Dear Papa Bear,
I have to say that finding your advice column may prove to be a great boon for me.
My current problem is actually several problems compounding into one. I’ll begin with my accident in November; it left me with some nerve damage in my left shoulder and hand as well as a spinal injury. Jumping ahead a couple months, on the night of January 5th, I woke up to find my mother dead on the kitchen floor. Since then it’s just been me left to deal with all of the fallout: I made the arrangements for the wake and funeral without any help from my aunt (her sister). My aunt spent my mother’s wake complaining about me inheriting everything to anyone who would listen.
After the funeral my aunt got into my mother’s safe deposit box and pulled everything from it including a copy of her trust. My mother had named my aunt as her successor trustee and set up the trust in such a way so that it could care for me and the house. Now my aunt has been extremely reluctant to work with me and has since hired an attorney for the trust however this attorney is looking out for his and her pocketbooks rather than the trust and my wellbeing. They call me uncooperative when in reality it’s my aunt who is unwilling to cooperate. She says that I’m constantly partying and should instead be looking for work however the extent of me partying comes down to one birthday party thrown for myself and attending Fur Squared. As far as job hunting is concerned there is not much that I’m allowed to do with my current injuries and my doctor has even chewed me out for doing basic house chores (ie: garbage, vacuuming, etc.).
Following a call in which the attorney that my aunt had hired decided to yell at and insult me, a few days ago I received a letter from him which was further insulting and unprofessional. Although in that letter he stated that both he and my aunt are getting paid for their services from the trust, this is important because in the trust it very specifically states that an individual trustee cannot take payment for their services. Furthermore in this line of issues the aforementioned attorney has claimed that bills including but not limited to the utilities for the house, food, and insurance are “estate debts” and as such are my sole responsibility and that the trust would not pay for them. However, he also claimed that the mortgage payment and property taxes are issues of the trust and will be paid from it, yet this month my aunt failed to make the mortgage payment.
Meanwhile, I’ve got two overdrawn checking accounts and no more food in my attempt to keep my house afloat. I don’t have a support network to lean on aside from people whom offer to “talk if I need to” which is nice but not what I need. I realize that I have forgotten to give my age, I’m 22 years old as of last month and despite my usual ability to be the adult of most situations I find that I am far from equipped to deal with even a quarter of what is now on my plate. Neither my father nor any other relatives are willing to help me in any way and I’m drowning in a sea of confusion, grief and unknowing. I honestly don’t know what to do and don’t know if I can continue to go through this alone but one thing I know for sure is that if this continues the way that it has been I will be homeless before the year is over.
I apologize for the massive block of text but I’m not of the mind to attempt to better separate things at the moment. I humbly ask for any advice you can pass on to me in the hopes that it can help.
Starving and worried
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My condolensces for your loss, hon. At 22, you are of legal age, so you do not need someone else to administer the trust, but I guess that's what your mother did. I would very must like to have a look at the legal documents and see what they say exactly.
Because I can’t do that and because I am not an attorney, I would strongly recommend that you seek out legal counsel. Many lawyers will take a case for no advance payment (on contingency) if they feel they can win the case (and there's money in it for them). You definitely need a lawyer on your side. Your aunt is being a conniving so-and-so who is trying to wrest power and whatever money she can from you. Again, you are an adult and it is none of her business what you do with money that is legally yours, especially since she is not your legal guardian or spouse. (Is there some reason your mother made your aunt trustee and not you, the beneficiary?)
You need to get a copy of the will and the trust. (I hope you can get those). And find a local attorney. If you don’t know one, ask people you know whom they might recommend. If that doesn’t work, you can try a site like http://www.legalmatch.com/. Go to the Estate section and click on the for Contested Wills and Probate and answer the questions they have there. This will hopefully give you some leads you need.
My understanding of the law is that, generally speaking, if there is no will, the spouse of the deceased inherits the estate. You don’t mention your father or other siblings, so if you are the only living child, you would get the estate. If you were deceased, your aunt would probably be next in line, hmmmm. Anyway, it sounds like your mother did leave a will and left you with everything. Your aunt should have absolutely no legal standing in this issue—again, you are not a minor and she has no rights over you. All she has been asked to do is administer the trust.
Again, this is a legal matter and I’m no attorney. Get yourself some representation!
I've been reading a few of the letters here for awhile, hoping to find something that might be similar to my issue, but nothing seems really to be close to the case. Hopefully this won't seem like a laundry list of problems, as you say, as it all ties into one thing.
