You may remember me emailing you a few months back about this same issue. I guess I've come back to ask for a little more guidance.
I've been struggling with my fetish for about a year now, and it's gotten worse as of late. I've seemingly got rid of my will to stop looking at it, but I feel I need to stop. It consumes my thoughts almost everyday, popping up when I take a math test. Showing up when I'm with my friends. Everyday when I come home, I almost immediately try to look at images of my fetish. It's like clockwork, and it has spiraled into an addiction.
I know that this is something that I can't control, and it may never go away. I fear it's ingrained in me. But, I just feel like I need to get a hold on it and try to maybe phase it out. I just don't know how. Cold Turkey is almost impossible. I've only succeeded for a long period of time once. Every other try just feels shallow and I know I'm going to fail. I'm running out of options. This fetish has consumed me since I was in elementary school, and now I just want it out of my life.
If you can offer any help, I would be happy to hear it.
* * *
I was considering suggesting aversion therapy for you, but then I read an interesting article about sexual fetishes in Psychology Today in which the author of the article said that there really is no cure for a sexual fetish and that, indeed, as long as the fetish isn't harmful (e.g., some kind of violent fetish) we shouldn't treat it as a problem to be "cured" at all. Sexuality is a very diverse preference, and there is such a variety of different things (objects, behaviors, sensations) that turn on certain people that is practically impossible to categorize them all.
The fetish really isn't the problem. The problem might be your being obsessed with it to the point of it interfering with your life. This is like, say, gambling. If you go to a casino every once in a while because you enjoy playing craps or blackjack and you lose a few bucks now and then, it's not really a problem. But, if you become a gambling addict and lose your savings, your job, and your family, then that is a problem.
Here is what I would suggest you do, then. Do not try to eliminate your preference from your life. It is okay to enjoy chubby people. That is nothing to be ashamed of. However, try to gradually lessen the amount of time you spend looking at it and thinking about it so you can concentrate on school and daily life. (One reason you find yourself so focused on sex is because, let's face it, you're 16 and your hormones are raging, which is perfectly normal).
Okay, so how do you lessen the time you think about it? When people go on a diet, one way to make it more tolerable is to occasionally allow yourself a treat. For example, my husband and I are on a low-carb diet now, but once a week we treat ourselves to some carbs, such as pasta at an Italian restaurant. Then you don't feel so deprived. You can do something similar with your chub lust. Schedule times to focus just on your interest. Start with twice a day: once in the morning (common to have morning wood, especially when you are young) spend 10-15 minutes looking at chub porn, and then do so again in the evening for the same amount of time. When you feel that is working for you, reduce this to once a day, then once every two days, then once every three days. Eventually, get yourself down to once or twice a week. This way, you don't feel deprived and can get some release. It is important to schedule these sessions at definite times of the day. Adhering to a schedule will help form a habit, and habits are easier to stick with.
Now, during all those other times when you are not jacking to your favorite images, you need to stay focused on the task at hand, whether that is school, or chores, or socializing with friends. To do this, remove distractions. A BIG one is probably your phone or the Internet on your computer. Keep away from these things while you study for a test and even when going out with friends (I know, people these days hang with friends and look at their phones, but I have always felt this was rude). Pay attention to the people you are with (teachers, colleagues, family) and not the phone. Here is a helpful article on improving your ability to concentrate.
In summary: Don't feel ashamed about your sexual interests. There is nothing wrong with you. However, take steps to reduce the amount of time you think about your sexuality by setting up a schedule that gradually reduces your time on this behavior, while not eliminating it entirely, and work on increasing your ability to concentrate on other important aspects of your life. You don't have to ban this sexual interest. It is just part of who you are. You just have to keep it from playing such a dominant role in your life.
[Papabear Note: This is a special column that is, I feel, relevant to many furries, including myself. As I have noted before on this website, yours truly has struggled a lot with depression and negativity. I have sought ways to alleviate this to mixed success. A notion started to form in my head that has been supported by some articles I have written in psychology journals that being unhappy and feeling sorry for oneself can actually create a feedback loop that becomes addictive. This feedback is bolstered by social media, where we post about how sad we are and poor me and we get reinforcement from friends, family, and acquaintances that actually make us feel better about being sad. We get attention. We get validation. Now, of course emotional support from our friends and family is important and helpful in a crisis, but sometimes it can lead to a state in which one actually prefers feeling sad and negative than happy and positive because it gains them attention, easing loneliness. This can backfire, too, when it becomes off-putting to your social circle. It is, to say the least, a complicated issue. The following is an excerpt of a conversation I've been having with a furry (who shall remain anonymous). I'm only publishing this small part of it to make my point.]
I just take rejection very hardly. It gets me really painful. VERY PAINFUL. It's not like I never was rejected, it's that I was rejected a lot, as much that even a single acceptance would be insignificant for me. I used to be bullied when I was in elementary school, as well as I was bullying others myself, after that I got sent to a mental hospital... where I was diagnosed with autism and later rediagnosed with schizophrenia... All because I faked having hallucinations which were merely intrusive thoughts about a guy who used to bully me... I didn't tell my psychiatrist that I was bullied because if I would tell there will be problems, and I didn't want them... I ignore positive things in my life and focus on negatives a lot. Because the pain I feel from negativity is bigger than the pleasure from positivity. No wonder why I get hurt when people block me, and tell me that I'm a stalker and that I should leave them alone.
I have actually a lot of online friends but very few offline friends. Even they aren't that significant to me because I'm insensitive to positive emotions, but very sensitive to negative...
