How're you? Recently, I have had a difficult time with my sexuality. I have found that I don't just find women attractive, but [I am attracted to] my parent's older dog, Ozzy. I grew up with this dog, and it's bothering me. I went home for the holidays and found that I was getting erect from looking at Ozzy. I do not know how to deal with this issue. Do I need a release? Or should I seek psychiatric help? This has overall been a difficult and confusing time for me. What do you think? Have you ever had a similar issue or had someone write in with something similar?
Tiennan (age 23)
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Thank you for your letter. This is an important issue to many people in the fandom, as you might guess. For one thing, furries are often suspected of being all zoophiles (attracted to animals), which is simply untrue. However, there are a few zoophiles in the fandom just as there are in the general population. Zoophilia is rare, but you might find it occurring more often in a fandom that is based on an interest in animalistic characters (this should be unsurprising).
A great deal has been changing in the mental health profession community in recent years regarding attitudes toward paraphilias (atypical sexual interests and behaviors). The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is the official guide for diagnosing mental health problems, now distinguishes between "paraphilia" and "paraphilia disorders." This is important because it essentially says that just because you have a sexual interest that is not "normal" doesn't necessarily mean you have a problem.
When is a paraphilia such as zoophilia a problem, then? Well, as with addictions, a paraphilia becomes a problematic disorder when it has a negative impact on your job, school, or personal life. For example, going to a Vegas casino to gamble once in a while is not a problem; gambling away your life savings and ending up living in a cardboard box under a freeway overpass is.
So, as long as your attraction to dogs is not affecting you or those around you (especially if you keep this attraction platonic), you don't technically have a disorder.
Why, then, do some people (you're not the only one) have this attraction in the first place, you might ask? Psychologists are still debating this, but there are a few hypotheses. One is that some people are attracted by novelty--in this case, how a dog's penis differs anatomically from a human penis. Another possible reason is the attraction to the forbidden. People can be stimulated by the idea of something being "naughty" because it is unconventional and frowned upon. A third reason might be that a person has difficulty forming close relationships with people and therefore turns toward, in this case, a dog for intimacy. Among animals, dogs are ideal candidates because they are so sociable, friendly, sweet, loyal, and unthreatening. Still another way one can develop paraphilia is by conditioning. For example, a person might develop a foot fetish if they had one or more sexual experiences in which erotic foot play was involved. Over time, they might become focused on feet, causing their arousal, because they associate feet with sex.
Any of the above might be a cause for your interest in dogs in some way. Since I am not a psychologist, it could, indeed, be a good step for you to speak to a professional about your concerns. They might be able to dig deeper and help you discover why you are having these feelings.
I hope this was helpful.
I had a bit of a weird / sexual question I wanted some affirmation on… So, I’m aroused by furry porn and porn of furry-like monsters. I feel really intense guilt about this. How do I get over it?
I didn’t used to feel bad at all about it, but when I look into the fanbase, I see people who are secretly into things like zoophilia, and it just makes me feel really guilty for being sexually attracted to furries. (Even though the amount of zoophiles are very low, it still really disturbs me.) Like, am I bad for being attracted to them? Is there some sort of psychological problem when I’m attracted to animal-like humans??
I struggle with OCD a lot, and my intrusive thoughts include a lot of what I’m worrying about… How would you recommended I cope with this guilt?
P.S. I see a therapist and I talk to her about my OCD … but the furry porn thing is really hard to bring up tbh. I feel so embarrassed about it.
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Thank you for your fascinating question. Let's step away from the zoophilia topic, since I don't think you are a zoophile, and talk about monster porn and attraction to monsters in a sexual fashion. In the world of psychology, this is called "teratophilia," a term that applies not only to monsters but also an attraction to deformed people. There is also something called "exophilia," which is having sexual fantasies about extraterrestrial sex. In this bear's opinion, the two are related closely enough to be basically the same thing, only differing on minor specifics.
In both cases, the fantasy tends to involve a powerful, alien creature that exhibits sexual prowess over the fantasizer (correct me if I am wrong, but I am guessing that in your fantasies, the monster is dominant over you; in alien dreams, it usual involves space beings performing "sex research" on human subjects). This dominance aspect of the fantasy, too, makes teratophilia related to such fetishes as S&M bondage, macrophilia, and vorarephilia. Bottom line of this is that the most common explanation for such a fantasy is that you desire to be dominated.
