Every time I think about my circumcision, I get mad. At first, I wanted to direct my anger at the "doctor" who cut off my foreskin, because I saw him as bearing the most blame/guilt. Since I was unable to find him, I thought of directing it toward my mom--at that time, I had thought "she's the one who signed the 'consent' form, without which the foreskin-ectomy would not have been done, so she's second-most responsible even if she did not give truly informed consent" and "my dad is just a victim, same as me; he's not responsible". Later, my mom apologized after she repeatedly saw me become upset whenever I thought about circumcision.
A few days ago, my dad agreed to read the anti-circumcision articles I had read (I haven't sent them to him yet). Yesterday, I realized that, beneath noble reasons for sending him the articles like "Dad's talked a lot about honestly examining why one wants something. I don't want him to be a hypocrite, so I'll have him honestly examine 'why did I want my son to not have a foreskin?'", there was "I see circumcision as a crime, and I want the guilty party—my dad, since he's likely the one who first proposed my foreskin be removed—to know the extent of the damages; I want whatever revenge I can get".
I’m /still/ bitter, even though I’ve made progress with foreskin restoration. I have two ideas for outlets (although they seem healthy to me, they might not be):
1) send my dad those articles.
2) play Skyrim, and role play my character as embittered by a bad experience he had; really get into the role (this is similar to my childhood tactic of “play violent videogame and pretend the enemies I’m brutally dismembering are the person I’m mad at IRL”, but with more immersion into the game world). I don’t remember how effective my childhood tactic was, so I’m not sure how effective this version will be.
Do you have any suggestions for healthy outlets?
Mitch (age 20)
* * *
You may or may not have read this column in which the issue of circumcision is discussed in detail. So, I’m not going to go over circumcision again, and, instead, I am going to address the practice of letting go of one’s anger and resentment about things that happened in the past.
With regard to your particular experience, you should first recognize that your parents (and the doctor who performed the operation) were not doing it to hurt you. They did it because they felt it was the right thing to do for you at the time. Even just 20 years ago, attitudes about circumcision were still in the “it should be done as a matter of course” phase. That has changed a lot since then, but your parents (and the majority of people in the world) were pressured by society’s norms to do what they did. (Not to make light of what you are suffering, but it could have been worse: be glad your mother wasn’t pregnant with your at a time when thalidomide was prescribed for morning sickness).
I don’t think that either of your ideas is a good plan: both just continue to feed your anger and resentment. Your purpose of forcing your father to read articles about circumcision is a passive-aggressive act designed to hurt him (make him feel guilty) as a matter of revenge, and it won’t restore your foreskin. Hurting someone because you have been hurt results in an endless feedback loop of pain and suffering and only makes things worse, not better. Your mother already acknowledges what happened and, I believe, your father knows you’re upset, as well. That’s enough. (And, even if you found the doctor, what are you going to do? Yell at him? Try to hurt him, too? Pointless.)
Similarly, playing Skyrim as a way to express your anger and hurt will only make you feel more angry and more hurt.
Human beings have a tendency to respond to anger and pain with anger and pain. This, put simply, is why we have never-ending wars in the Middle East and Asia and it is why we have terrorists. I think you would agree that neither of these is a good thing, yet you are currently of the same mentality that leads to violence. It is the wise person (a rarity) who lets go of the past and looks, instead, toward the future.
Therefore, instead of trying to get back at people, focus your energies on doing something positive. The first thing you can do is join IntactAmerica’s efforts and help spread the word about the negative effects of circumcision. Do this as a matter of educating people, not striking back in anger.
But the other course I would recommend more highly is to do positive things in your life that have absolutely nothing to do with circumcision. Instead, they allow you to find something happy to do that gets your mind off of negative feelings. Join other organizations or causes and volunteer your services to make the world a better place. There are, quite literally, thousands of things you can do, depending on your interests. For example, I just read about the International Ocean Cleanup going on this September (and every year). Well, before I go into a long list of charitable and environmental exercises, I think you get the point.
In other words, to relieve yourself of your anger and bitterness, substitute it with positive and joyful activities and causes. Look forward, not backward.
Forgiveness is not an easy path. But you might start by buying your mother some flowers and giving both parents a hug. Tell them you understand they weren’t trying to hurt you and tell them you love them. You might be surprised how good this makes you feel.
Love, kindness, and forgiveness are the true cures for hatred and resentment.
It works. Trust me. Blessed Be,
Dear Papa Bear,
A friend of mine has recently discovered that he's bisexual, and because I was basically the first friend he had in the fandom, he turns to me for advice regarding his sexuality, among other things.
He's also been raised as a Christian from a Roman Catholic family. They haven't actually been to church for a while, but by the sounds of it, they do hold their faith dear to their hearts. Also, he told me that no matter what anyone tells him, he knows that "god loves him no matter what", so he clearly doesn't have any problem with being both a Christian and bi.
Unfortunately, his mother does. I'm not sure how, but she's discovered that he's a both furry and bisexual, and she's not happy about him being either. He told me that beforehand, she continuously told him that she loved him. Now, even though he told her all the right things when she wanted to know what being both furry and bi meant, she didn't want to believe any of it. And now, whilst he hasn't been kicked out of the house, it did result in him telling her he was planning to move out in the next few years.
Still, I gave him what advice I could, like suggesting that he should give her some time to come to her senses and perhaps realise he's still the same son she raised, as well as offered him countless links to organisations and helplines I thought he'd find useful (including one forhttps://www.gaychristian.net , just in case you were thinking of putting their link in your reply)
When I asked whether or not she believed sexuality was a choice, he told me that she thinks the fandom has made him bi. Whilst this is, of course, a ridiculous thing to believe, I didn't know how to answer. I told him that being a furry doesn't transform someone into being gay, bi, or whatever, and he completely agrees, but I didn't know what to say to back it up. Whilst I'm for certain that there have been clues in his past to say he likes both sexes, he's only discovered and accepted his sexuality since joining the fandom, so I didn't know what I could say that would prove the fandom hasn't made him this way.
So, my question is this... what can he tell his mum which will help him to defend the fact that he hasn't 'become' bi since joining the fandom, and that the way he feels is a perfectly natural way to feel?
