Sorry for bothering you multiple times over the past year, but I've found your advice to be some of the most helpful stuff in the fandom (yeah, we'll get to that in a minute).
Let me jump right in on this one. I have a friend who I know outside of furry-related stuff. We first connected about 4 or 5 years ago, through some local email group that was (and still is, to a degree) relevant to us in terms of location and education.
This friend of mine is really sheltered. And when I say really sheltered, I mean REALLY sheltered. This has never been a problem for me. If his parents want to make him so sheltered that he doesn't know what's really socially acceptable, that's up to them (mind you, that has little to no relevance to my question, but it is still true).
My problem arose when I added him as a friend on Facebook a few months ago. He's still as innocent as before, but he's started taking a liking to a particular art form that we furs seem to be commonly associated with. If you thought I meant porn ... well, I have nothing to say about that. No, I mean anthropomorphic art. He seems into the art of anthropomorphic animals.
No problem, right? Well, this is where I messed up. Before I really caught onto that he's into anthro stuff, I posted a few pictures on Facebook of anthro stuff by furry artists. Nothing inappropriate, mind you, just general furry art.
He ended up asking about it, and I couldn't just ignore him, so I sent him a link to a particular Orlando Fox's (who did the art I posted on Facebook, making sure I technically owned the rights to distribute the art in question) Twitter page. Fortunately, that seemed to not cause any problems at all.
What I'm worrying about is that he seems to be inching closer and closer to the fandom. When I tweeted about this, I was met with "bring him in" tweets. But that's the problem. Remember how I mentioned he's super sheltered? Well, that means that if he were to accidentally stumble across just one piece of mature furry art, or if he were to look at what anti-furs say about furries, he'd probably be either very confused, or he'd be running. Either way, I'm sure his parents will find out about it. That's what I'm afraid of.
Don't get me wrong, his parents are very nice and very responsible people, as well as fantastic parents, but I'm sure if they found out that there is that stuff in the fandom, and that I am linked to the fandom, that would be more than just the end of my relationship with that family (we've already discussed this topic when I emailed you about my father and his reaction to me joining the fandom).
So my question boils down to this: should I take measures to make sure he stays away from the fandom, or should I take measures to give him a very slow introduction to the fandom, while trying to keep that art away?
I realize this letter is incredibly long-winded, and I do apologize for that, but I had to clear up details before I asked the actual question, otherwise the answer would be a lot simpler.
Sil (age 15)
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Welcome Back, Sil,
Glad I could help you in the past; now let’s look at this current predicament. What I noticed right away was a bit of a contradiction regarding the parents: you say they are “fantastic parents” but fantastic parents wouldn’t shelter their child so much that he would be afraid of the outside world and not know how to deal with social situations. Only thing I can figure out is that you are leaving out an important detail, such as he is emotionally or mentally handicapped (it could also be physical, but instinct tells me it’s one of the other two). If that is indeed the case, then it would be very wrong of you to deliberately expose him to things that could frighten or traumatize him in some way. Even though you say this has “no relevance to my question,” it really does—very much so! If you are dealing with a—I assume—teenager entering puberty at the same time he is dealing with a mental or emotional disorder, then you really need to be careful!
We can easily assume that if this friend of yours starts looking at furry sites on a regular basis, he is going to quickly stumble upon adult imagery, much of it having to do with fetishes he won’t be able to begin to comprehend. It’s not a matter of “if” but “when.” (The tone of your letter also hints at you perhaps feeling guilty, thinking you're the one who introduced him to furry art in the first place, yes?)
If I am right about your friend, and if you are correct that he has very good parents, then the people to talk to first about the fandom are his parents not your friend. It would be unfair to both him and his parents to have him discover something disturbing, becoming traumatized in some way, all without his parents knowing what’s going on with their own child or how to help him.
On the other paw, let’s say that your pal is a perfectly normal person in every way except that his parents have sheltered him too much. This is not a good thing for the kid, not at all. In this case, I would give him a slow, measured, guided tour of the fandom, trying in every way to introduce him to things slowly and with an explanation at each and every step. This means a lot of work on your part, if you are willing to do that and be a good friend. That’s sort of your second option that you posed, giving him the slow introduction, but it would be futile to think that you could keep his eyes from adult art forever, so prepare him for that as best you can. Inform him he is going to probably stumble on some sexual things and try to explain what and why those are on the Web.
Again, if I am right about the first option, I would go to the parents first. A good way to do this, since your father is cool with the fandom now, is for both you and your father to discuss it with them. The fewer surprises the better!
Lately I have been thinking about dating another furry, though what's stopping me is the lack of commitment that my ex's had. Every mate I have had has cheated on me. This is rather troublesome and has caused many trust issues for me.
I am not possessive, mean, or hanging over them. In fact I am maybe too out of the way? I love to cuddle and care about them greatly. However ... I am not too ... sexual. I care more about cuddles and showing love rather then rubbing bits together.
I am not sure if it is just my age group that can not keep it in their pants around others. Or is it simply me...?
