So I just found out about furries and was hoping you could give me some advice on how to were a tail and ears with a school uniform because I go to a stupid private school and tips on how to start a furry blog to get more young furries involved in this because it is a great way to express yourself. And I wore my tail and ears to hang out with my friends and they just looked at me like they didn't know me and where very quiet to me and wouldn't walk to close to m. How can I get them to like me for who I am and not care about my tail and ears.
Fae (age 13)
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It is a reality of life among mundanes (nonfurry humans) that they simply cannot relate to or understand people who are different. Except for a minority of enlightened people who are honestly not bothered by others who are of a different race, nationality, gender, sexuality, religion, or even income level, the vast majority of mundanes feel uncomfortable around others who are not very similar to themselves.
It is, therefore, naïve of anyone to expect such people to accept you for being you. They are victims of social pressures that make them conform to artificial “norms,” and reject anyone who doesn’t fit nicely into those norms. They are, frankly, to be pitied for leading such narrow-minded lives.
My advice? Do not wear your ears and tail around such people unless you want to be rejected by them. Do not wear them with a school uniform—or at school, period. This is why we have things like furmeets and furcons: they are places we can go and be comfortable being who we are around other furries.
Being a furry is like being a nudist: there's nothing wrong with the human body and being naked, but our society rejects that completely. Therefore, nudists only express themselves in places such as nudist camps and beaches. The same is true with furry. Mundanes feel uncomfortable around fur just as they are around naked flesh, it seems, so we end up being furry around others like ourselves.
Many Western cultures say that they are in favor of people expressing themselves and being themselves, but they are actually lying about that quite utterly and completely. That goes especially for furries.
Sorry to have to teach you this lesson, but you’re better off knowing now before you get severely hurt by a furry hater.
In the meantime, try to find furries in your area with whom you can hang out.
I am asexual, but my parents don`t seem to be capable of accepting my lack of a sexuality they always say, "Oh, you'll grow out of it," "Oh, you're just presexual." I have tried explaining to them that that`s acephobic, but it doesn't work. What do i do?
Anonymous Creacher (age 11)
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You're 11 years old. You SHOULD be asexual. My God, you have not reached puberty yet! Don't worry about sex!!!! Spend some time being a child first.
You're parents are not acephobic. They are pointing out that it is too early for you to be worried about sex.
I am 37 years old, married with two sons. I am having a big problem in my life, which has to do with my aunt (father's sister), who is 48 years old now. I have loved her since I was 19 years old, and she was 30 years old, and I told her about my love and that I am sexually attracted to her. Actually, she refused that, but I kept trying to get her by my side as I am really crazy about her but she kept refusing, telling me maybe if we were not relatives she would be my woman.
Eight years ago, I got married, and now I have two sons but still love my aunt and getting crazy about her every day. Two years ago, I tried the same with her and she refused as well, but despite all refusals and asking me to let it go I couldn’t do what she wanted as she never closed the door completely, giving me every time a far-away possibility.
My aunt married before me and now she is divorced but I never stopped loving her. Please tell me what to do.
Fox (age 37)
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Thank you for your letter. So, to be clear, you think your aunt has feelings for you? But she refuses your love because you're related? Is that it?
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Thanks for your reply. Yes, that is what I think.
* * *
All right, there are a number of factors to consider here. One is this: do you love her more than your wife? Enough to divorce your wife and marry your aunt? Also, have you considered how this would affect your children? There are at least five people (more, if your aunt has kids, too) who will be directly affected by what goes on between you and your aunt, even though she is divorced, and you need to take that into consideration.
It might be true that your aunt has some interest in you, but how much? Perhaps she is sexually attracted to you, as you are to her, but not so much for her to feel it is worthwhile to cause the scandal in the family of you two getting together. Just because you have some feelings for someone doesn’t mean you should pursue it. She is probably considering a couple things: 1) your age difference (although 11 years isn’t that big a deal once you are in your age range), and 2) how this will affect the family.
While you might be reading some sexual heat between the two of you—and it might actually exist—it doesn’t mean that it is worth all the pain such a relationship would cause. Your aunt has already dismissed the possibility of a relationship, which is significant. If she doesn’t want to pursue it, forcing yourself on her would be wrong and selfish on your part.