Also, if you don't mind a small question on the side (pardon me for breaking your 'one question per letter' rule), I was thinking of writing an open letter to his mum as an attempt to give her a wake-up call. Would you recommend this? I want to tell her how I feel, but I don't want to accidentally make matters worse.
For a friend in need,
* * *
A very controversial and difficult topic is this. My own personal beliefs on it are actually still evolving somewhat. If you don’t mind a kind of wishy-washy answer, my current thinking is this when it comes to nature vs. nurture: it’s a bit of both. The debate has been ongoing among biologists, anthropologists, psychologists and other professionals forever and a day.
On the one paw, it is clear that nature created two sexes for human beings and that the purpose of this is for the two sexes to get together, mate, and produce offspring (it’s also true that this is not the only natural model for reproduction). It is, furthermore, true that sexuality exists not just for breeding but also for social bonding, which is why it is okay to have sex without necessarily having a goal of popping out a kid.
Another thing that is true is that homosexuality is found in nature. Some scientists theorize that the percent of homosexual animals in a species’ population increases as population increases (i.e., it is a method for keeping population explosions from occurring). To irritate a right-wing person, you might ask them if they think some whitetail deer “choose” to be gay (if they say yes, they would be saying that animals have free will and make intellectual choices, which would result in Winnie-the-Conservative-Pooh sighing, “Oh, bother!”)
To complicate things further, there is growing evidence that contamination in the environment is actually having an effect on people’s hormones and sexual development. One problem, for example, is that women on birth control pills are excreting hormones through their urine into toilets, which gets into the water supply, and has actually been blamed on causing young girls to become sexually mature earlier. Diet and pollution are clearly affecting girls (http://www.newsweek.com/2015/02/06/puberty-comes-earlier-and-earlier-girls-301920.html). There is also some evidence that young boys, while growing larger penises, are actually also having a harder time ejaculating and are becoming less fertile (low sperm counts). The effect of these hormones has been pronounced in fish (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-105466/Fertility-timebomb-drinking-water.html) and if it affects fish, it probably affects us, as well.
Anyway, in nature, it is the norm for a certain percentage of the population to tend toward homosexuality; environmental conditions can increase or decrease this percentage. A fascinating 2012 study (http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/scientists-think-they-have-found-out-why-people-are-born-gay141212/) explains how homosexuality can continue in a population, even though homosexuals don’t, usually, breed, and it also explains why twins can have one being gay and one being straight (some anti-gay people who feel it’s a choice have used twin studies to say it is not genetic—well, folks, here’s the reason why it still can be—science!)
That’s on a whole-population scale. Now, on the individual level, Papabear believes that no one is born 100% straight or gay. We tend to have proclivities toward one or another, and environmental factors can strongly influence them. Take me as an example. I didn’t realize I was gay for 40 years (though, in retrospect, there were clear signs). A big reason was I was never exposed (er, pardon that choice of word) to gay people except through the media, which portrayed all gay men as very effeminate, which didn’t appeal to me. The trigger came on the Internet, when I discovered gay bears: masculine homosexuals. I was hooked. That was my trigger.
Therefore, in one sense, your friend’s mother could be considered correct (though she likely didn’t reason it out the way I just did here) in that something like sexy furry art could “turn” or, more correctly, “trigger” a homosexual response. The difference is that his mother thinks this turns a straight person gay, but the truth is that it could awaken homosexual feelings that have always been present, but were hidden (either consciously or subconsciously).
And that’s how you explain it to her in a way she might understand. Whether she accepts this or not is up to her.
But here’s the more important point.
It shouldn’t matter one effing bit whether her son is straight, bi, pan, asexual, or gay. He’s her son, and she should love him no matter what.
Love the person.
As for writing to his mother yourself, I’m not sure I would recommend that. She will just think you are a gay furry trying to “recruit” her son and she will ignore the letter or, perhaps, even get angry by thinking her son put you up to it. So, no, don’t do that. Instead, talk to your buddy about this letter and see if it helps.
Wishing him luck!
I was miserable all my life until I met my one true love. Me and my boyfriend are both furries and we're in a good relationship.
My bf is a person who takes charge (i.e. He loves being the giver) in our relationship.
We've been very adventurous in the bedroom or should I say out of it. Me and my bf are into doing the deed outdoors and in the most unusual places, we've done it in car parks, forests, bouncy castles, in other friends horse stables, changing rooms, even once on a mechanical bull etc.
Just a few days ago me and him got into this simulator machine that replicates a roller coaster and we just made out and had sex in it. Best sex ever in my life.
But now dearest papa bear I like sex outside as he does but he likes being more adventurous than I do, but he wants to become even more adventurous, he's wanting us to go into forbidden places like an old school building with our old school uniforms on or we'd go to an abandoned hotel and he'd play a hotel manager and I'd play a customer he'd show me a room and before I know it we're on the double bed and I'm pulling at the headboard, that I don't mind but he wants us to get caught in public.
How can I talk him around? I don't mind being intimate outdoors because we're both up for it but its just he wants to push the barrier into getting caught by members of the public.
So how can I talk him out of this before we get caught?
* * *
While I think it’s terrific that the two of you are adventurous lovers, there is a limit to all things. The limit in the case of public sex has to do with the law. Both in England and in the United States there are laws that prohibit or put restrictions on having sex in places where others who don’t really want to see you doing carnal things may get a good look at it. While these rules have eased up a little in the 21st century, they still exist.
In England, laws about sexual conduct were updated in 2003 (long overdue as they remained Victorian until then), giving some grounds for things like nudists practicing their thing in private and also granting homosexual behavior the same rights as heterosexual behavior (in England it used to be illegal for homosexuals to have an orgy in a private home but perfectly legal for heterosexuals to do the same thing).
Laws about public decency are covered in England under The Sexual Offences Act and The Public Order Act. In essence, they say if you have sex where you can be seen and there is no expectation of privacy, you have committed a crime. (Note to American readers: the same sort of laws exist in the United States, but vary from state to state, including penalties; it is generally seen as a misdemeanor punishable for up to about $1,000).
