Playing Dress-Up in the Bedroom?

We’re one week away from Halloween. While Christians have an array of opinions about this holiday, you can’t avoid seeing the costumes that crop up in stores, in media sources, and on your neighborhood street.

And has anyone else noticed a trend to make every costume include a Sexy version? Like Sexy Nurse, Sexy Cop, Sexy Witch, Sexy Pirate. Think it stops there? Oh no. I’ve even seen costumes for Sexy Ladybug, Sexy Court Jester, and Sexy Spongebob. (Really? Sexy Spongebob?)

Mask

Picture from Microsoft Word Clip Art

While I’d discourage wives from donning Sexy [fill-in-the-blank] costumes out in public for your Halloween event or harvest festival, there is something to be said for playing dress-up in the bedroom. Why would a spouse dress up for a sexual encounter?

Role Play. Plenty of married couples engage in role play as one aspect of their lovemaking. Spouses act out scenarios ranging from average activities “gone wild” (nurse giving sponge bath, realtor showing a house) to events already charged with sexual energy (dancer performing strip tease, naked photo shoot) to scenarios from the world of fantasy (fairy tale/prince & princess, superhero rescuing citizen). The role play could include costume pieces or the whole nine yards of tights, cape, and boots — that example being for the superhero idea, not the realtor. Casting yourself in a different role from time to time can add a playful dimension to your lovemaking. It’s also a way to live out a little fantasy with your spouse.

Aesthetics. Aesthetics is just a big word to say that something is appealing to the eye. Whether you actually play out any role, your husband might love to view your body dolled up as a sexy sailor or cowgirl. There’s a bit of intrigue to costuming, and different outfits can draw attention to different parts of your body. Put more basically, your figure might totally rock a sexy gladiator costume (or whatever else you can find) and catch the tongue-tied attention of your hubby.

Feeling Adventurous. Another reason to introduce a costume into your bedroom is that it might bring out the bolder side of you. When you dress up, you feel a little more adventurous, a little more daring . . . and that can carry over into how you approach sex with your spouse. Showing your playful or seductive side with a costume can excite your own interest in sexual activity and/or give you a boost of sexual confidence when you see the happy expression on his face.

A few things to remember about role play in the bedroom:

Be you. If you dress in costume or play a role, you should still be you with your spouse during sex. Sexual intimacy is about two unique people connecting physically and relationally. If you fantasize that you’re making love to the swashbuckler on your steamy romance novel cover, and not your husband, you’ve brought a third party (even in imagination) into your bedroom. Instead, spouses should keep their own identity. Be you-in-costume and interact as yourself.

Make it a treat. If you need to constantly wear a costume or role play in the bedroom for one or both of you to become aroused, that could signal a problem. Sexual intimacy in marriage can include a variety of experiences, but you should be able to sexually engage as a couple without a prop department. How often you don a costume is up to you as a couple, but it can certainly be a treat that you engage in when looking for extra spice in the bedroom.

You’re enough. If your husband wants you to dress up, that doesn’t mean that he isn’t satisfied with you as you are. In a recent news story, Hugh Jackman — People‘s magazine 2008 “Sexiest Man Alive” — said that he has worn his Wolverine costume to the bedroom. While I think the claws could get a little dangerous in that scenario, I found it interesting that his wife of 17 years got a kick out of that. It’s obviously not that her husband isn’t attractive enough on his own! Putting on a costume doesn’t mean that your husband wants someone else. He chose you. Assuming it’s not a regular or persistent request (as mentioned above), consider it a playful and provocative experience to dress up for him.

What do you think about wearing a costume in the bedroom? Any other insights you wish to add?

30 thoughts on “Playing Dress-Up in the Bedroom?

  1. JW

    So, by “be you” how does that reflect a role play of being a realtor showing a house? Do you play the role of a realtor, or are you YOU? By taking on the role of a realtor showing a house, are you bringing a third party into the relationship?

    Just seems that the idea of role play and “be you” as you describe it seems at odds… Or maybe I’m misunderstanding?

    1. Bonny

      “Being you” and still role playing, means that in your brain you are not visualizing that you have an altered reality. It’s just you playing dress up. You haven’t immersed yourself to the point that you are disconnecting from your spouse. She’s also emphasizing that your spouse doesn’t visualize you as anyone else, either! It is tricky, as A says below.

      Dress up is a fun way to spice it up! It can take as little as a pair of State Trooper sunglasses. 😉

    2. J Post author

      Honestly, I can see doing this scenario as playing the role–the job itself–but not like I’m really someone else. And in my marriage, we’d crack up a lot trying this and likely make it a game of who can invent the best house-showing phrases that could mean something else (*wink-wink*). So it could be playful and fun, especially if you stick to roles and don’t take it too seriously.

      But even more honestly, if role-playing seems weird, don’t do it. Because yeah, there could be a fine line, and you’d both have to be comfortable with it.