If I only could have a magic wand, I wish I could feel positive emotions just like a cat would taste sweet after it... Focusing on positive emotions is very important for friendship maintaining... If I only were able to feel positive emotions which is necessary to focusing on them, nobody would ever block me... (cries)
* * *
It seems pretty clear to me that you have an unhappiness addiction, especially when you say you get more stimulation from negative emotions than from positive ones. This is compounded, obviously, by your autism. You are also doing yourself no favors by not telling your therapist everything that is going on with you, which indicates you are sabotaging your own therapy in order to get off on feeling bad.
Yes, sadness addiction is a thing. Here are some possible reasons as written about Dr. David Sack in Psychology Today:
There are a number of possible explanations for this “addiction” to unhappiness:
There are two methods for overcoming your addiction: 1) seek professional help (and be HONEST with your therapist--otherwise they can't help you), and 2) seek ways to change your behavior yourself. You can do a few things to help yourself: 1) work on living in the moment, appreciating good things you have now and little things you experience that bring happiness; 2) keep a gratitude journal, writing down the things you appreciate and know you should recognize; 3) do not burden yourself with the problems of the world (I am guilty of this myself); you are just one person; instead, try to act locally and do things positive in your local community, for your friends, or for your family; 4) when you do something good, give yourself a little reward; eat a piece of cake or go do something fun like see a movie or go to a water park or the beach or the mountains; 5) practice mindfulness, yoga, meditation, connect to your spirit and to Nature; 6) redefine the values in your life; don't define "success" as having money, material things, job promotions; rather, foster friendships and love in your life.
The more you nurture the love and friendship and goodness in your life, the healthier these aspects will become and the weaker your addiction to unhappiness. You might have heard the old Native American story about the wise man who tells his son that there are two wolves fighting in each of us. One is evil and one is good. Which one will win? the son asks. The one you feed, answers the wise father.
Stop feeding your bitterness and unhappiness and begin feeding love, charity, hope, and friendship.
First off, I apologize if I sent a version of this letter that is similar. I had a problem with my browser.
So, seven days ago (October 20th) I was feeling bad, possibly depression-level bad. I ended up self-harming using a rather sharp boxcutter. I've only cut three different times, causing a few cuts each time. I cut on my upper thigh high enough that my boxers cover them well. I had been considering cutting for quite some time before my first session. It's a way to show control over myself and I've started to enjoy the pain afterwards. I'm willing to risk the scars.
Now, to my question. Is this a truly unhealthy, unmanageable behavior that I need to stop? I don't want to stop.
AFoxThatIdentifiesAsADoggo (age 15)
* * *
Thank you for your important letter. Cutting and self-harm is a subject I have touched on in other columns, but now I get to do so directly, so this is something that is good to add to the “Ask Papabear” column.
Cutting, by its very nature, is not healthy, but it is understandable and treatable. It is also quite common. Statistics show that nearly 1 in 5 Americans have harmed themselves in this manner at some point in their lives. Typically, self-harm occurs during adolescence.
There are a couple reasons why people cut themselves. One, as is the case with you, is depression or anxiety. If you are in a situation where you can’t express those feelings openly to others (family etc.), cutting affords a kind of release of emotional tension. The pain caused by cutting also distracts one from emotional pain, which provides some relief.
Another reason for cutting is self-punishment. People who feel unworthy of love and compassion become angry at themselves and feel they deserve pain. I don’t think this is what is going on with you, however. I think the former is more likely. I also don’t believe you are in danger of committing suicide; such drastic acts are usually not part of the self-cutting paradigm.
Answering your question, any time you cause trauma to your body, it’s not a good thing. It would be best if you stopped. You don’t want to stop because cutting yourself is offering you relief from your psychological and/or emotional pain.
The best solution, therefore, is to figure out what is causing that pain and put an end to it. You don’t explain what is causing it, so I would need more information there. You will stop cutting once you stop your emotional pain. This might come with a personal revelation, or with help from a therapist, or simply by outgrowing the need to cut.
Hope this helps. Feel free to write again if you wish to discuss what is really going on behind the cutting.
Hello, Papa Bear!
I'm in my late twenties, and only started going to furry events earlier this year. Before I started hanging out with furs, my peer group was with nerdy gaming folk, and we mostly hung out to play pen and paper games and stuff like that. Lots of rules to follow and number crunching and stuff. And I always needed my wits about me, so "substances" were never even a consideration.
But now that I've been spending time around furs, I've learned to like liquor in the past few months. I've learned to like it a lot. I drink solely to get intoxicated, and once I hit that sweet spot, the feeling is almost transformative. I'm far less self-conscious, any social anxiety I have melts away, and I always seem to know what to say. I don't second guess myself, or hesitate when talking about touchy subjects, or overanalyze things. When I've got a good buzz going, and I'm in a social situation, the right words just flow out of me effortlessly. I've forged friendships and made connections that I can't imagine would have happened had I not been drinking. And with multiple (!) furry-friendly bar meetups in the area, it's easy to put myself in a situation where drinking is very much acceptable.
According to other furs, I've never been "drunk." Never slurred, never staggered, never had issues with my coordination. I respect the BAC chart, and I set timers for how long I need to wait before I can drive safely. I try to be as responsible as possible. And I've been told by furs that I should only experiment with my limits at home, in a safe setting, which sounds reasonable enough to me. If I make myself sick, I can just sleep it off—and make a note of it in my drinking journal, which is (believe it not) a thing I actually keep.
But where my responsibility falters is where drinking at home is concerned. When I've got an evening with nothing planned, I love to knock back a couple drinks, and keep feeding that buzz with more liquor when I feel the effects waver. I'm able to hop in chats with other furs, either local or global, and talk about naughty stuff that would normally make me uncomfortable. And once I start drinking, I don't stop until it's time for me to get some sleep. Even though it's what I'd consider light drinking (usually within the legal limits for driving, actually—I’m a lightweight, and my alcohol tolerance is exceptionally low,) I end up consuming a lot of alcohol over many hours in an evening. And when I empty a 1.75 liter bottle of vodka in less than a week, I'm inclined to believe there's a problem.
