The first time I ever tried role-playing, it was a weird, not-so-sexy accident. It was Halloween night my senior year of college and I just so happened to be wearing a mottled, beer-stained panda suit and a pirate hat. I really couldn't tell you how I ended up in that get-up, but I do remember that the presence of costuming in the bedroom — even that of a damp, seafaring mammal — added a whole lot of fun to the experience.
After that memorable night, it took a few years for me to realize that incorporating outfits into bedroom play could transcend Halloween-night hookups — and didn't necessarily need to involve a Party City animal suit. And because I had a lot of questions — Where do I find non-cheesy costumes? Do I have to memorize my lines ahead of time? — I tapped my favorite experts, sex educator Gwendolyn Rosen, dominatrix Rae Dolores, SSASE founder Zoe, and SHAG co-owner Samantha Bard, to break down the art of playing characters in bed.
Lesson number one? Don’t feel pressured to take on an entirely new persona if that feels weird to you. Role-playing is infinitely customizable to your personal turn-ons and comfort levels, whether you're a total first-timer or a seasoned actor.
Ahead, we’ve rounded up expert-approved costume ideas for role-play that you can make your own any time of year.