Back to your boyfriend: what you need to do is point out to him that he is putting both of you at risk of being charged with a crime, especially if he wants you to get caught. Next thing you know, the two of you will be paid a visit by the nice guy named Bobby (a police officer).
I would hope that your boyfriend would not want the two of you in trouble (oh, and by the way, I’m a bit concerned that some of his fantasies may involve trespassing on property that may be abandoned but still isn’t permissible for you to enter). Hopefully, this is just because he’s unaware it is a crime (remembering that ignorance of the law does not exonerate you), and not because he deliberately wants to cause you trouble.
Again, I think it’s great to have an adventurous sex life, but the purpose of such laws is to protect the rights of others who may not appreciate it and could be offended and shocked by it. Keep your sex life private.
Hope that helps!
I am living with my boyfriend (who I will call Risuki) in his kind mother's house. We've been doing well so far, even having room to occasionally house a friend. Something has come up that has stressed me out to the point where distraction, fresh air, and meditation are not enough to calm my stress and anxiety. Risuki has an older sister who is married and has two toddlers. Apparently, they have to move back down to the house that I live in. I don't mind moving our mattress, computers, and everything else to one of the smaller rooms to make way, but I do mind them coming here because I hate them so g*****n much.
I dislike Risuki's older sister because, long story short and without too much detail, it was ultimately her decision that had my boyfriend sent to mental institutions multiple times, given medications for mental illnesses he never had and now has scars both mentally and physically from it. He is still healing from it, even though it's been at least 3 years since he's been out.
I despise his brother-in-law. I had said something that, while I didn't intend it to, sounded hateful about one of their family members and this man contacted Risuki and I on Facebook. What I assumed was just going to be a lecture turned out to be manipulation and downright awful behavior. He not only tried to tell a lie about something Risuki said about me with my back turned, but he tried to scare us into believing the cops were watching the house. This man scares me to a level where I feel like my life is being threatened by him.
I know this isn't about me. This is not my house, and they're not my family. However I cannot return to mine, for my mom doesn't even have a bed for me. I don't have friends nearby who would house me or my boyfriend. We don't have a vehicle yet, but we're planning on working some small jobs in web design and programming to earn some money.
I can't bring myself to talk about this to my boyfriend, as he was stressed out when he brought it up with me.
I suppose the question is, what do I do? I want to channel my inner dragon and not be so frightened, but I'm scared for my life as if I'll be slain. I'm sure he won't kill me, but I am afraid he can put me in a position where I'm helpless, alone, or even homeless. My boyfriend assured me that this wouldn't happen, but I can't help but feel that it's a major possibility.
-Roarar (age 21, Arkansas)
* * *
Sorry for the delay in writing you. A question: do you or your bf have ANY prospects for employment other than these small jobs you mention? I mean, regular employment? What education do you and he have?
This will help with my reply.
* * *
My boyfriend has a rather large plan in mind involving his programming skills, but he would probably prefer that I keep the details on it secret. Other than that, no. We're in a rural area with not much in the way of being hired elsewhere and his mother's car being the only vehicle available if she's not at work.
We both took one year of college, then had some scholarship problems and dropped. It's likely we'll go back in the future, but we want a more stable income before doing something like that.
* * *
Sometimes I receive letters from furries that sound as if they expect Papabear to have a Magic Bag of Tricks to pull out an amazing, pain-free, labor-free solution to a difficult problem. No such luck. There are two possible courses for you here: in the first course, you can try and resolve your differences with your mate’s sister and husband; in the second course, you fast track a way out of Risuki’s mother’s house and find your own place.
Let’s talk about Option 1 first. From my outsider’s view, since I don’t know you, Risuki, or his sister, is it possible that Risuki actually needed to go to a mental health facility? Such places are usually short on space, and they just don’t lightly admit someone because a family member says they are ill. Perhaps his sister thought she was doing the right thing. I’m sure it wasn’t pleasant for your boyfriend at all, and so he complains bitterly to you about the injustice of it all, but perhaps you should try to look at it from his sister’s viewpoint or, at least, more objectively. Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of; as with any other illness, it is not a person’s fault or failing and treatment sometimes can help. Is he on meds today? Has he recovered at all? You don’t say why his sister thought he should go there, so I need more information on that one. Instead of being so confrontational with his sister, try talking to her and understanding her point of view. This is not me taking her side, understand; this is me trying to make sure that you aren’t reacting angrily without really thinking this through. As for her husband, well, that could easily be a misunderstanding as well. Again, communication is key. As soon as you shut and lock that door so that no more communication occurs, there can be nothing but anger and bitterness (aka “channeling your inner dragon”). If you simply get pissed off, the situation will escalate and escalate, and you can imagine what the ultimate result would be. Anger is never a solution. The smart dragon reasons things out.
Oh, and where does Risuki's mother stand in all of this? How did she feel about him going to a hospital? Could she, perhaps, serve as mediator between the two sides?
Of course, there certainly is the possibility that Risuki’s sister and husband are simply unpleasant, ugly people. Such people do exist in the world, and in that case there is nothing much you can do about it, but you should try, first, to see if your relationship can’t be repaired.
If it can’t, then you certainly don’t want to remain where you are. That would be like having a Pandora’s Box in the kitchen waiting to be opened. All of you: you, Risuki, his sister, and husband, should not be living with Mom. Sadly, despite claims by the government that the economy has recovered, the reality is that the job market in the U.S. remains terrible, and the trend for children to move back in with parents has become commonplace.
It sounds like you need some help with strategies for moving out. You say you were both in college for a year (odd that you should both leave college simultaneously for the same reason), and I’m guessing your “scholarship problems” were related to your not keeping your grades up, since many scholarships are dependent on your doing well academically (also guessing that neither of you were on a sports scholarship). I will tell you frankly right now that no company is going to hire Risuki for his “programming skills” without a college degree or at least some kind of certification. I’m also highly suspicious of anyone who says they have “secret” plans for making an income. Frankly, that sounds either illegal or absurd to my ears.
