Dear Reanimated Corpse of Roland Barthes,
Lately my love life has been somewhat boring. Do you have any suggestions for spicing things up in the sack?
—Vanilla in Verdun
Roleplay / Role-play
In assuming the role of an other, the amorous subject is able to pretend to lose their will-to-possess, to not suffer at the hands of the amorous other.
1. I initially read the question and thought you were like me, isolated, alone, looking to ‘spice up’ («pimenter») your love life. Since I am on this node, let me ‘riff’ a little bit on speed dating, which has been suggested to me many times, so that I might ‘get out there’ and ‘find someone in this world.’ Speed-dating is a repetition of the pleasure encountered between the time of meeting and the time we find ourselves suffering for the amorous other. This is the time of imagination, of forecasting, one in which we see the amorous other innocently. Speed-dating allows one to experience this pleasure in short bursts over and over, and gives us a choice among the many ‘fish in the sea,’ among the large pool of amorous others who will eventually consume us. Our Jaws (a film I quite enjoyed as I wrote A Lover’s Discourse, seeing the amorous relationship between the shark and Richard Dreyfuss. Yes, indeed, we will need a bigger boat).
2. Ah, but you, “Vanilla,” are already consumed, and now find that the touch of the other no longer excites you as it once did; it is now a routine, the other being thoroughly possessed. But I find that in the very asking of this question, Vanilla, that you are worried that the other you love is no longer being excited by you, and that this is your failure, you cannot help but worry that they feel bored of you, plotting to be rid of you and all of your vanilla-ness. You ask, how can I please the amorous other more?
3. It is through this lens we can see that you are still caught by the will-to-possess, and fear that your contact in the sack is crucial to this possession. I would have to agree with Freud, here, in that your psychological need here is holding back your ‘performance.’ (How silly it is to speak of the act as performance, as if we were finely tuned machines of contact.)
4. So I suggest the common idea of ‘roleplay,’ wherein you take on the role of someone else, someone who is not so tied up in the idea of constantly pleasing their lover for fear of not losing them. It is only you, though, who should assume another role – for this would confuse your desire.
5. Once you become an ‘other,’ one who does not suffer by the hand of the other, at this time, then, you can become more adventurous, free from fear of losing your possession. As is said in Werther: “I have so much trouble with myself, and my own heart is in such constant agitation, that I am well content to let others pursue their own course, if they only allow me the same privilege.” You can become the other, merely pursuing your own course, outside of the agitation of your own heart.