      Thanks for the question, JW!

  2. Steve

    For women it seems like the French Maid costume would be considered a classic. For guys I’m not sure. Some kind of uniform I guess.

    1. J Post author

      I actually had a conversation not too long ago with a friend about how we wish guys wore suits and uniforms more, because they look so masculine and spiffy that way. We weren’t talking turn-on so much, but maybe a uniform would be attractive to a wife.

      As to the French maid, I wonder about that fantasy . . . So it’s sexy for a wife to be in a tiny dress and cleaning your house? Can a wife skip the house-cleaning part? LOL.

  3. Jan

    The only dress-up I need from my husband is him in a suit & tie! 🙂 I think that the costume is less important as the gesture to make your spouse smile & add a little bit of spice to the bedroom. The Lord has given us the Holy Spirit – conviction is a powerful thing & it’s in us to guide us.

    1. J Post author

      Don’t men look classically handsome is a nice suit and tie? Now and then, it’s great for the hubby to “suit up!” 🙂 Thanks, Jan.

  4. A

    Your comment is awaiting moderation. I think, youcan be pretending that youjust got this realtor job and shows off the house to this handsome guy (who just happens to beyour husband).I see how it can look tricky.But I think it’s harder to wrap your brain around than to actually do… Helpful?

    1. J Post author

      I suspect most couples could start a role-playing scenario (a role, not an entirely different identity) and would find out pretty quickly that they can’t really help being themselves. It’s like saying to a husband, “What if instead of being a paper clip engineer, you were really a _____?” And then going with it.

  5. jw

    Well, he happens to be my husband (or in my case, my wife), whether or not we’re roleplaying, right? 🙂

    I don’t really have an opinion one way or another yet. When we role-play, we have fun by pretending to be in different situations that you may never find me or my wife in–massage therapist/client, realtor/client, photographer/model etc. We are still the same person, we may do things a bit differently because of the fun situation, but I don’t believe either of us are using the role-playing to fantasize ourselves out of our marriage.

    Role-playing is something that I only would ever want to share in the security of the established relationship I have with my wife. There’s safety and no judging. There are knowing winks, and mischievous smiles. And sometimes we might even take on different names and act differently. But the entire event is done in the safety of our trusting marriage.

    And even in role-playing something that is perhaps a little outlandish, I’m not fantasizing my wife as someone else (and neither is she, I’m sure). But it injects a little fun and unpredictability into what can be routine intimacy (especially when 2 kids can make spontaneity tough).

    We’re really just discovering a more exciting sex life, after figuring out that the excitement of spontaneity pretty much goes out the window when 2 kids take up your time whenever they’re awake. Role-playing is one of the things we’ve done lately to add a boost to what had become routine, and we’re really enjoying it.

    Maybe you can give me an example of you’d think is taking role-playing too far… I’m still just a little unclear on what you think too far is. Thanks!

    My wife and I love your blog!

    1. J Post author

      I guess the way I think of it is ROLE vs. IDENTITY. It’s almost like how you can watch old movies with Jimmy Stewart or John Wayne, and even though you believe that they are a cowboy/journalist/father/etc., you always know that it’s Jimmy or John. They are playing a role. By contrast, some people change their appearance and voice and mannerisms so much that it’s like they’ve taken on a totally new identity. Sure, that works when you’re Anthony Hopkins playing Hannibal Lecter (and yeah, I’d take a massive step back from him when he was in that persona, even though I know it’s not real), but donning a whole other identity in the bedroom could undermine the whole point of hubby and wife being intimate.

      Ultimately, how you play this out is up to the couple and your conscience.

  6. Rick

    JW, I think J’s point about being “you” is that no one should pretend their spouse is truly someone else. In other words, it is fine for you to pretend your spouse is in a different role (realtor) or even that your relationship is different (that you just met, or that he is a superhero who just saved you from disaster). What we need to avoid is imagining your wife is, for instance, actually Scarlett Johansson (the actress who played Black Widow in The Avengers). It is one thing for the wife to play the role of Black Widow but is entirely another (inappropriate) for the husband to imagine he is actually having sex with Scarlett instead of his wife. In the end, we must avoid any activity being about others rather than the husband and wife.

  7. Lisa

    I just wanted to say that I was one of the ones who got lost in your switch-over, so it took me about two weeks to a) realize it (I thought you were taking a break) and b) do something about it. So I have and now you are back in my subscription list.

    While I was away, I realized I missed reading so much! My “sob story” is that my husband and I both waited until our wedding night, so we’ve both had exactly one partner. While I recognize how blessed we are, I also think it may make us a little less experienced?

    Anyway, after 19 years of marriage, I tried a new position based on your body parts series and it received rave reviews. 🙂

    You present the perfect balance of information and tastefulness. Thank you for all your time and efforts!

