On the fetish scene, you'll now almost always find pups. As part of my ongoing quest to broaden my fetish horizons I started to wonder whether it was something I should give a try…
My first exposure to puppy play came when I started working at Recon three years ago. On discovering it I was somewhat surprised. I'd obviously been aware of the idea of being someone's dog, and saw the appeal of this for a session or two, but puppy play seemed to be so much bigger than that concept, and a whole lot more intricate. For one thing, I don't think puppy play is necessarily about being someone else's dog, it seems to be more about being your own.
Despite studying Theatre Acting at university. Despite being mouthy on occasion. Despite working in a job where I regularly have to network whilst wearing fetish gear, I'm actually quite a low-key person. I'm oddly reserved in many ways, and from my point of view, getting into the headspace of a pup seems like a Herculean task. Puppy play can attract a lot of attention, and I think it's partially this that acts as a roadblock and makes it difficult for me to get on board.
So, why would I even consider trying something that I don't feel a connection to? Well, firstly, my experience levels. I came to fetish and kink fairly late, and I have this vague sense that I'm making up for lost time. Secondly, to be blunt, it's kind of my job to write about fetish (I have a great job BTW). Connection or no, I need to have these new experiences, as faint heart never won fair Recon content.
I decided to take myself to SM Gay's puppy taster night to see if I could find my inner k9. SM Gays are a social and educational group for gay and bisexual men in London, who run monthly Discovery Nights where you can learn about different types of SM play. They've been going for 36 years, and as they were teaming up with Puppy Pride and Mr Puppy UK, there was a lot of expertise on hand. It seemed like my best chance at giving it a go.
On arriving at the Discovery Night, I met with several of the guys from SM Gays, who were all incredibly friendly and approachable. I had some rubber with me, so went and got changed… Then went to the toilet… Then I went to the bar… Then went outside where I vaped for an extended period of time…. Then went back in and felt oddly awkward… Then went back outside to vape for another extended period of time, striking up conversations with SM Gay regulars, but avoiding doing what I'd come for – to immerse myself in being a pup.
I don't know what it was that was causing this level of discomfort. As I say, everyone I encountered was friendly and easy to talk to, but I just had a weird feeling of displacement that I haven't felt before at a fetish event. I think attending alone didn't help, as it made it easier for me to retreat into myself a bit, and left me alone with my iPhone for distraction. I also think it's a lot trickier to drum up confidence when your goal is something that's slightly at odds with your own desires.
Eventually it was time for Kye from Puppy Pride to give the demonstration. I stood, watched and listened as he went through the important physical aspects of being a pup. He informed us about the best gear to use, the appropriate toys and bowls, the right posture to hold as well as other such points about pup physicality. It was interesting to hear, and informed me of things I hadn't considered, but I still wasn't feeling a connection to it. Kye did a great job of laying out the ways in which you can embody a pup, but that wasn't really where my issues lay. I realised that the physical elements weren't what was holding me back (though my old back injury might have something to say about that), it was the mental side of the equation where I fell down.
I stayed to listen to the rest of the demo, then collected my things and made my way home. I was disappointed with myself for not being able to step out of my box on this occasion and I fretted about what I would write for my new experience.
Which brings us up to now…
I feel that with puppy play, if you can't get into the right headspace, then the rest is a bit of a nonstarter. It's pretty crucial that you have an inclination, otherwise you're not going to be committed to the play. This isn't exclusive to puppy play, either. I feel like the response I had could have been prompted if I'd been attempting a number of different kinks or fetishes that I don't feel a connection to. It isn't really about puppy play, but rather the fact that we each have our own individual tastes and desires, and that one cap doesn't fit all. I think that taking chances and experimentation is important when it comes to kink, but I think you also have to be in the right headspace for it. You can't really force these things, and trying to do so can often lead you astray.
I'm still open to the idea of trying puppy play – I'm an open-minded person and I wouldn't want to disregard something without having the experience. I just think that if I am to try it, the situation would need to be right – more organic - and the mind would need to be willing.
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