But what, you might be thinking, if she is hiding a secret, passionate love for you and is just afraid? Well, sir, the only way you can find that out is to ask her. Speculation will get you nowhere. If you can have a sincere, honest conversation with your aunt and you discover that she really, truly loves you; and if you both decide that it is worth it to break up your family and cause a lot of emotional pain for your wife and your children, then who am I to say no?
I had a letter once that was similar to this in which a young man was in love with his aunt. That one was much simpler, though, because even though there was the social stigma involved, neither the young man nor his aunt had a spouse or children. They didn’t have other love interests or people they would hurt, so the only thing that was really “wrong” with the situation was that it was social anathema.
In your situation, you have a lot of people you will be affecting if you pursue this. The question is whether you love your wife or not, and the other question is whether your aunt loves you deeply in that way or if her apparent keeping the door slightly open is just because she has a bit of sexual interest in you. If this is just a sex thing, then it would be, of course, wrong of both of you to pursue it. But if there are some real and true feelings of love (not lust), then you need to make absolutely sure she feels the same way and also be absolutely sure you are willing to pay the price for her.
Talk to your aunt. Get it all out in the open once and for all. Only then can you make the right decision.
I have come here to ask you for help on a problem that has been haunting me for years and I hope you have the answer if not, don't worry I can't find it either. I would like to know how to get rid of self-esteem issues because it is very irritating for others whenever I constantly tear myself down and can't seem to treat myself with respect (as I have been told by said others) and to be honest these self esteem issues are causing some suicidal thoughts. If you can help than it would be very much appreciated and thank you for using your probably precious time reading all of this and/or I am sorry if this was too short. (First time doing any of this; sorry if I missed anything).
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Sometimes I think that low self-esteem issues are an epidemic in this world. So many furries who write to me suffer from low self-esteem, including yours truly. I completely understand how overwhelming this can be and how difficult it is to overcome.
While I would not say that I am completely over my self-image issues, I can honestly say I am not as bad as I once was. Here are some things that I have done to fight against depression and anxiety caused by a low self-image.
1. Stop comparing yourself and your accomplishments to those of other people. This is the single most liberating thing you can do for yourself. You have to realize that there will ALWAYS be people smarter, more talented, richer, better looking than you are (as well as the reverse), so it is really quite pointless to always try to do better than the Joneses. Instead of worrying about others' status, simply focus on being a better and happier you. That's all that really matters. How? Well, you set goals for yourself and work towards them, but don't worry if you have setbacks or stall once in a while. Just keep trying.
2. Stop worrying about what others say about you. Don't seek validation from others, especially those who are overcritical of you because they are trying to put you down to boost their own self-esteem (i.e., e.g. bullies). I always consider the source. If I am criticized by someone for whom I have no respect (a troll, for instance) I have learned to disregard this as unimportant (hard lesson to learn because criticism hurts, but you can do this). If you are criticized by someone you respect, first reconsider whether that respect is deserved. If not, then reevaluate that person's role in your life. If it is deserved, then try to see if that criticism was meant to be helpful. Sometimes, people we think are being overly critical are honestly trying to help us. The best way to figure this out is if the critic dishes it out in a kind and loving matter and, hopefully, also balances criticisms with compliments.
3. Reassess how you criticize yourself. Usually, we are too hard on ourselves, even downright mean in ways we don't deserve. For instance, people have told me I am good looking, but when I look in the mirror I see all kinds of things that I criticize about myself for ("I'm going bald, I'm out of shape, I have bad skin...." and on and on). Instead of looking for BAD things to say about yourself, look for the GOOD things and focus on those. Reinforce them daily ("I am a kind and loving person." "I love my dog and take good care of him." "I work hard and am doing okay financially." "I have nice eyes and a nice smile" etc.)
4. If you see something you don't like about yourself but it is fixable, fix it. Not happy with your body? Exercise. Have crooked teeth? Get braces (I had braces in my 40s!) Think you're not very smart? Go get some books and start reading, for Pete's sake! Think you have no talent? Pick something that interests you and start working on it (e.g., I'm taking piano lessons).
