What is primal play?

I was quite doubtful about experimenting with “primal” play before our first session. I had read on your website that it is something you recommend and enjoy, but the word “primal” I associated with “animalistic” and so I wondered how could this be appropriate in a bdsm encounter. Surely, I said to myself, animals satisfy their appetites without self-restraint, without concern for the boundaries of other animals, without seeking “consent.” OK, I thought, one could role-play pet owner and puppy, or even predator and prey, but the domme wouldn’t be able to enter into predatory behaviour fully, without risk to the submissive’s boundaries. And if the submissive gave way to “primal” urges, I worried, he might reach out for physical or sexual contact with the domme that would likewise cross her red lines.

The above extract is feedback from one of my former clients.

Primal is my favourite kink to play with. My professional BDSM practice focuses on transformational rituals now. However when I was a dominatrix,  my favourite way of establishing a power dynamic with a new submissive client was making them my primal prey. Primal play still has an important role in my work.

In this article I explore what primal play is to me and why I like it so much.  First, I will talk about our brains.

Survival in the wilderness

We are the pioneers in the evolution of human consciousness. 10,000 years ago, our ancestors built the first cities. As civilization grew, survival no longer depended on the instant fight or flight of the wilderness. Survival and happiness now depend on tuning in to our relations with the people around us and the total environment of the here and now. Perceptiveness, wisdom, and oneness are the ingredients of happy living. But our brains are still programmed for wilderness fight or flight. A fast release of adrenalin into the blood stream, rapid heartbeat, and automatic anger and fear. In social interactions, we magnify molehills and make them into mountains. This constant distortion destroys our energy, our insight, and our ability to love. Thus survival in the wilderness meant that we had to be programmed for instant paranoia, instant fear and instant anger. Survival in our world today means that we must have instant perceptions of oneness, love, compassion with everyone and understanding of everything around us. When we learn to cut through our paranoid wilderness programming, we are on our way to higher consciousness and happiness.

The three brains

Humans have 3 brains: the reptile brain; the mammalian brain (limbic system/emotional brain); and the neo-cortex, or cognitive brain. The reptile brain is the part that forms first and is the oldest part of our brain in terms of how we have evolved into the human animals that we are today. The reptile brain deals with our wilderness survival instincts and primal drives. It is a deep and ancient part of us. Most of the time, humans tend to be in their neo cortex trying to solve day to day issues by thinking about them. Thinking creates worry.

Liberation from worry

Animals do not worry, because they live through their primal consciousness, following their instincts.

It is liberating to drop into primal consciousness. In a primal state, a human animal can experience themselves as a sensory being, expressing the raw data of sensations without the filter of language. A human animal in their primal state does not think about what they should be doing or what is expected of them. The primal state exists without the complicated narratives that the neo cortex wants to impose on reality.

Here is another extract from my client’s feedback (this was pre-COVID when I could still bite without worrying about virus transmission, and my professional boundaries have since shifted anyway):

After gently welcoming me into the dungeon space, in my totally naked state, you helped me to shake out any tension in my body that I had brought in from the outside world. As the session developed, you had me raise my arms and you secured my wrists with leather cuffs to a sort of spreader bar on chains hanging down from the ceiling. You then fitted a soft leather blindfold over my eyes, and I became aware of you beginning to softly prowl around my body, back and front, sometimes playfully stroking or even lightly scratching at my skin. The sensations were delightful! Gradually your movements became stronger, fiercer, you grasped at the muscles of my legs, and I was conscious that you seemed to be snarling close to my ears, and a couple of times I felt you lightly biting here and there, on my arms and shoulders. I began to respond, spontaneously and rather to my surprise, by snarling back at you, snapping my jaws as if to bite back at you playfully, but of course I could not see or know exactly where you were, so you were in no danger from my teeth. I felt very conscious of your feline, feminine power, here was a big cat, a Mother Jaguar as I think you put it, prowling around her cub fiercely but protectively.


Are you getting a feel for it now? It is a difficult thing for me to explain.  Primal play must be experienced. Here is another extract from my client’s feedback:

Then at some point you attached clamps to my nipples and the rush of pleasurable pain somehow seemed to make me feel fiercer and stronger, and I began to snarl and lunge at you (still safely and nimbly out of reach) in a less cub-like way, and more like a big male cat, seeking its mate. More and more I felt the strength of my own body, and felt surprisingly free to show it, and uninhibited in my (albeit limited) movements. I felt free from the fear of hurting you with my aggression, with my animal lust, and unashamed to be showing it. This was a very unfamiliar feeling for me, and very liberating. Usually for me, in my submissive role in a bdsm scenario, my masculinity is sort of sublimated, my heterosexual lust is not expressed, its expression is (consensually) denied. So it was quite amazing to me to be led by you in a different direction, whilst still restrained by cuffs and chains, blindfolded and clamped. I really found myself letting go and entering into a euphoric state of spontaneous movement and vocalization. I had encountered aspects of my animal self that I would not otherwise have dared to express. Thank you Mother Jaguar!

Emotional release

The ultimate goal for me as the Top in a primal play scene, is for the Bottom to stop feeling self-conscious. I want them to let go so that their voice is unblocked. Have you ever let yourself express your emotions in sounds that are purely animal? Growls, yips, snaps, whimpers and so on. Humans keep a lot of their emotions inside and what happens is that the emotions get trapped in the limbic system to circle around until they are finally expressed. Primal play can be an effective way of releasing pent-up emotions without any thought involved. The freedom and permission given are all that is needed for this process to happen very naturally. I unleash my own primal self on my Bottom and their primal self cannot resist responding in kind. This is the dance of Predator and Prey/Big and Small that I relish.

Never forget that even with your thinking brain, language and clever fingers, you are still an animal.

Animals do not like to be kept in cages for long!

When was the last time you let your animal out?

In peace, love and kink,

DT xx

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