This study presents findings from a community survey on pup play. Pup play is a kink activity and a form of role play that is growing in popularity internationally, and gaining increasing attention in sexology, yet prior research on pup play has almost entirely employed qualitative methods and primarily involved gay and bisexual men. Using survey data of 733 pup play participants primarily from the US, but also internationally, this study reports on the demographics of participants, how they engage in pup play, its social and sexual elements, and how it relates to social identity and mental health. Unique pup names and identifying with breeds of dogs were used to foster a sense of individuality within pup play, while the majority of participants owned and wore gear when engaging in pup play. We also found significant associations between being younger and identifying as a pup. Most participants reported that pup play improved their mental health. Binary logistic regression analyses indicated that having a mental health diagnosis was associated with identifying with a more social style of pup play and self-reporting the mental health benefits of pup play. We find that the conceptualization of pup play in the existing literature to be accurate to this international sample and highlight areas where further research is needed, alongside limitations of the study.
- Pup Play
- Social identity