To get a job as a computer programmer, you need one of two things (or both): a college degree OR an impressive portfolio of projects you have accomplished that you can show to prospective employers. These are what employers are looking for. You might ask about certificates. Good question. Getting certified in one of the many disciplines in programming can be done fairly quickly, and then you get a snazzy paper that declares you are “certified” in C++ or whatever. However, the reality is that the whole business of certificates is mainly a money-maker for lame mall colleges and diploma mills such as Kaplan “University” (such places should be outlawed, IMO; always check out schools to see if they are legitimate before enrolling). They can cost a lot and, in the end, probably won’t get you a job or even qualify you for one (here’s a great article about that).
Another option is the government. Places like the NSA, FBI, and CIA are in constant need of people who are skilled in Internet security, and they don’t, frankly, give a damn about college degrees. The government is hiring people as fast as it can who know about hacking and how to stop it. If this is a skill you or Risuki have, then you are golden. The government will even forgive a criminal record if you can show them you can stop places like China and Russia from hacking into their databases (http://www.fastcompany.com/3000879/nsa-wants-hackers-and-it-wants-them-its-side).
That aside, there actually are other certification courses in other fields that you could explore, offering you a quicker way to get an education in a high-paying field. Here is a list of great jobs you can get without a college degree.
Other options: if you are interested in teaching, there is a program for college loan forgiveness if you become a teacher at an inner-city or other poor school system; and, there is always the military, which offers programs to help you save for college. This might sound dangerous, but if you’re a programmer you’re probably not going to be put on the front lines and shot at. There are lots of behind-the-scenes jobs in the military. You will, however, have to get through basic training.
Anyway, if college is not an option, the best thing Risuki (and you, if you can program, too) is to get jobs doing unique and challenging projects that require you to come up with unique solutions. Build up that portfolio and show it to potential employers (which will mean moving out of your rural, isolated Arkansas home, of course, since that’s not exactly Silicon Valley).
You also need to get some income now. Since you obviously have an Internet connection (or else I wouldn’t be reading your letter), you should go online and check out two sites offered by the State of Arkansas: Arkansas Joblink and the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, both of which are intended to expedite job searches for people such as yourself. Take advantage of the programs your state has to offer, including those listed here:
North Arkansas College (NAC)
South Campus at 1515 Pioneer Drive; North Campus at 1320 Spring Road; Center Campus at 303 N. Main, Harrison, AR 72601, 870-743-3000
Provides a wide variety of vocational classroom training courses plus freshman and sophomore level class for transfer to a four-year college. Day and night classes are available.
Educational Opportunity Center (NAC)
303 N. Main, (North Arkansas College Center Campus), Harrison, AR 72601, 870-391-3129 or 870-391-3130 or 1-800-257-8690 outside of Harrison.
9 am to 4 pm Monday-Friday, other hours by appointment.
Provides information about available resources which can assist adults age 19+ in obtaining post secondary education. Administers assessment, career interest inventory. Assists with applications to post secondary schools and for financial aid.
Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS)
2126 Capps Road, Harrison, AR 72601, 870-741-6107
8 am to 4:30 pm Monday-Friday
Helps needy families meet their basic needs by providing assistance with TEA, food stamps, Medicaid, children and family services issues, day care, aging and adult services, developmental disabilities and services for the blind and disabled.
Arkansas Rehabilitation Services
705 W. Sherman, Harrison, AR 72601, 870-741-7153
8 am to 4:30 pm Monday-Friday
Provides assessment, testing, and other activities that help put persons with disabilities to work by providing counseling, training and job placement.
Northwest Regional Housing Authority
114 Sisco, Harrison, AR 72602, 870-741-5522
7 am to 5 pm Monday-Friday
Provides rental assistance based on household income. Family Self-Sufficiency Programs helps people become free from assistance through education and employment. Serves Boone (except Harrison), Baxter, Carroll, Madison, Marion, Newton and Searcy counties.
Ozark Share & Care
105 Highway 62-65 Bypass, Harrison, AR 72601, 870-741-3130
Office (Emergency assistance) 1-4 pm Monday-Thursday.
Thrift Store 9 am to 4:30 pm Monday-Friday, 9 am to 4 pm on Saturday.
Provides emergency assistance such as food, rent, utilities, gasoline, medicines, clothing, car seats, coats, fans, USDA commodity distribution to 13 smaller pantries. Holiday food boxes and gift program for needy children in Boone County.
Serves young people between the ages of 16 and 24 by providing them with free basic education training and vocational training. Live on campus while you attend training.
You don’t need to search jobs on your own. Take advantage of the many services out there that can help you and your boyfriend. And! if you are so inclined, also consult with local churches about assistance programs and even job help. Some churches are actually good at helping those with low income or who are unemployed (churches vary a lot, so hopefully you have a good one nearby). And still another option! The Salvation Army, which is an outstanding organization willing to help anybody. Talk to them as well.
I hope at least some of this helps you and Risuki. Time to take charge of your life and not let circumstances (such as lack of control concerning with whom you live) rule you.
I'm afraid my life has been turned upside down.
Me and my girlfriend were a happy couple of furries. It was love at first sight and we immediately felt happy about each other. We were together 10 years, and when we were old enough we had sex. We grew into a happy couple; sadly, though, the relationship came to an unexpected ending.
My girlfriend, who is a husky in the furry world, went to a furmeet (I couldn't go because of other commitments) and she met a guy as a fox. They got on really well, and when I did meet him we became best friends. We got on so well.
A while ago I found "certain human stains" on her husky headpiece and suit. She denied it, even though there was evidence. I asked her if she was having a relationship and she said no.
Yesterday (nearly 4 years after I first met him) I learnt that my girlfriend had been yiffing with him at furmeets and its destroyed me and its destroyed what relationship we had. She had been having an affair with him since we had gotten together.
Sometimes when I'm away she's had him over and they would suit up and just yiff. The hardest thing was that I caught them in the act when I came home early and found them in the forbidden act on top of my bed of plushies.
I confronted her and asked her why.
The only thing she said was that "We were never together, never an item, and I never loved you."
I considered our relationship over with and the fact I'd just been played by her has just devastated me. It devastated me more for the fact that she'd had sex with him before me and her had become intimate, so I'm was extremely concerned I could have caught something off him via her. I did get myself checked and I'm clear.
