What Is Primal Fetish? | Are You A Predator or Prey?

Quick links: Pros & Cons | Terms To Know | What Primal Play Isn’t | How To Play | Why Go Primal | Personal Experiences | FAQs

Today we are talking about Primal Play, one of the many unique subgroups in the Domination/submission category. We will explore this topic by understanding basic definitions and what they look like in practice.

What exactly is a Primal fetish, and how do Primals interact with their partners? What about Primal Play appeals to people? Why should you give it a try if you never have before?

Let’s start with the basics and explore this often-under-discussed aspect of BDSM and what it can mean for you.

Key Takeaways

  • It’s about exploring your basic nature and desires.
  • It’s extremely physical.
  • Animal Play is not a requirement.

An Introduction to Primal Play

First, a Primal Play always has an aggressive element. They are divided by their role as either Hunter/Predator or prey. Both sides delve into a space occupied by the less refined and restrictive aspects of conformity, and you will surely find a fight when you step into this space in either role.

That’s a very rough overview of what we get into when discussing being Primal, so what does it look like?

Pros of Primal Play

  • Extremely physical
  • Creates a sense of freedom
  • Exciting as a group dynamic

Cons of Primal Play

  • Can leave you very sore or with marks
  • Makes a lot of noise
  • Prohibits the use of traditional toys

Primal Fetish Terms to Know

Hunter or Predator

The Hunter or Predator is considered the Dominate. They are the pursuer. They may embody qualities associated with animal-like behavior or simply the basest, most desire-driven aspects of humanity.


Prey is the submissive side of the relationship, but don’t let that fool you into thinking this makes them soft or easy to overcome. Prey will fight back and make the Hunter fight for every gain in control. Those who identify as prey like to be pursued but will use teeth, nails, and whatever else they can to challenge the Hunter at every turn.

While many may think that the Hunter/Predator is the aggressor, in Primal Play, all people involved are actively aggressive in their actions. The prey fights back, making the Hunter/Predator work for the conquest. There is no passive role in Primal Play.


We can’t overlook the Pack. We often think of sexual experiences as one-to-one scenarios, and while that certainly exists within Primal Play, it’s not as expected. Being in a Pack creates a sense of belonging.

Joining a Pack can be especially useful for those new to Primal Play. It’s a fantastic way for new Primals to learn the ins and outs in a judgment-free environment.

In a Pack, an Alpha generally leads the pack as it works in an animal pack. Being the Alpha comes with much responsibility, but don’t let that scare you. The Alpha leads with their actions like a teacher. They guide with actions and confidence, showing other Pack members what that primal aspect of self can look like in practice.

What Primal Play Isn’t

Let’s also consider what Primal play isn’t. While Animal Play or Pet Play elements may be part of Primal Play, it’s not a requirement. Remember being a Primal is about finding that basic nature at the root of our primitive brain. While this can manifest in animalistic traits, becoming an animal is not necessarily needed. 

How Primals Play

When you talk about Primal Play, you enter a different realm where both or neither may encompass animal traits. The use of what we consider traditional toys is almost non-existent though you can use costuming to further the experience.

Finding your raw, unfiltered state of being is the point. Clawing, biting, kicking, and scratching, are all prevalent aspects of being in a primal mindset. The real focus is not Domination but mating. The entire drive and every action focus on that singular goal. 

Let’s Get Physical

Keep in mind that Primal Play is incredibly physical. You don’t have the luxury of leaning on toys and restraints. Your bodies are the toys and the restraints. Being Primal is about taking what you want.

Vocalizations are another key aspect of Primal Play. This is not quiet, low-key play. Things tend to get loud. Growling is very common within this type of play, regardless of whether you take on an animal role. We tend to howl and snarl as well. If it sounds animalistic, you are likely to experience it.

Why Go Primal?

Primal Play taps into that primitive nature within you. It brings you to a place where the conformity of socially appropriate behaviors is disregarded. The focus becomes your pleasure over all other things. If it feels good, do it.

While not for everyone, it is a liberating experience for those who want to shake off the rigidity and structure of everyday life. It allows you to embrace a more adventurous, less civilized version of yourself.

Freedom can be exhilarating and freeing in a way that is hard to imagine without experiencing it firsthand. Releasing the bounds of civility, even for a moment, can create a sense of calm almost unfound in the world outside the BDSM (bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism) community.

Primal Play is about freedom from the niceties of a civilized, structured world. While it has its own rules and methods, those rules are not what we consider normative in society.

The freedom to explore different partners and seek out solely our pleasures allows us to explore more about who we are at the core of our being. This is a gift we give ourselves and our partners when we engage in Primal Play.

Personal Experiences

I am a fan of Primal Play, although I would not consider it on my main kinks and fetishes list. I occasionally like to shake loose of the bounds set forth by traditional thinking and get primal.

For me, I tend to be more prey than Predator because I find that space to be more relaxing. I get to force the Predators to push themselves while learning so many new things about myself and my partners.

Using my body in its most natural way while testing my limits creates a sense of peace that few other experiences, sexual or otherwise, make. It lets me discover more about my inner self and what drives my desires.

Why You Should Trust Us

I’m a long-time member of the BDSM community and passionate about helping others find the joy it has brought me. I switch, allowing me to share from both Dominate and submissive spaces to create a complete picture of the experience. I am also a Psychology student working towards my Master’s degree focusing on human sexuality.

Primal Fetish FAQs

Does Primal Play have to be non-monogamous?

Primal Play can be part of a monogamous relationship. The term Mate is used for a primary partner or one with whom you have an emotional connection.

Does Primal Play create scars?

Primal Play can leave scars just as many other forms of BDSM can. It all depends on how extreme you and your partner choose to push the scene.

Will I need any special equipment for Primal Play?

There is no need to buy anything to engage in Primal Play. It is all about using your body to create a complete experience.

What’s Next?

Unleash your inner animal or Neanderthal and feel the exhilaration of being led by nothing but your desires. Even if you find this aspect of BDSM is not for you, it will be an experience you will never forget even after you recover from the marks.

Take the time to learn more about Primal Play to give yourself the fullest understanding of what it can add to your life. And, as always, with all BDSM activities, make sure you trust your partner and have a safe word!

“The BDSM community actively promotes safety and emphasizes the consensual nature of BDSM activity.”

from Sex and Society
by Marshall Cavendish Corporation; Cavendish Square, 2010


This post was initially written and published in August 2021 by Sexologist Robert Thomas. In September 2022, HarliQ rewrote the article to improve its accuracy, truthfulness, and depth.


  • HarliQ

    HarliQ is a long-time member of the BDSM community. She identifies as a switch who has spent time in both Dominant and submissive roles in a diverse array of different scenes. She has experience in a wide variety of kinks and fetishes. HarliQ enjoys sharing her passion for the BDSM lifestyle with others and providing education and information to those new or evolving in the community. She is pursuing her Master of Psychology with a focus on human sexuality. Her goal is to remove the stigma many people associate with BDSM activities and open this world to anyone interested in exploring their whole self.

  • Robert Thomas

    Robert Thomas is a sexologist, researcher, and writer who loves to explore and investigate everything that is related to bedroom action. He strives to improve couples' sex life by challenging the advice given in research papers, books, magazines, and on the internet in general. Robert loves to write about sex, BDSM, as well as tips & tricks on how couples can introduce new sex toys to their relationship. He has been proudly featured in Healthline, Bustle, Cosmopolitan, Self, AskMen, MelMagazine, Kinkly, Jack&Jill Adult, and in many other publications. Learn more. LinkedIn

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