Enter the World of Primal Play

Is the primal kink all about acting like an animal? No! Primal play is taking over the fetish world because it lets people explore their deepest, wildest sexual selves.

The word “primal” means the origins or basic, fundamental aspects of something

We have primal urges to have sex and procreate. We have primal instincts like responding to fear and protecting our family from harm.

The urgent feeling you get when you smell your lover’s neck and must have them then and there? Primal.

Portrait of woman lying in branches

Do what feels good in the moment

What’s the primal kink all about? It’s about embracing our primal urges in order to have the rawest and most honest sex possible.

Primal play is fairly new to the kink community but is quickly growing in popularity. Why? Because it has few set rules and all it requires is you to forget about what you should be doing and just do what feels good.

Primal play is more of a sex style than a fetish

The primal kink is broader and more subjective than, say, having a fetish for used panties or for voyeurism. It’s sometimes referred to as a state of mind or state of being in sexual contexts.

What is primal play? Put simply, primal sex is sex in which you follow your most raw, deep, and emotional sexual urges instead of thinking about protocol, what “should” happen next, societal norms, or what someone might think of you.

Man kisses woman's neck passionately

Many of us overthink and don’t fully relax during sex. We think about “moves”, we’re self-conscious, we stay quiet, hold back… Primal play strips this all away. Primal sex is about your bodies and what you want to do to each other in each moment.

It’s about losing your inhibitions and unabashedly following your instincts, whether that means howling with pleasure, play-fighting, or licking your partner all over.

Primal Play and Animal Play

Primal play isn’t the same as animal play, but they are connected. Animal play, sex in which people roleplay or take on animal qualities, is a form of primal play because it involves people casting aside their human self-consciousness and acting on basic instincts.

Intense sex with few rules or restraints

What does primal sex feel like?

It’s intense sex, which means it primarily feels, you guessed it, intense. Because primal kink sex means seriously letting go, you often feel very connected to your partner because you’re both being vulnerable and sharing deeper parts of yourselves - shedding the mask many of us wear in everyday life and sex.

Primal play is often rough and can involve intense feelings of fear and desire. It’s often very liberating. You can lose yourself in the moment and feel totally separate from the rules and responsibilities of the real world.

Scratching, wrestling, pain, and dirty talk

Because everyone has different instincts and responds to different people in different ways, primal play will be different for everyone.

However, primal kink sex has recurring tropes. Common features of primal kink sex are scratching, wrestling and provocation, erotic pain, power play, dirty talk, roleplaying animalist contests with “chases” and “takedowns”, grunting, snarling… It’s not unusual for primals to identify with certain animals (wolves, bears) in a primal role-play scenario.

Woman in cat costume

Primal sex embraces all the senses: smelling, licking, biting… But the primal kink doesn’t have to be Let’s tear each other’s clothes off and push each other around all the time.

If your instincts take you in a different direction, your primal play could involve wild dancing and laughter, sensual massage, or kissing your partner all over.

“Predator” and “Prey”

Predator and prey are terms primals (people with a primal kink) commonly self-identify with. Let’s run through definitions for commonly used terms in primal play.

  • Predator, Hunter, Primal dom, Alpha: The dominant person in a primal play dom/sub scenario. They like to chase, consume, and overpower.
  • Prey, Primal sub: The submissive person in a primal play dom/sub scenario. They like to be chased and consumed and give up power.
  • Pack: A group of people who identify as primals or alphas.
  • Mate: Someone you have created a bond with through primal play.
  • Pet: Someone who is a submissive owned by their dominant during primal or other types of play.
  • Furry: Someone who takes on a non-human or animal persona.
Female hand scratching lover's back

It’s worth noting that primal kink sex doesn’t have to take place between a dom and a sub. Two primal alphas can also engage in intense primal play together, “fighting” for dominance and provoking each other in a hot animalistic power game. Learn more BDSM terminology here.

Primal Play and BDSM

Wondering what is primal play, and is it like BDSM?

As we’ve said, primal play is a form of BDSM, but they’re not the same.

One difference between primal play and BDSM is that primal play focuses on the physical body. It rarely involves toys or props. It’s more about using your body - nails, muscles, teeth, tongue… - to explore your urges and ravage each other.

If you’re into kinky sex or have experimented with BDSM, you’ve probably dipped a toe into primal play without realizing it. When you’re exploring erotic pain or dominance and submission, you go into a more primal mental and physical state.

Couple kissing on grass in rain

You cast aside social niceties. You inflict pain, argue back (aka be a brat), and say filthy, taboo things to each other. This is primal because you let your basic urges take over without overanalysing.

In the BDSM community, primal play is considered edge play. Edge play is any type of sexual play that has the potential to push your limits or go past what you’re usually comfortable with. It can be scary, or, for people who are into it, thrilling.

Consent and Safe Words

It’s crucial you have this kind of sex with someone you trust totally. Because primal sex is often rough, wild, and requires you to be less “in your head”, consent, discussion and safe words are essential.

Before you start, discuss hard limits, soft limits, desires, and fears with your partner. Establish clear safe words or signals for when the action is too much and make sure you both understand and recognise them.

It might seem contradictory, but it is crucial to establish boundaries in order to totally immerse yourself in primal sex. You can only relax into it when you know that your partner is also into it and will make it clear if they’re not comfortable.

Sensual couple with close faces in bed

Exploring the Primal Kink

Read more about primal play, even watch some primal erotic videos or read primal erotic fiction and think about what turns you on. Then open a discussion with your partner about desires, boundaries and safe words.

Primal kink sex is all about exploring, not planning. So go into your first primal sex session with no expectations.

What animal will you find inside you? Who knows.