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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Sexcapades: Halloween over? Keep playing dress up

Published: November 5, 2010
Section: Opinions

ILLUSTRATION BY Ariel Wittenberg/The Hoot

This past weekend, we all celebrated Halloween in one way or another. Halloween (and Purim) are opportunities to explore the other self, another version of one’s own personality. Many girls dress up as “sexy-something,” in tops that are too tight and skirts that are too short. I have friends who hate Halloween for the very reason that they simply don’t get the point. Why doesn’t everyone just come out and say “tonight’s the night it’s OK to be slutty?” The easiest costumes to make or buy are the ones that require the least clothing.

While Halloween is about an extended fantasy—even as children we dress up to live a fantasy, but as adults that fantasy morphs and gains a sexual aspect—dressing up in a sexual manner extends far beyond the last weekend of October.

In my book, dressing up can include anything from sexy lingerie to role-playing. Anything that isn’t part of your everyday routine, and gets a certain rise going, can count. I started with the idea of Halloween costumes because even for those girls who are going for the sexy/slutty look, they might not really think of themselves as dressing for sex, which is what they’re doing, even if they’re not planning on having any. Men are extremely visual, and it is for that very reason that the costumes are so popular.

In fact, many stores (e.g. Ricky’s NYC) sell these very costumes year-round in an explicitly sexual manner. They are only sold in areas of the store that cater to adults, and are grouped with vibrators, lubricants, handcuffs, and other toys and accessories. The reason naughty nurses, cheerleaders, and French maids are so common on Halloween is because they are common in role-play situations throughout the year.

In every couple, what constitutes the “every day” is different. I pretty much only own lacy underwear, but I have very few matching bras, making even the simple act of wearing a matching set a special occasion. I have friends however who always wear a teddy or equivalent piece of lingerie when with their partners, and so what is constituted as special or out of the ordinary is very different. Playing dress up can be wearing something above and beyond the usual, because it is the change that is exciting. Obviously, it also extends to role-play, where each partner assumes a new persona, a character, which allows for a full-fledged fantasy.

The great thing about playing dress-up is the ability to leave one’s ordinary self behind. License is given to be someone else, try new positions, talk dirty, be louder than usual, etc … With the smallest change of perception the entire scene can become something new. The transformative powers of a costume are amazing.

So before you put away your costumes to wait for Purim, consider alternative ways to incorporate them into your lives. No matter how awesome your sex life is, it can probably use a boost from time to time. Think about surprising your partner at the door with the costume and no underwear, and pretend everything’s totally normal. Better yet, talk with your partner about fantasies you might have that could incorporate your costume (or someone else’s—just ask first). Don’t let the money you spent on Halloween be a one-time throwaway.