Recently, I've been feeling really depressed, and burnt out. I haven't really had the will to do much of anything, even play video games (which for me is a huge thing). Anyway, I used to be part of this group of friends online, and all of a sudden they all seem to slowly be avoiding me. At first I thought it was because I was being too flirty with my boyfriend, since our relationship is still new and it made me happy, however that doesn't seem to be the case.
After struggling to get a reply, I was told that it was because I was too negative of a person and it was pushing everyone away. I now feel even worse because I never meant to be negative at all and I never wanted to push anyone away. It feels at this point that my boyfriend is the only one who'll really talk to me and I feel really lonely. My mood's taken a huge dive and I've even considered self harm a couple times, though I've never gone through with it.
I just wish I knew how I could fix things with everyone and set everything right. I miss talking to my friends and contrary to the saying, this snow leopard wants to change his spots.
Thanks for listening in advance,
Vemus (age 22)
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What you’re experiencing is very human. The human condition demands contact with our fellow beings, and without that we do, indeed, become very depressed. This is why I consider solitary confinement a cruel and unusual punishment that should be against the law. But I digress.
What you need is to make a fresh start (change your spots, as you say). And to regain the trust and friendship of your peers, you’re going to need to go an extra mile. I am not judging you on what may or may not have been your previous behavior, but if you’re losing a lot of friends who seem to hold a consensus as to why they have abandoned you, then that’s a pretty good indication that you were doing something, however unintentionally, to evoke that response.
My suggestion to you is this: It’s too easy to type an email or post on a furry social site that you are sorry and want your friends back. They need to see a little effort on your part. Go out to your local dollar store and buy a bunch of greeting cards. They can be “I’m Sorry” cards, or you can buy blank cards and put it in your own words. Write each and every one of the people you care about a hand-written note. Tell them (as I understand it) that you didn’t realize you were being so negative. That you value their friendships and you are making a sincere effort to be a more upbeat and positive person.
In the cards, include invitations to those friends who you feel are close enough to come to your place for a party. Do not make it potluck! Ack! Provide a nice spread and something entertaining to do together, such as playing D&D or video games together. For those who are farther away who can’t make such a party, do something special for them. Perhaps a small gift in the mail that says they are special to you.
This doesn’t always work (depends on the person), but for those who have a good heart it should help a lot. Follow up this initial gesture of good will by working to make yourself a more positive person. Post positive, life-affirming comments on FurAffinity, Facebook, etc. Now, this isn’t about being fake and insincere; it is actually both therapy for you and a way to show your friends you are making a new start. It is the former because studies show that if we start saying and doing positive things in our life, it actually does have an effect on our perspective and makes us more positive people. In addition to acting and saying positive things, do your best to surround yourself with positive things and people.
I have a dear friend named Motoko who is such a person. No matter what happens to her, she always turns it into a positive. For instance, a while ago she started falling (she’s an elderly woman) and realized she could no longer take care of herself in her own home, so she moved to a senior center. Now, many people would be depressed by this, but not Motoko. She gave her home to one of her children, seeing that as a huge positive, and saw the senior home as an opportunity to make new friends, which she has in droves.
Like her, you should seek to see the positive in all things (something the bear is at times neglectful of doing, I fear, but when I follow my own advice I do feel better).
The other thing you can do that can help is diet and exercise. Studies have shown that eating healthier foods like fresh fruits and veggies can lift your mood. A diet rich in Omega-3’s and probiotic foods (e.g., salmon and yogurt) is excellent for you, and exercise will make you feel better. When we feel physically better, this also has a strong effect on our mood!
So, really, we are talking here of a two-punch strategy: 1) making amends with your furiends in a way that you put some effort into it to show you mean it; and 2) do things to actually improve your mood and perspective on life.
Putting those together should help a lot. You probably won’t regain all your friends at once, but I would be surprised if you didn’t mend any fences. It might be a slow process, but you can do it! Remember, think positive!
This is probably the most clique question you will ever be asked. Where do you find a mate? I am a but confused by some of the advice I have seen on your website and from other friends.
I agree that hunting for a mate ... looking for a mate exclusively is a bad idea. But how do else do you find single people? Most of my friends are either old enough to be my parents or too young for me maturity wise. I have had 2 'mates' in the past few years, but had to end both relationships because of maturity differences.
I have very little in common with most furries, most gay people and, well, most everybody. Like most dragons and I am reserved and introverted. Aside from fursuiting, going to furry conventions, most of my hobbies involve photography and travel. I always make it a point to talk to people and enjoy meeting new people and making friends, but I never seem to find anybody that is 'mate' material - if that makes any sense.
