The following is the full Ask LSOP #12 question and answer, featured in the Little Shop of Pleasures February 2017 newsletter.
I have been to your store before and I have seen tails for sale. I was puzzled so I went home and did some googling and now I'm even more confused by the entire idea of 'pet' play. Is it only for leather clad men? Do I have to crawl around on all fours? Is it legal?
Animal, or pet play is defined in the book Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns as "[r]ole playing wherein one or both partners assumes the role of a animal, chiefly: puppy, dog, cat, and pony" (p. 226). To elaborate, this type of role playing involves a person acting like the chosen animal, which can include costume accessories, mitts, harnesses, head masks, and yes, tail plugs! In addition to making up part of the costume just like any other accessory, a tail-adorned anal plug adds a sensation of fullness to the wearer's behind (like any anal plug), and the tail itself can be used to tease and tickle, or be pulled on as a form of domination.
The appeal of this fetish comes from the exchange of power between the 'Pet' and the 'Owner/trainer', who is basically the person who is on the other end of the leash/harness/bridle. The relinquishing of control by the pet and the respect given to the owner is the focus of this dynamic. Many people that are into pony play will spend hours upon hours training and grooming their 'pony', which can be a very intimate part of the relationship, and some will even enter their pet into shows and competitions. Although both leather enthusiasts and gay men are well represented in pet play communities, it is by no means exclusive to any group, sexuality, or gender. Pony girls, cat girls, and, yes, 'bitches' are quite common in online communities or at events. Walking on all fours, like any aspect of the role play, is up to the preferences of the players, though it can certainly add to the overall effect of the scene your trying to set up with your partner. For people who elect to use it as a part of their play, knee pads can be easily added to the outfit if necessary.
Many people assume that liking your partner to dress/act like a animal is indicative of a hidden desire to be intimate with the real thing, but lovers of this fetish and anyone that partakes will tell you that his has nothing to do with real animals at all! As long as everything is safe, sane, and consensual (a must for all forms of BDSM and power exchange play), and no real animals are involved, it is, of course, totally legal.
Hope that answered your questions, Roland. Thanks for writing in!
-- The LSOP Experts
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