5. If you see something that you can't fix that you don't like, give it less value in your life and make it a low priority. Are you short? Well, you can't fix that, can you? But it really isn't something that defines who you are inside. When you describe yourself, either make that one of the last things you say about yourself or don't even mention it. Are you kind of a klutz? My family and I constantly joke about how uncoordinated we are. None of us is going to be a graceful dancer, but we manage. Can't sing on key? Then don't go on "The X Factor." Know your limitations, but don't define yourself by them
6. Surround yourself as much as possible by people who love and support you for being you. This does not mean having a herd of "yes men" around you a la Donald Trump. It means that you need to recognize the people who are a positive part of your life and hold on to them; at the same time, get rid of those people in your life who bring you down (and, yes, that can often include family members).
7. This might seem a bit weird, but eating right and exercising regularly can actually do wonders for your self-esteem because when your body feels better you feel better, too.
8. Do little things to treat yourself. It doesn't have to be much, just something fun and happy that makes you feel good and worthy of doing something nice for yourself, especially if you achieve a goal. You can, say, buy yourself a new shirt. Get a delicious ice cream cone. See a movie. Or just go outside for a nice hike and enjoy nature. Any little thing you enjoy. Try to do at least one thing every day or two.
9. Get out and socialize when possible. Human beings have an innate need to be around each other. On the other hand, isolating ourselves and being a hermit can often make you depressed and lonely, which then feeds into your low self-esteem. Be with people.
10. Get a pet. This might not be an option for everyone (say, if you have housing restrictions or allergies), but there is nothing that makes one feel happier than the unconditional love of a favorite pet. If I have had a bad day and come home to see Ernie the Wonder Dog so absolutely excited to see me walk through the door, you bet that makes me feel good. I love cats, too, though I don't have one right now. But when I did, I loved how they would curl up on my lap and purr and just look so content and happy because they were cuddling me.
So, there are 10 suggestions for helping your self-esteem.
Hope it helps!
You see, I always had a very bad relationship with my father. When I was a kid, he wasn't very present. Then, when I became a teenager, things took a turn for the worse. He discovered that I hate being touched, so he started poking me with his fingers, often while doing sounds with his mouth or making them run on my bare skin. I told him on multiple times that I hate it very politely and seriously, but he usually tries to justify his actions, or say that I am humiliating him, turning himself into a victim. He also makes fun of my English, while his is fucking shit. He also makes fun of me for liking anime, calling it stupid, and he says that it's always the same thing. Yeah sure, even if he never actually watched one, nor would it matter because my DVDs are all in English/Japanese only.
He also starts arguments for absolutely no freaking reason.
I discovered what an emotional masochist is by your column. And he fits the bill perfectly.
He doesn't stop being nice with his employees, even if they show a lot of disrespect towards him, while doing everything possible to alienate me and my mom (he once decided to throw away all her Halloween stuff because he apparently needed space).
Look, my father had a lot difficulties in school, while my aunt and my uncle were very good and are very successful business people today. Not only that, but my grandfather never showed any appreciation towards him, and from what I heard, told him on multiple times that he is an idiot . And let's say that his company (that he co-owns with my mom) doesn't work very well. Finally, it's also almost sure that he has Asperger's syndrome like I do.
Look, he needs to see a therapist. But I don't know how to tell him. I'm pretty sure he's gonna say that what I'm saying is nonsense, or that he doesn't have time for therapy.
Also, I realized recently that what he did to me was harassment and abuse. I almost feel like telling him that if he doesn't stop, I'm gonna leave the house and never see him again.
How should I approach the subject with him? And how should I convince him to see a therapist?
Lord Ikari (18; Quebec)
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Hi, Lord Ikari,
Question about your letter: is moving out an option? Would you be able to leave and support yourself if you had to?
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I doubt so. But I have a part time job (around 360$ US a month without overtime and if they don't have groups, which often happens), so I guess I could try to find a cheap apartment with some roommates or a room until I graduate high school. Then, I could do a formation to become a nursing assistant. It's seven months long, and professionals told me I could get a job pretty easily, either as a part-timer or as a full-timer, because there is not a lot of bilingual guys who want to do this job. When you start, the salary is around 19.10 $ CAN (around 14.45 US) and let's say that I have some qualities that you need when doing this job (I don't get attached to people easily, I don't mind touching body fluids, and I can be pretty friendly) and I enjoyed helping people back when I was doing volunteer work.