So, where do I go from here? I feel like I'm on the road to a substance abuse problem. I've tried cutting myself off the liquor temporarily, and though I've been successful in meeting the sobriety goals I occasionally set for myself, it doesn't stop me from getting cravings. I've got this real dangerous complex where I like myself more when I've got booze in me. But I also don't feel like I'm a heavy enough drinker where I should be looking into something so extreme as rehab, especially since I just "discovered" alcohol about 3 months ago. It feels like one of those things that most people figure out for themselves in their teens ... but because I totally missed out on that experience, I'm just now working things out, and the adult in me has a lot of concerns.
Thanks, Papa Bear. It feels weird having all these questions and concerns so late in my life, but maybe you can shed some light.
Anonymous (Riverside County, CA)
* * *
The easiest way to figure out whether or not you have a problem with an addiction (any kind of addiction) is to answer the following honestly:
If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then that is a sign you have a problem, indeed. Based on what you have written, I think you probably have said yes to a couple of these, at least. And you clearly sense you might have a problem. It doesn’t matter if it has only been a few months since you started drinking heavily. Addiction can arise very quickly.
The effects you’ve been feeling once you get that buzz going (less self-conscious, more confidence) is the result of one of alcohol’s known effects: lowering of inhibitions. This might feel really great, but it can also be dangerous and lead to poor judgment as a result of being more inclined to take risks. The “friendships” you are making with other drinkers probably aren’t the real friendships you need. It makes this bear rather sad that hanging out with furries has influenced you in this way.
Then there is the sitting at home and drinking heavily by yourself: also a very strong sign of addiction.
Furiend, you have a problem. Non-alcoholics do not exhibit the behaviors you have described to me. I’m glad that you have written to me. The first step is to recognize you have a problem. You do. Do you acknowledge that? It sounds like you do.
Next step is to stop drinking booze. Combine that with getting some support. I recommend you contact this site: http://www.addicted.org/riverside-addiction-treatment-services.html to get some phone support and to get your questions answered.
Please take care, and please contact the link above.
It's been a while since I wrote you. Thanks again for your patience with me back then. I still like to come back to your site since you always give great advice and things to think about. However in one of your last letters you said something that keeps bugging me:
“I think that a lot of furries get it (which is why it bothers me that too many of them anesthetize their brains with obsessive game play; some gaming is fine, but too much is a trap and a waste of life, and it also plays into the hands of the corporations seeking to suck people dry of their money).”
While I'm pretty sure you didn't mean it like that, to me it sounds like you were trying to say: „I think video games serve no purpose and keep mankind from evolving.“ That's why I wanted to give my opinion on that topic.
Are video games a waste of time? Yes, they are. Just like watching football games, going to cons, playing board games, drawing/writing without charging any money or reading books without any productive content. While all of these things sure are fun and might bring people together (just like video games), they don't serve any actual purpose except to kill time and to escape reality. We humans simply have too much time to spend after all.
Video games CAN cause addiction, that is true, just like many other things. But the definition of video game addiction is still pretty vague. For example there are people who play four hours a day and are not classified as addicts. Most of those people have some other problems which they try to escape, but the games are not the source of these problems. If there were no video games in this world these people would find another way to anesthetize themselves.
Yes I know, there are always exceptions, but saying video games keep us from evolving is like saying shooter games are the cause of homicides (which has been disproved many times already, but people still tend to think so).
Are video games sucking people dry on their money? Unfortunately that has become very true over the last few years, many game companies have stopped caring about the quality and only care about the profit, especially companies like EA. That's why most of my video games are indie titles, games by people who actually work together with their communities and care about their work.
What do I personally think video games are? I think they are an art form. Many game publishers, especially the independent ones, have proven that games can be as a matter of fact very fine art. Just take a look at „The Vanishing of Ethan Carter“, a game of such visual beauty that most triple-A publisher couldn't even hope to achieve. Or „Cry of Fear“, a game created by a 12 years old game engine, yet much more atmospheric than any horror movie I've ever watched. Yet media still likes to shame video games for being evil, simply because they keep people from consuming 'normal' media. (For example, I haven't been watching TV for years now.) The law still refuses to acknowledge video games as an art form, which is why many movies, comics etc. get away with thinks that get heavily censored in video games. For example, I live in Germany, and while there are tons of sh**ty movies showing the Hakenkreuz, in every video game it get's censored.
In that letter of yours you said there will be some point in history where mankind needs to adopt to their natural roots. I totally agree with you on that, but that doesn't mean we will give up on most of our technical achievements. There are many new yet strange things that are still trying to fit into our society, and video games are sure to keep us company for a long time, AND to evolve with us, because they are our creations.
Some time ago I read an article about the military using video game simulations for actual war simulation. That actually made me hope that some day governments will start to realize their wars over political and ethical disagreements only cause the death to millions of innocent lives, and instead will solve their fights via CounterStrike or Battlefield. I know that sounds dumb at first, but imagine this:
Nation a) and Nation b) both want the control over a new discovered gold mine that lies exactly on their frontier.
Nation a): “That mine is ours! Prepare for war!”
Nation b): “Whoa whoa, wait! We are no barbarians, who are we to send our people to kill each other over our greed?”
Nation a): “You're right. Then we challenge you to a game of CounterStrike!”
And then their best players face each other on a neutral VAC-protected server.
Admin: “That's it, Team b) wins!”
Nation a): “Aaargh, they were totally cheating!”
Admin: “No, they were not! We checked.”