* * *
Yours is a chicken-and-egg quandary—as in, are you having problems with men because all men in your age group are oversexed cheaters or are oversexed cheaters attracted to you and so you are flattered and choose them as mates only to be, surprise surprise, cheated on? Your affectionate nature could be misconstrued as sexual availability by many younger men who, admittedly, often think with their penises. Then, when they discover that you’re not all that interested in sex, it is not surprising they go elsewhere to find it.
Much of this frustration is very possibly exacerbated by the tendency of younger people to leap into bed too early on in a relationship—like, first or second date early. Even if you are more into just cuddling and kissing than actual sex, if you are bringing men into your bed, or visiting theirs, too early in the game then men will get the wrong message from that. You don’t even need a bed—just snogging on the couch or petting can give a hormone-rich young man an erection.
What you are looking for, it sounds like, is a man about your age who, like you, is okay with sex but it’s not a major priority (they do exist). To discover such a man, you need to date for a while in non-intimate encounters before agreeing to take it to the next level. Go out to dinner and a movie or some other activity in public in which being amorous is off the table. What do I mean by “for a while”? At least a couple of months of regular dating should suffice, though longer is not unheard of. At that point you should discover two things: 1) whether or not the guy is actually interested in you or just your body, and 2) whether or not this guy has good character and a compatible personality.
This is what I call, in a biblical manner, weeding out the chaff from the wheat. There's a reason why it used to be a tradition for young men and women to "court" one another for long periods of time before getting engaged, and we can still learn from that, even in our more sexually open modern world. Take the time after a harvest to thresh the wheat, separating the nutritious grain from the inedible stuff, before you eat it and get a mouth full of sticks.
With patience, you’ll find someone.
Wishing you love,
I just found out my 13 year old younger brother is a furry what advice can you give me that will help me be a better sister?
I am female 22 years old and I live out of home. My brother lives with my single mum and I visit them weekly. I used to live with them and contribute to looking after him like a parent due to the age gap.
I have been crying non-stop since I found out. Mostly because he is so incredibly young to even know what specific fetishes are. I know boy seek out pornography when they hit puberty. But I guess I am so shaken because he's just so young.
I'm trying my best to understand him. I know there is a difference for people that enjoy the art and fandom. Then there are zoophiles. I have seen some content he posted on minecraft forums that he is sexually attracted to anthro dragons and birds.
I guess my issue here is if he was say 17 and I found this out then I probably wouldn't care. But he is so incredibly young, he is still a child!
My sexual exploration was BDSM when I was seventeen. My mum flipped out, slapped me in the face and took my computer away. She constantly monitored my MSN conversations by hacking me and saving my history. That’s now in the past but now that my brother has a computer in his room my mother doesn't even care that he goes on 4chan or who he is talking to online. It’s gone from being controlling with me to having no parenting boundaries whatsoever with my younger brother.
I know this is a “laundry bag” of stuff but I am desperate for guidance. Please help make the best choice for him.
When my brother asked my mum for a computer in his room I told her that.
* * *
You are a good sister for caring about your brother. As I started to read your letter, my first reaction was, “Hold on a second; don’t assume this is about sex,” but then you continued and said you noticed he was sexually attracted to some furry art. So, my second thought is that, while some of this might be about sex, it also might be about him just enjoying furries in general.
But, let’s face it, many young people are initially attracted to furry art because of sex. That’s how, to be honest, I first stumbled upon it, and while I am about much more than just furporn now, it is still an attraction. So, let’s talk about it honestly.
You worry that your brother is only 13, but, hey, that is when puberty sets in for many people and so it is not surprising at all that he is thinking about sex now. The second issue is accessibility. Thanks to the Internet, people, especially young people under 18, now have easy access to a lot of stuff that, before all this technology, could only be seen by going to a dirty book store or porno house or strip club, where admission was guarded by, often literally, guards. So kids your brother’s age had no way to see it, unless they found dad’s Playboys or a friend got them some copies of it.
On the Internet, it is not just furry X-rated art that is easy to view, but pretty much anything. If your brother were not looking at naked furries, he’d probably be looking at something else of an adult nature. As to furry sites, it is my personal opinion that the adult content should be age restricted and pay-only (with a credit card), which would stop many minors (and some cheap adult furries) from viewing it—the latter probably being the reason that these sites don’t impose restrictions as they would lose much of their traffic and, consequently, advertisers. But since I am not a site admin at FurAffinity or any other furry art site, there’s nothing I can do about it. (And, yes, I do advertise on FA because it gets me traffic, and, frankly, it can lead to an open and helpful discussion about sex, just as with this letter).
It is really up to the parent to control such viewing. The best way to do this is to have any and all computers placed in the living or dining or kitchen areas of the house, not the kid’s bedroom. Parents need to take an active role in what their children are viewing online, and this is not just about porn but lots of other nasty stuff that kids can be vulnerable to, from cults to hate groups to online predators.