I never had an affair and I'm the one being punished.
My question, Papabear is what did I do wrong?
Lenmar Fox (age 21)
* * *
Sorry to hear such a bitter tale. Let’s cut to the quick: you did nothing wrong. Your formal girlfriend is, well, a female dog, shall we say, and I don’t mean her fursona.
Glad you got tested and the test came out well. To be safe, test again in six months. If (gods forbid) you contracted HIV it can take up to six months to show positively in a test, just FYI. (Another reminder to use condoms, which I’m surprised if you didn’t, given the risk of impregnating her).
Back to the former girlfriend. The reason I call her a female dog is that she led you on for ten years, making you believe that she cared about you. I suppose, if she didn’t love you, she was getting something out of this, such as money or help with something. It wasn’t sex, since she got that from her other lover. She sounds like a user, and the fact that she emotionally manipulated you for so long is, in my book, inexcusable.
Perhaps, if there is something you did wrong, it might have been getting in a serious relationship at age 11 (if I have my math right, you said you were with her 10 years and you’re only 21 now). It’s easy to make mistakes when you are very young and fall in with the wrong person. But now that this is happened, there are two ways this might go: you might become very bitter, never trusting anyone again and dooming yourself to a lonely life, or you will learn from the experience and do better next time. Often, looking back at the past, you will see things now (with your current knowledge of who the femme dog really is as a person) that you didn’t realize before. Signs you didn’t pick up on (because you were trusting and in love) that now you will recognize as evidence that she wasn’t really the loving mate you thought. Take inventory of these signs and learn to see them for what they are in the future next time you get into a relationship, which, hopefully there will be one.
And don’t think of the 10 years as wasted time. If you’re smart, there is a lot you can learn from it; also, I bet you had some fun times (even if she didn’t) that you can enjoy as happy memories.
Life is a learning experience, and you just got a big lesson. Be educated and move on. Oh, and if you haven’t already, tell that fox to go yiff himself, too.
Wishing you better love in the future.
I recently discovered I was a furry. I was always interested in anthro animals, but always denied that I was a furry.
The first person I told was my best friend, and she told me to take it slow, maybe don't go in public in my fur for about a month. She thought it was dangerous since I'm only 11. I took her advice, but I needed more information.
I looked all over the internet searching, "How young is too young to be a furry?" But that, unfortunately, did not give me anything. I was actually very excited when I saw that a 10 yr. old was also a furry! So, I need help coming out to my family.
First, my mother. She's a very optimistic, open-minded person. I'm just afraid she'll think I'm into the... more 'adult' side to furries.
Second, my father. He's a more conservative person. He usually has trouble trying to understand what I'm into, and thinks that I don't like him sometimes.
Lastly, my brothers. I have 2 brothers. We'll call one Bob. He's about 14 and HATES furries (and I'm not exaggerating). He often makes fun of them and always asks me if I'm a furry. My other brother (we'll call him Jack), often makes fun of things I'm into, such as anime or Japanese culture. But honestly, if he finds out, I don't think he could care less.
Thank you for the advice~! I really need it and hopefully will soon become another member in the fandom!
~Olive the Cheshire Cat (age 11)
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Welcome to the fandom :-) You don’t need to pay membership fees; you don’t need an ID card; you just gotta like furry! So, welcome!
Papabear is seeing your dilemma more and more. The problem is that many young people under the age of 18 are learning about furries, finding it awesome, and yet there is the “adult” aspect of it. I’ll give you a brief history of why this is (more details will be in my forthcoming book).
Anthropomorphism goes back to ancient times, so it is nothing new. There are many human/animal figures in mythology and literature. Much more recently, in the early 20th century, these characters, who populated things such as comic books and early movie cartoons, were called “funny animals.” Characters like Mighty Mouse and Krazy Kat (more recently, in films like Shawn the Sheep carry on this tradition) are clearly animals but they have human characteristics such as high intelligence. These comics and cartoons were intended for children. Later, in the 1940s, we got such characters as Bugs Bunny from Warner Bros. studios who were much more human-like, and even though the cartoons were for kids, they contained a lot of adult humor, too. Anyway, back in the 1980s (jumping ahead) some cartoonists decided that they wanted even more adult-themed animal characters. They characters became anthros—much more like people, walking erect etc.—and they put them in much more adult situations that contained a lot of violence and sex. “Omaha the Cat Dancer” is one of the more important of these comic book series, and you would also see adult stories in the Albedo and other series (Albedo had mature stories but generally didn’t have sexual situations).
Anyway, I won’t give you a longer story, but the furry fandom really evolved out of this tradition of anthro characters for the 18+ crowd. Things like furry conventions are, really, more adult oriented (though not sexually so, for the most part), though they do allow minors to attend with guardian supervision.
All that said, I need to point out that the fandom continues to evolve, and one of those steps in evolution should be to do a better job welcoming young ‘uns such as yourself into a world where they can have fun and feel safe. There are many things you can do and enjoy about being a furry that have nothing to do with the more adult aspects of it.
What you need to do with your parents is point this out to them. Many parents, once their kids say they are furry, go on the Internet and, sadly, it’s too easy to find furporn and they immediately conclude that the fandom is for sex perverts (sigh). One of the sections of my book will be devoted to how to have fun in the fandom that is G-rated.
My advice to you is to gather together information and websites that are G-rated and then explain to your parents that this is what you enjoy, that it is a hobby (I often compare it to being a Trekkie or Lord of the Rings fan), and that it is just for fun. An excellent site to show them is www.Furry4Life.org, which is pretty clean (unlike FurAffinity). Another really cool site is http://furry.today/ which regularly posts furry-related videos (clean stuff). As you explore the furry world, keep your activities transparent: that is, never hide stuff from your parents; the more they trust you that you are being honest with them and not secretive, the better it will be for you.
As for your brothers, who cares? Siblings are almost always nasty to each other at that age. It’s called “sibling rivalry,” and brothers and sisters will often pick on each other in a primitive effort to become Mom and Dad’s “favorite.” I wouldn’t waste time trying to educate them about furries because, frankly, anything you are interested in—furry or not—is potential ammunition for them to mock you. That’s what siblings do (not always, but very often).
