As someone who’s been overseeing kink conventions for the past decade, the primal subculture in the kink communities appears to be right behind Littles as the largest-growing. As I stated in previous installments of the Dungeon Master’s Guide, I am living up to my word and digging into kinks that might not totally be my thing. It is, however, a kink that I have had a good deal of exposure to. Primal play falls into the more risk-aware side of edge play. For some, it surpasses being just a kink and is more akin to an expression of their soul. For others, it is limited to letting this expression out on wrestling mats at the edges of dungeons.
Primals tend to be a much more social sector of the community. Some hunt in packs for “prey,” which is a new conquest. Some introduce themselves as the animal they identify as. In their identification, the outward expression might lead them to be mistaken for Furries, as they might wear tails or appropriate a Viking-like fur garb. The latter is at least fitting, given that the word berserker is derived from the Old Norse berserker which means bear shirt. Berserkers were a sect of warriors engaged in ritualistic worship of bears in order to endow themselves with animalistic strength. Lycanthropy can also be traced back to early Germanic paganism, with rituals to transform warriors into what would later be thought of as werewolves. This can also be traced back to antiquity-era Greece.
So what actually do primals do, aside from wrestle and hunt? Some might argue that animals are only one part and it is about communicating honestly and wordlessly, by acting on instinct. Some think safewords keep you from fully letting go by keeping safety in mind. Animals do have their own safety in mind, as self-preservation is one of their instincts. My wife is not a primal, but not very verbal when passions rise, so we work off taps and cues – a system that would work for primals not wanting to be hindered by the language of the civilized. My previous partner, who was a primal, used her animal as a term of endearment. She was always quick to point out she was not a pet to be leashed and no one was keeping her. She would wear fur tails outside of the house which would prompt questions at the grocery store like:
“Are the cats in town?”
For me, things like heavy metal already tapped into that more barbaric side. I wrestled in high school and college, so letting go and not being afraid to use brute force felt very familiar already. With my wife, there is sometimes a need to assert myself physically to restore the proper power dynamic. I could see where this could go in that direction, and perhaps it is something we might explore. For now, metal and weight lifting meet the needs others turn to primal play for, so I suppose I am primal adjacent. When asked what animal I would identify with, were I to do so, my answer is: a Yeti. Perhaps one day the yeti will rise again if called upon to do so, until then happy hunting for the rest of you.