Primal Fetish Relationships: Predator, Mate, and Prey

What is a serious relationship for Primal folk?

Like the rest of the BDSM community, what constitutes a serious relationship is highly personal. The difference is the overlap into conventional “vanilla” relationships. Sometimes a Primal relationship will seem conventional due to lack of props and the usual D/s structure. Sometimes it seems conventional because the people involved are from a pro masculinity culture, and their tribe or coupling is led by a patriarch “alpha” male or Daddy of any sex. The culture may be very pro femininity, and the tribe or coupling led by an “alpha” female. What makes it different beneath the surface is that the level of livable violence or intensity is still going to be comfortably and preferably higher than what has normally been considered ideal since the industrial revolution.

So in contrast to the conventional “vanilla” standard for “serious” which stresses the formal recognition of a couple to the utmost importance, where the essence of the relationship is irrelevant aside of a romanticized Disney ideal; in BDSM/Primal relationships, the essence is important and formal recognition is near irrelevant.  The relationship is deemed serious by the people involved in it considering each other more important than general human relations, and acting on that by whatever means available or appropriate to them, not based on the state or church authorities.

Some BDSM/Primal relationships are even secret. Some are even non penetrative or NBFE (no body fluid exchange), but quite serious. So you are bound to see among us differing definitions of “in a serious relationship” and even different meanings for “had sex”, but things like “mating” will still generally involve some penetration, at least oral sex, or genital to genital contact.

A serious relationship will still be considered long term, whether or not it leads to formal marriage. Many Primal relationships lead to marriage partly because there is usually actual mating and all the responsibility that comes with that. Just as many don’t lead to marriage because Primal people tend to walk a different path than the norm, and are politically opposed to the idea of the state controlling relationships between consenting adults.

Some serious Primal relationships are monogamous, but in my observation this is unusual. Quite often, people form tribes, and also common are polygamous men or women towards whom their partners are monogamous while they are not. Of those in either tribes or polygamous groupings, some may be open, but usually not all. Most allow people to be free to determine their own level of openness or sexual generosity.

One thing that is fairly standard though, is protectiveness of partners. Whether Primal people are polyamorous or monogamous, most are fiercely protective and involved in their partners’ wellbeing.  It is not about jealousy, but about concern both for their partner as an individual and for the family/tribe as a unit.

One reason Primal relationships often end up as they are is that many, if not most Primal people are demisexual to some degree. They are attracted to people they trust, and not attracted to people they don’t or who they don’t know well enough. Once someone is in their circle, they are considered safe and therefore attractive. In a polyamorous tribe, being in a stable, trusting situation with one person in the tribe opens them to others. Someone unsafe becomes repellent, not only to the person or people they personally hurt, but to everyone in the tribe. Whether or not others in one’s tribe find them attractive may have some bearing on whether or not the relationship continues because lack of attraction indicates lack of trust.

We are keenly aware that some conventional people don’t understand us and may lure our partners into either monogamy or a more “healthy” relationship with gentler sex. Because many of us are against state marriage or just not that interested in it, and walking an alternative path can be difficult for some, the lure of the paperwork gets some. Then there is the problem of abusive relationships. One of the things an abuser or exploiter does is to isolate their prospective victim.

Though most of the BDSM community has a cooler attitude about this, Primal folks are more likely to react more intensely to threats to their partners. If someone actually wants to leave us, we may grieve and be heartbroken, but we’re not usually going to react with violence towards the partner. If you ask, many if not most (but seriously, every one I have ever spoken to) can’t hurt their partner(s). They can hurt them physically during sex or some of the sports and “horseplay”, but they can’t assault them nonconsensually or harm them on purpose.

It is quite common though, for us to take the law into our own hands to some degree. This is especially true of us in the Pagan community, as we are not usually the “new age” sort who don’t believe in harming people who mess with our loved ones. So Primal people are not the right address to look for someone to mess with. We tend to be the type who will fight an enemy with our fists or our furies.

On the other hand, we are generally very comfortable with not-serious if there is no reciprocation.  One of the key features of most Primal people is that we compartmentalize very well. Serious isn’t a word Primal people will generally use to label a relationship they are not willing to bleed in battle for. If you make a point of being not-serious with a Primal, they will probably not let you die in the street, but they will calmly watch you suffer in some ways in order to show you respect for your space. Generally for us, the violation of space is considered very disrespectful. We have usually had many “demons” to struggle with, and understand a need for people to just back off. The consequences of people not backing off when we really needed them to, have sometimes been verbally or physically violent outbursts that one can’t take back once one has let out. So if someone says they need it, we give them space the same as we would want if we needed space. We will not hold it against them at all, so long as there has been adequate communication. We usually won’t see simple absence as neglect as long as it is honest. The line where we do start to feel neglected is very clear. If, on the other hand, you ghost without explanation, do not expect your spot to be there when you return.