So, you might ask, why did you get heavily supervised and your brother did not? It’s possible that, as with many mothers, the first child is the most fretted over and that the parent relaxes some by the time the second or third child comes along; it is also possible that it is because you are a girl who is seen as vulnerable, while, on the other hand, “boys will be boys.” Not saying that’s right thinking, but it is common thinking.
You have already suggested to your mother that she be more watchful about your brother’s online behavior. You might bring up those possibilities mentioned above when next you talk to your mom and maybe that would open her eyes up a bit.
Let’s assume, then, that your brother will continue to look at furry porn, but why is that disturbing you so much? You, who explored the world of BDSM as a teenager, must realize that teenagers, especially, are going through the phase of exploring their sexuality, and furriness is surely no more disturbing than bondage, domination, and sado-masochism. Actually, depending on the furporn, it is less disturbing than BDSM, especially when you dispel yourself of the erroneous notion that there are a lot of zoophiles in the fandom. In fact, there are no more zoophiles in the furry population then there are in the mundane world, and they are a tiny, tiny, tiny minority.
Just to be clear, a zoophile is someone who is sexually attracted to a real animal; furries, importantly, are not necessarily attracted to anthropomorphized characters in a sexual manner, and, if they are, it is not about animal sex, it is about certain appealing features such as fur and tails.
To say that a furry wants to make love to a dog is like saying that someone into leather harnesses and chaps wants to screw a cow, or that people attracted to edible underwear want to have intercourse with a bag of Twizzlers. It’s not at all the same thing.
So, my final advice to you is to calm down a little bit, and, like the good sister you are, talk to your brother about going through puberty (I’m assuming that your mother is not willing to). Part of his vulnerability is due to the fact that he has no father figure in his life. You can be a father surrogate, while doing so without going into anatomical detail, and just have an open conversation that everyone, including you, has gone through a stage of sexual exploration and that is okay, even if he might be going through it earlier than expected. The important thing to remember is to remind him to always be kind to others (never forgetting that, although you are in cyberspace, there is a real person on the other end of the conversation) and to practice safe sex until such a time comes along that he finds someone he really trusts to be intimate with. (The safe sex talk is critically important, and even though he might protest that “I know all that stuff,” a deeper dialogue will likely reveal that he really doesn’t—you might be surprised by what some young people believe about safe sex these days.)
At thirteen, your brother is at a very vulnerable and impressionable age. I wish he had a parent to help guide him, but, barring that, if you are willing, he could really use a great sister like you to ease any confusion he may be having right now, just as you turned to an older advice columnist for a little help.
Thank you for writing, and good luck!
In second grade I remember the teachers had to give my hands names so they could keep them off my peers. Apparently, I had a bad habit of not being able to keep my hands to myself.
I had a “girlfriend’ since we were born. Our mothers where friends. But we went to different elementary schools, so when we went to the same middle school. She didn't want to have anything to do with me.
Middle school itself sucked, too. There were four elementary schools going into one middle school. So I only knew a third of the people in class. A lot of my friends changed and some of them even started bullying me and calling me gay. I got in trouble in eighth grade and my parents gave me the opportunity to go to a private school nearby. The private school was so small that there were two grades in one class. There I expressed an interest in a girl and by the end of the year pretty much all the girls thought I was a pervert and all the boys had a chance of making that happen.
After that I was so afraid to express my sexuality that I didn't have a girlfriend until my senior year in high school. Now I'm heterosexually married to my “high school sweetheart” and coming to the realization that I like being physically close to people and that I might be bisexual. Before I've always been afraid to come in physical contact with other people and I was afraid that if I did, even by accident, that they'd think I was trying to be perverted.
I've already talked to my wife about it and she's said that she loves me and doesn't want to split up, but she wants to continue to be monogamous but at the same time she doesn't want to torture me or have me destroy whom I'm becoming. I've worked so hard to be comfortable with who am I and who I want to be that even my wife has noted her jealousy over me being so extroverted recently, that I'm not spending as much time with her.
I know some guys that are willing to help me explore my sexuality, but none of us want to do anything unless everyone involved is in agreement.
I don't know who else I can talk to about this and I don't know what to do.
* * *
The phrase “whom I’m becoming” is misguided and acknowledges merely that you have not come to terms with who you have always been: bisexual. There’s nothing wrong with being bisexual, I must emphasize.
You are also a very affectionate man, obviously. I, personally, find that charming and sweet. The problem is not with you but, rather, with our sexually uptight American society. Cultures vary widely about outward displays of affection, from the very formal and disapproving societies seen in Japan, China, England, and pretty much everywhere in the Middle East, to the more affectionate and gregarious countries of Italy, France, Greece, Iceland, the Netherlands, Brazil, some African nations, and Polynesian and most especially Inuit (Eskimo) peoples (when you’re freezing cold it’s nice to hug someone :-) ).
America lies somewhere in between, and the acceptance of affection in public can vary from region to region. Here where I am in Southern California, people are very laid back about it, but in the Midwest and New England it is pretty much frowned upon, for example.