The important thing to remember is that you are at a time in your life when you are discovering yourself. And it is more important for you to be yourself than to be a fake person who is just trying to please others, whether that is your brothers, your parents, or your friends at school.
What your furry experience will be is entirely up to you. I wish you a joyous and happy time in our community.
Three Apparently Unrelated Letters Actually ARE Related and Reveal an Unhealthy Submissive Personality
[Papabear note: the following is a somewhat unusual situation in which I am replying to three letters as a combined issue.]
Dear Pappa Bear,
How do I figure out what signals I'm sending when I'm in public? I am perfectly happy being a straight guy, but some of the gay guys I know have recently started advancing on me, and I don't know why. I know one of them was hated by many people, so I tried to be friendly, but no more than I am to anyone else, but he wanted to go on dates and give...adult services shall we say, and this and that after I made no notion of wanting these things. I only know 5 gay guys total, 2 of which have acted strange around me, and I really want some help! ..........please.
Soren (age 18)
This isn't related to my previous question from earlier today, but a rather simple and silly plea for advice. Sorry for bugging you. :(
Let me start with a simple background. I am a slightly confused individual on a quest to discover myself. I have always found certain things to be a big turn-on, and I am always discovering more and more. There seems to be no end. My problem is this: even though some things turn me on to fantasize about, the thought of them in real life makes my stomach upset. I am actually, quite simply, and rather sadly, too much of a germ-o-phobe to enjoy sex. If I...have to give an example...
The fantasy of me laying between someone's legs and licking them out is hot, but the thought of what I might taste or smell is...well, revolting. I can find no balance, aside from straight up cock to c*nt action. Am I cursed to never enjoy my fantasies because of my fears, or are my fears rational and I have them for a reason?
Looking forward to your take on this, as I am on a quest to find myself and I will not give up. No matter what.
Soren (age 18)
Dear Papa Bear,
I know I write too much, but you have really helped others out and I need some serious help right now. For the sake of saving space, I've typed up everything that's going on in this article. http://www.furaffinity.net/journal/6982426/
I don't have money for any kind of therapist, I don't have time to meditate every day. And I'm not sure how else to get rid of my depression. I am beginning to question a lot about myself...Please help however you can. And thanks in advance.
-A needy, pathetic, depressed furry.
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[And here is the FurAffinity post]
Dear readers, furries, friends, and others alike. I am sorry to say, I am in a low place right now, and I really need some comfort. I have done some stupid things recently, and it caused a backlash from my two closest friends who's names will be left out (my master and mistress). I don't want to make people worry, I'm not stupid enough to think about suicide or anything, just keep me in your hearts and on your minds if you can. I am starting to question my life choices, my fursona, my job...I want the pain to end, but maybe I'm meant to feel it for a while.
If you don't know, I am a pet fox. I act out the role of a sheltered, yet slightly perverted, noob who doesn't know much of anything and who gets by on nothing but his friends. Not entirely untrue...
Last night, (20/08/2015) I was playing with my mistress' coat, and accidentally hurt her. She beat me for it, and I deserved it. I tried to be quiet and let any wounds heal between us for a while, and the she started asking me if I was alright. I said I wasn't sure, cause I had a lot on my mind, and she said it was bound to happen because I was a pet, and I do things that get me beat. Now, it's important to note that I'm only a pet because they pet me and it feels really good. She hasn't pet me in two weeks, and for the first time in months she is saying I have to ask for it, which I'm not good at, and she knows it. I finally just said "screw this pet thing", and I left. Before I was gone I heard her say she would just pet someone who really wanted it.
That exchange nearly killed me on the inside...
I'm also tired of being a fox, for some stereotypical reasons. I think foxes are over-sexualized, and too horny for their own good. I used to be a wolf, but I got tired of that too for different reasons. Why can't I find a fursona to stick with? Why is it so hard? Why does my depression get me in so much trouble? When will I get over it? Can anyone help me? I want to make things right with my mistress, I want to get better at being a good pet, I want a fursona I can actually get used to and like. Please send all the help you can find, my emotional state is getting worse by the hour...
Soren Swifttail (for now)
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[And now my reply]
Thank you for your emails. I’m going to address them all at once because I believe they are related, really. I’m glad you shared that FurAffinity post, because it explains a lot.
It is evident to me that you have been suffering from a poor sense of self, which has resulted in your being overly subby (becoming a pet to a master and mistress). My bet is that your self-image was damaged early in life by a less-than-happy childhood and (probably) demanding and domineering parents. This led you to the world view that to be loved meant to be subjugated by more dominating personalities.
As to your first letter: because you are subby, you may easily be sending out signals of a somewhat effeminate personality which is then being misread by some gay guys as your being gay.
As to your second letter: your need to be subjugated and, hence, “loved,” is interpreted in your fantasy life as doing submissive things, such as performing oral sex or rimming the anus. When you fantasize of such things, in other words, your subconscious mind interprets it as love, which gives you a high. However, you wouldn’t do it in real life because those types of sexual acts are actually repugnant to you (by the way, the key to enjoying anal rimming is good hygiene, but that’s another letter).
As for your third letter: what you are experiencing that is leading to your depression is known as “cognitive dissonance.” This is the state of stress we experience when we have two sides of ourselves battling it out over opposing beliefs and feelings. You believe that in order to experience love you must be submissive, a good pet; but, on the other hand, your conscious self is rebelling against this. You don’t actually like being beaten and made to feel less than a person—a fox, if you will. The resulting conflict makes you miserable because you don't know how to resolve it.
What you are experiencing is an awakening, and I can’t tell you how proud I am of you right now that it is dawning on you that you are more than a pet fox.
First step: do not do not do not fool yourself into thinking you are “hurting” your mistress and master. Someone who physically or mentally abuses you is not a good person, and you should not feel ashamed, sad, or guilty for breaking away from them. Your mistress's snide remark that she'll just find a new pet is proof she is not worthy of your affection.
DO stop being a pet.
