The Animal Within: Discussing Pet Play

The other day I stumbled across a reddit post in which the user kindly asked if anyone could explain the appeal of pet play to him.

That sparked, within me, an idea to write about it on this here blog, for newcomers and those either curious about the kink or just shy to talk openly about it.

For those who don’t know about the kink, pet play is a type of dynamic that sees the submissive inhabit an animal to their liking and the Dominant embodies the role of their handler / owner.

What possible situations come out of this dynamic? The sky is the limit, really. But think along the lines of caging, roleplaying, leads and leashes and maybe even a heightened sense of obedience.

I’ve got to be honest with you – this sort of thing appeals to me. Why? I’m not entirely sure. Is it because I’m animalistic and primal? An animal lover? Or just someone who relishes the idea of jumping into my submissive’s mind and getting in touch with her animalistic side.

Part of the appeal is just finding I respond to this person’s animal, or idea of an animal, you know? It’s stripping away all fragments of our humanity and getting back to our core. It’s connection on an almost spiritual level.

I mean, yeah! I like the cat ears and the caging and the special bowl reserved for treats and water. I like the role play and interaction. But I think – like anything in kink and BDSM, what I’m drawn to is the interaction between two minds and the psychology of WHY we are drawn to it.

Hopefully that helps for those new to the dynamic or simply wishing to understand.

Causality, Sexuality and Fate

If you’ve clicked on this article looking for any definite answers, you’ve arrived at the wrong place. But what led you here, right now, to this very blog? What was it about this headline that caught your eye? What led you to open this?

A simple answer would be to say that our individual development and backgrounds lead us to develop into the person we are in this very moment. But is there something more to all of this? Is there something underlying each point of our lives, arriving precisely when we need it to?

Before I move on to exhibits as examples into my mindset tonight, I should preface this by saying I’m a religious man. I was raised catholic in a conservative household – I did my communion, I attend Palm Sunday – I did the whole she-bang.

In my adult life, its complicated – I don’t attend mass, but I believe in something bigger than me. I eat meat when I’m not supposed to and I blaspheme more than I should.

I link the rituals and worshiping of some D/s practices to a religious experience, though don’t take that as meaning I believe I am a God. I’m just a guy writing a draft on his phone at 2-30am.

But I digress.

Exhibit A: Berserk, Vol. 18

In this sequence from the manga Berserk, a woman follows her fellow prostitute, in the dead of the night, to a pagan orgy. She then proceeds to punish her. The more dominant one then apologises, embracing the younger one.

It’s a twisted act and comes straight after a mind-melting sequence that’s all sorts of body horror, but therein lies the interesting aspect.

Why does it arouse me?

Okay, sure, it’s one woman spanking another. That’s the simplest explanation but it’s also the most unsatisfying one.

See, it takes a certain mind to go from horror to arousal. Those are two completely different tones. And in this sequence, even the spanking comes with a deep characterisation and a vague sense of WTF.

So what led me to Berserk, this ultra violent manga? That was it a dark fantasy and horror.

Okay, but what led me to horror? And why is it I too can shift gears from dark and disturbing to sexual arousal.

Every good horror knows how to utilise tension. There’s the build up and release and a time to catch your breath. Is this piece executing that concept or is it merely setting up a character interaction later on? I don’t know. Is it the build up of horror lead me to want a release? Or is it merely the characters in that specific setting?

Was there some kind of otherworldly force leading me to Berserk from the very beginning, events that led me to horror to fantasy to dark sexual adventures?

And why is it my individual development lead to an interest in horror? What was it that led to an interest in darker things? And did my darker things lead to my interest in kink and BDSM? I could even take this one step further —ay hello again!

And all of THAT led to this very moment, to me writing this, to me reading Berserk. To the sexual gratification.

Exhibit B: Horror Movies

Halloween and Friday the 13th popularised, if not established, this sex-and-Death aspect in slasher films.

I mean, you know about the sex-equals-Death rule. We won’t touch that. What’s the correlation between sex / nudity and creative murder sequences? And why is it sensual? I’m not talking about the murder OR the death sequences themselves. I’m talking about the lead up to it? Is it just danger? Does it fulfil some deeply primal feeling of lust? Why is one always around the other? Has it become tradition for sex to find death or is there something else?

In some cases, the movie can lead the viewer to form their own fantasy about being stalked. In this case, it is interesting to note that this can take the form of the primal / prey identification in our sexual lives.

A cynic would say – these are just slasher films featuring teens set to appeal to a teen demographic – but the idea is there. And furthermore, how many people find it arousing or are drawn to this idea that it’s appealing? Let’s watch a slasher film – there’ll be tits and death! The men have the nakedness, the women have…errr…a cute guy?

Okay. So it’s appealing to the teen male demographic? That can’t be. I am a part of horror communities where the ladies enjoy it just as much as men – my kitten included.

So where’s the link?

And furthermore, has all our lives been building to this one moment – you reading my blog, me writing this blog, you and I watching horror movies, maybe even finding the same image sensual. Why? And how many people within BDSM are horror fans? I know enjoying kink doesn’t automatically make you a horror fiend. But I do wonder if one leads to the other? And why it came to either of those leads?

For the Teens…

Occasionally a teen will write me and mention they’re scared of their own mind. Well, ladies or gentlemen – if you’re of the teenage variety and have made it this far, let me tell you – we can be attracted to darker fantastical impulses and that can be completely fine. It doesn’t mean we are going crazy, it’s not a sin or something to shy from.

As long as you practice safety first and foremost with these fantasies, you should be fine.

And if you ever think you’re in the bad, know I’m the guy aroused by fantastical pagan orgies. You’ll be fine!