Who says that adults don't like to play? There are many who do and that can easily be found by examining all of the outlets there are for such play amongst adults. The idea of play is more important than most people realize regardless of whether it is a trivial time waster or an organized passion between two. Play gives people that chance to either live out their fantasies and a partner to share in them provided there is mutual and reciprocal attention in that arena. They can be sexual in nature or even adventurous without sexuality at all. Many couple's vacations are as such and the purpose is to fulfil that need for mutual and shared adventure.
Enter role play into the lives of people and you have a popular means of exploring adventure and fantasy by performing it together in an imaginary sense. There is no real risk in doing so and if your role play is of a nature that could potentially become uncomfortable for either of you, then come up with a safety word that lets your partner know that you're uncomfortable and that you'd like to stop. This is important in regards to sexual role play or fantasy and gives your partner a way out should they become uncomfortable.
Where does the idea of role play versus reality come in? It comes from how and where a person might get their ideas for fantasy and further more the efforts they go through to live them. This concept is an important one and has some moral implications that people should talk about. Some of the ideas of where fantasy comes from and whether one might try to conduct it in reality versus role play have the same grounds for discussion that people used to have about the risk of children watching violent cartoons or reading comic books. Most parents don't anyone to tell them how to raise their children in that regard, but we will discuss real play versus role play here.
Role play is defined as pretending a situation and interaction is real (when it is not) and involves the means of such play occurring in performance rather than reality. Role play might involve taking on the role of another person in another career and pretending to do what one imagines they might do without actually doing it for real. Couples do this when they play masseur/masseuse if they are doing so out of a hobby rather than for a career. Playing while pretending that it is your first meeting as a couple is another role play scenario. You are each pretending not to know each other and then hitting it off and maybe leaving where ever you are together.
Real play on the other hand is play derived from fantasy that occurs for real and is conducted for real. Having a fantasy about driving a race car or going horse back riding or jumping out of an aeroplane (with a parachute of course) and then doing those things in real life. Going skiing is a real play fantasy as is going boating or canoeing together. They are activities that you want to do for real and seek the means to do so for real.
Though it may not seem so important, knowing the difference between when a fantasy should be role play and when it should be real play is a very important topic for investigators in fields such as Behavioural Profiling as it can determine a the social decision making process for a person where it involves unnecessary risks to others and to oneself.
For instance, there are lines of fantasy that involve playing intimidation, humiliation or control that involves emotional risk for someone playing in such a situation when it is done for real or none at all when it is role played, so that role playing it involves no risk. There are many people who enjoy a control fantasy and it is obviously one that is best role played rather than real played. Likewise someone who likes watching action films with guns and violence isn't as necessarily prone to go outside and start shooting people to live out a fantasy. That also doesn't mean that movies, cartoons, comic books and fantasies are dangerous things at all. Its how people seek to achieve fantasy because fantasies are really like dreams and deserve careful consideration in there becoming reality, whether through play or for real. A determination of which one applies is in deed very important.
These fine lines play a role in Behavioural Profiling and this topic is a very important topic to investigators everywhere. So what we fantasize about and the means we go through to achieve it as a fantasy come true are more important topics than one would realize. I would say that the rule of thumb so to speak is to engage in such activity where it is sexual in nature with a trusted and committed partner. It should always involve role play and it should be discussed before hand as to how you handle things like discomfort with a situation (like with a safety word or trust). The safety word exists as a way of letting a partner know that you are out of character for the moment and talking as yourself. It is a way to let your partner know that you'd rather not continue, or even to keep going but to try something a little bit differently.
Control Versus Inspiration And Role Play
A real controller might try to take the credit for what someone else does citing that they were controlling the person while they did it, where as someone who is inspired is not controlled into doing something but made a choice to credit an emotional, determinate or spiritual source.
Role playing control is one thing because as I've said, it involves the creativity of a partner (if the role play is sexual in nature) whereas real control does not. One would think that the one thing that a person loves most about their partner is their personality and creativity, so why in a sexual encounter would they not want that to be a part of such an experience?
The same could equally apply for others as well in situations that don't involve sexuality and don't require role play. Inspiration gives us the choice to act on what we feel when we experience a creative effort of another. Control doesn't. Therefore one is narcissistic and the other is social. Role play is social because you are inviting a partner to interpret your fantasy.
Safe playing and stay well,
Brian Joseph Johns