So, you ask, why don't you just fantasize about a dominant, muscular human? This is where feelings of guilt and shame come in. Sexual fantasies often disguise desires with symbolism, masks, and other obfuscating strategies. The "monster" is a symbol that is used to conceal your true desire for some form of forbidden sex with a real person. This, on the surface, might sound silly, I bet, because you're saying to yourself, "But I'm embarrassed about a dream involving sex with a monster! Why would that be better than a dream about sex with a hunky man?" Because you know, intellectually, that sex with a monster is impossible and, therefore, the dream fantasy is also impossible. Since the dream can never be a reality, it actually eases the moral tension you are feeling because you know you can never act out such a fantasy in real life and you will, consequently, never be "guilty" of the sin for which you yearn.
When psychologists talk about monster fantasies, they usually do it in terms of women having fantasies about monsters, but I feel this can apply to anyone with submissive tendencies, whether they are 100% submissive or only feel that way on occasion.
There might be some other underlying reasons for monster sex fantasies. Psychologists note that, in surveys, women who are more sexually open-minded respond that they have such fantasies more often than those who are conservative. Certainly, furries tend to be more open and willing to explore outside the boundaries of social standards in their sexuality, so--although I don't believe this has ever been tested--furries probably have monster fantasies more than normies. One might also, I suppose, characterize anthros as a type of "monster," though fursonas run the gamut of personalities from dom to sub to everything in between. I do, however, believe that furry sex fantasies also occur as a way of concealing feelings of guilt about sex in some--not all, by any means--cases.
To answer the question at the heart of your letter: no, you are not psychologically disturbed (and you are not a zoophile). Your brain is coming up with coping mechanisms to resolve your feelings of guilt about sex. The source of this guilt is, duh, society, which loves to impose guilt on us for being sexually open rather than repressed. The solution for you, my furiend, is to work on not feeling guilty about your sexual desires. As long as you aren't hurting anyone (and the sex is always consensual), you should pursue whatever sexual desires you wish.
Will this get rid of your monster fantasies? Well, if they are purely guilt-generated, it might. Or, it might loosen you up to create even more lurid monster dreams, but these will be dreams you enjoy rather than feel bad about.
Hope that helps! Sorry for my slow reply!
So, this is going to take a while to explain. I’m trans M2X and my parents are Christians. My dad is a LEAD PASTOR at a church that gets HUNDREDS of visitors each service. My mother knows that I was going by they/them pronouns for a while, and she went and had a chat with me. At the time, I thought I was also pansexual, so my mom now thinks I’m gay since she wouldn’t listen. I’m pretty sure I’m aroace now, though. I feel incredibly uncomfortable with getting called he/him pronouns. Some of my friends still use they/them pronouns, but Fred or whatever it was I called him previously and his sister (who I will now call Jo [fake name]) call me he/him. All of the people who know my mom call me he/him. Everyone except 3 people call me a boy.
I’m soon going to a private Christian middle school for the next two years (public school didn’t work out) where they split the kids into boy/girl groups every morning. I’m also not sure whether or not my dad knows. If my dad does know, he hasn’t acknowledged it, talked about it, or done anything about it. If he doesn’t, I really don’t want to be the one to tell him. He is incredibly protective of me, he banned all websites on my computer, so I have to ask for permission. I can’t watch YouTube, my phone doesn’t have the App Store or a web browser (I currently stole my sister’s phone, which has no restrictions at all.) He also monitors all my accounts, so I had to use my school account (it lets outside messages through, don’t worry) so that he wouldn’t track this.
I’m going to counseling, but the person I’m doing it with knows my mom in person, so I’m afraid to say too much. She also caught me off-guard at the start of counseling and asked if I thought I was trans, and I for some dumb reason blatantly lied and said no. I also would like to talk with her more about things like the fact that I think I might have social anxiety, be bipolar, etc., but she always will talk about that sort of thing for the last 10 minutes of the 45-minute sessions, and lately it’s only been about my sexuality (which I did share with her.) She is also Christian, I might add.
I really don’t know how to get my parents to accept me for who I am, and it’s getting very annoying.
Thanks for the advice,
Xyphon (age 12)
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There are many things going on here, but I will try and stay focused. To begin, at age 12 you are likely just starting puberty. This is a confusing time for anyone, which is grandly reflected in your letter. Here's the thing: you are not obligated to decide right here and now what your sexuality or gender identity are, and you shouldn't pressure yourself to try. For one thing, it's not like you're going to go on dates or have sex, so what does it matter? You yourself say you think you are aro-ace, and the reason for that is not that you actually are but because at 12 years old you should be asexual. You should not be thinking about sex yet, for Pete's sake!
A huge problem with American society is that we put so much pressure on children to decide who they are right now and where they are going to go for the next 50 years of their lives. No wonder Americans are so dang neurotic. You shouldn't be worried about what your job will be or what sex is going to be like or whether you'll marry or have children or live as a hermit in the Himalayas. And, for God's sake, you should not be going to a therapist. You're 12 friggin years old, dammit. You're not old enough to be traumatized (unless you've had a death in the family or were at a school shooting, of course).