Being in my mid 30s makes me too old for the furry fandom these days. Most furries my age are already taken or straight and have families. I don't drink, I don't smoke, and honestly can't say I care for parties or bars.
Sorry for being so long winded about this but I thought some background information would help with my situation - which may or may not be all that unusual.
D. Dragon (age 35)
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Perhaps you should look for another dragon of about your age to match or complement your temperament. You might try the group http://furry4life.org/group/dragons, which has about 250 dragons and dragon fans. There are also some gay dating sites out there that could help you find a match similar to your temperament and interests. Avoid the hook-up gay sites and check out the more serious ones. One that a number of people recommend is http://www.compatiblepartners.net. You can always look for clubs or interests groups related to your hobbies of photography and travel. Being active in such groups increases your chances of meeting people with similar interests. Try some searches on Facebook or Google, typing in keywords such as "photography club" and the state or city your are in.
Another thing you can do, if going it alone is just frustrating the bejeesus out of you, is hire a professional matchmaker. They are listed in the online yellow pages, or you can always google them.
Also, reexamine your past dating behavior. Are you limiting yourself too much to one "type"? I remember how a good friend of mine kept dating women who were 10 or more years younger than he was and who were, frankly, not as bright. Finally, he wised up and found a smart woman his own age with whom he could carry on an intelligent conversation and they have been happily married for years.
Do not be overly picky or selective in choosing a mate. While you shouldn't just settle for anyone, neither should you be so particular that you reject all potential candidates. You will never find someone on the planet who matches every single one of your qualifications. Remember, there is always room to grow together. The qualities you should search for are kindness, consideration, empathy, and maturity. When you find someone who cares about making you happy as much as making himself happy, you have come a long way toward finding a fantastic mate.
Dear Papa Bear,
I understand that you have dealt with a similar question before, but I was wondering if you could help me with my predicament.
Over the past year or so I have developed an attraction to bears (the animal). over time this attraction has turned sexual. I realize that this is considered incredibly taboo in most parts of the world but no matter what I do this desire for sexual interaction keeps growing. I have even fantasized (and to some degree planned out) about how I would travel to such a place where it is legal to have intercourse with an animal.
I have discussed this with my partner (I'm gay) a few times and he is respectfully against the idea when the topic is brought up seriously. I am torn on what I should do, should I try to pursue this desire that is a large part of who I am, or seek help to get rid of these feelings?
* * *
Interesting. I have frequently heard of people who have wanted to have sex with dogs, pigs, or cows, but rarely with a bear. There was one person who did tell me that they had sex with a bear. He was a former zookeeper (you might guess why he lost his job) and told me that he would sneak into the bear’s enclosure and, since it was very used to people, do things like perform blowjobs on the bear. (No comment.)
I have no idea in what country it would be legal to have sex with a bear (although a quick search online says that sex with a bear in this country is only specifically illegal in 48 states in the U.S.) Would this be a wild bear? If so, I would definitely not recommend that unless you want your face ripped off. Let’s assume you’re talking about a bear in a zoo, private or public. No respectable real zoo anywhere in the world would allow you to have sexual intercourse with one of their bears, so it would have to be a private zoo of some sort. Next problem: finding a private bear owner willing to let you do this. Since you don’t know of one personally, even if you did find one willing to have you mate with a bear, I bet he would only do it if you paid him a lot of money. So, you’re talking lots of money for travel, lots and lots of time trying to find a willing owner, and then paying them a lot more money for the privilege of fornicating with a bear.
Say you have a lot of money to blow on this sexual fantasy and find and pay someone to let you do it. The bear doesn’t know you (in the zookeeper story above, the man knew the bear, er, quite intimately), and it’s not going to cooperate with you. Are you going to chase it down, tackle it, and mate with it? I think the bear would win in such a competition. Let’s say you find an incredibly passive, tame bear. What are we talking about in terms of sex? Is this a male or female bear? I’m guessing male, since you’re gay, but if female, you think it will just stand there and take your penis? Likely not. Oh, and better wear a condom. You can get an STD from an animal just as easily as from a human (in fact, gonorrhea, syphilis, and AIDS all were originally transmitted from other animals to humans).
