BDSM Subculture ‘Pup Play’ Has Exploded In San Francisco, Is Now One Of The ‘Largest And Most Social Scenes’

The Golden Gate Bridge spans the bay in San Francisco, California. California Governor Gray Davis has issued a statement November 1, 2001 stating that authorities have received very credible threats that one of California's many suspension bridges may be targeted for terrorist attack between November 2 and November 7, 2001.
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The Daily Mail recently explored the BDSM subculture “pup play” in the diverse city of San Francisco, where the scene has exploded and is now thriving. The publication interviewed some of the members of the Fog City Pack in San Francisco, a group of individuals who practice pup play in their daily lives and gather to share the experience.

Pup play involves grown individuals acting like dogs while wearing masks, tails, and other accessories typical of domesticated dogs. Although a subculture of BDSM, which is associated with sexual dominance and submission, this particular kink can be sexual or nonsexual. There are no hard and fast rules and anyone can engage in the play in whichever way speaks to them. While many individuals wear collars and tags and have adopted a separate name for their dog persona, no one is obliged to do so.

Founder of the Fog City Pack, Dr. Phillip Hammack, explained that he began dabbling in pup play several years ago after being exposed to the subculture by his partner, adding that it appealed to him because of the “more nurturing sort of approach to engaging in some kink play or kink activity.”

Hammack, who goes by the dog name Turbo, talks about getting into the “pup headspace” while engaging in puppy play, also known as moshing. This means acting in an instinctual way, while growling, nuzzling, getting down on all fours, and otherwise engaging in activities that dogs do. He particularly enjoys the lighter dominance-submission relationship that pup play allows him to have with his “owner.”

When asked how others react to seeing Hammack and other members of the pack acting like dogs, he says that it’s actually quite common to come across this subculture in the city.

“It’s thriving. It’s definitely the largest and most social of the scenes I’ve seen around. Every day I meet a new pup.”

He adds that San Francisco tends to be a place where people are used to seeing various social subcultures and they “barely bat an eye.”

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“Social media has really helped a lot in terms of destigmatizing, kind of normalizing sexual diversity. So I think kink is just part of that.”

Another member of the pack, Joe, also voiced his reasons for engaging in pup play.

“Jumper allows me to be much more playful and social than I would normally be, I guess, as Joe… I can be much more reserved. When it comes to a lot of these sorts of kink-type cultures there’s this idea that you have to do everything a certain way but one of the nice things about all this is that it’s such a release and… it really is what you would make it of it.”

As kink is becoming more mainstream and overall acceptable in our society, those who partake in the various subcultures feel greater liberty to live as their true selves in the public eye while also feeling safe doing so.