Two words: RE. LAX.
Instead of getting all uptight on serious issues, you should be playing! You should be enjoying time with your friends at school, play soccer, play D&D, go camping, and at school, you should be learning about the wonders of the universe (sadly, American schools just make education about tests instead of learning, but do the best you can; sometimes, you might be lucky enough to have a teacher who actually knows how to instill a love of learning in their students).
When it comes to your parents, they are sadly making the same mistake many parents make: instead of spending time with their kids and monitoring what they do online, they just ban or restrict internet and phone use. This is not parenting; this is being a dictator. And the result of such a parental policy is predictable and already occurring: you're indulging in secretive behavior and doing what you were told not to do anyway. What next happens is that you will, eventually, be caught, and this will severely damage the trust between you and your mom and dad.
Instead of completely banning computer time (or just monitoring it after the fact), what should be done, at least as a first step, is to have family computing time. This is when, with you at the keyboard, you are allowed to explore the internet for school projects or even hobbies and socializing while your parents are there to see what you do. They don't have to be right there next to you, but they should be in the same room as the computer and be able to see the screen. You can start small with an hour of time a day and maybe add time later. One reason why this is important is that you are going to need to learn how to use computers, phones, and the Web in order to function in modern society, so their complete ban of such tech will be harmful to your education. But the other reason is that they need to learn to trust you at the same time you need to trust them that they are trying to protect you. Although you might be aware of the dangers in virtual reality, you don't really know how bad they can be until you actually go online and get exposed to them. There's a lot of bad stuff online, and your parents are not incorrect in their concern about your surfing behavior.
Talk to Mom and Dad. Explain that you will need to use computers in this life and tell them that you will agree to 100% adult supervision so you are able to surf freely but safely. Put the computer in the kitchen or living room or wherever you're parents hang out in plain view. Tell them you understand the internet can be dangerous and that you want them to supervise you and help you.
Pronouns. Okay. I guess I'm an old bear, but when I was in school, and then an office, and also in my house, people called me by my name, Kevin. They didn't say, "Hey, boy." They didn't refer to me in the third person. That's just weird. At school, when I was called on, the teacher was like, "Yes, Kevin. Can you solve the equation on the chalkboard?" When I'm at a party and people are chatting, I don't look at a guest and say in his face: "Does he want a beer?" I say, "Hey, Brian, ya wanna beer?" So, at school, just tell people to refer to you by your first name.
Pronouns will still sometimes come up, of course. Here's a trick you can do. Whenever you find yourself using a pronoun for other people, always use They/Them. Use it all the time. When people around you use male/female pronouns, repeat what they say and substitute they/them. For example, a classmate asks, referring to a student named John: "Do you think we should ask him to join the team?" Then you say, "Yes, I think THEY would like to join the team."
It's my belief that in the future we might stop using he/him/she/her and just use they/them. This is already happening in publishing, and professional grammarians have been converting to this philosophy of using They/Them as a singular pronoun. When I was first working in publishing back in Detroit in the late 1980s and early 1990s, writing text could sound awkward when, if we didn't know the sex or a subject in a text, we would write "he/she" and "him/her." This is very cumbersome. "They/Them," however, was supposed to only be used in the plural sense. Today, though, these pronouns are widely used in the singular sense. So, yeah, just refer to everyone as they/them and you will find that others will learn by osmosis (they will absorb your way of using pronouns) and begin using they/them pronouns all the time, too.
As for being grouped with boys at your new school, just go with it. You're ace anyway (and, even if not, you're not sexually mature yet), so don't worry about it. Schools do stupid crap like that all the time, busily trying to categorize students and fit everyone in neat little boxes. Religious schools are particularly good at this, but all schools do it. Just put up with it because you sure won't get anywhere by defying the rules, and doing so will just cause you a lot of grief.
For the next 2 to 4 years, as you go through puberty, take time to learn about yourself. We are more than just our sexuality. Learn about what interests you in life. Take time to have some fun. Enjoy your childhood because, believe me, it is over sooner than you think and you will become bogged down by college, work, and family soon enough. Meanwhile, allow your sexuality to develop naturally, organically, without pressure. You might be surprised where you end up years from now. And if your parents ask you about it, just say, "I'm not worried about that right now; I'm too busy with school and having fun with my friends (or exploring your faith, if you wish)." It is this bear's opinion that the anxiety or "bipolar" feelings you have are the direct result of your overthinking your sexuality. You're stressing yourself out and need to stop.
And stop sneaking around on school accounts or your sister's phone.
