Carlin Ross walked into a ritzy Manhattan nightspot, dressed to
the nines. She sat down, set her handbag on the bar, and ordered a drink. The
fellow sitting two barstools away took immediate notice of her. He slid over
and said hello.
"Excuse me, do I know you?" she asked. He seemed taken
aback, and well he should have. He was, after all, Ross' longtime boyfriend.
"You're one of those investment banker types, aren't you?" she said,
By Ayana Byrd
Have you ever wondered why we kiss? It's actually a strange way to spend your time lips smooshed together, breath (good or bad) mingling, and let's not even get into the tongue action. Yet we love it. We cheer when movie characters seal their happily-ever-afters with a smooch. A bodies-pressed-together kiss can make you remember why you adore the man who was annoying you just a minute ago. Why is that? "For some women, kissing is even more intimate than intercourse," says...
It wasn't long before he realized what Ross was up to, and
began to play along. The two "strangers" kept up the act for the rest
of the evening -- and into the morning.
Ross runs the sex-positive, femme-focused web site
Cherrybomb.com. When people email or post to the site's message boards asking
for ideas to spice up their
relationships, she often suggests this game. "It was a wonderful
experience for me," she tells WebMD. "It wasn't about any sex act or
anything extreme," she says, but it was hot.
She's not the only one who recommends role playing of this sort
to couples whose long-term relationships have turned tepid.
When couples pretend to pick each other up in public, "They
get to appreciate their partner's talent and abilities on the dating
scene," says Barbara Bartlik, MD, a sex therapist and assistant professor
of psychiatry at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.
For married people, these talents may have been hidden for
years. "They have forgotten that this guy or this woman that they're
married to is actually attractive, and could be sexy, and a turn-on, and sought
after by others. So it does work."
"Role playing is very important, and we use it all the time
sex therapy," she says.
"One of my women patients, although she loves her husband
dearly -- he's the father of her child, and they have a very good
marriage in many ways -- she finds his gentleness unappealing
sexually," Bartlik says. "She was attracted to her husband because of
his kind, considerate nature. But when it comes to the bedroom she wants him to
give her exactly the opposite of what she selected.
"She wants a brute, so we had to get him to role-play being
But if your imagination stalls when you try to dream up sexy
scenarios, or if your acting abilities are found wanting, don't despair. There
are many other ways to turn up the heat in your relationship.