But I digress. What I’m trying to point out is that you are an affectionate, open person living in a sexually stifled culture, which gives you the false impression that you are wrong to be openly loving and "touchy-feely." It’s really too bad you didn’t come to terms with your bisexuality before you decided to get married. Your wife wants a monogamous relationship with you, which is her right to demand, and, as long as you are in this marriage, you should try to honor that. The problem is that you are never going to be happy living in such a restrictive marriage. I speak from experience on this point.
Judging by your letter, your choice is to either be unhappy and stay in your marriage, which is something many people do, or come to terms with who you really are and, sadly, get a divorce because, frankly, you are not doing your wife any favors at this point.
Before you make such a drastic move, however, I would strongly recommend you find a sexual identity therapist. (Important: note that the term is “sexual identity therapist” not “sex therapist”; a sex therapist helps those who are having problems with their partner having sex, while a sexual identity therapist helps you to discover and come to terms with your sexual orientation and preferences.) You do not want to get a divorce if I am wrong about the above and there is something else going on here emotionally and psychologically that I am not aware of. On such a very vital and core issue dealing with your very being, you need a trained professional to help you, not an advice columnist.
Hi Papa Bear!
My question for you has to do with how I've been feeling recently but a little backstory is in order.
For most of my school life I was alone, I really didn't have people I could call friends and was very isolated. All of my family is pretty much gone too aside from my mom... When I hit high school I was welcomed into a large (about 15) band of folks and stayed with them for all of high school. We were all very very close. We actually dated each other quite often but in a way we were all just one big group... It is hard to explain... Fast forward to college. Most of us went to the same place but it was the beginning of the drifting, some of my friends left. A few years go on and more move on, some I got into very bad fights with... Present day all I have left is 2 from my old high school days, my mate, and two close friends I made in the furry world.
Basically I've been having this overwhelming sense of loneliness. There are times I'll just be sitting on my bed and I'll just cry and it always comes back to being lonely. It's been getting even worse with an upcoming move I'm having to make, my current job is becoming really bad and I can't make money so I'm having to leave and not only leave my few friends, but my mate as well. We will be almost 3 hours away and I will just be by myself mostly. Thing is if we don't do this we won't be able to support ourselves any longer. I'm just so... scared. I don't want to be sad, is there anything I can do to help this? I've been talking to my mate but it's hard for him to grasp, he's always had others, like his large family (he has one of those large Georgian families that have reunions of 50+ folks), I've never even had a reunion of any sort involving my own pieces of family.
I know one thing I plan to do is reach out to the local fur groups to the new place I'm moving to. And when I eventually meet up with my mate in Athens I will have some friends there too. I do try some online friendships but I tend to have a problem with keeping them as the other party always expect me to talk to them and they never message me, shouldn't these things work both ways? I just don't know if I be able to push past these feelings. Heck just writing this is making me tear up a little. Any advice you have for me would be wonderful Papa Bear.
A Lonely Dragoness (age 22)
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It’s very common for friends to drift into and out of your life over time. It is one of the things about growing up. Of the friends I had when I was young, I only keep in touch with one these days. Right now, you are in a bit of a lull in your life as you transition from the school years to the working adult years, and, again, that is very common.
Instead of lamenting the friends who have wandered away and with whom you have lost touch, start looking at the glass half full: you are moving to a new place and a new job where you will meet new people, all of whom are potential new friends. You’re doing the right thing reaching out to furs in your new area, good for you!
As for your mate, a couple things: 1) it sounds as though you will be reunited? You say you will “eventually meet up with my mate in Athens,” which sounds like you will get together again, so the parting is not permanent, which is great! 2) you say he has a large family—is there any chance that his family accepts and cares about you and that they could become your extended family? I come from a very small family myself. All I have left is my mom, my sister, and an uncle and his wife. In my first marriage I immediately got an extended family, most especially my very kind mother-in-law; now with my new mate, Yogi, I have yet another new mom, father, and a very generous and kind older brother. Reach out to your mate’s family for additional love and support. I hope you can do that! His family should be yours, too!
Don’t limit yourself to just furry friends, of course. You should always make yourself open to new friendship possibilities, because they can be unpredictable. For instance, I met a guy at a now-closed piano bar in Palm Springs; he was playing piano and Yogi and I enjoyed listening to him. Turns out he gives lessons; and I’ve always wanted to learn how to play, so last year I contacted him and he is now my piano teacher, but more than that—he’s a REALLY nice person and we’ve become friends, as well. The supers at my old apartment building have also become good friends to both me and Yogi. So, you never know when or where a new friend will turn up.
In school, in a structured atmosphere of classes and extracurricular activities, it can be easier to become part of a social group. They practically form themselves in schools. You were lucky to have one and not be tossed to the outside like I was, so be happy for those memories. Maybe, too, if you tried, you could bring some of those old friends back to you, who knows? But, if that’s not possible, don’t eat yourself up over it. You can cry buckets of tears for a faded past, but it will not do you any good, and you know it.
