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Our play practice begins early in life. As babies, we came into the world playing. We moved our arms and legs, sucked on our fingers and found delight in the new world. That marks the beginning of a lifetime of play-discovery in movement and connection.
Play allows us to learn.
We have several play practice areas where we grow beginning at birth. We can learn as we discover our body (Unoccupied Play), when we play alone (Solitary Play), watch others play (Spectator/Onlooker Behavior), play beside another (Parallel Play), play in an area of another and interact (Associate Play), and at last we play together out of an interest in the activity (Cooperative Play).
As we play, our brain develops the skills of cooperation, imagination and risk-taking. But the good news is we don’t have to leave this learning behind. In fact, we can continue our brain growth in adult play. While we can find many places in our life to play, we have a specific adult play activity, structured or unstructured. Sex.
Your Brain on Play.
Dr. Stuart Brown lays out a taxonomy for adult play. He begins his discussion with play signals. It’s easy to first show this concept through your pets.
Think of a dog getting your attention to play. We see a dropped ball, toy, stick at our feet. Then the downward dog bow follows with an enthusiastic tail wag. It’s universal. We know they have signaled play.
But humans have a state of play, too. We have signals. Vocal. Facial. Body. Gestural. What did you picture or hear? Think about the people in your life. How do you know they have entered play mode? What were the obvious cues? How do you share that sexual play interest? This clarity is important to consider because when we use our play signals, we build safety and trust.
We go into an altered state. Complex brain processes. We are unique. Humans are designed to play over their lifetime. Play is for survival. When we don’t play, our brain shrinks.
Maybe my favorite part is when Dr. Brown suggests we look at our play history. Go back as far as you can in your memory to the most clear, joyful image you have. The point is to extract the emotion from that wonderful image, whether it is an event, birthday, vacation or objects and carry the emotion from that time forward. Bringing emotions forward keeps them alive in our life actions today and allows them to expand.
We can integrate play into our everyday life, and when we do that, we are seeking balance. If you do this with sexuality, you’ll have a more empowered sex life.
Types of Play for Fun Sake.
We can easily find many types of childhood play, that is the process and structure of play “in the bedroom.”
Note the “bedroom” doesn’t mean it’s the only location. Consider your play depending on the type of adult play and the location that fits best for you. Fit your play to the perfect space.
Ritual Play. Games with rules and structure. Watching or playing. Create, strategize, design, and engage in activities that bring people together for a common purpose or goal. Think of consent, BDSM, or adding other people to your sexy time. These elements apply.
Rough and Tumble. When you are physical with another person, you must identify your feelings and identify your emotions for regulation and sharing them as needed for safety and intimacy. Maybe you are rolling around tickling each other.
Imagination. Explore. What if? Here we have fantasy, that might include reading erotica or role playing.
Body Play. A spontaneous desire to get ourselves out of gravity. Perhaps you are nude, jumping up and down on the bed with a partner. How does your body feel? How does someone else’s body look?
Object Play. Manipulation of objects, building, and designing all fall into the object play category.
Beneficial Side Effects of Play Practice
If you need more specific reasons for play, science backs it with improved cognitive functioning, a great stress reducer, unlocking that creative thinking, experiencing childlike exuberance, and just plain laughing more often. That releases feel-good chemicals in your body.
So, if you haven’t considered sex as play practice, now is your chance. Elevate your curiosity and see what others have done. Unlock your imagination and create something new.
Let’s Inspire Your Sexual Play.
In a recent The Sexuality Space, we talked about fun and games. Several participants shared their ideas.
Bet sexual favors on sports games. Have fun with it.
Name your top five celebrities that you would bang.
Go to a thrift store shopping, pick the weirdest outfits for each other and go out to dinner. Whoever get the most comments gets to choose a sexual activity.
Get Crayola markers and a blindfold. Take turns writing affirming and sexy phrases on each other while the canvas is blindfolded. Then have fun washing them off.
Take gummy candies, lick the back and stick them on your lover. Later you eat them off.
If your interest is piqued and you’d like to read and investigate, I curated these articles.
- There are so many ideas for fun and play in the bedroom. This Redbook article on fun games adds the component of why to all 52 games.
- "It’s dedicated time to focus on each other’s wants, needs, desires, and curiosities,” says Amy Levine in this women’s health magazine. This article not only names the game but gives you the link to purchase each.
- Games for any relationship and highlighting puzzles as a sexy game. This article hits every type of play, and like all recipes, add your own ingredients and flavor.
- Have you tried A Tryst with a Secret Admirer? Check out Number 13. This activity hits imagination hard and gets you out of the analysis. You create props to set the stage. Look, Look don’t touch sounds fun, too. I think the titles of these activities are as fun as the activity.
- Check this article out and meet sex educator Sex with Emily. Notice her enthusiasm for couple’s sex play.
Play is part of our adult life—forever. It can increase our brain function while it helps us tap into absolute fun.
Integrate this into the ultimate adult play, sex, and see how your life becomes richer.
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