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  • Writer's pictureJessica Childs

Romance as Role Play

Romance. Ah...Romance. Does it turn you on? Is it your thing?

"You are the most wonderful person I have ever laid eyes on"

"I will never be with anyone else but you"

"You are the air that I breathe, the sun that shines on my dawn of pure bliss..."

If statements like these make you swoon, that's awesome! It's your thing. And how delicious it is that you have this thing! But for many, these kinds of statements make them feel uneasy, queasy, cheesy....even skeezy. That’s also awesome. Let me explain.

Romance is typically how adult love (and lust) is portrayed in our culture, especially on the silver screen. Lots of eye-gazing and proclamations of just how special and perfect a person is fill our media-verse and those images are embedded in our collective psyche. For some, romance is comfortable and it can even be delicious when it happens IRL. But for many of us, this version of intimate expression can be hard to stomach. It can even lead to confusion, shame and internal dischord when we aren’t comfortable with this culturally accepted narrative.

If this is you, you aren’t alone. In my unscientific study on the effects of romance on the human being, many, maybe even the majority of people, cringe at these sorts of romantic gestures, at least on the inside. The root of this dischord is actually quite simple : romance by its very nature isn't truthful. We see it everywhere. “I’ll never ever leave you.” Then a year later the tides have changed and every one has moved on.

"Romance is not for people who need the truth." - Celeste Hirschman

If you are in the camp of folks who rolls their eyes and thinks "liar" when someone throws romance at're right! And you have every right to read it as inauthentic. But if you just shove it off, you might be missing out on the possibility for something super juicy. And here is the invitation:

What if romance is a kind of culture-wide sexy role play?

There may be nothing for you in playing this way. And that's fine. Just forget it and move on. But for those that are curious what I mean, the next time someone utters this sort of nonsense in your ear while they (consensually) unzip your pants, see what it feels like to lean into the experience of being the sublime creature of which they speak. The most special and unique being ever to grace this person's existence with your presence. Playing the role might open up a few new courses on your sexual and emotional menu. If nothing else, it will be a cool experiment.

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