Nation a): “Okay, let's face it like gentlemen, you people won. Take the mine.”
Sounds funny? Yes, but I honestly hope that some day in the future we will achieve something like that. Video games are not our enemy, they are what we want them to be.
I know what you said in that letter was out of context, that's why I hope to hear your view on that subject.
Kind regards and best wishes! Oh, and to your husband too.
(Sorry for my grammar, I hope my letter is still readable)
* * *
Thank you for your letter, and I apologize if I wrote something that wasn’t clear. My position on video game play was, and is, and always has been, that playing games for recreation is fine, as long as it doesn’t dominate your life to the point of obsession. Play, as any psychologist will tell you, is healthy. It stimulates the mind and gives us a chance to relax from the daily stress of life, whether that is video gaming, watching a football game, or going to the theater. When does it become an addiction? You say there is no formal definition of that for video games, but actually there is: gaming becomes a problem when it interferes with your life and normal function in the world. I’ll give you an example. I attended Califur recently and met a friend of a friend there who said he refuses to play video games. When I asked him why, he explained that when he played his first game (I think it was Sonic), he sat down and played for 54 hours straight. When he finally set down the controller, he discovered that his job had called and fired him for not showing up. He felt he was too much of an addictive personality, therefore, to handle owning games. That is the perfect example of a problem. I have also known furries who obsess so much about games that they have a huge library of them and, meanwhile, neglect to pay bills or even eat. This is what I’m trying to warn people about.
Another clear sign of addiction is if there are withdrawal symptoms should the addicting behavior be taken away. There was a recent study, for example, in which college students were asked to not use their cell phones for a week. Some were okay with that, while others reported experiencing definite symptoms of withdrawal, such as anxiety, nervousness, and, of course, a strong desire to get the cell phone back. I myself must admit that I'm a bit addicted to checking my messages and chatting on my phone or on my computer.
In the letter to which you refer, I meant that playing video games for a big chunk of your life will mean you won’t have time to develop more important parts of your being, including the intellect and the spirit. When it comes to spiritual evolution, the question is this: at the end of your life, when you look back, will you consider your one chance to really live to have been well-spent if for most of the time you did nothing but play games, video or otherwise? Do you really believe we are put on Earth to press buttons and jerk joysticks frantically back and forth? Do we get a true sense of accomplishment from winning points on a screen or getting to the highest levels of an RPG?
To comment on other things you wrote: yes, the military does, indeed, use video games—primarily, my understanding is, they have one that is used for recruiting and aptitude testing. About video games and art: it might interest you that there have been exhibits at art museums celebrating video games as art, such as this http://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/archive/2012/games/ and here http://www.movingimage.us/, so, actually, video gaming is considered by many to be an art form, and I don’t disagree with that.
As for the scenario about nations in the future battling it out on a screen: sounds nice, but I doubt that would ever happen. I’m reminded of the episode “A Taste of Armageddon” on the original Star Trek series in which two planets fought a war using computers. Whenever the simulation said that a populated area got hit, some people were declared dead and voluntarily killed themselves in disintegration machines. The idea was to have a war without destroying the culture, architecture, art, etc., of their civilizations, but people still died. Kirk quickly put an end to that (violating the Prime Directive, as he often did, the scamp), noting that war has to be ugly or else people get too used to it and it becomes an eternal state of conflict. Now, say we had something like what you suggest where the nations have a game brawl—the difference between this and the Star Trek episode is that people don’t die, which sounds better. So, the two countries have it out and one wins and the other loses. Guess what happens next? The country that loses says, “Okay, you win,” shakes hands, goes home, and launches a nuclear strike on the unsuspecting other country.
Human nature is too aggressive to agree to fight without actually hurting someone (especially when the ones making the decisions don’t have to go to the war themselves). Furthermore, war isn’t just about power; it has now become about money. America’s policy in recent decades to bomb countries in the Middle East and Asia is designed to make companies like Exxon and Halliburton rich, and any pretense that we are somehow “defending freedom” is utter baloney; playing a video game to solve a political conflict isn’t going to make any company rich and, therefore, won’t work. Much as we try to deny it, we are animals and, indeed, in many ways worse than animals. Perhaps, one day, we will be able to solve differences without bombs and guns, but if we do it would be more likely an exercise in diplomacy, rather than gaming. I, for one, believe that it would probably take a worldwide threat to make us all come together out of necessity, such as one sees in the movies Independence Day and the brilliant Watchmen. Even better would be if we did evolve into a much more spiritual state and gave up all the things that lead to war, including nationalism, religion, materialism, and general hubris.
Looking back over your letter, I didn’t really see a question, per se, so much as an objection to my original statement. I suppose the question was, “What is your full opinion about video gaming,” so there you have it. An interesting topic, and I bet we’ll hear more about it in the future.
I am close friends online with one of my friends, Cord, a rabbit. The both of us will sometimes talk about things, like our future in the fandom, our future mates, etc. Cord has been depressed lately due to loneliness and not having a mate. Having dealt with depression myself, I try to cheer him up, and let him know he isn't alone. He always says he feels fine, but I feel like he's saying that so not to worry me. He just recently told me that he has been drinking, at only 18 years of age. This worries me immensely, and, as a Christian, I often focus the majority of my prayer into helping him get better. He's an amazing person, and I don't want to lose him. Is there anything I can do or say to encourage him to stop???
Beeter (age 18)
* * *
Yes, there are things you can say to your friend Cord. But first, you need to have the full story, which I don’t feel I’m getting here (my bear instinct kicking in). You say Cord is depressed because he doesn’t have a girlfriend, so his solution is to start drinking? Lots of people don’t have girlfriends at 18 and they don’t turn to alcohol. Yes, being alone can suck, but he’s too young to throw up his hands and give up, and if he really wants to attract a girl, he ain’t gonna do it by being a drunk. Obviously, that just makes matters worse.
