Remember how much fun it was to play dress up as a kid?

You could be anyone or anything you wanted. And once you donned your disguise, you no longer had to act like your regular self. You could be the center of attention even if you were normally shy. You could boss everyone around even if you were usually a follower. You could have an accent, walk on your hands, wear a cape and mask, anything.

Well, I have very good news for you. As freeing as that was when you were a kid, role-playing can be even better when you’re an adult. It can allow you to explore different sides of yourself as well as tap into different parts of your partner -- no pun intended.

Sure, it might seem a little odd at first, but getting started isn’t as hard as you might think. Begin by asking your partner if he or she has any fantasies. Maybe she’s always wanted to be a princess who rescues the prince from the dragon. Maybe he’s always wanted to be the patient for his favorite doctor. Or maybe you both want to be spies on a top-secret mission. It doesn’t matter how silly it is, because no one else has to know.

Once you’ve decided what to play, set the scene. It can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. Meet your partner in the bedroom wearing nothing but a lab coat and play "Dr. Feelgood." Or create a pallet of soft blankets on the floor and play "mistress and the stable boy." Or move a small desk and chair into the room and play "teacher’s pet." Just be sure to plan your tryst when your roommate is out for the night; your kids are fast asleep; and your friends, your mom and your boss aren't planning on dropping in.

Then, let the fun begin. Catching your partner off-guard can be half the fun. And all you have to do to get things rolling is say the magic words.

"OK, now take off your clothes, lie here on this table, and show me where it feels good."

"Come, my lady, I know I am but a lowly peasant but, just this once, allow me to cover you with my kisses."

"Step back, sir. This is a job for Wonder Woman."

"Excuse me, miss. Can you tell me where the rare books collection is?"

After that, you never know where the night might take you. Some people like to stay "in character" from opening line to final scene. Others like to use the game just to get things rolling. And the rest of us find our pleasure somewhere in the middle. This is a no-pressure, no-holds-barred situation. All you have to do is what works for you and your partner.

Why role-play at all, you ask? That’s easy.

1. It grants you freedom.

When you role-play with your partner, you can do the things that might otherwise scare you or that you might not do simply because they are "out of character." Maybe you’re usually the quiet one. Tonight you can be the screamer. Maybe you’re usually the passive one. Tonight you can be the aggressor. Maybe you don’t usually ask for what you want. Tonight you can be the dictator.

2. It creates intimacy.

Nothing brings two (or more) people together like letting down your guard. Sharing fantasies and playing them out can be very revealing. Exposing yourself in that way can bring you closer to someone than you ever imagined possible. It’s one thing to make love. It’s a whole other thing to be the last humans on earth whose coupling can repopulate the planet.

3. It puts the fun back into sex.

For too many couples, sex becomes a chore. Or, at the very least, it becomes painfully predictable. But role-playing can spark your creativity, pique your otherwise waning interest, even give you a secret language. "The doctor will see you now," will suddenly have a whole new meaning. And it’s hard not to laugh and have a good time when the only thing you’re wearing is flippers and a snorkel.

Now, get in there. Slay that dragon. Cure that fatal disease. Leap tall buildings in a single bound. And get your Dewey Decimal system on!

Jenny Block is a freelance writer based in Dallas, Texas. She is the author of "Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage." Her work appears in "One Big Happy Family" edited by Rebecca Walker and "It’s a Girl: Women Writers on Raising Daughters" edited by Andrea Buchanan. Visit her Web site at www.jennyonthepage.com.