An Exploratory Study of a New Kink Activity: “Pup Play”

Liam Wignall*, Mark McCormack

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study presents the narratives and experiences of 30 gay and bisexual men who participate in a behavior known as “pup play.” Never empirically studied before, we use in-depth interviews and a modified form of grounded theory to describe the dynamics of pup play and develop a conceptual framework with which to understand it. We discuss the dynamics of pup play, demonstrating that it primarily consists of mimicking the behaviors and adopting the role of a dog. We show that the majority of participants use pup play for sexual satisfaction. It is also a form of relaxation, demonstrated primarily through the existence of a “headspace.” We classify pup play as a kink, and find no evidence for the framing of it as a form of zoophilia. We call for further research on pup play as a sexual kink and leisure activity from both qualitative and quantitative perspectives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-811
Number of pages11
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Issue number3
Early online date14 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


  • BDSM
  • Kink
  • Leisure
  • Pup play
  • Role-play


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