If the bear is male, and you are on the receiving end, prepare to be crushed by the weight of the bear as it mounts you (how you would get it to do that is beyond me). If you somehow survive the weight of the bear, be prepared to be penetrated by a large penis bone (baculum) for a long time (bears can cum copiously for longer than 20 minutes—that’s 20 minutes of actually shooting semen inside you, not 20 minutes of lovemaking, so add time for that; if this sounds cool to you, try collecting a gallon of fake semen from Bad Dragon and injecting it all inside you in one, er, sitting), and if you are the one mounting the bear, hope you like dirty, smelly anuses. Bears aren’t known to wipe.
Kuma, sometimes fantasies should remain fantasies. What’s going on in your mind is probably a lot cooler than you would ever hope to find in reality. Remember, even in zoos, a bear is still a wild animal. More than likely your attempts would be met with injury or even death.
I don’t think you have thought this through as well as you might have. I hope this letter helps with that.
As for your obsession with bears: I have an idea that would be a lot safer for you. Purchase or have made a bearsuit for your partner (who seems cooperative enough) that he can wear. Make it a yiff suit, as they say. This should work very well to satisfy your fantasy (remembering that 9/10ths of sex occurs in the brain) and would be both fun and safe for both of you.
Take care and play safe!
I think I messaged you a while back and I could really do with hearing some advice from another person regarding relationships. It's starting to eat at me a bit and I want to know what I should do because I feel conflicted about the matter.
You see, I got into a relationship some time back, however after a while, we broke things off because of our life matters. Recently, we got back again together but as you know, people change. Some of it was jarring to me but weren’t to him. Like before, he would not cuss or apologize if he did so because I told him I’m not comfortable with strong language so casually used. But now he still uses it and tells me that he's free to and I shouldn’t be bothered about it because technically nothings wrong with it. (its not at me, just generally saying stuff at games)
Now, I aim to please and that’s my nature. We like to RP with each other because of the detail we put into our fantasy posts. I found out that he likes to do non-con [non-consensual sex] now and then. Now that’s new to me because I’m somewhat vanilla and a romantic and haven’t been exposed to that stuff. So I decide on a private venture to go on an online RP site to see channels of it. However, during this period of checking this, we had an argument about the lack of interest he had to me (He was feeling an all time low in sex drive, which I found was because he craved non con RP). In the result, I acted out rather rashly and spiced up my RP profile as if I wanted others attention. It was in vain because soon after he discovered my profile and felt I was cheating on him.
I tried to explain the profile was to learn non con for him (and only days ago we tried it and managed okay). he said he was hurt that I went online to a RP site behind his back and spruced up my profile despite being in a relationship. I told him I wasn’t seeking RP with others but for him. he didn’t believe me and demanded I show my profile page to him so he can scour it for proof. When there wasn’t anything, he believed I wiped it all and was upset. This was followed by 3 months of him giving signs he didn’t trust me and the issue ate at him despite him saying he forgave me. When I brought up the matter, he admitted that he did forgive me at the time but he didn’t believe it.
Needless to say, he soon broke up with me because of my attitude to justify myself that fix the problem he had. He's said that if I want to get back with him, I have to win him over, show I care and give him love and patience still. This is my conflict. Do I pull myself together and do it despite all the hardship of being accused like so? Was I really wrong in trying to go on a site to please him. How else can I do it if not secretly to surprise him?
Do I move on and let go or try to make amends? I do enjoy the RP we had and the relationship, its hard to let it go ... but then again, I don’t want to get back into arguments like that and the brashness of it all either. What do I do? Part of me just wants to give up on this and get back to being single and searching but another part is going to miss the RP and time spent. How does one let go of someone you had been attached to for a while? I try to care for him but I know after all these fights, he doesn’t feel the same about me anymore s:
The Distant Fox
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Reading your letter, I could see a pattern: your former BF refused to do anything about his cursing, even though he knew it upset you; he lost interest in you sexually because you would not do the non-consensual thing with him at first; and then when you tried to do something about this, he didn’t trust your word had a hissy fit and left. Then it is your job to go crawling back to him if you want to put the relationship back together? No apology from him for not trusting you? I'm going to adopt my Lateisha persona now and say, "Excuse me, honey? I don't think so! Uh-uhhhh!"
To me, this demonstrates very selfish behavior on his part, an unwillingness to compromise or do anything for you. (Which begs the question, what were you getting out of this relationship, eh?) It was all about him and his needs. You, on the other hand, put up with his cursing even though it offended you, consented to role play that you found disturbing, and conducted extensive research to find out how to please him and surprise him with your very personal gift to him.