(Click below to continue figuring out where you stand with a Primal partner.)


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My pronouns are whatever you're comfortable with as long as you speak to me with respect. I'm an Afruikan and Iswa refugee living in Canaan. That's African American expat in Israel in Normalian. I build websites, make art, and assist people in exercising their spirituality. I'm also the king of an ile, Baalat Teva, a group of African spirituality adherents here. Feel free to contact me if you are in need of my services or just want to chat.


  1. Thanks for this post. I’m a kinkster and I have mixed feelings about the term “primal” and how it’s being used in the bdsm community. I have two main concerns.

    1. “Primal” can be misused to justify overstepping boundaries and allows players who mess up to eschew responsibility. Plenty of subs go non-verbal in subspace, and tops can too. But the top needs to stay grounded in reality at least enough to be aware of their play partners needs. Being in primal headspace should not be used as an excuse for getting carried away and harming a sub (even if unintentional).

    2. I also worry that primal play can be a tool of cultural appropriation, like that early 90s “urban savage” movement that happened among white gay men. It usurped the symbols and language of indigenous cultures to naturalize gay male sexual desire. And frankly, I see too many white primal-identified folks on Fetlife wearing feathers or bones and tribal tattoos or scarring. They seem no more enlightened or progressive than a white sorority girl dressed as Pocahontas.

    But if cultural appropriation can be avoided and primal tops can remain risk-aware and attuned to their subs needs and limits, I think primal play could be very freeing.

    • My feelings about it are not mixed. First of all, Primals aren’t playing. I mean, there is such a thing as Primal play, but that’s like when puppies fight. Primal sex is not a “play” session. It’s real, honest to Nature making out and/or fucking.

      What some BDSM’ers who aren’t Primal do with it is not our responsibility beyond doing what we can to educate people.

      Primal people are very aware of the risks, the gray areas, and the fact that harm may happen if one takes things too far. We don’t generally go into it setting out to hurt someone, but we’re cool with the fact that hurt may happen in the process. The oversensitive and those who need a notarized disclaimer should not venture into our world. They should go “play” with people interested in “playing”.

      As to cultural appropriation, this is a problem with “white” culture, not with Primal folk specifically.


      There is a dangerous man in the BDSM Ccommunity guilty of serial rape and extortion being given a free pass because people are afraid of him. Our only weapon is teaching excellent communication and negotiating skills to all newbies.

    • So my concern to this is yes subs do go silent, they are subs they are not primal. If a mate goes to far with me i don’t use my voice not in primal space, you lash back you show with eyes… it’s a bond that true primals have an ability in that head space to communicate beyond civilized language. The thing for me is I know if the man I am with is primal before introduced in society there’s a feeling and you know. It’s dangerous to call it play… because it’s real and will become dangerous if you are not it, I don’t believe it can be taught only awakened.
      My fear is when you have sadist justifying there actions in bdsm by saying they are does, or emotional sadists being “open”

  2. oops, in my above comment I said “urban savage” but the more broadly used term I couldn’t think of is “modern primitive”.

    • And your comment was well said and quite correct. And not….politically correct just true.

      I had no idea there was a serious predation problem in Kinkland. Silly me, we’re not all righteous bad asses, like me. Let’s take care of each other out there.

  3. I have recently come to realise I’m primal, but I’m not typically primal. I am not a predator nor prey. I am more like the alpha female in a lion pride. Strong, in control and very, very protective of those I have taken under my wing.

    I have played as a submissive and even gone non verbal, but when I am in primal head space, that doesn’t happen. I become hyper aware and want to fight and verbalise. It’s just different.

    Primal is no excuse to step over other people’s boundaries and in fact, most primals don’t. From my experience, a primal isn’t interested in doing anything with a submissive because the primal wants the fight or flee and the submissive wants to submit and give it up – which is too easy for the primal. If a submissive goes non verbal other safe measures can be taken like a safe movement or sound.

  4. I’ve always been way during sex – biting, clawing, growling, a bit of blood. I didn’t know it had a term until last night. I honestly thought I was just an oddball in the bedroom. Going along with Kneeledbeauty, I always identified with a big cat too, like a cougar or leopard. I’m glad to know that I’m not alone in this.

  5. So glad hear of other lionesses. Ironwynch has written (in my opinion) the best description of what being primal is . i’m very happy to have found it as i was beginning to feel quite isolated in regards to my primal way of being.

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