Animal roleplay may be either a non-sexual or a sexual role-play (when it may also be called petplay, ponyplay, ponyism, kittenplay, or pup-play, Human ponies etc). In its erotic sexual role-play form, one or more of the participants takes on the role of a real or imaginary animal in character, including appropriate mannerisms and behavior, and sometimes a partner will act as another animal, or, in a sexual context, may take the role of rider, trainer, caretaker, or even breeding partner.
The principal theme of animal roleplay is usually the voluntary transformation of a human being to animal status, and focus on the altered mind-space created. The most common examples are probably canids (pup, dog, wolf), felines (cat, kitten, lion) or equines (Human ponies). Animal Roleplay is also used in a BDSM context, where a person may be humiliated by being treated as an animal.
In psychodrama, Animal Roleplay may be used for a person to explore their personality, as a form of role reversal.
The origins of animal roleplay/petplay or even the Furrism crowd, are probably various and diverse, again depending upon the participants involved. However, its origins are certainly influenced by costuming, fiction, myth and legend, roleplay and psychodrama in their various aspects. Some of the earliest published images of animal play (especially pony play) are to be found in the work of John Willie, primarily in BIZARRE magazine published from 1948 to 1959. The first commercial manifestation of this fetish was created by Simon Benson, the founder of the Petgirls website
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