There, I could decide whether I keep this job, do a formation to become a licensed practical nurse, or continue my study to become a history teacher. Both jobs interest me, but appeal to different sides of me.
* * *
It sounds like your father was emotionally abusing you, which would have given you a legal case for protection from him under the Youth Protection Act in Quebec. The thing is, you are now 18 and no longer considered a minor under the law. You might consider suing for psychological injuries, but I don’t think you want to go there and, too, while his treatment of you was unpleasant you don’t seem to be suffering any serious psychological damage (your Asperger’s is not the result of his mental abuse). I am concerned, though, about your passing phrase indicating that he was touching “bare skin,” which makes me wonder if anything he did was sexual abuse? If so, again, that might be a case for legal action.
I would also not bother to advise dad that he should get help, since he doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge this and your pushing him to do so would likely only add to the tension between the two of you.
The good news is that, at your age, you are getting ready to move on with your life, removing yourself from his influence. I would agree with the person who advised you that nursing would be an excellent option for several reasons: there is high demand for it; it can pay very well; and you also have an interest in the profession. While teaching history could have many personal rewards for you, it would be much harder to find work in that area and it wouldn’t pay as well. If you are equally interested in both, then the smart, more practical and beneficial move for you would be to pursue nursing. I don’t know what the case is in Canada, but it can be hard to get into nursing school in the U.S. because there are not many openings. In fact, it’s actually easier to get into medical school to become a doctor, so long as you can afford it. But if you can get into a Canadian school for nursing, that would be optimal and I highly encourage you to do so.
Once you get established with a good job, you will be free of standing under your father’s shadow. At that point, if you wish to try and help him, you can try to nudge him toward therapy while not having to pay an emotional price if he resists you. That’s something you can’t do right now, so I would not pursue it at this time.
I hope that all makes sense, and wish you good luck in your educational and career pursuits!!!
I'm very unhappy. I don't know what to do. I love her so much, but still I know she can never be with me. There is no way for it to happen. Not even by a miracle. I'm crying as I write this. No one likes me. I have no friends. I get constantly bullied every day in school. I'm very unhappy and utterly confused. It hurts so much. She is amazing, gorgeous (both inside and out) in a way not a single person could imagine, a great student, extremely talented (can sing, paint, do sports well and play various instruments) ... She is so kind to everyone she meets, even to myself. She was the only one who smiled to me and not judging me or mocking me. I love her so much. I love her so much. I can't think straight. There is no way she could choose to be with someone like myself. I don't deserve her, but I can't help but love her. I don't want to come off as creepy to her. That is my worst nightmare, I can't even imagine something as stupid as that.
School is going to start again in a couple of days, I'm completely lost. I'm so scared, Papabear, please help me! I can't get anyone to help me and I lack a father figure in my life, which is a huge disadvantage. What should I do? She is the first person that I really fell in love with, I have a GIANT crush on her. I'm usually depressed and anxious but when I'm near her or when I notice her presence things change, at least a little bit.
I'm so sorry if I'm bothering you with my silly problems. I'm so sorry. I don't want to die alone!
-Silvertail (age 12)
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You are not bothering me and your problem is not silly. Allow Papabear to try and give you some perspective.
First of all, take a deeeeeeeep breath, hold it for a few seconds, and let it go slowly. I completely get why you would fall in love for someone like this. She sounds quite remarkable. Combine that with the fact that she is kind to you when no one else seems to be, and you have a perfect formula for being head-over-heels in love. I get it. I acknowledge it. I am not going to belittle your feelings.
It’s good that you wrote to an older furry such as myself because you need to step back a bit and look at this with your head as much as your heart. Allow me to make a couple points here:
All that said, there is no reason at all that this couldn’t be a nice little relationship that you will look back on in years to come with a smile on your face. Such experiences are extremely valuable. You learn how to be a part of a couple, to share, to be considerate and affectionate, to be a true friend. These skills will prove valuable later in life with future relationships until you eventually find someone who becomes, hopefully, your spouse, lover, and closest friend.
