Sexual roleplay is roleplay that has a strong erotic element. It may involve two or more people who act out roles in a sexual fantasy and may be a form of foreplay and be sexually arousing. Many people regard sexual roleplay as a means of overcoming sexual inhibitions. It may take place in the real world, or via an internet forum, chat-room, or email--allowing for physically impossible erotic interests to be enacted.
How seriously the play is taken depends on the people involved, and the scenario may be anywhere from simple and makeshift to detailed and elaborate, complete with costumes and a script. Nearly any role could become the base material for an erotic experience, and there is no limit to what objects an individual could consider sexual. It may, for example, involve wearing of a costume which is regarded as erotic, such as a miniskirt and stockings, or one or both partners being nude, say for an evening. It may involve elements of dominance and submission, passivity or obedience. It may involve sexual bondage, either being restrained or a sex partner being restrained.
Depending on the play scenario, the roleplay may be before spectators, and bystanders may be unknowing participants in a roleplay. For example, the roleplay may involve house guests or may be taken out of a couple's home and into, say, a bar, street, park etc. A role may require, for example, one or both partners to flirt with a stranger, or for one partner to seduce the other partner's friend, etc. It may also call for one or both partners to, say, strip in a car or park.
Many of the most common sexual roleplays involve a power differential and form part of the dominance and submission aspect of BDSM. Roles can be general designations of power positions, or very specific, detailed fantasies. Some people, such as those living the Gorean lifestyle make use of an entire imaginary world. The controlling player is often called the top or dominant while the controlled individual is called the bottom or submissive. It can be considered dangerous and therefore a safeword is advised to continue the safety of other(s) in such acts.
Examples of scenarios 
The most common scenarios which may be played out include:
- Teacher – Student - where the student dresses for the part and must do as he/she is told, or is punished
- Slave – Master - where the slave is required to comply with all demands of the master
- Plumber – Housewife - the plumber is a stranger who enters into the housewife's home, and maybe seduces her
- Photographer – Model - this allows one partner to photograph the other in the nude
- Escort – Client - this allows the escort to dress for the part
- Doctor – Nurse - the partners would dress for the parts
- Stripper – Client - this allows the stripper to striptease the client, usually with the no touching rule applying
- Fireman – Trapped person - this allows the hapless trapped person to be carried away to safety
- Executive – Secretary
- Nurse – Patient
Other scenarios include:
- Ageplay – is a form of roleplaying in which an individual acts and/or treats another as if they were a different age. The practice can be regressive, in which the goal is to re-experience childhood, or sexual, recreating a sexual relationship with people of the pretend and/or true ages. Generally this can involve someone pretending to be younger than they actually are, but more rarely can involve assuming an older role.
- Animal-play – where a player is treated as a non-human animal such as a dog or pony.
- Torturer/Captive prisoner – where one player is a captor who abuses the other.
- Kidnapped fantasy – The submissive player is bound (rope, duct tape, bondage tape, handcuffs, etc.) and gagged (duct tape gag, bondage tape gag, cleave gag, ball gag, etc.) and teased before the sexual act.
- Authority figure/Misbehaving Adult – where a player takes on the role of an authority figure and blackmails or humiliates his or her partner into sexual activity.
- Gender-play – where one or more players take on roles of the opposite sex.
- Goddess worship – where a woman is seen as a pagan deity.
- Hospital fantasies – involving doctors, nurses and patients.
- Uniform fetish – one participant dresses in uniform (for instance as a student, cheerleader, French maid, etc.), while the dominant participant plays an authority figure (a parent, teacher, coach, police officer, etc.).
- Rape fantasy or a ravishment where one player feigns being coerced into an unwelcome sex act.
- Owner/Inanimate object – such as the bottom being human furniture.
- Prison fetish – Situational play set in a prison environment. While it can include authority play, it does not limit itself to the Master/slave paradigm; but expands the opportunities to include non-authority play between equals (such as cell mate love affairs). Prison role playing is able to combine equality and authority play depending upon the situation and the specific roles of individual players. A prison fetish play session includes all sexual orientations and limits itself only by the environment / situations agreed to by the participates. Given real life prisons are same-sex communities, this fetish does lend itself to male on male or female on female activities and settings. Opposite gender play is also possible between inmates and guards or when the setting includes a co-ed facility / institution. Prison play is also an expansion of the uniform fetish by use of inmate, guard, and staff uniforms.
- Brame, Gloria (2001). Come Hither! A Commonsense Guide to Kinky Sex, Fusion Press, London, ISBN 978-0-684-85462-5, page 140-148.
- Jacques, Trevor; Dr. Dale; Hamilton, Michael; and Sniffer (1993). On The Safe Edge: A Manual for BDSM Play, WholeSM Publishing, Toronto, ISBN 9781895857160, ISBN 1895857058, ISBN 1895857066, ISBN 1895857074, pp. 38-42.