Always remember this: your parents love you and want you to be safe. Be open and honest with them. You'll save them and yourself a lot of grief. Oh, and feel free to share this email with them.
Next time you wonder whether you are gay or bi or trans or ace or whatever, the answer is this: you're a kid. Focus on being a kid. It is a short and precious part of your life. Enjoy it.
[Ed note: Pedophilia is a highly sensitive topic. Papabear acknowledges this and wishes to emphasize that he in no way, shape, or form advocates child abuse of any kind, nor does he defend or excuse child abusers in any way.]
It's not so much a question but a hope that you may be able to help change some very wrong opinions about a certain topic. Society as a whole and furries especially hear this condition and immediately fly into a rage storm. I live with this psychological condition and wish people would take the time to try and understand it more. I have discussed my tools for managing this condition with psychological professionals and they see no harm in it so long as it remains strictly fictional and between consenting adults in roleplay settings. Anyway, due to a childhood trauma, I suffer from pedophilia and have never harmed a child in my life; in fact, I am asexual.
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To say you are asexual and a pedophile is to be self-contradictory. An asexual person has absolutely no interest in sex and, therefore, cannot have a sexual attraction for children. What you mean to say is that you are a pedophile who does not act out sexually with children. This is an important distinction. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, pedophilia means you have "recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children." Therefore, one can still be a pedophile even though one never acts on those desires.
It is entirely possible not to act on our sexual proclivities. It is wrong when people think that all pedophiles abuse children. In fact, the large majority never act out on their desires. It is also possible for people who are not pedophiles to sexually abuse children, using them as a surrogate for the true object of their desires.
Research is showing that pedophiles who grew up in abusive households are more likely to act out on their attraction for children. Childhood traumas of various sorts can make this more likely. Therapy with a trained mental health professional is the best way to treat pedophilia.
There is also growing evidence that pedophilia tendencies are genetic, just as homosexual ones are. So, it may be that people are born to be pedophiles. Now, there is a movement to destigmatize pedophilia by calling pedophiles "minor-attracted people." This should not, however, be seen as saying it's okay to molest children sexually. This is never okay because children are minors, are not sexually mature, and do not have the social position to say "No." It is always wrong to force oneself on a child who is powerless to prevent such assaults. This is what makes pedophilia different from homosexuality: the latter involves consenting adults while the former does not. Also, pedophilia is classified as a psychological disorder, but homosexuality is not (yes, it was once, but is no longer). Here is a good article all about pedophilia.
Thank you for bringing up an important topic. Hopefully, this will clear up some misunderstandings about pedophilia.
I'm looking to buy a Bad Dragon toy; I'm a gay furry bottom. What toys do you recommend? I would like something that fills me yet can fit easy and feels good like not a bunch of weird surfaces. Thanks :). New to fandom. How do you cool down in suit in 103 F Louisiana air? It's humid and hot.
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I don't know if this will shock you or not, but I have never purchased a Bad Dragon product. Not that I wouldn't recommend them (they seem like a good company and are very popular with many furries), but I'm not into sex toys. Even if I did use their products, I wouldn't know what to recommend to you, given that I don't know anything about your needs, so to speak. I would therefore suggest you contact their customer service people by following this link: https://help.bad-dragon.com/.
As to your other question, keeping cool in a fursuit is important, indeed. Even experienced fursuiters will have trouble staying in suit for more than a few hours (my max is about 5 hours). But this max is while being in an environmentally controlled room such as a hotel lobby. I would not recommend going out in 103-degree, humid heat and fursuiting. At least, not for very long.
To stay cool, fursuiters do a number of things. Number one on this list is wearing a cooling vest or other cooling suit tech. There are a number of them on the market (just search for "cooling vest"), including one invented by the furry community's very own EZWolf (EZcooldown.com). Other things you can do include having a small fan installed in your fursuit head (I have one; it helps), wearing a balaclava to help direct sweat away from your face, wearing heat gear (e.g., Under Armour athletic wear), and, of course, keeping hydrated. Be aware of your body and dehead and cool off as often as necessary to keep from overheating.
Now go suit up and have fun!
For the last year or so I've been feeling sexually attracted to animals (mainly horses). Whenever I see one, I get an erection, or when I see a picture of one.
Do you have any advice so I can set these thoughts apart and don't have to live with them?
Anonymous (age 18, the Netherlands)
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Perhaps this letter that I wrote back in 2013 will help. My advice directly to you would be this: First, sex with animals is strictly banned in your homeland of the Netherlands as of 2008. This means that if you are caught indulging in your equinophilia, you could go to jail. The same is true if you are caught with pornography depicting sex with animals.