Might there be something else going on here? How’s his family life? School? Does he have any mental or emotional problems that need attention? All these things are important to find out. Your instinct that he’s hiding something when he says he feels fine is probably correct, and I don’t think his troubles begin and end with girlfriend issues and booze.
So, what do you say? First off, always acknowledge the other person’s pain; validate the fact that he is suffering and never dismiss his emotions like a high school coach telling an injured athlete to shake it off and do 10 laps. Avoid platitudes like “Everything will be okay” or “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.” They don’t help.
Next, tell him, if you haven’t already, that you’re concerned about him, especially his drinking, but don’t use judgmental words such as “it’s a sin” or “underage drinking is illegal”; that’s not telling him something he doesn’t know or is aware that others will say. But note what I said above about drinking not being a solution but rather, indeed, something that will make his life worse—just as if he were taking drugs. In other words, phrase it in a way that you are concerned about his health, not his moral standards.
Then just start talking to him, trying to get him to open up. Ask him what’s going on in his life. How are his parents, siblings? School? Just talk. If you talk long enough and make him comfortable enough, I’ll bet you something will pop up in the conversation you didn’t know about him. You will know it when you hear it. Now, be careful not to instantly jump in with advice. If you do, he’ll get defensive and close up again, and it will be harder to have him open up the next time. Instead, keep talking around the issue and just listen to what he has to say. Continue in this manner over days or weeks, whatever is needed. Eventually, if things go well, he might ask you that key question, “What would you do if you were me?” And you say, “Well, if it were me, I would....”
This is a tricky dance you are conducting, and it takes a lot of patience. If you’re up for it, you will prove yourself a true blue friend.
Good luck, and bear hugs to you!
* * *
Hello Papa Bear.
This is Beeter again. First of all, I want to thank you for taking the time to read my letter and write me back, it means a lot. In response to your response, I have told my friend about my concern for him. Not just my concern, but the concern of another friend of ours. He says he appreciates our feelings, but "he's fine". You may very well be right about him hiding something, and I don't know what, but I will still be as good a friend to him as I can. I don't tell him things like "it's a sin" or whatnot. One of the main things I hate about Christians today is that they run around telling everyone "you're going to hell for this bla bla bla" It's total crap. As followers of Jesus, we should be spreading love, not hate. I try to simply ask him how he's feeling, and I try my best to cheer him up if he's feeling down. About the relationship thing, he's a very passionate floof, when I say he wants a guy in his life, I mean he REALLY wants a guy in his life. We often talk about our lives at home and school, and it almost always shifts to our futures in school, in the fandom, and most often our future mates. I don't know why, I guess we both just really crave love, you know? I will take your advice, and thank you again for replying to me. God bless you, and have an amazing day, buddy.
Your friend, Beeter.
* * *
Congrats on being what I would call a "true Christian" who is not the type to throw stones. Good for you!
You and your pal are very loving beings. That's wonderful :-) And I understand your need for love. If you don't mind indulging me, I would like to offer a bit more advice.
When we are desperate for love our desperation becomes very evident to the people around us. Did you know that humans, just like other animals, are capable of emitting pheromones? This can, on one hand, signal receptiveness to being a mate, but when one is desperate, anxious for love, it can actually drive potential mates away. The more desperate you become, the more repulsive you become--from a chemical point of view.
Therefore, the best advice I can give your friend is he needs to play it cool, chill, become more bear-like. He should then complement this strategy to make himself the most attractive potential mate possible. I don't mean physically attractive (except for the importance of good hygiene and grooming), but attractive as a person. Think of it this way: what is the better way to catch fish in a stream? Plunge into the stream, stomping about, clumsily grasping for the fish and they scatter? That is the strategy he has been attempting thus far. Or, is it better to create an attractive fishing lure, then drop it gently into the stream and attract the fish to you?
You're a good friend, Beeter. I'm glad your buddy has you in his life. Good luck to you both.
I finally realized how wrong I was. I wasted my childhood viewing those stupid cartoons on television, and now look at me- I am stuck, mentally damaged, in a bipolar cycle of alternately loving and hating anthropomorphic characters. How criminal of me to have acquired a taste for them, when art and literature have always functioned well with plain humans! Something went wrong in my psycho-social development. Here comes the question of this form: How could I have been so deluded as to pursue "fun" and "fantasy" when I could have chosen a much better course in my life? I deserve the death penalty (though I am a coward) for giving decadent entertainment a presence in my life since childhood, and worse, I contaminated myself by imagining sexual scenarios with said monsters (that's what a human-animal hybrid would truly be, despite my brainwashing myself to believe the contrary). I blamed others (which is what you reminded me of- thank you very much for your wisdom), but in truth, I chose to make my imagination and thinking defective, and I became a horrible, detestable shell of a man- when I could have been a beautiful person. I'm one living example of how dangerous the constructs of the mind can be. Someone from my family should give me the brutal, merciless punishment I deserve. May I atone for my deviancy, and for denigrating the importance of the authentic human figure that has sustained any art worth its salt. May hatred and harsh judgment rain down on me for insouciantly ignoring personal responsibility. I give you my gratitude for your insights and kind disposition.
- the former Joaquin Claro
* * *
Dear Former Joaquin,
Your previous letter complained about furry art being of low quality, so I replied to that you should not be so harsh toward amateur artists who were simply drawing things they loved. From your new letter, however, I can see that your criticism of furry art was merely a cover for your own self-loathing—something I had no idea was happening to you. It was never my intention to make you feel bad about yourself, and if that is what I did, I truly apologize. You are clearly feeling guilty about liking furry art and, apparently, also being sexually aroused by it.
