1. IT’S NOT A FETISH Yes, I used the term “fetish” in the title (blame it on Google). However, more accurately, it’s a state of mind, even a style – a mindset or inner creature that comes out in specific circumstances.
From birth, we are drowned in societal expectations and rules for civilized behaviors. During sex or erotic acts, a Primal will ignore these rules and let their inner “animal” out. There’s biting, scratching, licking, nuzzling, wrestling, grabbing, hair pulling, growling, grunting, cuddling (yes cuddling) etc.
You let go and your body and instincts tell you what to do.
2. YOU DON’T NEED AN ANIMAL
I know some people who can identify a specific animal they relate to. If that’s the case, embrace it! However, that doesn’t mean you need to have an inner “lion” or “panther” to be a Primal. Personally, I simply feel like a predator, a human one, but still a hunter.
3. THERE ARE STILL RULES
We don’t follow the rules, but we still follow the rules. Make sense? No? That’s okay.
During sex or erotic acts, the body’s commands are followed, but if for any reason, the prey/submissive/bottom wants to stop, they CAN use a safe word and the basic BDSM rules immediately fall into place. All play stops and the Top/Dom/Hunter will find out the problem and either adjust play or stop altogether. Just because you “let go” doesn’t mean you “let it ALL go” to the point of truly harming someone.
And let’s not forget hard and soft limits (which also apply). Depending on how rough things get, there can also be aftercare.
4. IT’S NOT JUST POWER
Yes, there can be a clear Hunter/pretty dynamic, but remember, it’s more about following your body’s instincts. You can have passionate, silly, playful, sensual, and giggly Primal play too.
That being said, yes, it can sometimes get very rough – even to the point of drawing blood through scratching, biting, etc. How rough depends on the consent and limits of the participants.
5. DOM/SUB ISN’T THE CORE
It’s common in this kind of play for a natural Dominant and submissive energy to form. However, that’s doesn’t have to be the crux. It can also be expected state of being rather than defeating or controlling someone.
6. THE LANGUAGE IS CONFUSING
There are many misconceptions already, but the terminology is often thrown around willy nilly OR just interpreted differently by different players or even Primals.
It’s a Top or Dominant person, but there are many different opinions on this label and what it entails. Sometimes Hunter is also used.
PACK– A group of people who identify as Primal. Almost always with a main Alpha.
MATE– Someone you share a more intimate connection with, not just sex.
ALPHA– The prime dominant of the pairing, situation, or pack.
INTERESTING INFO– Some people talk about this kind of play in terms of “consumption”, “devouring” or “eating”. This can either be consumption of sexual energy or figurative devouring of the body. However, you can still be Primal without taking on ideas of “taking in” your prey or bottom.
7. THERE CAN BE HIERARCHIES
Remember what I said about Alphas? If you find yourself getting into a pack, it’s important to learn the ladder. It’s also possible (as in the animal kingdom) to have others challenge the top position – often through wrestling etc.
BUT, just because this sort of mindset sings to you, doesn’t mean you HAVE to join a group. You can be a lone wolf, in a monogamous pairing, polyamorous, swingers, etc. Anything you want. The key is listening to your instincts and following them.
8. IT’S NOT PET PLAY
This one annoys a lot of players (on both sides). One involves more role play, toys, outfits, or even a lifestyle. The other (for the most part) does not. Primals don’t have to wear tails or ears and Pet players don’t have to be sexual.
That being said, you CAN have some crossover or bleeding effect between the two groups – which should not be labeled a bad thing.
There is no right or wrong on either side – it’s just handy to know the difference if you want to look for someone to play with.
9. IT’S NOT A DUNGEON THING
With all that you’ve learned, it should not be surprising that it’s not really something you’ll find in a BDSM or fetish club. There will be a million riggers, plenty of leather daddies, and a metric ton of latex lovers. Primals are more at home outside than in a dark basement. Also, since it can be very rough, it’s not something for a dungeon – and if you do, you need to tell the DM what’s going to happen.
10. DON’T EXPECT TOYS
There won’t be collars, leashes or handcuff. Instead, you’ll play with fingernails, teeth, mouths, hands, and muscles.
11. PEOPLE ARE PROTECTIVE
Like anything in the kink world, players can be protective of their passions. This isn’t just making sure their personal space is kept sacred, but that the language and concepts around it are clear. Think of the generalized BDSM misconceptions that we all hate. The same goes for the sub-groups that fall under the umbrella.
But because this is a group that isn’t understood as well as, for example, people who love spanking, Primals will be the first to speak up loud and firmly if something is being misrepresented.
Interested in primal play? Have a specific animal that sits at your soul? Share in the comments.