I had a beautiful time the other day acting out a stern teacher/naughty schoolgirl roleplay with a girlfriend. My one age play fetish is topping a "teenage" girl. Isn't that everyone's? ;-)
For me, surrendering to a role can be cathartic in a way similar to meditation -- letting go of the overly identified self. When meditating, it's about going deeper, beyond our individual construct to a timeless and universal being. Emptying the mind for a few moments, ceasing the constant chatter of our thoughts. And perhaps observing in this space the real truth of the matter.
In roleplay, it can also be about stepping outside one's own restless, ego-driven and virtually permanent persona. Releasing into a different dimension of beingness in personality and action, thereby reflecting the commonality between us all and the possibilities for change. Watching oneself as another. Cleansing of the mental build-up which can block clarity and contentment. And if not breaking old patterns, at least bringing awareness to them.
Of course, roleplays can be acted out in a disconnected way. It can tap into a part of one's consciousness not normally accessible. In these cases, once the scene is over, it seems that all the emotions and even some of the memories of the experience are repressed back again. I find this may take place with individuals who have very little to say before or after the scene. When they cannot express excitement, fear or any emotion about what we are about to engage in, it all feels a bit out of touch.
As much as I love roleplay, I know it is not for everyone. I have a dear friend who is too much of a comedian to stay in any role without busting out laughing. "Hey that's OK," I tell him. "That's what hoods and gags are for!"