It’s time to stop crying and to stop worrying and look forward to the next chapter of your life. Concentrate on your plans for the new job, on your moving arrangements. Do research on what things there are to do in the new area you’ll be living in. Contact the furries and new coworkers who live there. Ask them where they go to eat, what they do for entertainment. Tell them you look forward to seeing them and hope you can do some fun things together. By doing this, you can quickly become so busy planning that you will have no time for tears. At this point, quiet time for reflection is your enemy; fill your hours with activity until you get through this transitional phase and are firmly implanted in the new one.
Oh, and when you DO move, don't forget those two friends of yours who have been sticking by you all these years. Don't do to them what your other friends did to you!
I don't know what to do. Of all the people I knew in High School, I am the only one without kids, not married, and single. Most men my age have settled down, but at 25 I remain a virgin. I'll have to go back into my past before I can ask you for advice, so here goes.
I didn't have a typical childhood; I spent the majority of it alone. You see, I was never a good looking individual, and as such I was a target for wide spread bullying in my schools. I had two friends in grade school, both of which discarded me in under a year's time. The first was a boy named Gabe. Gabe had just moved to the neighborhood I lived in, and the school I attended. As such, he was the "new kid" that no one talked to, no one except myself. We quickly became friends and had fun together playing in the playground. But there was a shadow, and his name was Tolleson. He was the one who hated me more than any one else, for reasons I do not even know to this day. Needless to say, he was one of the most popular kids in the school. Being a child, I was under the impression that adults could solve anything, so I went to the principal and explained to her how he was constantly picking on me. She promptly called him into her office where he claimed that I, a scrawny kid, picked on the beefy boy standing at her desk. Unable to decide which of us was telling the truth, she told us to leave each other alone, and that if she heard that either of us had continued to harass the other, that they would receive lunch detention for the remainder of the school year. Weeks later, I stood in the back of the lunch line as was my place whilst Tolleson stood at the front, but something peculiar happened that day; Gabe had gone to the front with Tolleson. Shortly after lunch I was called into the principal's office, and there before her stood Tolleson and his friends, all whom told the same story that I had went to the front of the line to start trouble with him, except there was a new face there; Gabe stood within the crowd. That was my first taste of betrayal that landed me in detention for the rest of the school year which was not even halfway done.
You'd think I'd have learned my lesson, but the very next year I met another kid named Josh. He was a trouble maker of sorts, but I didn't care, I was just happy to have someone accept me. So that year I did several things that got me into trouble right along with him. Eventually the end of the school year came and he invited me over to his place after school. As I was unpopular, I always hung after school to avoid being beat up by other children, so by the time I approached his house the streets were empty. I came from the front, and as I approached I saw his head appear over his fence, followed by several more. Him and his other friends then threw beans and spoiled milk cartons at me, and Josh then pulled a small bb gun and fired at me. I ran. I didn't make any more friends for the remaining three years of elementary school. My recesses were spent meandering the borders of the school or swinging on the swings, watching the traffic.
Middle school and high school both were unpleasant as kids seemed to always harbor a hatred towards me and my large front teeth, though I did have a small group of friends in High School who, surprisingly enough, did nothing to hurt me. I did date one girl in High School, but as things turned out I was less than a rebound; she merely dated me to get to know one of my friends (who she later married and had kids with, so at least I was useful for something) and broke up with me shortly thereafter.
Now at 25, my teeth are nearly straight, but I still feel ostracized from the world. I want to find someone special, but I fear a relationship will never work for me. I think I may be incapable of loving another person in that aspect. I've never been very affectionate, nor am I romantic in any way. The thought of sharing a bed with someone does not comfort me. And while deep in my heart I want someone, another part does not want to give up the loneliness that I've known my whole life; in short I'm content with living and dying alone. I don't know what to do at this point Papabear. I feel that if I don't act soon that I will never find a mate or have a family of my own. Is there a way to escape this darkness?
* * *
You and I have a lot in common. I, too, was bullied in school and didn’t have many friends. With you it might have been “big teeth” or some other physical aspect you don’t mention, and with me it was being a pale, frail, unathletic and shy person. I was always on the outside, rarely looking in. Other kids made fun of me all the time, sometimes punching me, particularly in elementary school, and most especially in sixth grade. That year, some kid—Christian Blakewell; I will never forget his name—decided to make me his target, and he got all the other kids to back him up. Suddenly, even the few kids I thought kind of liked me were treating me like I was some evil pariah. It was a very lonely year. Only one person stuck by me at all and he is my friend to this day.
In junior high and high school it wasn’t quite as bad; I didn’t really get picked on, but I didn’t have many friends, either. I had learned I was different, and so I dove into books and concentrated on my grades, graduating at the very lonely top, eventually.
Children are like pack animals, wolves really. They quickly form a hierarchy from alphas to omegas. Gabe, the newcomer, first became your friend, not apparently realizing where you stood, but as soon as he figured it out he decided he didn’t want to be on the bottom so he cozied up to Tolleson.