I would submit to you that your guilt and self-hatred is caused because you feel bad that your own preferences do not coincide with those of people around you—family, friends, colleagues. That you have this interest is in no way deserving of the death penalty! And it certainly isn’t “criminal” in any way. Please calm down and stop overreacting. Take a deep breath.
You say you are caught in a cycle of loving, then hating furry art. You love the furry art because that is simply something you enjoy; you then hate the furry art because society makes you feel guilty for liking it.
Like furry art is in no way responsible for whatever course your life has taken. Plenty of furry fans live peaceful, happy, productive lives because for them it is not about porn. I wonder, therefore, if your problem isn’t that you like furry art, but perhaps you allowed yourself to become obsessed by it. That is, addicted. As with an addiction to “normal” porn, or to things like gambling, alcohol, or drugs, an addiction can be quite damaging to your life.
If the problem, therefore, is that you are too obsessed with this art, you need to slowly reduce your time looking at it and reading about it. Then, substitute the furporn with G-rated furry art (there’s lots of it) or with other art that’s not furry.
While your two letters have been about adult furry art, I really believe that there is something else going on here in your life that you are not telling me, and that this is what is truly bothering you. Most likely, it has something to do with your family life as a child. There was likely something really bothering you as a kid, which led to an obsession with cartoons as escapism, and then, as you reached puberty, turned into a sexual aspect.
You have a lot of anger in you, which is sad. You are diverting that anger into furporn and blaming it for your problems. While addiction to porn is not a good thing, I think you need to look deeper into what is truly bothering you. Only then will you be able to overcome your anger and self-hatred. If you don’t mind my saying so, you might consider seeking some personal counseling to get at the heart of the matter.
I Wish You Well,
Hello there, Papabear!
A furry friend of mine that has previously sent a letter regarding about going into an furcon has indicated this site for me to use if I have any questions. Anyways, let's cut to the chase.
I live in Brazil, Campo Grande, and I think I play videogames. A lot of videogames. My daily basis consists of playing shooter games, and the like. The real issue is, sometimes I put videogames above everything. Family, friends and even job. I used to skip job just because I had a event scheduled named 'Destiny'.
But since I know my boss, and he knows how videogames really are addicting, he gave me a second chance and I am still going to work daily. However, last day, I almost skipped work again due to another event I scheduled up. I went to work normally, did the stuff I did, but sometimes I fear that I might fire myself from my job just to go sit on the couch and play videogames. I literally can't stop playing those, and I have a vast variety of them, so if I get bored of one, no problem, I have another just ready to play ... but that's where the real bad things come in play.
I got this job out of total luck. When I was in college, I skipped so many hours of study for tests just to play a videogame. I have no clue how I took good grades (A to B) on the tests, but I wasn't worried that time. All I wanted was to arrive, sit, and play. And in case I had to turn off the computer to do something ... sometimes it better had to be important. Sometimes I ignored parents or friends while they were talking to me. I literally do not know how to stop with the videogames. I just keep playing them, more and more, yet I haven't contracted anything bad (sight issues and the like) Please help, because since my friend said so well about this website I decided to come take a look.
Anonymous (age 22, Brazil)
* * *
Obviously, you have a videogame addiction. So, we know what the problem is, and that’s a start. I’ve known quite a few furries with game addictions, including to the point of not paying the bills and instead buying games to play. Financially speaking, such behavior is doomed, because eventually you will run out of money, get fired from your job, lose your friends, and then you won’t be able to play games anymore because you’ll be living under a bridge somewhere eating garbage from a dumpster. That’s one way to end a videogame addiction.
Videogame addictions are like any other addiction. You become obsessed with them because they offer you a reward that makes you feel good. And, just like an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you will eventually suffer from lack of money, friends and family leaving you, poor health, and so on. The first step in quitting—again, just like these other addictions—is that you have to want to quit.
You sound like you want to quit, but you’ll really need to commit to quitting if you wish to break this very bad habit. Here are some things you can do:
By employing these strategies, you should be able to wean yourself slowly off gaming. You could try cold turkey (stopping completely all at once), but that’s usually too rough for most people.
I hope you will find the above suggestions helpful. Good luck to you!!
You might remember me about that fursona which I fell in love with. Well I got out of that; it really helped me :). But I'm here with something else now :/
So my past was like no one would want it: family drama, dad badly depressed and addicted to alcohol, almost losing your mom cuz she was really sick. About my dad and what happened around that topic was an extremely hard time for me, and my sis, and my mom, but we still suffer from it—at least, I do. I have an anxiety disorder. More specifically, being scared of things that could or might happen, doesn't matter if they are possible or not, and panicking for going to somewhere.
I got a boyfriend 9 months ago; he's still mine, but in the meantime there happened bad things to him that hurt me, too, but I’m still there to support him, which I always did, even though he lives 700 kilometers away from me over the sea.
So all these bad things together made me pretty depressed at some point, and I still am.
I have a trauma from what has already happened at home—nothing bad, but just horrible and terrifying arguments between Mom and drunk Dad. I often thought he was going to kill my mom because I was scared and so.
Now my actual question goes about finally living together with my bf after all, but because of what has happened, I'm scared my bf will be like this as well after all. I'm scared my future will be as like my past :'( and I don't know if it would be better to break up or not, because of my anxiety my future will be the same as my past :(
And what I am stuck with is if I would break up with him or not, should I ignore my fear and go for it even if where I am scared of will be true, or will it be better to break up, although I'm sure I'll have this fear for living together with any guy that would be my bf. I think it doesn't make a difference if I break up or not, but I'm so doubtful :( and at school they all find me weird because I have ADHD and due to my anxiety disorder I’m not allowed to have medication for ADHD, because it would make everything worse than it is now except for being calmer.
