Frequently Asked Questions: Kink

For the past seven months I have been photographing the leather and kink/fetish community. During this time, I found a handful of questions kept popping up regarding my work and the people I am photographing. The more time I spent around kinksters, the more I learned about them as individuals and as collectives. One thing that has remained consistent across the community is their enthusiasm for spreading awareness and educating others on kink and fetish. Below is a selection of the many questions I have faced over the past seven months. I hope that these answers provide a basis for understanding kink as well as provide an introduction for my work on human pups. 

What are human pups?

     At their core, human pups are people who tap into an inner puppy or dog and animal-esque personality and behavior. For many, accessing this inner puppy provides escape from the stress and responsibilities of human life and allows for complex emotions to be simplified and resolved. 

Human pups have a lot in common with canine puppies. They enjoy belly rubs, treats, playing with squeaky toys, hugs, and (fortunately for me) having their picture taken. How I interact with pups is similar to how people generally act around canine puppies and small children. The reaction pups have to getting a treat (eyes widen, excited vocalisation, paws up) is generally the same reaction canine pups, just manifested in the body of a human. 

Most pups have a pup name that they go by when accessing this facet of their identity. The name can provide an element of personal comfort and protection from the outside world as well as contribute to the development of the inner pup. 

Do human pups have sex with dogs?

     No. Pup play (and all other forms of pet play including kitten and pony) do NOT involve bestiality or abuse of animals in any form. 

Is there sex involved?

     There are many elements that contribute to a human pup: sexuality, lifestyle, headspace, equipment. For some, sexual activity is part of how they interact with others as pups. For some, there is no sexual activity present and it is only about playing and escaping human responsibility. Like with any kink, the level of sexuality involved varies from person to person. 

     More often than not, I've found that pups look for the escape that comes with developing another facet of their identity. Pups also display the unconditional affection characteristic of canine puppies, and receiving love from others elevates their mood and helps build fellowship. 

Do human pups have dogs?

     Yes! Many human pups have pets, of all varieties, just as many people have pets. 

Are there women/female pups?

     Absolutely! Most of the pups I have met are men or masculine non-binary people. However, pup play is by no means only a men's kink. Women pups exist in great number, but at a lower percentage than men. Women who are involved in a form of pet play tend to gravitate towards kitten play or pony play. 

What is the difference between a furry and a pup?

     Furry fandom puts more focus on anthropomorphic animals and assigning depictions of animals human-like personalities and behaviors. Furries construct characters which are a blend of animal aesthetic and human behavior. There are elements of identity, but a lot of emphasis is placed on the suits furries build and the characters they represent.

My friend R, who is both a furry and a pup explained it to be this way: pup is the animalization of humans and furry is the humanization of animals.