As we grow up, a few of us become mature and drop such cliquish behavior. Many others do not, however. You see it everywhere, from corporate boardrooms to politics to sports. You see it in the fandom, too, which is why the cliques among furries make me want to puke salmon all over certain people’s footpaws. But that would be a waste of good salmon.
But I got over it, and you can, too. First thing you do is step out of the competition, which you are still in at the moment. Don’t worry about whether or not you have a mate or children. If you are trying to get those things because others have them, then you are doing it for the completely wrong reason. Get a mate because you have fallen in love; have children because your love for your mate has made you want to have a family. Don’t do it because the Joneses next door have done it. And, if you want to stay single, stay single. Whatever makes you happy, and, believe it or not, a lot of people are perfectly happy to be single; it’s a growing trend, in fact.
Think really really hard about why you want a mate when you are a person who states that the “thought of sharing a bed with someone does not comfort me.”
Once you stop competing with others, you can set your own goals with your own standards. That is the point in your life when you really start to become a self-realized person.
The second step is to stop setting artificial deadlines for yourself. At 25 you are panicking that you are running out of time. Whose time? By what clock? You know, some people don’t find love until much later in life—hey, Willard Scott of the “Today” show just got married this month at 80 years of age!
In my life, I have found that you meet the people you were meant to meet when you were meant to meet them. Some people would call this the “God has a plan for you” paradigm. In my way of thinking, I believe that the universe and all it contains is all bound together by a spiritual force that inevitably moves us along the path meant for us. If you have not met that someone special yet, it doesn’t mean you won’t.
If you feel like it can’t happen because you are unattractive, then you should know that plenty of people fall in love with others considered to be ugly. I mean, for one example that springs to mind, look at Eleanor Roosevelt. Oy, vay. Yet she became First Lady. Prince Charles dumped the beautiful Princess Diana for the horse-faced Camilla. And then there’s Rhea Perlman and Danny DeVito, just to name a couple.
I haven’t seen a picture of you (would love to get one, if you’re willing), but I bet there are features about you that others would find attractive. Also, do not discount the ability of many people to look past mere appearance and fall in love with a person’s soul. That happens a lot, and those people are usually happier than the ones who marry just for surface beauty.
It sounds like you’re attempting to make yourself more attractive by fixing your teeth. I won’t judge you on that, being someone who got braces himself late in life, but there is something else you can do as well: make yourself an attractive person, if you are not already. You can be more attractive by being friendly, loving, considerate of others, self-confident, intelligent, humorous, and so on. Focus on your good traits, let them shine, and, most especially in your case, get over the past and live for the future. You can’t do anything about what happened to you in school now, but you can do a lot about how you face what is in front of you.
You’ve shut yourself up in a darkened room for too long. Open the door and windows and let some sunlight in.
As I'm not the most eloquent tiger in the world, I'll try to keep this letter short and sweet (but no promises).
I identify as asexual and have for quite a while now. As such, anything relating to sex just doesn't interest me, and sometimes to the point where it makes me feel very uncomfortable. Which can be a problem, considering that the fandom can be very adult in nature. (switched back and forth from being in the fandom, but recently tried to be included a little more) It feels like no matter where I look, everything seems to have some kind of great big sexual aspect to it!
Something I've only pondered very recently is if being asexual is thought of as 'weird' or out of place in the community. Every fur I know seems to be very open about their sexualities and I'm worried if I just seem like one big party-pooper.
I'll get to the point behind this: Am I just not fit for such a group? I've held the fandom close to my heart for years, and I don't want something like this keeping me away from the fun of it all.
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Papabear’s written on the topic of asexuality a couple of times, but not directly with regard to the fandom, so here it goes....
In my experience, furries are accepting of all types of sexual preferences and orientations. It’s my belief that a big reason there are so many gay furs in the community is because they are comfortable being part of a fandom that doesn’t look down on them for being gay. The same is true if you are asexual, even though asexuality is less common than homosexuality. Not only are there asexual furry groups you could hang out with (http://furry4life.org/group/asexualfurs and https://www.facebook.com/groups/546732712030969/ are two) but there are other groups, such as Christian furries, who are really not into the sexual side of furry. Most furries I know, if you told them you didn’t care about sex and just wanted to do other furry stuff, would be totally fine with that.
Of course, Papabear hangs out with a lot of older furries, and since you are 18 you probably have been seeing the younger crowd, which tends to be a bit more active sexually. But just because others are more sexual than you does not mean you have to allow yourself to be pressured into anything. The furry community is very diverse, and you just need to find your niche within it.
So, YES, you belong to the furry community. It is because people like you are in it that we become more diverse, and with diversity there is strength and acceptance.
His Family Expects Him to Choose a Nonfurry Local Girlfriend, but He's Falling for a Long-Distance Furry
I've got a little bit of a problem, and I'm not sure how to go about solving it (wait, that's the point of advice columns, isn't it... oh).