    1. J Post author

      Oh, thanks! And I’m glad you finally navigated over here. I HATE the thought that I’ve seemingly disappeared to those who want to follow. I pray that they find me!

      Blessings, Lisa!

  8. libl

    I dressed up for hubby twice. The first time he laughed at me and didn’t have sex with me. The second time, I just non nonchalantly went about doing my chores in the costume. Later, we had a hot love making session.

    He enjoyed the costume on me, but later confessed he didn’t want me to think I had to do stuff like that to get his attention. I am enough. We don’t role play, per se. It is just fun to dress up or down or accessorize.

    To me, dress up is different from acting out a scenario. A scenario can too easily cross a line or feel porn-ish.

    1. J Post author

      Yeah, it’s not my hubby’s thing either. He’s pretty much in the camp of “show up naked.” That “costume” gets a thumbs-up. 😉

  9. Anonymous

    If intimacy is indeed knowing and experiencing one another for who you are, how does dressing up and potentially feigning a relationship other than husband and wife not detract from what God designed?

    The questions that keep coming back to me are “why is there a need to ‘play dress up’ in the first place?” If the intimacy between a husband and wife “needs spicing up” to the point of feigning a relationship other than husband and wife, then this is a slippery slope. Would God be pleased by our dressing up and pretending to be someone (or something) other than ourselves?

    1. J Post author

      I totally get what you’re saying. However, I’ve noticed that you can pull the “slippery slope” argument with lots of things that would be okay. Surely, I can eat one cupcake, but fifteen is too many. Where is the stopping point? Two? Five? Ten? Well, we can talk about that. But, unless I’m in an eating contest, we can all pretty much agree that fifteen cupcakes has hit glutton level–a very, very bad idea.

      My point (however well or poorly made by that analogy) is that you could ask this with a number of sexual intimacy issues like: Why should you need more than one position? Why should you need to do it anywhere besides the bed? Short of a scriptural prohibition, we have to use biblical principles, reason, communication, prayer, conscience, etc. to determine where the boundary is.

      Still, I agree with you that props, scenarios, and other “spicy” things should be used with caution, making sure that it isn’t taking attention away from your marital intimacy–which should always be center stage.

  10. Megan

    My husband and I attempted to role play for the first time a week or so ago. We tried the dressed up professor and a slightly slutty college student in need of “extra assistance”. I wasn’t quite sure of how to go about it, and the role play sorta dissolved in a matter of seconds because I started giggling nervously and then he spotted off something really cheesy (“What are you going to teach me today, Professor?”, said in an attempt of a sultry voice. “The meaning of Love!”, said the professor, grinning ridiculously and holding me close.).

    We still followed through with some of the things he had planned to do as the professor, and it was quite wonderful (I’m actually mentally drooling at the thought of him all dressed up, I should go find him..), but it was most certainly just us, playing around as the poor actor we are.

    1. J Post author

      Did you get an A+? LOL.

      Yeah, some couples want to do this, but for many it’s just really awkward. Thanks, Megan.

  11. Anonymous

    I’m a little confused. I understand that if you do role-playing games it should be YOUR actual husband in your mind and in the game. But….if you’re playing a role-playing game such as a realtor showing a house….it sounds as if you are pretending you are an unmarried couple carried away in passion….which would be a sin. How does this honor God? Not trying to argue…I’m honestly confused.

    1. J Post author

      Interesting point. I guess I just feel SO MARRIED that I have a hard time even putting my mind in that place. :p

      Honestly, I’m going to think about this for a while. Because I don’t want to suggest that married couples pretend that being unmarried and having sex is somehow better (totally not!). Thanks for your question.

  12. Anonymous

    I wonder if it’s wise for the wife of man recovering from porn addiction to dress up as another “character”? Pretty lingerie seems fine but overtly “sexy” might take his brain/memory where one doesn’t want to go!

    1. J Post author

      Good point. I agree that if it has the strong potential of bringing to mind specific porn images, stay away.

  13. J Post author

    First off, I’m sorry that I fell off the earth with the comments on this post! (To be honest, it was a crazy week when this went up.)

    Anyway, I’ll answer comments more specifically above, but one clarifier: I recognize that the boundary of role-playing is somewhat subjective. But here’s an example. If I said to my husband, “You be the Spanish-speaking pool boy, Raul. I’ll be Gigi, the rich French wife who suggests sexual stuff, and all you can do is say ‘Sí!'” Yeah, it’s not us. It’s like we’re acting out a play. But if I said, “Let’s pretend that we’re on a yacht, you’re the captain, and I’m fearful of water. How could you calm me?” Okay, okay, these may be totally lame. (I swear I’m much better at make-believe in my fiction.) But you can still act like versions of yourselves with a role-playing scenario. It just seems counterproductive if you can only free yourself up to enjoy sex with your spouse if you are pretending to be someone else entirely. You should ultimately be enjoying intimacy as YOU.

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