There may be a couple reasons for your sexual thoughts. One is that you are genuinely a zoophile, a subject I talk about in the article linked above. The other is that images of horses--their genitalia, rumps, etc.--may be a psychological tool to disguise other sexual impulses. For example, you are a male and you are attracted to the large penis of a horse, so it could be that you are disguising homoerotic feelings by covering them up in the idea of a horse rather than admitting you want sex with a man. This might sound counterintuitive, as one would think zoophilia would be worse than homosexuality, but the brain works that way sometimes. Also, if you have OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior) or PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), this can make your condition worse.
The best thing for you to do at this time would be to find a professional counselor to advise you, since Papabear is not a trained professional. You should really figure out what is going on in your head before you decide what to do about it. Follow this link for tips on where you can seek some help in your area.
I would like to end by saying there is nothing "wrong" with you. Human sexuality is complex, to say the least. At 18, you are at a time in your life when your hormones are raging and you are also going through many physical and mental changes. There is no shame in asking for help, and if you can't open up to a family member, then your best solution is to find a good counselor.
I have had trouble figuring out my identity as a person. I feel being demipansexual is my true sexual identity but I always have been comfortable with posing as female in various MMORPSs games. At first it was a curiosity of socialization in gender groups but then it felt right identifying as a woman and there are times I feel being male feels right too. I have been confused with several things over the years attraction to male friends and suddenly questioning why I felt that. Then I felt comfortable being a woman in MMORPGs but yet I like being male. It's a very confusing thing to me. I did some research on sexuality and found demipansexual to be me but gender is still a question time from time. I feel like that is why I have two main sonas one that is male and one that is female. That helped a little bit but I am just always questioning this. Do you know?
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Yes, I do :) You are not confused. You actually know what you like and what you feel. That is not the problem. The problem is you are trying to find a pre-approved label for what you are and get validated by an outside source.
You don't need no stinkin' label, señor. You can call yourself demipansexual or hemi-demi-multi-crossgender-watchamacallit-sexual. Or, perhaps, you are gender fluid, as I explain in this letter. Who cares? The point is, you aren't questioning. That implies you are not sure what you like. But you know what you like is to take on a female character in MMORPGs while other times you take the masculine role.
Your letter mostly focuses on online gaming, and there's not much about your real-life social interactions, so how do you feel about those? Furthermore, it is my belief that online role-playing is a safe way to explore one's sexuality and work things out. I encourage you to continue to do so and take what you learn from the online world and make use of it in the real world.
Demipansexual has more to do with sexual attraction and indicates that you can be attracted to either gender and to many people as long as you have a strong emotional connection. To me, a simple bear, that would just make you bisexual and there would not be a need to define it further, but you can search for a new label all you like; it doesn't change who you are by calling it one thing or another.
As for gender roles, these are all imposed standards set by society. Society calls one behavior "masculine" and another form of behavior "feminine," and it does the same thing with outward appearances, yet these are all cultural tags. Is wearing a kilt feminine? After all, it's a skirt! How about high heels? High heels used to be fashionable among rich men in the 18th century. As was makeup. Is pink "feminine"? It used to be considered masculine in early 20th century America. Is crying "feminine"? More and more people are agreeing that a real man is not afraid to show emotion.
Standards and labels established by society are confusing you. You yourself are not confused.
Be you. Labels be damned.
Dear Papa Bear,
I am the mother of a 21-year-old transgender child. He has in the past few years gone through many different identifications in his sexuality, and I'm starting to get a little concerned. When he identified as female, he told me he was a lesbian. This was when he was about 16. Then at 18 he told me he was trans. About 6 months later he said he was straight (still trans). About 6 months after that he decided he was gay. Most recently I asked him if he would like me to make him a trans flag blanket and he said he would prefer a non-binary flag.
Now I have absolutely NO problem with him being any sex or sexuality that he identifies with. What is concerning to me is how quickly he has been bouncing between identifications. I know everybody goes through periods of finding themselves and I'm very happy that he feels comfortable enough to share with me what he is feeling. My question is, is it happening too fast? Should I be concerned that he is changing his mind a couple of times a year for the past 5 years? Or am I just being an over-protective mom?
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Dear Mama Lion,
I'd like to heap praises on you for being a fantastic mom. Your child is lucky to have you!
To the point: based on what you have written, I think your child could be described as "gender-fluid." Gender-fluid is a term describing someone whose gender identity shifts over time--and yes, the time elapsed can be as short as a single day. Gender-fluid people can identify as a man one day, a female the next. They can even identify as asexual, bisexual, transexual, nonbinary, straight, and on and on.
