some upbeat music that you might not usually associate with sex. Have sex to the rhythm of the music, or start dancing with (or for) your sex partner. Simply moving your body in a playful seductive way can really get the juices flowing.
Stay in the moment
Playful people tend to stay in the moment and observe life around them. Next time you’re having sex, try observing your partner in great detail using all of your senses. Notice the softness of their skin, the color of their eyes, even how their breath changes during different sex acts.
One thing I find really fascinating is to (after sex) write out the thoughts and feelings that you experienced during sex. Then, each partner reads what they wrote aloud to the other. You will create a sense of curiosity and wonder that can open you to even deeper and more pleasurable experiences in the future.
Play is like any other “skill” – the more you do it, the better you get. So, the next thing you might want to whisper in your lover’s ear is “Let’s Play!”
Emily Anne is a bestselling author, sex coach, and educator who specializes in helping people expand their sexual horizons through BDSM and kink. When she’s not obsessively talking about sex, she’s hiking through the Hollywood Hills. Get some sexy education on her Instagram feed!