To proceed, do not pounce. Do not approach the girl with “I love you!” declarations while you clutch bouquets of flowers and boxes of candy as gifts. Instead, begin with friendship, which is actually how all solid relationships with strong foundations should begin. I don’t know how much you have talked to her so far, but it sounds like you have had some interactions. Now proceed to the next level. Invite her to do something fun with you, whatever that might be. She sounds like she has many interests, so hopefully you share one or more of them and could experience them together. Since you’re too young to drive her to a movie or dinner, perhaps you could share a school function together. (On the other hand, if you don’t share any of her interests, this would be a clue that she is not a promising love interest for you).
Start with friendship. See how that goes. If it goes well and you start to get close, that is when you go to the next level: a kiss, a hug, and, eventually, those three little words, “I love you.”
To some up: calm down, take it slowly, and if it doesn’t work out, don’t panic. You have a lot of living in the future to do and it’s way too early to be afraid you will die alone.
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She has a girlfriend, she has made it known to everyone on her Facebook today..... I didn't know she's homosexual/bisexual. I'm not feeling alright right now. I don't know.
Oh, and I've never had a friend in my life. She has a ton of them. I feel like jumping off a bridge. All of my life, up to this point, has been nothing but suffering, pain and anxiety. I have NEVER felt "happy" in my life. Not even once. There was always something standing in the way.
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Well, that's a twist. Kind of proves my point that first crushes don't work out, but that's with a different state of affairs. At any rate: so, okay, she's a homosexual or whatever. You still like her as a person, right? You could still be friends, maybe even great friends with her. Sounds like you need a friend, so don't dismiss the possibility of having one, even though she isn't what you expected. You say she treats you with kindness, and that is something you could really use.
As for never being happy a day in your life: I don't know your life history, but do your parents know? If not, they need to know. You might also have clinical depression--something that can be diagnosed and treated by a professional. Don't be afraid to ask people for help.
It's been 3 years since I first wrote to you, and I am very happy to see you once again. Since I last contacted you, I've gotten past my nightly existential problems with your suggestions. What's more is over these last few years, I have made some huge steps forward in my life.
These days I've found myself in an actual successful career, in good health, and recently moved out of my folk's place and into a nest of my very own with a couple close friends as roommates.
But with all this success and joy that I've worked to get to... I can't help but be the loneliest bird in the nest.
Within the past few years I've had a few relationships that went south. Abusive relationships, cold or toxic (in one case both) relationships. Even a horrid long distance relationship. Most recently one that physically abused me. That one ended ... well terribly. Since then I've been focused on my career too much to even start thinking about having another relationship. But now that things have leveled out and my schedule has given me a few days of freedom every now and then. I'm thinking about dating again.
I've considered online dating, mainly because I've tried having my friends set me up with my last few relationships. I've been on the fence with actually pulling the trigger on filling out one of those online profiles and trying it. I'm just afraid that I will end up worse off than I was earlier this year. It's really hard to find an example of the questions that each individual sites ask and I'm afraid I will get invested in something and not be properly represented. Then either disappoint someone I meet through it or scare them away. Or just end up heart broken and constantly going onto the next person hoping that they might be 'the one.'
My question is, is online dating actually worth the trouble or should I just stick to the 'old fashioned way' of dating?
Either way, I hope someday soon I can find someone to fill the empty spot in my nest.
Dimitri (The Lonely Phoenix, age 26)
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I’m glad my reply to your 2013 letter was helpful, and thank you for writing again. Life is about problems to be faced, challenges to overcome. Fix one issue, and the next will knock on your door after that. Let’s work on this one.
There is nothing wrong with meeting someone online (that is, actually, how I met my beloved, departed, Jim). You can look at online dating as another tool in your belt to be used. It really doesn’t matter how you meet someone; what matters is the chemistry between you.
Letting your friends play matchmaker is clearly not working for you. They probably don’t understand what you need. Many people, when playing this game, look only at the outside (“Oh, isn’t s/he cute?” “Oh, s/he has money and owns a cool car!”, that sort of thing).
You say you’ve been in some bad, even abusive relationships. I’ve seen this happen to lots of people before. It happens for a couple reasons: 1) as noted above, you’re using the wrong measuring stick; 2) you’re too desperate and lonely, so you grab onto the first person who shows even the mildest interest in you; or 3) you have low self-esteem issues and don’t believe you can do better (especially true in the case of partner-abuse situations).