But should I stay with my bf folfy or not?
Bluefluffy Fusky (age 17, Belgium)
* * *
I am sorry for your troubles with your family and your struggles with anxiety and ADHD. That’s a lot on your plate for a little furry. My sympathies. You mention that you are not allowed medication for ADHD because of your anxiety disorder, so that must mean you have sought treatment for one or both of those conditions. That’s good, but it doesn’t sound like the help you have received thus far has been sufficient.
It is not uncommon for people to have both ADHD and anxiety disorder at the same time. In fact, about 40% of those who have one also have the other. In a way, they are related and can feed off each other. Being anxious can, for example, cause you to lose focus or be hyperactive, and being hyper can cause you to do things like forget to do something and that can lead to more anxiety. Now, as mentioned, you were considering medicine for the ADHD. The type of medicine often prescribed involves stimulants, which work well on ADHD but can make the anxiety worse. So, first suggestion would be to ask your doctor about non-stimulant medications to treat ADHD. They might not be effective, but they sometimes are and are worth a shot. Combine the non-stimulant for the ADHD with what a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) for treating your anxiety disorder. Again, these are things you need to talk to your doctor about.
The other factor here is your environment. Clearly this is causing stress, making you more anxious, so you would be a lot better off if either: a) the situation at home resolved itself, or b) you left that environment and found a place to live that was much calmer. Regarding the first option, has your father sought help for his alcoholism and depression? If not, there are places he can go for help. For example, Alcoholics Anonymous has chapters in Belgium, and, although I don’t know much about your country, I would be willing to bet there are other organizations he can get help from, too, for both alcoholism and depression. Do you belong to a church or temple? You can get help there for your father, as well. It sounds as though you and your mother and sister are afraid of your father; that’s not good at all, but if you form a united front, perhaps you can get him help. And perhaps you can get other family and friends on your side. This man is destroying your family, and it needs to stop.
Should Dad get treatment and get over his depressions, I guarantee that would go a million miles toward making your life happier. You would definitely see it lessen your anxiety, and that, in turn, could improve your ADHD situation.
But let’s move on to you and your boyfriend. He lives 700 km (435 miles) “over the sea,” so I take it he lives in the UK somewhere. You’re afraid that if you move in with your boyfriend, you’ll end up just like your mother and father? You really have told me very little about your bf. Is he an alcoholic? Is he abusive? Somehow, I believe if he were either you would not be interested in him. Have you taken on any characteristics of your father? If not, then probably the only reason you fear this repetition of history is because you have anxiety disorder and you pretty much are afraid of everything. And, yes, you are right that if you looked for another boyfriend you would have the same fears popping up again.
Bigger questions: do you love him? Does he love you? Have you met yet in person? Important questions to address before one takes the “should I leave him?” query on.
Bluefluffy, I can’t tell you whether or not to leave your boyfriend, but I can tell you that you need to do a lot more leg work before making a decision on this. Currently, you’re trying to solve an equation when all you have is variables; you need to plug in some numbers before the solution will be calculable. You need to, first of all, get yourself more help for your disorders, which, as far as I can tell, have not been sufficiently addressed; you need to see what, if anything, can be done to help your father; and, seriously, you need to know your boyfriend a lot better before you decide one way or another on staying with him (ideally, if at all possible, take a trip and spend some time with him in person).
Please consider the above, then get back to me if you have more questions.
[Note: this letter is a correspondence that occurred over a couple of days; it is quite long and deals with the subject of anal stretching, so this one isn't for the young furs. The letter writer wishes to be anonymous for obvious reasons.]
Furry: I have a fetish that is harmful to myself and has already resulted in some damage. I have abstained from doing so for some time but I am still watching pornography that relates to it and I am worried I may succumb to my desires and become mutilated. Do you have a solution?
* * *
Papabear: It would help a lot if you could tell me what the fetish is.
* * *
Furry: I didn't think it necessary to specify. I apologize, but I find it hard to talk about. It seems to be a f****d up masochistic desire to have an extremely dilated anus and the insertion of any large object. This disturbs and repulses me and I haven't really acted on the feelings yet. It started in my youth, so the thoughts are hard to get rid of. I personally believe brutal electroshock therapy is the solution to this, but it's not legal to my knowledge anymore. Your thoughts, Papabear?
* * *
Papabear: I'll answer in more detail soon, but, for now, my advice: hold off on that electroshock therapy. You're not as weird as you think you are. Many people fantasize about being penetrated by huge penises, and some even use huge toys that most people would consider monstrous (I know a guy who can stick a two-liter bottle of soda up his anus).
Keep in mind the physical dangers of this fantasy being real, and we'll talk some more soon.
* * *
Furry: Your friend has mutilated himself and a fetish that results is such disfigurement is a negative thing in my eyes and as well as many psychiatric professionals. Insertion to the point of having a mail box for a anus or having to seal it with duck tape before you go to work in the morning requires a sick sick person but I'm not oppposed to someone doing what makes themselves happy. I'm absolutely for that freedom.
Anyone could take a razor blade and cut off their lips and yank their teeth out to increase capacity to suck a horses member for example but would thinking that is a sane decision be normal? I have a dilemma and my state of mind is clearly unhealthy. bleeding, piles, fishers, prolapsed rectum, incomplete bowel movements, incontinence, bladder incontinence, weak bladder, possible infection of the colon, even the sphincter seems to prolapse on some people. And people encourage them. I cut myself sometimes. I find it relieving. I do it in moderation. I even sanitize the wounds afterwards, but I'm told that's a negative thing by most people; that strikes me rather odd.