DO stop being so subby.
DO stop feeling like you have to perform sex acts or be petted etc. to be loved. (The position of lying on the back, belly exposed, is the ultimate expression of animal submission).
DO start finding out who you really are and that you are a person who deserves to be treated as an equal before the eyes of all people.
So, when you conclude in your last letter that you want to make up with your mistress and be a good pet, Papabear’s advice to you is that is the absolute last thing you should do. You need to get away from that lifestyle and that culture because it will swallow you whole.
You need to surround yourself with people who care about you and who don’t use you. You need a much better self-image than what you have currently, and it looks like that is beginning to dawn on you.
I hope this helps, and I feel I’ll be hearing from you again, so don’t be afraid to write.
P.S. Papabear is aware that there is a community out there who are into the master-pet thing. You might believe that, by the above, I’m against such practices. Allow me to correct you: I am against the practice in this particular case; I do understand, though, that it works for some people. Thanks.
I must be honest I only found out about you today, but seeing some of the things fellow furries have asked you and seeing your responses, I immediately have huge respect for you and I'd like to say that I appreciate what you are doing. (especially to the recent suicide note, I am extremely sorry for the experience you had to go through Jean, I am here for you if you need any help because I'm also from South Africa :3)
In South Africa, the furry population isn't the largest so I personally have only chatted to furries over the internet and not in person.. Anyways I was wondering a couple of things about the furry fandom you can clear up for me.
1. I know usually the adult or "yiff" part of the furry fandom is frowned upon, but is it "wrong" to enjoy those kind of things within moderation of course?
2. I know that most furries are simply into artwork, but being a furry can entail (excuse the pun_ many different things depending on the person. I believe that my fursona is something which I want to be in real life if possible, and that I kinda am a furry "trapped" inside a human body if that makes sense. I'm wondering if that is common in the fandom or is it "strange". What does being a furry mean to you?
I am still relatively new to the fandom and I am still discovering myself in life, and well.. I'd like to know some more information if possible. Again thanks so much for all of the time, effort and work you have put into helping furries like myself, I appreciate you so much
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I’ve been getting more and more letters like yours asking about the nature of furry, what it entails, and on and on. It makes me realize more how I have to get my tail moving on the book I am writing about the fandom (it’s coming!)
I could go on and on about how the fandom got where it is today and what it means to be furry these days, but that’s what the book’s about! It’s also a guide to the fandom (everything from how to run a furry business to how to perform in a fursuit and more). For now, let’s just focus on your two questions.
1. Whether or not “yiff” is frowned upon depends entirely on whom you ask. Some furries have no problem with it, and others feel offended by it. The fact is that it is part of the fandom and not going anywhere. The whole idea of anthros and furries evolved in the 1980s when certain artists and writers decided that what was then “funny animals” cartoons should have a more adult spin. This gave us everything from “Omaha the Cat Dancer” to “Associated Student Bodies” to the more in-your-face furporn you often see online. The difference between something like Omaha and the gratuitous sex in, say, an issue of Genus, is that the former include sex as part of the story while the latter is basically just a bunch of sexy images to get someone aroused. Is it “wrong” to be aroused by such things. Of course not. Sexuality is a part of human nature. Everyone has sexual fantasies of one sort or another, and if you get excited by an anthro character in the buff, that’s fine. As you say, if it’s in moderation, it’s okay. You only get into problems when sex becomes an addiction that interferes with the rest of your life, a topic I’ve written about before in this column.
2. Quite a few furries, including yours truly, feel like we don’t really belong in human bodies. At one end of this spectrum are therians (people who transform physically or spiritually into other animals—e.g. werewolves) and otherkin (people who feel they are elves, dragons, and other creatures considered by most humans as mythological or simply not human) to the other end of the spectrum where people just long to be other animals but know they (currently) are human. I’m more on the spiritual side of this in that I feel that the grizzly bear is the most prominent of my spiritual guides on my Medicine Wheel.
Furries are a diverse group. Some are artists, some are gamers, some are fursuiters, some are writers, some are more into the spiritual side of it. It has become a very complex group of people. The neat thing is that you can make of furry what you want. Remember: do not let anyone try to tell you “a furry is this and a furry is not that.” Don’t worry about defining it. Just be it.
My parents have always been good parents. They're never too strict, but they're always there to tell me and my older sister what’s right and what’s wrong, and punish us when we need to be punished and all that good parenting stuff. I don't have very many friends, only 3 actually. Not because I’m shy, or because I don't feel like anyone likes me, or anything like that. Just because my school, well, isn't the best, and it's just really hard to find the right crowd to hang out with (I'd rather have a few really amazing friends then have a whole bunch of mostly bad ones.), and because I’m just used to having time to myself, so having a lot of friends might be overwhelming for me. Summer is about to end for me soon, and I really want to make plans to hang out with them sometime, but the problem is that they're all male. My parents don't mind me being friends with guys at all, but they don't like the idea of me being at their houses (even with their parents watching us), or them being at our house. I think it may be that they caught my older sister having a boyfriend when she was in 6th grade, or that my mom chose to get married to her ex husband at only 16 (she lived in Puerto Rico at the time, and its legal there). I’ve never really shown any interest, and I don't have any interest on dating anytime soon. I'm staying clear of that until I feel that I’m ready. A few months ago, I found that I was pansexual (I knew I didn't really care about anyone's gender since third grade, but I didn't know the right word) I told my mom and she said "okay" in a very sarcastic voice, and my dad did the same, so I guess they don't believe me? Its better than them not accepting it, but still.. It really upsets me that they don't trust me to not do anything bad with my friends, and that they don't think that I’m 'really' pansexual. How do I get my parents to trust me enough to hang out with my friends??
Anonymous (age 13)
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Dear Little Furiend,
Oh, yes, parents can be frustrating, can’t they? Sounds a bit like “Do what we say, not what we did when we were your age, no?” You sound like a wise young ‘un to Papabear, though. You realize the value of a few good friendships over a large clique of peers, and you are already mature enough to know that time alone can be valuable, and you seem at peace with yourself, and yet only thirteen!
I’d say you are quite remarkable.
