I used to be sort of intimidated by the notion of puppy play. Like many people, when I first encountered it, I saw images of people in leather hoods, with their hands bound up in mitts to imitate paws, and I felt disconnected from the notion of being a pup. It didn’t help that so much of the imagery I saw only featured cis gay men, either – it seemed, from the outside, more like a leather community subsection than a kink in its own right.
Unbeknownst to me, though, I’d already been doing bits of puppy play in my everyday life. My friends loved to fuss my head and ask, “Who’s a good Morgan?” to witness my excited response, wherein I would flap my autistic little hands and proclaim, “I am! I’m a good Morgan!” I responded to my dominant partner at the time whistling to get my attention. I loved to follow orders (naturally) and to chew on things. I already was a pup – I just didn’t know it yet.
Being a puppy, for me, is akin to being in littlespace in that it’s very sensory-seeking and it feels very self-indulgent, but it’s a touch more primal. Little-Morgan will follow instructions because they want to be good, and because they don’t really have a reason not to, whereas Puppy-Morgan will follow instructions as a result of some instinctive drive to submit (and to obtain head pets). Little-Morgan will engage with sex stuff because a grown-up told them to and they’re an anxious-preoccupied people-pleaser, whereas Puppy-Morgan has the sex drive of, you know, an animal. (Incidentally, humping a wand vibrator is the number one way that I get myself off, and there is something deeply animalistic about humping things.) When I’m in pupspace, there is no logic or self-doubt or apprehension between myself and what I want. Pupspace is an unapologetically horny, impulsive, rowdy headspace for me.
With that said, though, it’s a bit trickier for me to access pupspace. That might be because it’s a little further removed from my ordinary headspace, or it might be as a result of some internalised shame – both because petplay is regarded as weird in a way that Daddy kinks, at the very least, are not, and because of the aforementioned disconnect I feel from other puppy players. I have no interest in dropping large sums of money on hoods and mitts (partly because they look like sensory hell for me) and I don’t feel connected to the cis gay male community, since I’m not cis, not male, and only “gay” in the nebulous, queer sense of the word. I still have a degree of Impostor Syndrome around my experiences of puppy play and pupspace, which is part of why I’m writing this – to reassure other puppy players that their way of engaging in puppy play “counts”, even if it doesn’t look like what other pups are doing.
There are a lot of ways I can pull myself into pupspace, especially with external help. I often have to ask permission to get onto the furniture, and having that permission denied and being forced to sit at my Daddy’s feet makes me feel very much like a pet, rather than a person. Head pets are always a good bet, too, but tummy rubs (on days that my eating disorder isn’t acting up too much) feel more pup-like to me and therefore more pupspace-inducing. Another great way to access and indulge in pupspace is through “training” – there are particular commands that Puppy-Morgan is learning, like “sit” and “paw”, and carrying those out successfully often earns me a puppy treat (note: in my case, these are usually things like Maltesers. Do not eat actual pet food, because it is bad for human tummies. Cadbury’s do some excellent, very dog-biscuit-esque treats called Joy Fills if you’re absolutely desperate for realism whilst you’re playing as a pup). I sometimes worry that maybe my need to induce pupspace, rather than falling into it naturally as I do with other headspaces, is a sign that I’m not really a pup, but logically, I think it’s obvious from my protective, playful nature and the joy that I access through pupspace that I was destined for puppy play. Plus, kinks don’t come with entry requirements! You don’t need gear to be a pup and you don’t need to play or feel any particular way. There are as many types of puppy players out there as there are actual breeds of dog, and you can play however you like as long as it’s consensual, risk-aware and fun.
(And, if you were wondering, I’m a miniature American Shepherd, and a damn cute one at that.)
This post is part of an ongoing project called the Headspace Miniseries, where I explore the different subtypes of subspace I experience. If you like this, share it around, look at my Patreon, and check out the other posts in the series – you know the drill!