A little over a year ago, I came across something completely new to me when I made an account on Fetlife. As I created my account, one of the questions they asked for was my BDSM role. I was going to select ‘Master’ as I always had, but found a few different options further down the dropdown list. Each of them was listed as ‘Primal’, ‘Primal Dom’, and ‘Primal sub’. In my curiosity, I went on to find out just what a Primal is, which led to the discovery that I am a Primal and prompted me to write an article all about what I found, and what makes someone a Primal. That article is now one of the top referenced articles on the subject of Primal Play, and is, by far, the most viewed page on my site.
But as I go back to find out what is being said about Primal Play, I find there’s still a lot of misinformation out there. Some think of it as a type of sexual orientation, which it’s not. Some think of it as just another fetish, which it’s not. Others who engage in the Primal lifestyle call it a state of being, but I would prefer to think of it as a state of mind, instead. A state of being implies integrating it into your every-day life, whereas a state of mind makes it something that exists inside you, where it can be unleashed when appropriate. Of course, there are those who believe being a Primal means to be a beast among people, but Jungian psychology provides insight to the contrary.
All of us wear masks in society, and we wear a different mask based on who we want to be too different people. We show one side of ourselves and act a different version of ourselves, around friends or family. At night, on the weekend, we wear the mask of the party animal who goes to a nightclub to drink and dance with strangers. But to a certain circle of people, at certain times of the day, we are the Primal. That’s all being a Primal really is, just another mask. Not who we are, but a version of ourselves we let free when we have the right people around us.
With all of this, I feel a much more comprehensive discussion about being a Primal is necessary. Starting with the one thing that always drives me absolutely crazy when people complain about it is the ‘labels’. You can’t imagine how much it makes me cringe to have read and heard people talk about how they don’t like using the word ‘prey’ when referring to the sub in a Primal relationship. “Oh, ‘prey’ is food, ‘prey’ is visceral, I don’t identify as something you eat” Gawd, just shut up, Tiffany. It annoys the hell out of me because the concept of misnomers seems completely lost on them. Yes, the Primal dom can also be referred to as the Hunter, Predator, or sometimes the animal they relate to the most, like Wolf. Likewise, the Primal sub can also be referred to as Prey, Mate, or Kitten. The use of these names really only comes down to personal preference and not the original definitions.
In recent weeks, I’ve seen people talking on Reddit and Twitter about their partner acting unusually during sex, describing them as sometimes acting ‘possessed’ or like ‘chain chomp’ from Mario. As funny as it’s been, I can still recognize the need for people to understand what exactly happens during Primal play. I’ll be going over details quickly, but you can get a full description of what Primal play is my earlier post. In instances of sex with Primals, there are three primary groups: Primal with a non-Primal, Primal dom with a Primal sub, and Primal dom with a Primal dom.
Primal vs. Non-Primal
When a Primal is with someone who is not accustomed to Primal sex, it’s understandable they would keep that to themselves. However, in the heat of the moment, the Primal side can come out, surprising the unsuspecting partner. Because Primal play can be animalistic, rough, and is considered edge-play by the BDSM community, being rough with a Primal can trigger them to become the beast they keep inside. Other times, their Primal behavior can be triggered by things like scent, grabbing of hair, clawing with nails, etc., as these are acts often performed by those who engage in Primal play.
If your partner is showing signs of animalistic growling, snarling, maybe even trying to wrestle you, and you’re not a Primal, there’s a couple choices you have: engage, or calm. Don’t react with any sort of ‘defensive’ action like holding them down, no, that’s just feeding the Primal side. Instead, slow your movements, hold off on any actions, and it will quickly fade. Inform your Primal partner that you feel uncomfortable with them acting that way. In most cases, they will understand, and keep the Primal on a leash, so to speak.
Primal Dom vs. Primal Sub
In most cases, this is the ideal relationship between two Primals. A Primal prefers the use of hair, nails, teeth, and good ol’ personal strength in lieu of the traditional ropes, chains, whips, and gags commonly used in BDSM. The relationship works well because they can satisfy each other’s needs. One likes to be chased, the other likes to chase. One likes to be scratched, the other likes to scratch.
At the start, the dom will initiate foreplay with a tousle of their sub’s hair, smelling their skin, and move their hands across their body. This may sound like any other kind of wild foreplay, but it’s then followed by the chase. The sub, or ‘prey’, will sometimes give the Hunter a look, and they’re off, running away for the purpose of getting chased by the Hunter. The chase continues on, even when cornered, and won’t end until the Prey submits, and gives themselves over to the Hunter as their prize. The Hunter is most often an Alpha type who enjoys dominance by submission. While the Prey is often the bratty type who has more fun instigating their partner, making them work for their prize.
Primal Dom vs. Primal Dom
Now here’s where things will get interesting, as you may already suspect. If the Dom vs. Sub experience is a hunter catching its prey, two Primal doms would be akin to two Alphas competing for dominance. In my own experimentation of my Primal side, I’ve experienced both of these, and competing with another Alpha is simply exhilarating. In a normal Primal Predator/Prey scenario, the power play will always flow one way, but in Alpha vs. Alpha, the flow of power, the control, and dominance is constantly moving back and forth.
Instead of having a chase, one Alpha will begin by challenging the other by getting close to their partner and striking first, either with a scratch or a bite. Once engaged, the two will wrestle for who will have dominance over the other. The main difference between the Prey is that the other Alpha will continually try to regain dominance. Not just in foreplay, but during sex as well. This ongoing power exchange can create a lot of sexual energy between them which can result in a powerful climax for both of them.
I hope this can provide some much-needed perspective to those who don’t know much about Primal play, as it may be experienced, as well as those who are curious, or just getting into Primal play. Again, for those looking for a more detailed explanation of Primal Play, rather than it’s dynamics, you can always read my article on The Mystery of Primal Play. For those of you who know yourselves to be Primals, always remember to be safe with your edge-play, and be sure to practice S.S.C.(Safe, Sane, Consensual) sex. And of course, have fun, you animals!