Not to get you too big for your britches (because teens often believe themselves smarter than their parents), but it is possible at times for younger generations to achieve more wisdom than their elders. Keeping in mind that your parents love you and only want what’s best for you, it is time for you to exercise a little patience.
While you sound wise, you are still inexperienced. It may be that, while you are smart enough not to do anything stupid, you might also be a bit too trusting of others. The group of boys you want to hang out with are, well, young guys, and sometimes even good people get into a kind of group think (mob mentality) that could put you at risk. I don’t know these fellows you wish to hang out with, but I do agree with your parents that hanging out with them by yourself could actually be risky.
You are wise about yourself; now the harder lesson is to be wise about others. Sad as it is to say, other people usually don’t have your best interests in mind; they are interested in themselves. That’s not true of all people, of course, but it is true of enough people to make life risky if you are too trusting (I’ve been burned by people I thought were friends on several occasions and it has cost me a lot of grief).
I believe, though, that your parents are going a leeeetle bit overboard by not allowing you to, say, have a party at your house while they are there. It seems that an adult-supervised birthday or other such party would be completely fine. What happens when you have a birthday? Are you allowed to have guests? Try this: ask your parents if you can have a party, invite those three close friends of yours and just a couple of the other guys. Mix it up a little. Over time, try to slowly increase your parents’ comfort zone by having more gatherings and continue to mix up the guest list, letting your parents get to know these other people so they are more comfortable with them.
As for announcing you are pansexual, well, that might have been a bit much for them to hear when you are just thirteen. They weren’t ready for it. For now, don’t trouble them with that. Continue to learn about yourself through reading and, yes, even some meditation. It is too early for you to have an active sex life, so really you don’t need to announce this to the world, yet. You might even discover, through time, that your ideas about sex change. Now, if by pansexual you mean that when it comes to intimate relationships you are not talking about sex but simply very close bonds and it doesn’t matter if that bond is with a boy or a girl, then that is something you can explore, too, without having to feel obligated to put it in your parents’ faces just yet. Obviously, when it comes to sex and intimacy, they are quite conservative. Be patient with them.
And we are back to patience. One of the most valuable lessons you will learn in life is the value of patience. They say “Patience is a virtue,” but that is a saying that really makes things too neat and pat. Patience is perhaps the most difficult, arduous skill you will ever learn. And it is even more difficult at your age when you are active and want to do do do things. But I do urge you to learn it. You are going to spend the next few years in your parents’ home, under their rules and restrictions (and it is good you value rules and understand them), so now is the perfect time for you to be patient.
Instead of focusing so much on the future, learn to appreciate where you are right now. Thirteen can be a wonderful age. It is a time to learn about life, who you are, what you enjoy doing. Relationships are great, and they are important, but take this time to discover your strengths and weaknesses and to find something you really enjoy and love doing and being. Life isn’t about getting a career, making money, raising a family. Life should be about discovering who you are and what is truly valuable about life and to appreciate the living, breathing universe around you.
As for your parents, they need to learn about you one thimbleful at a time. Don’t dump a heavy bucket of truth on them all at once; they need to be slowly eased into it with all the patience you can muster.
Good luck, dear.
I am dating this girl but my mother doesn't want me to date anyone. She tells me to date when I'm older but I think it's unfair. I don't want to keep her a secret. I speak to her on Skype but my mother is always around so I tell her I'm speaking to a friend.
Zozo (age 16)
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There is tremendous pressure for people your age to date and have girl- and boyfriends. There’s probably also a lot of pressure at your school to have a girlfriend, yes? Do some of your friends make fun of you because you don’t have a girlfriend?
You’re no doubt aware of the risks taken when young people get together alone and things get a bit carried away. I’m not going to give you a birds and bees lecture, but you’re mother is no doubt concerned about this. Of course, you’re likely confident that you can date a girl without having sex. Not knowing anything about you, I can’t predict how well or how poorly you control your hormones, but one could imagine that if an opportunity afforded itself where the two of you were alone, the kissing became passionate, and the condoms absent, trouble could ensue.
Another factor here is your mother’s past, believe it or not. If she, for instance, became pregnant at an early age and/or the man who got her pregnant abandoned her and her child, she’s going to try her darndest not to let the same thing happen to you, whether or not you feel such fears are justified.
Sneaking around will get you caught, eventually. Your mother is likely suspicious and will be closely monitoring you. Her house, her rules, as the saying goes. But please look upon her actions as being motivated not to be a controlling jerk to you but, rather, because she loves and cares about you and wants you to have a happy future, which can be very difficult if you have children when you are a teenager.
The solution is the opposite of your current strategy: instead of secrecy, you should be completely transparent about your behavior and activities. This will help build trust, and with trust, generally, comes a loosening of the leash. Key to this is to have an open dialog with your mother and to establish ground rules about dating. As a conversation breaker, here is an excellent article from Parenting magazine about allowing teens to date and what to do (some quizzes are included).
I know you’ve had a conversation before, but it was probably more confrontational than constructive, am I right? Something like, “Mom, all my friends are dating; why can’t I? You’re not being fair!” and so on. In your conversation, acknowledge right away that you recognize your mom has only your best interests in mind and that you know she loves you and that you love her. Ask her to have a conversation with you and to discuss her fears and hopes for you. Listen to her; don’t argue at this point. Show her the linked article, and just ask her to talk with you about it.
As you progress, discuss rules about dating that she will be comfortable with, such as curfews and, perhaps, checking in with her by phone occasionally. Also, start with your going to group functions such as parties where girls will be allowed and that are supervised by adults. Approach things gradually and give your mother time to become comfortable with the fact that you are a healthy soon-to-be-adult who needs to learn the ropes of having a relationship (can you imagine being an adult of 30 or more and not knowing how to date properly?) Have her recognize that allowing you to date is part of being a good parent and that her participation in it is not only expected but appreciated. Ask her for advice on dating, and don’t ignore what she says. She is, after all, a woman and knows what women are looking for.
My parents didn’t give me much input on dating, and boy was I bad at it! You have the opportunity to learn from your elders and be good at dating! Take advantage of it while you’re young.
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.