There is also something called "gender-queer." A gender-queer person doesn't tend to shift identity (although they might); they identify as not exclusively male or female. And, yes, you can be both gender-fluid and gender-queer.
Have a headache yet? That might be because many humans (even furries!) suffer from something I call "labelphilia": the desire to stick a label on, identify, and categorize everything. This started all the way back to Adam, when he was putting labels on all the animals.
Adam: I'm going to call you ... an "antelope."
Animal: Excuse me, Adam, but I identify as a lion, sir! And sometimes a giraffe (sticks out tongue and stalks off in a huff).
When we can't categorize everything, we tend to develop anxiety because labels and IDs offer a sense of stability and comfort in a crazy, chaotic world. This is a problem because one of the most complicated things ever invented is human sexuality and gender identity. This kind of anxiety is why many people are homophobic, and it is why most homophobes are simple-minded people (or politicians and clergy using homophobia to manipulate). Homophobes and anti-LGBTQ derps can only see things in black or white; they can't grasp complicated or subtle concepts. They can't believe that not only are there nearly infinite shades of grey in between black and white, but! there are also all the colors of the rainbow. AND! People don't have to be just light-grey or purple, they can be green and orange with a dash of striped grey-and-white thrown in.
Now, being that your child is 21, it should be noted that when people are young they tend to experiment a lot as they try to figure out who they are. This might mean that, as your child ages, the shifts could get less frequent as they settle into something they find comfortable. It might not mean that, but it could.
You can save yourself the trouble by simply not trying to label them at all and not worry about their gender identity so much. You'll save money on antacid purchases. We are much more than our gender and sexual preferences. I don't, for example, go around introducing myself as gay. I introduce myself as Grubbs or Kevin. This should not be too hard for you because you are such a loving and supportive mother, and bless you profusely for that. I wish you were common instead of the exception in this world.
If you still wish to make them a flag blanket, then you could ask them if they would like a gender-fluid one (yes, there is a flag for everything). Below is an example you can use as a model.
Heads up this is a bit sexual, but my research doesn't seem to be turning much up at all so I'm hoping you can help.
I have recently been exploring my sexuality on multiple levels, and have discovered that I erotically enjoy furry art, and more recently have found I enjoy imagining myself as an anthropomorphic animal - but only for sex purposes, and I often feel disgusted with myself afterwards. I still have not fully got a handle on why. I have no desire for a fursuit, or to engage with the fandom as a lifestyle in any way. But the more I engage with anthropomorphic erotica in this way, the more cemented my idea of my own sona(?) seems to get, though it's something I only associate with sex.
My understanding is that just sexual interest/association is not exactly the common experience for furries, and I'm feeling a lot of shame around having this... honestly it kind of feels like a fetish? and worrying that furry art etc. isn't being made for me, and engaging with it erotically is kind of violating the intent of the creators and the deep connection of many people with their fursonas, and possibly could help perpetuate negative stereotypes about the furry fandom. (In the interest of respect, I've mostly been sticking to explicit erotica).
On the other hand, I have a therian friend who is telling me to relax and engage with an open mind to slowly discover myself, but it always seems to come with the implication that the experiences I'm having are a gateway into other engagement with the furry fandom, which would be fine, I obviously have nothing against furries, but what if it doesn't, and I'm only interested in essentially a fetish? It feels like then I really would just be the disgusting sexual deviant both furries and the mainstream have no use for, and also still have no good framework for understanding why I'm like this when I don't even like sex with other people and get turned off by my own body at times.
It's just a lot, and if you have any advice for how to navigate this I would be incredibly grateful for it.
Thank you very much,
Mae (age 21)
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It's very natural for someone your age to be exploring their sexuality (hell, I'm still doing it at 55 LOL, but I digress). Let's clear up a couple inaccuracies in your letter, first. Furporn is quite common in the fandom, and many furries enjoy it. While it should be acknowledged that being a furry isn't about sex, because many furries are young and sexually active (or, at least, interested in sex), this naturally transfers into a lot of art in the fandom. Many furries are not at all interested in this aspect of the fandom. That's fine. Many are just interested in it as part of a multifaceted culture that includes lots of other stuff, and THAT is fine, too. And many furries, frankly, are pretty much only interested in furporn. That is fine, too.
Don't feel disgusted with yourself or feel like you are insulting the spirit of the fandom by enjoying the adult art. You are not. You can certainly find plenty of furporn online and enjoy that (not sure who made you think "that just sexual interest/association is not exactly the common experience for furries," but that's just not correct; it is quite common, though not omnipresent). And you can find lots of artists who draw it and you can commission them, and they will appreciate your business. You can also buy furry sex toys from Bad Dragon, and they, too, will appreciate your business.
