Puppies, kitties, and ponies: What do these things all have in common? If you’re a kinkster, then you probably know the answer. That’s right, they’re all part of pet play.
In the BDSM world, pet play is incredibly popular across sexualities, genders, and kink preferences. Many pet players are newcomers to Domination and submission (D/s), and role-playing as a kitty or puppy gives them a safe, accessible outlet to start exploring their fetishes. Others are part of the leather community and adore pet play in all of its odds and ends, from leashes and collars to masks, cages, and grooming their precious pets. Additionally, pet play’s accessibility makes it an incredibly popular kink in the online BDSM world, particularly with YouTubers who run kink channels.
If you’re interested in pet play or just want to know a little bit more about its appeal, here’s everything you need to know.
Pet play is a kink in which one or more participants role-play as a pet animal. Technically, pet play falls into a larger kink umbrella called “animal play,” which may include “imitating the sounds of animals, crawling about on all fours, being hand-fed or petted, or wearing a collar,” as Kinkly writes. Within pet play, the animal role-player’s persona can take on many different forms, from your traditional domesticated cat to wild creatures and even mythical pets.
Amp Somers, the co-host of the kinky YouTube channel Watts the Safeword, told me that he discovered pet play eight years ago and has since created numerous videos on the kink. For him, pet play is deeply personal and lets him bond with his play partners beyond your traditional boyfriend-boyfriend relationship. This is in part because communication, trust, and connection are all huge parts of play for him. When a partner cannot communicate because they are a pet, he said, pet play “requires being able to communicate in other ways, body language, looks, sounds and so on,” which leads to a much deeper, more intimate connection during play. At the same time, though, pet play is explorative and fun, and you don’t need to be a kink expert to try it.
“It’s playful and kinky and doesn’t take itself too seriously,” Somers said. “As far as BDSM/kinks go, it’s not as aggressive as some of the more impactful kinks can be and provides a playful entry level for new kinksters.”
Like Somers, I have a personal connection to pet play. While I’m not necessarily a puppy play aficionado, I love doing puppy play with my partners who are into the kink. In day-to-day life, I’m somewhat restless and high-strung, as well as easily excitable. Just like a puppy, I’m eager to play, explore, experiment, and be rewarded for obedience. This comes out as a puppy, too.
With one play partner, I’ll cuddle up next to her, call her “owner,” and act like an excitable dog-girl. With another friend who is both a sadist and a dominatrix, I’ll get down on my knees and drink out of a water bowl for her while on a leash, or bark on command in exchange for head pats, usually with a few slaps thrown in for good measure. Other times, the roles will reverse, and I’ll serve as “owner” for an adorable kitty or puppy that needs plenty of love, cuddles, and “release,” if you catch my drift.
Suffice to say, pet play isn’t purely a sexual kink for me; nor is it for a play partner I’m close with, Lilith. Lilith told me about her pet play kink several years ago, and we worked together to help her explore it. Since then, pet play has rubbed off on me, and it’s become a core part of our relationship. When we’re alone, I’ll hold her and pet her as if she’s a cat. She’ll cuddle up next to me and mew, whimper, or make little cooing sounds. It’s adorable, and the effect it has on Lilith makes it a real treat.
“I actually don’t engage with the kink in a very sexual manner most of the time,” Lilith said. “I am mostly doing it when cuddling, before or after sex. I don’t look at being a cat girl as sexual, I just look at it as a way to shrink. Almost like I’m assuming a character.”
While Lilith showed an interest in pet play from a young age, it wasn’t until her teen years that the kink started to come out in her sex life. During her sexual awakening, she would make pet sounds with partners during sex and ask them to “hold [her] in a way that made [her] feel cared for.” There certainly is a sexual and erotic element to Lilith’s pet play kink, but the kink usually isn’t a sexual experience for her. There’s a wide-ranging spectrum for kinksters’ relationships with pet play; it can be as sexual or nonsexual as play partners allow.
“I like being a small, cat girl-like being. I almost always assume the role when I’m bottoming,” Lillith explained. “I’m a switch, and when I top I almost never do any of the pet stuff. When engaging with the kink outside of sex, I am definitely still enjoy being ‘small’ and letting my partner care for me.”
Credits images: from web