I know a girl outside of the fandom that I had previously expressed romantic interest in. My sister, my father and my friends all know about this. She's a pretty close family friend, and most all my friends know her. So when word got out that I liked her, there was a total lack of surprise from everyone. That's not my problem though.
My problem arose when I met someone else. In this case, a furry who I believe meets all the criteria I'm looking for in a potential mate (or wife, if you want to use boring people terms). The issue I'm having is that I don't know how to explain this to my family or friends. My friends all act like me and the local girl are deeply in love (saying things like "so when will you ask her out"). While I really can't speak for her, I can say that I'm not completely sure that's the case for me.
I don't know whether I should try to explain my new possible love interest to them, or if I should go back to the local friend. I really wouldn't have too big of a problem being with her, but she comes from a small town family (as we all do around here), and I doubt her or her parents would approve of the furry thing. I don't really want to change who I am for someone, but at the same time, I'd love to not die alone, if you know what I mean (actually, it's a pretty straightforward saying, so I don't even know how you wouldn't know what I'm saying, if you know what I'm saying. Wait, what?).
I promise you, if I were to walk up to my dad and say "I really like someone that I've never actually met", he would go absolutely crazy. Not in a good way. In fact, he's been so negative about almost everything in my life that I've avoided telling him things about my life, just to keep him from getting angry. That's a completely different story altogether, though.
Anonymous (age 15)
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Hon, you are 15 years old. Don’t you think that’s a little soon to be pressuring yourself to get married? And also a little young to be worried about dying alone? Goodness me! I’m not sure what species of furry you are, but you are certainly not a bear. We bears take things much more in stride, and so should you.
Also, when it comes to finding a mate, the person you should try to please is yourself: not your family, not your friends, not the townspeople’s expectations of you, but you. And, along those lines, when you do find a mate, it should be someone who accepts you for you, furriness and all.
If you are not interested (at least not to the extent of marriage) in the local girl, then the first thing you need to do is stop leading her on, stop acting like you’re going to go steady and might someday get engaged just to please the families. Second—and if you have read my column you would know this already—you need to meet the girl you are interested in in person. Please do not try to carry out a long-distance relationship unless it is feasible to actually be in the same room with the young woman with whom you are falling in love.
Too bad about your dad being unsupportive of you. Bad dad. But when it comes to love that should not be what influences you. This is YOUR life, not his, and you have to live with the choices you make.
At 15, it is easy to be intimidated by one’s father (or mother). That little factoid is what really screwed up my early life in many ways until I managed to break out of that pattern. Unfortunately, when you are still a minor, the parent has all the control, especially when it comes to money and “my rules.” If the parent is a good parent, this is not a problem (good parents love their children for who they are and only use rules as a way to try to give guidelines and boundaries that actually most children want [they might not know it, but they do] and thrive on); it’s when they are bad parents (do not accept their children if they are different from their expectations) that their power becomes a trap that most people are unable to escape until they are able to move out of the house.
I digressed a bit there, sorry. The important thing to remember is that you should love the people you want to love (as long as they are good and not hurtful people), whether or not others approve of them.
Hope that makes sense. I wish you love and happiness.
Dear Papa Bear,
My best friend moved away and we used to fool around some, but casually and everything was cool. But now that he doesn’t live close anymore, I’ve fooled around with another friend, but not often and lately not at all. He’s never in the mood. I know I shouldn't pressure him, but my sexual drive is bad and masturbating isn’t cutting it for me anymore. I don’t want to fool around with just anyone. I just want to know if there is a way to control my sex drive so I don’t always want it?
* * *
Dear No Name,
There are many things that can reduce or "control" your sex drive, including: 1) heavy consumption of alcohol, 2) stressing yourself out with hard work, especially at a job you hate, 3) gaining a lot of weight so you are in bad physical shape and sex is too much of an exertion, 4) getting a disease like diabetes or cancer, 5) depriving yourself of sleep for long periods of time (having children to take care of is a good way to do this), or 6) you can try what they do with sex criminals, such as aversion therapy (e.g., every time you see something that is sexually stimulating, expose yourself to an unpleasant smell or image) or chemical or surgical castration.
I’m being facetious, of course. The point is that you shouldn’t have to lower or "control" your sex drive to please someone else, and, yes, masturbation is not a satisfying substitute (been there!) There is nothing wrong with a person having a healthy sex drive, and you should not have to apologize for it (your sex drive isn’t “bad,” it’s active is all). You are entitled, in fact, to finding sexual satisfaction, and if your partner cannot or will not provide it, then you have a problem.
When it comes to your friend, you might, actually, investigate whether his problem has to do with any of the first five options above (hopefully 6 is waaaay out of the picture!) It might be, hard as it is to hear it, that he has simply lost interest in you or sex in general. Whatever it is, it is a problem with him and not you. Since the two of you are friends and not something more, there is certainly nothing wrong with your finding another partner, and yet still be friends with the first guy.