Being furry is not necessarily a fetish, but you can have a fetish for furry stuff. And you don't have to be a furry to enjoy furry art. There are many people who are connected to the fandom who are not necessarily furries. I often like to give the example of my fursuit maker, Beastcub. She is not herself a furry, but she loves costuming and creating fursuits as an art (and it definitely IS an artform, in my opinion). Similarly, there are many artists, writers, and filmmakers who create stories that many of us would call furry but the creators are not themselves furries.
Your therian friend is correct that you need to chill and not overthink or worry about your sexual interests as long as--and this is important and key--you are not hurting anyone (and you are not, in your case). Whether or not you wish to become more connected with the furry community is entirely up to you. There are a number of social media groups you could join, and, of course, sites like FurAffinity and e621 contain a lot of what you are looking for.
As for your last comment, well, there could be a lot going on with you psychologically that you don't mention in your letter. A general comment I might make here is that there are many people who, for one reason or another, are more comfortable sexually if they put up a façade of some sort. Perhaps you experienced others body shaming you, or perhaps you had a bad sexual experience when you were younger. This has led to an antagonistic relationship with your own body and even the human form, but you still have sexual desires. Therefore, you cover up the human form with an anthro character, and this allows you to express your sexuality again. Of course, this is pure speculation on my part, but perhaps it has some relevance for you.
I hope this helps. Bottom line: just be yourself, as your friend said, and it is completely healthy to explore your sexuality. Anything is okay, as long as everything is above board, consensual, and not hurtful.
Hope that helps. Write again if you have further questions.
I am having some complex issues with my long term relationship, and I was hoping you might give me your opinion or perhaps your advice. Sorry in advance for the length.
First, I want to say I love my partner James. I’ve never loved anyone more in my life. He was the first person I came out to, and he told me on the spot that he “wasn’t sure if what [he felt] was love just yet, but there is definitely strong attraction [towards me].” We promised that if we were ever single at the same time that we would date. I went through several traumatic relationships that left me with more baggage than I could imagine. But he was always there for me, he helped me feel like me again. After a particularly nasty break up he put my shattered pieces back together, and in that moment I felt like I finally wanted to try with him.
It’s necessary to mention that when James and I started dating it was as a closed polycule of three; James, myself, and my existing partner Rile. Things went well for a while, the three of us even started living together when Rile’s home was undergoing renovations. Everything was great until Five months into dating, when James woke me up to break up with me. Much, much later he told me that he was frustrated by being in a closed relationship. Two depressing months later we got back together under two stipulations, being an open relationship, and having his privacy. We agreed, being poly it was easier to understand certain needs. For me I just wanted my two boyfriends and nothing else.
Rile started spending a lot of time away from home after we all moved back in together. He thought I started falling more in love with James than him. Much complication aside Rile and I parted ways, and I felt myself shifting more towards closed monogamy. All I wanted was James, and for him not to slip away from me. I started to think that him finding someone else would drive a wedge between us, and I would end up feeling just like Rile had towards me. I spoke with James about it, he promised me time to figure things out, but being closed was only temporary as it was one of the conditions of us getting back together. It was appreciated but not the reaction I hoped for or needed in that moment.
He seemed genuine about giving me time to figure out my sexuality, that is until I heard a notification and wanted to bring him his phone. That’s when I saw all of the dating app notifications. You name it, he had it. I just fell to the ground and stifled a pained moan. He had been cheating on me. He promised me that he never did anything in person, but that he did cheat by talking to others and leading them on sexually. He told me that leading people on gave him a sick kick, but it wasn’t entirely sexually motivated. He even admitted that doing so behind my back gave him a thrill. (This was 10 months after getting back together Nov 4th.)
He told me that if I wanted to break up it was entirely understandable. He also offered me a proposition; though it would be hard for him, he would try to be monogamous for me. That I would be able to look through his phone anytime I wanted to, that I was encouraged to for us. He showed me proof that he had deleted every dating app and his entire camera roll. This was after promising to show me every message he sent another person. Somewhere along the way he decided to change that and delete everything before showing me the phone. Probably to save me from my own anger, and increase the likelihood of me staying with him.
All of this sounds terrible and makes him seem like an awful manipulative person, but I do have genuine romantic feelings for him. Through our years together in and out of relationship, we have shared so very much, and I would be honored to call him my husband one day. For a while after that we were fine, and monogamy was followed through on as promised. I still wanted to check his phone, but I never found the courage to overpower the social awkwardness to ask.
