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Sex Worker Role Play?

Navigating some new norms in the bedroom

Q: I’ve got an idea for a role play that I want to run past you. I think it would be hot to pay my girlfriend for sex. I’d give her money for a blowjob and the scene around it. My girlfriend and I have been together a long time and we have a lot of trust, so I think we can do this well; but I’m worried about it screwing up the sense of “value” in our sex life. Any advice?

You are far from alone in finding the idea of paying for sex arousing. Stripper and “hooker” role plays are a common fantasy and suggestion for couples looking to add spice to the routine. It’s high on the list along with cop/prisoner, teacher/student, doctor/patient: which, you’ve probably noticed, are all just variations on the theme of playing with power dynamics.

Money is as good as anything for introducing the element of power to a situation, especially if you’re not turned on by the use of physical force. It’s also a really good way to change how people feel about something they were already doing for free. Which is why it’s smart to be thoughtful about how you tie cash into your sexual relationship, since arguments over money are notorious relationship spoilers. And ironically, getting paid for something that we were previously doing for fun has been known to suck some of the joy out of it.

How you approach this sex work role play will involve the same sort of considerations as you’d have for any role play: be extremely frank about what you want, establish clear boundaries about when the scene starts and ends, and plan out some logistics to add verisimilitude.

Awkward is OK — expected in fact — but no one should feel icky during play time.

Talk it out in advance: You and your girlfriend may know each other super well, but you’re not mind-readers, so be super clear about what you desire from this fantasy. Explain what kind of mood and content you’re seeking, as well as what would feel uncomfortable. Awkward is OK — expected in fact — but no one should feel icky during play time.

Are you looking for an opportunity to feel decadent? Maybe arrange to meet in a fancy hotel bar as strangers, flirt your way to negotiating a date and then head up to a room for champagne and being lavishly serviced. Trying to feel raunchy and risky? The whole “john drives up the corner and she leans into your passenger window” trope is an option. Just try not to get arrested. It could be that you just get off on the idea of paying for it, so this can be as simple as a regular date night that ends with a stack of twenties being showered on her bare body.

These are but a small smattering of options, there are endless ways this could go and you’re the only ones who know what would make this fun for you.

Rules help us play: As with a good BDSM scene, we need to be able to communicate within a role play in a way that doesn’t take us out of character. Your girlfriend may or may not be down with feeling like a desired concubine, getting called names like “whore” or “slut,” or being commanded to strip. She may love the idea of “being used” or to get treated a little rough. But you can’t assume. Talk that out in advance and establish guidelines on how you’ll both steer the scenario as it’s happening and how you’ll bring it to an end.

Theater is in the details: It’s a hell of a lot easier to get into character when you’re in a unique location, wearing costumes and using accessories. If the budget allows, I suggest taking role play to a place other than your home, or at least to a room of your house that you don’t routinely use for banging. Buy an outfit that she hasn’t seen already, bring in new toys, do your hair differently. Whatever you can to make the role play as immersive as possible. Expect that this will feel silly at points.

After you give it the ol’ college try, debrief afterwards. What did you like? What was less than enjoyable?

And then there is the issue of whether you should exchange actual currency for this tryst. It could be fun — a saucy twist on the “buy yourself something nice” that happens in relationships sometimes anyway. Or it could become a weird point of contention: if you either expect that money to be returned or she feels like the amount is insulting. Figure out if this is a fun activity that you’re bankrolling, like treating her to dinner and a show, or if you plan for that cash to circulate between you two.

After you give it the ol’ college try, debrief afterwards. What did you like? What was less than enjoyable? What helped you stay in the scene? Would you do it again? That kind of post-coital processing is valuable after any hookup. And of course: good luck!

Have a question for Dr. Timaree? Send an email to asktimaree@philadelphiaweekly.com.

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    • Timaree Schmit Headshot

      Timaree Schmit is basically an episode of Adam Ruins Everything, but in the shape of a person. She has a PhD in Human Sexuality Education and years of experience in community organizing, performance art, and finding the extra weird pockets of Philly.

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