First thing you need to do is recognize and believe you are a worthwhile person who deserves love. Once that happens, you won’t allow people treat you like the gum on the bottom of their shoe, which will delete a lot of reject material from your list of candidates. Remember, if you can’t be yourself around this person, then they are the wrong choice.
Second, work on being a better judge of character. Part of this is trusting your instincts. If you feel there is something “off” about someone, something that doesn’t feel right or is perhaps even disturbing, then listen to that voice in your head and back away from them. I had this experience not too long ago. A guy who was actually quite nice in many ways, as well as financially secure, but there were some things about him that, eventually, I realized made him not the guy for me.
Third, at the same time that you are being discriminating, you must also allow yourself to be open to possibilities. You might meet someone who, at first, makes you think, “Oh, I could never be with someone like that!” But then you find, if you get to know them more deeply, that they are actually terrific! Often, this is because the person is hiding behind a mask that society told them to wear. Lift off the mask, and you find an actual human being.
Fourth, do not rush, take it easy, don’t push. Allow things to evolve organically. When you meet someone who seems really great, don’t jump into bed with them. Get to know them first. Sex will come when you’re ready.
Finally, of course, be good to them in return.
And that’s how it’s done.
There's something that I have been wondering about. Last week I went to the doctor to do my first HIV test and everything went OK, but I have noticed that safe sex is not something you see in the furry.
I'm sure that unconsciously leads to people to risk themselves with bareback sex. In my country it's common to begin with sex at 14 or 15, but if you are gay you can't tell anyone because they start with "You are going to burn in hell f*g", "What did I do to deserve this?" thing.
And well... The only information you can get is through Internet or friends, but in the time I have been in the fandom, just a Fox friend and ex-mate talked about condom. When I told my friends I was going to do an ELISA [a test for antibodies in the blood that could indicate an infection] they looked at me like I was the devil or something.
Why safe sex and sexual diseases are so excluded in a community like ours?
Toichi (age 16, Bogotá, Colombia)
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Thank you for bringing up a perennially important subject: safe sex.
I think you make some shrewd observations here, Toichi. Papabear has seen some risky behavior in the fandom, indeed. There appears to be some misinformation and false conceptions within the fandom. A big one is the belief many people have that if you’re not feeling sick or don’t show any symptoms, then you are safe. Here are some facts about that:
One factor about the attitude of furries and STDs, then, is that they are ignorant of the facts and the dangers. Another factor is trust: furry communities and friends within it can be tight, and people often extend trust to their friends that are not wise or deserved (“Trust me, I don’t have any STDs. I’m fine. Let’s play without condoms!”) But it’s not just friends, it’s a culture. Once, my mate, Yogi, and I were out with some furries at a restaurant. A female furry leaned over to my partner and, placing a paw on his knee, said (not kidding), “One of the great things about being a furry is you can have sex with anyone.” Yogi looked at her and said, “I’m gay. Don’t you see me here with my boyfriend?” As you can see, stupidity plays into this, too.
This attitude can be encouraged by the atmosphere of the furcon. Furry conventions are often places where young and old furries go to their hotel rooms and have sex. A lot of this has to do with young furs who are managing to get out of from under their parents’ shadows and go a bit wild. To be fair, this is not unique to furry conventions. From what I’ve learned from other business convention attendees, a lot of sex and cheating goes on here. One time, Yogi was at a journalist convention. He opened up a closet door, looking for a conference room, and saw two people making out in it.
Yet another factor has to do with advances in HIV medicine. The advent of PreP (a medicine you can take to protect against HIV infection, although it doesn’t protect against any other STDs), as well as better treatment for AIDS patients has caused people to believe that HIV is no longer as dangerous and that, consequently, safe sex is not necessary.
The website [adjective][species] has a thoughtful article on the topic, too: http://www.adjectivespecies.com/2012/10/08/furries-hiv/. Here, the writer suggests some other factors, including that HIV is “scary,” so people do not like to talk about it, which makes them more ignorant of the facts and dangers. The article also suggests that the “incestuous” furry community has a higher rate of STDs within it, making infection more likely.
And there you have it.
Ignore your friends’ scorn, Toichi, and be the smart furry you are. Always play it safe.
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.