Your friend is in a special place or deep down is ashamed of what he's done to himself. Thinking in purely logical terms, it seems wise to have some moderation I have seen enough videos on the Internet to see that these people are pretty relentless in their goals to insert large objects but don't seem to care that their anus looks like the Mariana Trench. Often young men, these people are going to have a lifetime of discomfort; this is an issue that needs to be addressed and I expect it's fairly common. Don't get me wrong, though; personally I love getting things inserted into my rectum, but people need moderation if maintaining continence is something they would like to keep. I know this is not a question, Papabear, but nothing bugs me more than this. What poses a person to be totally accepting of such extreme self-mutilation?
* * *
Papabear: I agree. As I mentioned in the earlier letter to you, you have to be aware of the physical dangers here. I didn't realize the extent of your fetish. For some people, putting a large dildo inside the anus is very extreme. If you're talking about putting such large things in there that you are destroying your body, then this is symptomatic of a mental disturbance that requires the treatment of a professional. Have you consulted a psychologist or psychiatrist?
My belief that your desire to stretch yourself out to the point of harm is that you are actually punishing yourself as a result of some kind of psychological trauma or a deep-seated psychological need. For instance, that friend I mentioned. When I asked him why he did that, he said he "liked to feel like I was being filled." I took this to mean he had a feeling of emptiness inside him. The guy craves love and has had no luck in that area. I think that if he found a faithful mate, he would stop doing it.
To understand why you desire to hurt yourself, I would need to know more about your past. There is something going on here that just treating the symptoms won't help. What was your childhood like? Did you ever face a serious emotional trauma? My guess--and correct me if I am wrong--is that you were raped analy at a very young age. And now you wish to punish yourself by torturing your anus because of the guilt you are feeling. But it could be a number of other things. Something else in your life that makes you both sexually aroused and desirous to punish yourself.
Do you feel comfortable telling me about this? If not (or even if you do), I would very much like to recommend you seek a professional counselor.
I'm sorry if my earlier response troubled you. Please know that I am in no way making light of your situation. I will try and help the best I can.
* * *
Furry: I was not raped from what I recall, but I am a masochist and I do feel the need to punish myself frequently. Your insight into the mind is impressive. I'm unsure why I have the need to or want to insert increasingly large things, but I only know that the sight or thought of it is the most arousing thing I think of. When I watch porn I don't watch it to see the people; I only watch videos mainly of people inserting things into their rectum. The larger it is the more arousing it is to me. When I'm done pawing I feel disgusted.
The first time I tried to insert something large in my childhood, or what was large to me at the time, was after seeing a horse with a massive erection while fishing. After that, it was a long-term fetish, I believe, but I'm unsure why. It's so intense to me. I have a number of other fetishes, even two paraphilias, but it's unrelenting and concerning me. I'm beginning to think I may accept it and not be ashamed of it, even though it's clearly wrong to do this to myself. I'm very conflicted, but I think fighting this urge is the right thing to do.
* * *
Papabear: Yes, I encourage you to try to not harm yourself, of course. Understanding why you do this, though, is key. Extreme anal stretching can be seen as a form of masochism. It is theorized that masochism might arise for a number of causes: 1) as I suggested earlier, you may have been a victim (or even just an observer) of extreme inappropriate sexual behavior; this then becomes your model for such behavior and the only way you can be aroused; 2) you may have been prevented from practicing normal sexual behavior, and the result has been that you, needing some release of any kind, found an alternative way to express that need; 3) you are feeling disturbing emotions of anger, aggression, and guilt because of some other trauma, but these feelings are suppressed and then released in an inappropriate manner (similar to cutting oneself, which is complementary to your anal fetish, it seems); and 4) there is also a theory that people develop an array of different sado-masochistic behaviors because they never learned how to form healthy relationships with other people.
While you can try to prevent the behavior by sheer force of will, still the best way to heal yourself is to get professional help. Your issue is an extreme form of a type of sexual addiction. You might, therefore, try Sexaholics Anonymous at http://www.sa.org/. Their website is excellent and helps you find meetings in your area or, if none are available, other ways to contact people and get the support you need for free.
I hope that helps. Write again if you have more questions.
* * *
Furry: Don't have a extremely dilated anus, but I have caused myself a rectal prolapse of which I'm waiting to be addressed by my county's NHS [National Health Service]. It's a discomfort daily. I must say thank you for your advice Papabear, but I mean to ask: I am attracted to humans; I think I'm bisexual with a strong leaning to the same sex. If I am attracted to a female emotionally it's because she's a tomboy, so that suggests I'm primarily homo-romantic, I believe. I haven't had a mate. I mainly RP and chat with a small group of furry friends on the Internet. I'm soon to move to live with my father for a while and I seem to have a unhealthy attachment to a stuffed animal Bolt. Specifically, I do so because I pretend he is my mate in some capacity and having him to hug provides instant comfort no matter how I feel. I fear without him I would suffer greatly. This may be discouraged or frowned on, but I'm going to do it anyway.
* * *
Papabear: Didn't mean to say you did have a stretched anus yet. If you're having trouble with a rectal prolapse at your age, then it sounds like you've already been doing a bit too much with your anus, though. Your bond with the Bolt plushie tells me you definitely have a hole in your heart that needs to be filled, and I strongly suspect this is connected to your fetish. I hope you do contact SA. As for the rest, was there a question there or were you just giving me more information?
* * *
Furry: I don't know why I was taking like that I suppose I just actually can't get over the shame of what I have done to myself. It's killing me.
* * *
Papabear: Have a look at this; perhaps it will help.
* * *
Furry: Thank you Pbear, you are more helpful than I ever thought you would be.
* * *
Papabear: You're welcome! Please write again if you need to, any time.
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.