When I did finally check up on him using his Facebook and Twitter accounts. I saw countless RP’ing convos, and more "lead on" conversations as he claimed them later. In particular there was where he told an old friend “I’m stuck in a relationship I can’t get out of.” When I confronted him he said that was mad that he made that promise to me initially [Nov 4], but had grown to support the decision since then [Dec 1], and that this whole thing was a slip up. Again he promised to let me see each convo, and instead blocked and deleted them, before I could see everything. We agreed that he could still RP as long as he told me or asked me.
I checked his open phone another night and found many more RP sessions he didn’t tell me about. In particular I found a conversation where he texted/rp’d? about cuckolding me by having sex with someone else in front of me. This seemed to be (out of character speak) too, he and Vlad constantly specified about talking when I wasn’t around which made it all worse. He claimed that it was just RP, not real, and not sexual, even though he sent messages about riding his dildo to the convos with Vlad. He promised me that he RP’ing with Vlad in particular was off limits, which I know now didn’t stand. I keep seeing messages from Vlad on his phone.
There was even a time where I made an RP account to test him, he took the bait and started RP’ing me while laying in bed next to me pretending to sleep. When I confronted him and told him it was me, he immediately refused to RP with me, and still refuses today.
Lastly, there is the issue of his sex drive. The first and only time we have had sex, aside from two botched attempts, was our very first date years ago. James has been going through a dry spell as he calls it, where he wants desperately to bleed me dry every day, but now is embarrassed and unmotivated due to his lack of a sex drive not aligning with his desires. I have always tried to be understanding of this issue when poaching the idea of sex. But the way he has shot me down countless times now makes me feel disgusting and unwanted. My will to try having sex with him is completely broken, to the degree that I openly fear discussing any of my own sexual desires with him. On top of that is that I am a switch, he is a firm bottom. The few times I slip into a submissive mindscape I want or need him to take on the role of a Master. Recently, I slipped and called him Master, to which he promptly refused to ever accept the title. Hearing him say that broke something very deep inside me, and I haven’t been able to think of him the same since. I love him with every part of me, beyond anything or anyone I have ever known.. and yet, I don’t trust him.
I can’t stop invading his privacy, I am constantly checking his phone, Facebook and twitter. It constantly seems like he’s covering up his mistakes as soon as I find them. I feel sexually unwanted, due to his “dry spell”, and constant RP sessions with everyone other than me.
I feel disregarded and hurt for my occasional need for him to take on a “Master’s” role. Some nights I go to bed distracted by how much I love him, or from us just having a good day. But there have been just as many times I have stayed up unable to sleep next to him.
I don’t want to leave, I don’t want a break, I don’t want to be broken up with.
I want him all to myself.
I want to stop feeling like the bad guy.
I want to stop feeling ashamed of what I want out of this relationship.
I want to be able to trust him again.
I want to be able to call him Master when I need to.
I don’t know how to tell him any of this. I don’t know where to start at this point. I constantly fear that I’ll reach his limit of how willing he is to work anything out, and that he’ll break up with me again. I fear that he will see the real depth of how much he has hurt me, and how much he continues to hurt me, and that he will panic. I’m so scared that one day he’ll wake up and think how much better I would be without him. I’m utterly terrified.
Please let me know what you think, and how you think I could move forward.
Thanks for listening,
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Your relationship with James is severely broken, as you know. This is a case in point in which, when two people are not sexually compatible, it can easily spell doom for that relationship. This just happened to someone very dear to me who is now getting a divorce after a long, monogamous marriage because the other person wanted to suddenly go poly and began ignoring her spouse in favor of the new third party. Poly relationships can work. Open relationships can work. But ONLY if everyone is on the same page and there is no jealousy and mistrust. Reading your letter, there is mistrust all over the place; there is lying; there is cheating; there is bad communication; and there is sexual frustration because you are, frankly, incompatible in the bedroom.
The biggest mistake that people in an incompatible relationship try to do is make the other person change or (incorrectly used) "grow as a person," which just means, "change so that they do what I want." Look, Lindell, you have four choices here:
Of these choices, the only one that has a chance of helping you and James to find a satisfactory sex life is the fourth one. Now, is sex everything in a loving partnership? No, it is just one facet, though a big one. Sometimes sex is not a factor at all, but that is usually not the case with young, healthy couples such as yourself. The reason you are fighting this inevitable conclusion is that you want to keep James in your life because other than this one issue, you love him. I can certainly understand that you don't want your partnership to change. For the most part, it's comfortable and familiar and cozy.
I wish to stress that you are not the "bad guy" and you shouldn't feel "ashamed" for what you want. There is nothing wrong with the things you want; it's just that the things you want do not coincide with what your partner wants.
Your letter likely helped you work out some of the thought processes and emotions running through your head. Hopefully, my reply will help you wrap that process up and finally come to a conclusion as to what you should do.
Hope that I've helped you figure it out.
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