I know that you will miss this guy and had formed an attachment to him, but in this bear’s opinion you deserve better. You deserve someone who is more thoughtful, considerate, trusting, and loving toward you.
Move on, fox, move on. You’ll be better off.
So, I came out to my everyone about a year ago, primarily because I fell In love with a boy. We've “played around” quite a bit. I always manage to bring him to climax, but not me:/. Recently, however, we decided to try anal for the first time. We took all the necessary precautions (lube, comfortable position and everything). I was sure that I would Finally be able to make love to my mate properly, but after being in him for about 15 minutes I wasn't any closer to orgasm. He seemed a little disappointed (I don't know why I can’t cum in him! Could it be that I'm just nervous? Or is it something else? I don't know if you’ve ever had issues like that ... anyway, thank you for your time, Papabear.
Luka (age 19)
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It’s not uncommon to have occasional problems with climaxing during lovemaking, but it seems to be a chronic disappointment for you. This, in addition to the fact that you are only 19 and should definitely not be struggling with impotence yet, tells me something else is going on. It could be a health issue, which I doubt, but just in case you might want to talk to your doctor if you suspect you might have a medical problem (diabetes, for example). More likely, it is psychological (remember, 90% of sexual stimulation occurs within the mind). You say you always get him to climax, but you don’t reach orgasm, whether it is anal or otherwise. (BTW, I hope your "precautions" included a condom.)
Two things: 1) it could be that you are just nervous or anxious about your performance, or 2) it could be that you are simply not stimulated by your partner enough to get you off. You are the only one who can answer these questions. In your letter, you ask me whether you are nervous. I don’t know, are you? Have you been nervous every time you and your partner made love? If so, you need to explore that and learn how to overcome your nervousness. If that is all it is, the problem is not too serious and you just need to learn to relax. Talk to your partner about performance.
Clearly, you satisfy him, so you shouldn’t be anxious about pleasing him. Perhaps you are so worried about his pleasure that you forget about your own? Or, could it be that your partner is all taker and no giver? What does he do to please you? This all relates to #2. Sex is not just about one partner being happy; both partners should seek to pleasure the other (not because they have to but because they enjoy doing so). Assuming you find him physically attractive (and, if you don’t, that could definitely be the explanation), then you might need to teach him how to make you reach orgasm. Don’t be embarrassed about that: communication in the bedroom is something all partners should practice. For you, it might not be enough simply to mount your partner. Many people have mental triggers (often fantasies they find stimulating) that get them excited. What might yours be? Asking your partner to indulge the mental half of your sexual needs could be the answer to your sticky situation.
Haya Papa Bear,
I have a problem.
I have a very indecisive personality and it normally Isn't such a bad thing, but lately I have had so much trouble with sticking to one character as my fursona. I am never happy with it and when I finally am ... I change anyway as something will be off. It started when I changed my first real fursona who was an orange/blue/pink wolf/dog/fox/snake everything else mix named Ruby. I decided after a long time and a lot of name calling by others in the fandom to change to a more natural and not "woof" character and made a lynx named Ruby. I stuck with her for a while and even made a suit of her, but I was always changing bits like if she had a long tail or short or if she had wings or not ¬.¬ It was hell. I ended up making many more new fursonas from dog to raptor. I had to change the name as other people had picked them for me and even now with Mazzy Pan I am finding it very hard to keep her the same... I loved her as a horse but made excuses to change her like " I don't wanna be seen as a Brony, they are freaks" ¬.¬ that’s worse since I am a "Brony" myself , so I changed her to a raptor who is cute and frankly funny .... but now even thou I have said I love her .... I am finding it hard to keep her. I want to change all the time.
I can not keep changing. It's not fair on my friends who draw me. It has made it so I am a bit of a joke around people. "So what are you today?" It's so bad that when I talk to people they go throw about 5 furry names till they get to the new correct one! It's annoying ... and I don't understand why I do it all the time. Any help?
* * *
Gee, hon, having a fursona should be a fun thing, not the chore you’re turning it into. First of all, don’t worry about what other people think of your fursona. Don’t fret about whether or not they approve of the species (or mix of same), or whether you are a pony as in MLP (please note that just because you pick an equine fursona doesn’t make you a Brony), or what the name is, or color, or whether you are mythological or paleontological or a modern, real critter. This is about you, not them.
