Medical play is a type of power exchange role-playing scenario where sexual partners take on the roles of medical professionals and their patients. Typically, medical play involves a dominant partner, who plays the role of a medical professional treating their submissive patient. Medical play may be an aspect of medical fetishism or simply a way for a couple to spice up their sex life with interesting role play. Medical play may also be referred to as a medical kink.
Although research around how common this kink/fetish is could not be found, we can infer its relative popularity based on its regular appearance in pop culture. As of 2022, there were more than 750 "sexy nurse" costumes available for sale on Amazon alone! Many BDSM dungeons also include examination tables and other tools designed for medical play, which suggests is a common interest among both BDSM practitioners and more vanilla players alike.
This type of play has a clear and obvious power exchange. In a medical setting, the medical professional is the one with the knowledge, tools and license to perform certain procedures. After all, when a doctor tells us we need a rectal exam, who are we to argue? This power structure works well for D/s play, where one partner (the patient) consents to be at the other's (the medical professional's) mercy.
People enjoy medical play for a number of reasons, but some of the key reasons include the fact that it can involve pain or intense sensations (both mental and physical,) it can include embarrassment and humiliation, and it has loads of creative opportunities for those who really relish getting into a role and play the mad scientist.