I would like to start by saying I am 26 and have only recently started immersing myself in the fandom, just wanted to put that out there up front. :)
Only a week or two ago, I ended up having a long talk with a boy in an online game that I have gamed with pretty much daily for the last couple months. He had, since joining my group (along with another friend of his from FA), made comments about being a furry at times. Obviously, I had heard the term before (usually in a very bad context~~much as I hear people using the term "faggot" >.< ) but had never talked with anyone labeling themselves as such. Being the curious person I am, and generally liking the guy, I had to dig deeper and ask some questions. Needless to say, I ended up making an account on FA, and doing a lot of reading and browsing around—eager to be part of what seems to be the most accepting and affectionate community I have had the chance to learn about.
Having been an avid role player since I was in my mid teens, I immediately started working on fashioning myself a fursona that I could relate to (which is an ongoing project). While I tend to get along really well with most people in real life, I am very introverted (although it may not seem that way to people). I have a hard time forging friendships that I feel are meaningful. I tend to read very deeply into what people say and how they act around me, often noticing things that make me lose interest in them. I know it is a horrible way to be, but I just do not want to waste my time with insincere friendships or being used. So I have very few, but very dear friends that I keep close to my heart. But through the years, role playing has allowed me to express myself in ways I have not been comfortable with, and to experience things from a different perspective.
Well, my question really is: is it okay for me to identify strongly enough with my sona that it feels natural for me to express love and physical intimacy through him? I am just really nervous about this aspect, because I don't want to portray myself as some sort of fetishist or pervert (especially being new to the community). Sorry if this seems like a dumb question...
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No, it’s not a dumb question; it’s an excellent question, actually. You’re asking is it okay for you to assume the character of your fursona and to have relationships with other people as your fursona.
This depends on how you answer The Big Question: are my actions while in fursona deceitful or honest? If you are acting honestly as you are in character, then you are fine. If you are using your fursona to try to trick someone into doing something, anything, that they otherwise would not do, then that’s not fine.
An extreme example of “not fine” would be a man who stalks young girls on the Internet, telling them he is things he’s not in order to get her to meet with him privately and then raping or abducting her. You could imagine something like that happening as someone assuming a fursona, too, although I have never heard of a furry behaving so badly as that. Perhaps a guy pretending he is a furry approaching a girl furry. That’s simply wrong and, in extreme cases like above, illegal and immoral.
The above, again, is just my exaggerating the worst-case scenario. I’m sure you’re not talking about anything like that, but I’m just putting it out there for the sake of my readers.
On the other paw is when you use your fursona to more freely express yourself, to help you shed some of your inhibitions so that you aren’t actually being less honest but more honest. I find that, as my bear self, I am more easily able to express affection for other people, especially furries. You comment in your letter how you are rather introverted and have a hard time making friends. That can actually be a good thing in that you are being very discriminating and the friends you do make are real friends, not fair-weather friends.
But perhaps you feel a need to be a bit more friendly and your fursona can serve as a tool for making that happen. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. I have made a number of good friends because they were first attracted to my bear fursona. Later, as we got to know each other, they also came to know my human side and we became even closer friends. So, I guess you could look at it as your fursona being a kind of ice breaker. Something to lessen the tension of a first meeting and to help introduce yourself.
Your fursona can also be more than just a tool in this sense. You mention how you are identifying strongly with your fursona; I do as well. That’s okay too, and it makes sense because you have created your fursona based upon your own likes and dislikes. So, naturally, your fursona is strongly reflective of who you actually are. In a way, it is an enhanced, new and improved you.
Don’t buy into all the hype and crap you see on the Internet that is obviously making you think that you are being a pervert because you assume a fursona and have some interpersonal (possibly erotic) exchanges. You are exploring a side of you that will help you learn more about yourself, and that is perfectly fine. Remember, don’t let society define you; define yourself. That’s the key in how to do it because usually society is wrong and puts unnecessary boundaries and shackles on us in order to control and subjugate us beneath the power elite—in order to smash square pegs into round holes.
Becoming your fursona is simply one way—one very imaginative and creative way—of discovering your true self.
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.