The reason many people like you are indecisive is because they are overly concerned about other people and what they think. But this is often not just a behavioral thing, but rather something that is ingrained in your biology. A study recently showed (http://www.livescience.com/6291-study-sheds-light-people-shy.html) that about 20% of the population has Sensory Perception Sensitivity (SPS). As the name implies, it makes one highly sensitive to one’s surroundings, and the sensory overload can make one shy and introverted. I’m not saying this is what is troubling you, but it might be.
But not only should you not choose a fursona because of others’ opinions, you should also not worry if you are indecisive because of how your indecision affects others.
Mazzy, first and foremost put aside all worries and guilt.
Next, try and calm your mind. Take an inventory of what you really like and don’t like. What do you like physically about a fursona character? What colors do you like? What personality traits? Don’t even worry about a species, just pick traits.
In writing classes I took in college, they sometimes did an exercise called “free writing.” This is when you just write down anything that pops into your head. The thing to do is just continue writing without pause. And don’t censor yourself. If it pops into your mind, write it. Even if it doesn’t make sense to you at first. Do this for about 10-15 minutes. Just write about furry and what you like about fursonas.
Then, put the page aside for a day. Come back to it the next day and see what you wrote. Take the features you like and then compile them into your fursona. You can look at the words on the page, too, and see if they help you come up with a name. For example, maybe you wrote words like Bright and Cheerful and could call yourself “Sunny.” Just a random possibility.
Heck, you might even invent a new species (I’m reminded of the Skiltaire, the fictional species that became the mascot of the Prancing Skiltaire party).
Try this exercise and see what you come up with ... and let me know!
I'm not entirely certain what my question actually is. I am partially writing this just to get my thoughts and feelings in order. I will attempt to explain my situation, and maybe a question will come to me.
As of a few weeks ago, I have effectively severed all ties with the furry community. I have stopped talking to, and in some cases blocked, everyone I used to talk to. At the time, I wasn't entirely certain why I did that. I felt distraught, confused, and scared. Pushing everyone away seemed the only option at the time.
After I calmed down, and reflected on what I had done, I began to understand what had upset me so much. I am an introvert, and I do not make friends easily. In my life there have been less than a dozen people I could really call a friend. Within furry fandom almost all the last friendships I had developed were, on at least some level, sexual. (I had one friend with whom sex was never a factor, but he rarely contacts me. I doubt if he even really considers me a friend at all.)
It was the sexual aspect of my friendships that had upset me so much. I wasn't sure exactly what my friends wanted, or why they had a sexual interest in me. Was I just simply convenient, and available? Did they want to be "friends with benefits"? Did they see me as a potential mate and long-term partner? Even more confusing and upsetting was a question that kept rattling around my head. What did I want from my relationship with them?
Anyways, I was scared, and confused, so I cut them all off. I know I hurt, at least, one of them because I gave no explanation for what I did.
I should wrap this up with a question for you. I guess my question is should I try to explain what I did and why to my friends?
No One of Consequence (age 42)
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Dear Someone of Consequence,
If you still consider them your friends or want them to be your friends again, then, yes, you do owe them an explanation. As someone who has been on the receiving end of this situation (a furry I knew in San Francisco stopped talking to me, and I never found out why), I can tell you that not knowing can really hurt one’s feelings.
So, try and reestablish contact with the ones you felt were your friends and explain yourself to them. Tell them you got freaked out by the sexual content of the conversations you were having and apologize for overreacting—yes, overreacting.
In my experience, a little online RP or flirting is usually harmless among furries and means nothing really, other than they are horny and seeking a little fun. Also in my experience, if you come across a furry online and he or she makes some advances on you and you ask them to stop, they will, and they usually apologize. What you need is the courage to communicate your boundaries to those with whom you are forming relationships online (or in person) in the furry community. You, being a shy introvert, probably failed to do that because you were embarrassed or felt overwhelmed by others’ forwardness. You shouldn’t be afraid to express what you want in a friendship to others, especially at your age.
Part of communication is explaining not only what one wants but also what one does not want.
I know you are a shy person, which makes it harder for you to approach people, but when you yourself are approached be open to new friendships but don’t be afraid to tell someone “No, thank you” if they makes a move on you that you are uncomfortable with. Learn to set your boundaries, but be kind ("Thanks for the flirting, but I'm really not into online sex talk.") People, in general, will not get mad at you; indeed, many will respect you for not letting yourself get pushed around and for knowing what you want.
Hope that helps!
Well this may be awkward, but I thought this may be one of my best chances to get some answers from someone in the furry fandom without alienating myself or hurting friends/relationships I have made.
