I am a homosexual young adult seeking advice about kitten play. I find it very intriguing, and I'm wondering where to start. It's a turn-on when someone calls me kitten, but I'm not sure how to express my kink or desire for kink play to the person or persons I am into. Any advice would be appreciated.
— Constructive Advice Thoughtfully Sought
Hi, CATS: I am a homosexual not-so-young adult without much advice to offer where kitten play is concerned. I've encountered plenty of gay puppies in the wild — at various leather/fetish events — but I've seen only one fetish kitty in my lifetime, and she was a queen. (A female cat is called a queen, a male cat is called a tom, and a group of cats is called a glare. #TheMoreYouKnow!)
But Amp Somers, who hosts the kink-friendly sex-ed show Watts the Safeword, assures me that gay kitties are definitely a thing.
"Kitten play is a subcategory of the 'animal role-play' or 'pet play' kink," said Somers. "It is a form of domination and submission in which someone gets into the head space of an animal they are role-playing and takes on its characteristics — be it with gear (masks, tails, collars) or by acting out the mannerisms of their animal. Most importantly, and this goes for all proper pet players, there are no actual animals involved in this play."
Puppy play is the most common form of pet play — by far — and it's very popular among younger gay kinksters. (Please don't confuse gay pups or kitties with gay bears or otters. The former is about role-play and fetish; the latter is about body type, affirmation, and community.) But what accounts for the popularity of pet play among younger kinksters?
"This sort of play allows someone to get into kink easily with or without a partner and in a playful manner," said Somers. "Pet play allows players to get their feet wet in the BDSM world without having to visit a dark dungeon, get tied up, or engage in anything a newer kinkster might find intimidating. It's a great entry-level kink."
As for expressing your kink, CATS, that's something you're going to have to work out on your own.
"I imagine CATS already has an image of what kitten play looks like to them, and I bet it differs from what I might imagine my own pet play would look like or even from what readers imagine a kitten player to look like," said Somers. "Is CATS a domesticated lazy kitten who lies in the sun? A curious, well-trained, docile cat responsive to cuddles and treats? Or are they a rambunctious, bratty, independent stray?"
To find your way into the kink scene, Somers recommends getting online.
"That's how I first found pet play," he said. "Sites like kitten-play.com offer in-depth written pieces by players, links to resources, and forums where people like CATS can educate themselves. Other sites like FetLife or Facebook provide more private groups to 'meet' others, ask more in-depth questions, find local get-togethers, and make friends to socialize with. Or if they prefer video content, YouTube has a number of creators (like 'Scream Kiwi') who talk about their kinks in a fun, educational, and personal way. And once CATS feels comfortable in their own identity and has defined what they want out of this play, they will be able to really communicate to their partner(s) what they're into and what they want out of kitten play."
Check out Amp Somers' show — Watts the Safeword — at youtube.com/WattsTheSafeword, and follow him on Twitter @Pup_Amp.
On the Lovecast, where do kinks come from? Dr. Justin Lehmiller on the science of desire: savagelovecast.com.