Its a hard pill to swallow to say I use furporn because people who use furporn to fulfill their sexual needs more often than not are looked down upon. Anyway, I was exposed to furporn early on in life and found out that I liked it and use it normally. I've had sex and had no problem with “getting started” or my overall performance. It hasn’t “watered down” my attraction to real-life sexual acts or desires but enhanced in its own way. But I sat down today and asked myself why do I still use furporn and why do I still like it? I felt as though it was childish, so I looked at a normal porn video and some pictures and noticed it's all the same. I like furporn because it has diversity. Colors, races, styles (etc.).
My main question is, "What does this make me?" I wouldn’t consider myself a furry because I don't have any desire to partake in anything, being events, suits, and such. I simply just use furporn. I hope you are able to answer my question for me. Thank you for hearing me out and I hope I was able to bring a new perspective or anything of use to you and your journey.
Anonymous (age 20)
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Thank you for writing an honest letter that I believe will be helpful to many of my readers. Isn't it funny how true it is when you say that people into furporn are looked down upon (including in the furry fandom) and yet furporn and other "regular" porn proliferates throughout the Web, literature, movies, sex clubs, and on and on? Human beings are sexual creatures. This is natural. What is unnatural is how social (especially religious) institutions make sex anathema, sinful, a thing only for degenerates, something that should only be used for procreation, and you better not even masturbate lest you go blind and grow hair on the palms of your hands and cause the dinosaurs to go extinct (Family Guy joke).
The elite and powerful in human society use guilt to control people into "behaving." The result of this is that a vast number of people have become neurotic about sex and many who try to repress their feelings later release their sexual tension in inappropriate, hurtful, violent, criminal, and truly sinful ways (i.e., e.g., rapists, pedophiles, spouse abusers, and priests molesting little boys or having sex with nuns).
The truth is that it is MUCH healthier to have an active, playful sex life. People who have satisfying sex lives are happier and more mentally and emotionally balanced. Sexual fantasy is a part of this. There are many good things about sexual fantasy, the main one being that it is a safe way to stimulate the libido. It also helps you run through your mind many things that you might like to try with your consensual partner. In fact, talking with a partner about sexual fantasies can help you strengthen bonds you might not have known you had. Now, one might have some very "out there" fantasies that you wouldn't try on anyone (a common one in the fandom is vore fantasies, for example). You shouldn't worry about these. As marriage and family therapist expert Steven Ing wrote in a Psychology Today article: "Just as fantasizing about being a world-class jewel thief doesn't mean you're going to become a thief, having sexual fantasies doesn’t mean you're going to act on them. Fantasizing is our brain's way of projecting a future scenario or trying ideas on for size. It's also a way of reliving a wonderful moment or deriving comfort or pleasure from an alternative reality."
And, of course, always keep in mind the Wiccan Rede: As long as you're not hurting anyone, do what you like. You certainly aren't hurting anyone by watching furporn. But it is also important to note the dangers of porn addiction. Judging by your letter, you are already aware that too much porn viewing can numb the senses and actually lessen one's real sexual activity, and you assert that your own libido has not been "watered down." Good for you :-) Further, you note that furporn is really no weirder than other porn on the internet. So, furry fantasies are just another type of imaginative RP of the mind.
In short, you have nothing to worry about. Pretty much all sexually active human beings indulge in some sort of fantasy, so you are totally normal. Yours just happens to be furporn. Big whoop. You seem very aware of all of this and, IMHO, you are quite smart and in tune with yourself. You're mentally and emotionally healthy. Lastly, just because you like furporn doesn't mean you're a furry. It's not like, "Ohmygerd! I watched anthro wolves having sex! Now I have to go buy a fursuit and attend a furry convention!" Relax. The Fur Police aren't gonna knock on your door for noncompliance.
Hope this helps. Remember, play safe and have fun! Thanks for writing!
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.
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