Roleplaying (or “RPing”) can be described as a written collaboration among people as they each control their own character and interact with the other characters to achieve some sort of objective. Written roleplay emerged from tabletop roleplaying games (RPGs) like Dungeons & Dragons and early roleplaying games. The fictional collaboration model of forum-based role playing is essentially a traditional roleplaying game without the rigid mechanic of dice and rules. Only a few residual characteristics of forum play-by-post roleplaying points back to its tabletop predecessors, and that’s mainly its turn-based format and the “Game Master” entity responsible for controlling the pace of the RP, progression, and the non-player characters and events that happen.
The adult RPing community has taken the written RP subject and narrowed it into the niche of adult themes and sexual themes. Where a conventional roleplay could involve hobbits taking a powerful ring to the summit of a volcano, adult roleplaying involves a dance of foreplay between a man and a woman before they have sex. Or it can involve a forbidden romance, a master-slave dichotomy, or any other adult theme, usually sexual in nature.
Adult roleplaying goes by various different names that mean different things to different people. The first is “erotic roleplaying” which generally refers to role playing involving sexual themes. Erotica doesn’t have to result in sex. Another way of referring to adult RPing is “mature RP” which is more indicative of a roleplay involving adults, not necessarily sex. The third semi-synonymous for adult roleplaying is “sexual roleplaying” and often refers to the act of dressing up in costumes and pretending to be someone or something else while you have sex with your partner. In the written role play community, sexual roleplaying simply means that the collaboration involves sex. Finally, “adult roleplaying” is an all-inclusive phrase that catches all of the individual roleplay subsets above.
Despite the emergence of computer roleplaying gaming, written forum-based role playing is a growing activity, even among the youth. With the increase in roleplaying interest comes the increase in interest in all of roleplaying’s subsets, including adult RP. New adult roleplaying communities start up every day, each developing unique characteristics and community attitudes of their own.