I understand you don’t want to sleep around with “just anyone,” but you don’t have to. You can find one or two other friends with whom you have a bond, people you trust, and come to an understanding that that friendship can also include a sexual component (sometimes referred to as "friends with benefits," but this always sounded a bit tawdry to me, so I don't like the term; there's also the term "f*** buddy* which is a bit more playful LOL—you'd think I'd find that one more naughty, but I find it more honest, actually). In fact, that is what you currently have with this friend you're writing about.
I have long felt that people put far too much weight upon the factor of sex, feeling guilty about their sexual needs because society labels people as “sluts” if they enjoy sex and don’t want to be limited to just one person. (There's actually a fascinating book on this topic called The Ethical Slut.) I find calling people names because they have a healthy sexual appetite to be juvenile, selfish, controlling, and manipulative (gee, you think I have a strong opinion on this?) There are all kinds of sexual relationships in this world. Sometimes, people wish to be fully monogamous with each other, and that’s fine; that’s great. Other times, people can agree upon a polygamous or polyamorous relationship. If all parties concerned are agreeable to it, then that is fine as well.
But if two people wish to have a relationship and their sexual needs differ greatly, then they need to talk it out and come to an agreement. It is unfair, for example, for one partner with low or no sexual drive to dictate to the other with a stronger libido that they cannot have sex because if they do they will be a "cheater." It is also wrong for one partner to force the other into a role he or she does not enjoy (e.g. one partner is dominant and wants the other to be subby even if the other partner does not want to be dom'd, or the opposite case, as in a subby insisting his partner be dom when he's not). When that happens, bitterness, unrest, and dissatisfaction will put that relationship at risk. Sexual incompatibility can be a death blow to even the best of relationships. (This is also something with which I am intimately familiar, so I know how emotionally painful this issue can be.)
So, No Name, if you are not satisfied with your sexual relationship, the answer is to first find out if there is a health or psychological issue with your partner that needs to be resolved; if that is not the case, then the answer is not to adjust your sex drive (nor is it right to insist that someone who doesn't want sex that they should crank up his or her libido just to please you) but rather to find an alternative to satisfying your own needs.
(I should reiterate here that much of this letter is geared toward relationships of a more serious nature than yours, whereas you were writing to me about what is really just a friendship with a side of sex, so your dilemma is not such a weighty moral issue.)
I cannot stress this enough: you should never have to apologize for wanting a sexually satisfying lifestyle; just be considerate of your partner’s feelings while insisting on your right to have your own needs fulfilled.
And remember what my buddy Critter says (imagine the voice of Towelie from South Park: "Always wear a condom!" (Sorry, Critter, you're becoming my spokesfurry on this one LOL).
Hope that makes sense. Good luck to you!
I've had a very close friend of mine "abandon" me after I came out as a furry to him. I say "came out" because I know him well enough that he loves to watch crime television and comedy and knows very well how the media defines furries, and that was a definite roadblock.
I consider myself straight and I stray away from adult content within the fandom, but it didn't convince him that furries are not directly striving for sex. I've tried to explain it to him, but he refuses to take it in. Now he has avoided me, ignores my IM requests, and blocked me on Steam (narrow-minded, if you asked me), only communicating in public situations such as Facebook or in the presence of our former "group."
We had been friends all throughout middle school, tutoring each other (More of me tutoring him...), having birthdays together, cheating on tests in class with each other; All the things that friends do for each other.
That was six months ago. I still miss him, and he still hasn't changed any of his methods of contact. I don't know if I should try to rebuild the bridge now that he's had time, or if I should just do what people tell me and "move on" with my life. Is there any way to avoid this happening again, or is it just a normal cycle?
Askim, 15, USA
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It’s too bad that yours is not an uncommon story. You might compare it to a “friend” who abandons you because he finds out your are gay, for example. Many people have deeply ingrained prejudices about people who are not like them and hate them no matter what the argument might be that being different doesn’t make you a bad person. A number of factors make people behave this way, including: 1) how they were raised by family, 2) their religious upbringing, and 3) how much they cave in to other social pressures.
As I have said in other columns, friendships should not be abandoned lightly. You should make every effort you can to educate your (former) friend and try to open his eyes. I’ve posted some useful ones here: http://www.americanfurryassociation.org/videos.html that you could forward to him. (Start at the bottom of the page and work your way up). Also, send him this story http://fotofurnl.deviantart.com/journal/The-Essence-of-Fursuiting-444892870, which is absolutely fantastic!
Try to also make him understand that television rarely reflects the truth about the world. Television shows, whether they are talk shows or even the “news,” or that stupid CSI episode, are designed to get ratings, which translates into money. Believing everything you see on TV is the sign of a weak and ignorant mind.
I’ll let you be the judge of how much effort is enough. After a certain point, if he doesn’t see the light and is willing to throw away a relationship that was beneficial to both of you because he insists on being closed-minded, you will tire of his nonsense and look for more worthwhile friendships. I hope, however, that you will be able to convince him he is wrong and realize that friendship is more important than pride and prejudice.
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.