Slight background: I have been a furry for years, but only actually started to get into the fandom more heavily within the last 6 months. Photographing, drawing, writing, bowling, cons, a little of everything. But something has been troubling me for quite some time and still is bothering me today to the point that sometimes I just cant function well.
As anyone in the fandom knows, the fandom itself is very open sexually compared to many other groups of people. Not a bad thing, but often attacked upon. I learned that art-wise to get recognized, you really need to allow yourself to do adult work. And more so, allow yourself to gay art work. I know the fandom has a large LGBT, and I am a huge supporter of that. I personally am a demi-sexual (only having sexual attraction to those I care deeply about), but am attracted to the opposite sex (females). I found more and more as I delved into the fandom that this did not bode well for me though....
It did not take long for myself to have admirers of the same sex. Even though they fully knew I was straight (did not know about demi at the time), they still professed their love for me. Being friends with them, I did not want to hurt them, thus I did not break off our friendships even though I was not willing to do anything with them (be it RP or a meeting some day). They were willing to change their fursona's to female characters just so I could be with them. Not wanting to have anyone to change for me like that, I told them not to and started to “embrace” a gay side of myself.
I am (somewhat) happy that they are happy, but it does not make overall joyful over the situation that I have literally had to become gay to be accepted.
Here is my question: Do I have to accept that I have to be gay/bi to truly be part of this fandom? I don’t want to make people upset, or alienate my work as a furry artist. Least of all, I don’t want to lose the friends I have made.
Any suggestions you can make for someone lost in the world of furry customs and procedures when it comes to being “straight” in the fandom?
Flots (age 26)
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There seems to be a disconnect between the perception and reality of the furry fandom. When you look at the latest furry survey on http://klisoura.com/ot_furrysurvey.php, which was taken in 2012, you get these figures:
This appears to show that there is a pretty good distribution between hetero-, homo-, bi-, and even pan- and asexual furries, with about 37% either completely straight or leaning mostly straight (fascinatingly, versus about 20% who describe themselves as homosexual or leaning that way, which is 17% less that straight furs!). These figures were arrived at through an anonymous survey with people entering their preferences in the privacy of their own homes, so there is no reason to think they would lie about their sexual preferences.
Papabear’s theory on this is that we perceive a fandom almost engulfed in homosexual men for a couple reasons: 1) as a social group, the percentage of homosexuals is a lot higher than in the overall world, and so it seems to us that there are more than there really are in comparison, 2) in the fandom, LGBT people feel a lot freer to be open about their sexuality, a lot more comfortable with being fully out in public, so it is a lot more in-your-face gay, so to speak, and 3) LGBT people are often a lot more flamboyant about their dress, hair style, mannerisms, etc. than straight people are (this is a generalization for which there are always exceptions), especially at a furcon, making them much more noticeable, too.
(Side note, I live near Palm Springs, California. If I were an alien and landed in Palm Springs and that was the only sampling of human behavior I saw, I would believe that over half the population was gay and that a lot of them like to drive Fiats and own little dogs.)
Now, you’ve been hit on by some gay guys at cons, but I would also note that it is not just gay guys who are more sexually aggressive among furries. I recall, in particular, when my mate and I were at a furry meet in Novi, Michigan, and even though he and I were clearly together, a female furry hit on Yogi, and I quote her: “One thing I like about being furry is you can have sex with just about anyone,” she said seductively, touching my mate’s thigh. I think it was all he could do not to laugh in her face, but he simply said, “Isn’t gonna happen, sister.”
Which brings me to the next issue: age demographics and hormones. The Klisoura survey shows that the vast majority of furries are young males (about 79% male and about 83% between 15 and 30 years of age. Anyone knows that this is the Age of Raging Hormones, when Mother Nature tells fertile young men (and women) to “go forth and yiff your brains out—procreate, dammit!” This often leads to unwise decisions in which the brain is towed behind the genitals.
So, you are at a convention, surrounded by young, horny guys without parental (or other) supervision who see (I surmise) another young, attractive man. Buying into the “common knowledge” that all young male furries are gay, they hit on you. You, being demisexual and only interested in making love with those you genuinely love (very admirable), try to kindly rebuff them, but they keep coming at you.
Other than wearing a sign around your neck that announces “Straight Furry,” what do you do? Well, one thing you should not do is pretend you are someone you are not, which is what you appear to be doing. Don’t pretend you’re gay just to make friends. And anyone, gay or straight, who stops being your friend because you insist on being yourself is not your real friend and not someone you want in your life.
I would recommend you join Furry4Life (if you have not already) and become a member of the Straight Furs group at http://furry4life.org/group/straightfurs. There are 560 members there, as of this writing, so you can probably find some furries with whom you can connect. On Facebook, you can join Straight Furry Pride! at https://www.facebook.com/groups/Straightfurs/ which also has about 500 members.
About art: Yes, I have seen this before. A furiend of mine who is an artist struggled for some time trying to earn commissions with G and PG art and just could not swing it, so he gave in and now draws a lot of furporn, which makes him quite a bit of money. It is simply a reality of this fandom that there are a lot of furries who like this stuff, including me, I admit. I could write many pages as to why this is true, but this letter is getting a little long. Back in January, I wrote a column to an artist like yourself with a similar problem: http://www.askpapabear.com/1/post/2014/01/furry-artist-wants-to-take-on-non-x-commissions.html. Take a look and see if that helps you.
When it comes to the arts, it is interesting that a lot of people are drawn into the fandom by innocent cartoons and movies like Disney films and My Little Pony and yet, within the fandom, gravitate to porn. But there is a lot of fandom-created art that is completely G or PG, sometimes R, but definitely not porn. “Nordguard” by Blotch http://www.nordguard.com/ is a good one (interestingly, Blotch draws a lot of porn, but this is a nice switch for that female artist team), and I just posted an ad on this site for the online comic “Pride of Life” http://www.prideoflife.com/ that, while it has some violence, is not porn. Neither of these works have homosexual themes, either. But, back to porn, there are artists who draw straight furporn and also find success.
I invite my readers to comment on this column and suggest comics, artists, and other resources for Flots to check out.
To answer your question “Do I have to accept that I have to be gay/bi to truly be part of this fandom?” directly (at last), no, you do not have to be gay or bi to be part of the fandom. I think you should ask yourself, as well, why you felt compelled to tell your gay friends that they should not feel they have to roleplay as females to be your friends, and yet you feel that you should have to pretend to be gay not to lose them as friends. If you can accept them for the way they are, do you feel your friends have so little character that they cannot do the same for you?
Think about that for a while.
You’ve only been really active in the fandom for six months. It took me a couple of years interacting with furries before I really got it. Give it more time, Flots, and good luck!
Dear Papa Bear,
Once again I find myself turning to you for some advice. I’ve written to you before and all your advice has worked so far so here goes. I have pretty low self esteem as it is, but my brother doesn’t really help. He is always calling me stupid or an idiot or putting me down in some way. Granted, he does this to everyone in my family, but I have trouble taking it from him. I have Aspergers and think that might be part od the problem, but at the same time I find myself actually believing him when he abuses me this way. That can’t be normal.
It’s gotten to the point where I start lashing out violently and that just makes my problem worse because he is my younger brother so I could get in serious trouble with the law, but also, even though I’m older, he is bigger and stronger than me and will literally kick my ass if I try to hurt him. I’m 22 and having my ass handed to me by a 16 year old. I’m so tired of the abuse I receive daily and want to know if you have any advice on how I can ignore it. Sorry for the rant. Any advice?
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Dear Nite Mastr,
It is not you who has a problem but your brother. As you said, he is lashing out not only at you but everyone in the family. So, my first question is, “What’s HIS problem?” Clearly, he has anger issues that should be addressed. The solution, my furiend, would be much more thoroughly addressed by answering that question and getting him some help so he stops acting like a butt munch.
Secondly, I wish to tell you that your reaction to his verbal abuse is actually perfectly normal. Anyone who is repeatedly told by a family member that they are “stupid” and an “idiot” would, after a while, begin to believe it. I had the same trouble when I was younger and my father’s favorite phrase for me was “You’re as useless as teats on a boar.” Still hurts even today, and he’s been dead for years.
Next—and I just advised another reader on this recently—if you are fretting because you are weaker than your brother, there is something you can do about it: work out. Go to the gym and train and get stronger than your younger brother so you are no longer physically afraid of him. This has the added benefit of making you healthier :-)
Finally, have you talked to the rest of your family? What is their take on your brother’s behavior? Why are they doing nothing about it? Why are they letting him push everyone around? Including your parents? Talk to your parents and tell them that this has to stop. Either they need to discipline him or, as noted above, they need to get him some therapy to figure out why he is so angry and abusive.
My advice, then, is not to teach you how to “ignore it,” but, rather, to do something about it. Your brother’s behavior is harmful and unacceptable and needs to change.
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