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Furry: The Fuzzier Side of Kink

Furry: The Fuzzier Side of Kink Art (c) MidnightStorm
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Maybe you've seen that creepy CSI episode about fursuiting...Maybe you've had a friend that seemed to like to make animal noises just a little too much--or maybe you've just seen it around the internet. The furry fandom is growing by the day, but no one ever seems able to clearly define it or give a straight answer to any question about it. It really makes you wonder...What exactly IS a furry?

  So what is a furry, anyways?

Maybe you’ve heard the term before, maybe you haven’t. Maybe you saw the episode of CSI with the sexual deviants in fursuits getting arrested and, well, just generally being creepy. Maybe you think it’s all about sex—or maybe you “know better” because a hundred furries have insisted to you that they’re not in it for the porn.

The trouble with the furry fandom is that no one can really give you a straight definition of what makes someone (or something) “furry.” In the broadest sense of the term, the “furry fandom” represents a large group of men, women, and everything in between who appreciate anthropomorphic animal characters. Wikipedia, in turn, defines anthropomorphism as “any attribution of human characteristics (or characteristics assumed to belong only to humans) to other animals, non-living things, phenomena, material states, objects or abstract concepts, such as organizations, governments, spirits or deities.”

Well, that’s delightfully vague, isn’t it? You can begin to see where the problem comes in. To complicate matters even further, society in general has a pretty low view of furries, so there are many people who are active participants in the furry community that swear up and down that they’re not furry. Likewise, for every furry you ask “what makes someone a furry?” you’ll get a different answer. Unlike most fandoms, you’re not necessarily a furry just because you like furries. In the end, the only thing that really makes a person a furry is rather or not they choose to apply that title to themselves.

  Wait, so isn’t that just bestiality?

Yes and no. The truth is, despite what many furries will tell you, there are some people in the furry fandom that are in to bestiality. However, most furries have NO interest in molesting their neighbor’s dogs. The easiest way to think about it is that there are different “levels” of furry—they range from full-on bestiality to people who just really like cat tails. Keep in mind that these levels are not the end-all-be-all definition of furry. Not all furries will fall into just one (or any) of these categories and some people who aren’t furries may fall into some. They are also, by no means, official. These “categories” are just a convenient way to explain the furry fandom in a bit more detail.

- Bestiality: These are people who want to be human and have sex with animals.
- Feral (natural): These are people who want to be and act like an animal and interact with other animals.
- Feral (human): These are people who want to be an animal but have the intelligence of a human and interact with other animals who have the intelligence of humans.
- Anthro: These are people who are interested in having a half human, half animal body and interacting with other people who have half human, half animal bodies. These “anthropomorphic” bodies may have fur, animal faces, paws, tails, ears, horns, wings, or any combination of the above. Usually they at least have fur and have a combination of animal and human faces.
- Neko: Neko is the Japanese word for cat. Typically, people who call themselves “nekos” are people who are perfectly content being 100% human...but would also kind of like ears and tail. Sometimes these people wear ears and tail for costuming purposes or just for fun—sometimes they don’t dress up as a neko at all, but represent themselves as one online.

Each of these levels has a sexual and non-sexual aspect and they all have quite a bit of grey space in between them. Many furries fall into multiple categories and many “nekos” do not consider themselves furry—and that’s okay! “Furry” is a fluid word that, as I mentioned earlier, only applies to people who want it to apply to them.

  Don’t all furries want to have sex in those creepy costumes?


Thankfully, there’s a fast and sweet answer to this question: No. When a furry dresses up in a “mascot” costume, it is referred to as “fursuiting." The costume itself is a “fursuit.” Fursuiting is popular, but the sexual aspect of it is a lot less popular than people tend to think. Many people pay thousands of dollars to have their fursuits custom made by incredibly talented artists. It is a process that has very precise specifications (most creators will not create a fursuit for you unless you mail them a full size “dummy” of your body and have a commissioned reference sheet of your design) and the process can take months, if not years. Beyond this, while fursuiting can be a lot of fun for those who enjoy it, fursuits are hot and uncomfortable. Trying to have sex in them not only runs the risk of ruining them, but it also verges on being a health hazard!

Like most aspects of the furry fandom, there are some people who enjoy fursuiting in a sexual way. More often than not, however, fursuits are just a way for furries to express themselves. Many furries feel that their “fursona,” or furry persona, is how they “should” look in a perfect world. They feel very connected to this image of themselves and fursuiting is the closet they’ll ever get to looking how they really feel they should look. Fursuits also offer a level of anonymity and security that “being yourself” can’t really offer. Many furries also tend to be shy in a number of ways and fursuiting can aid furries in being more social and comfortable around other people.

  Fursona? What’s that?

Most, but not all, furries have a fursona. To put it simply, a fursona is a furry (anthro, animal, or neko) representation of the person. This is, in essence, the “character” that they play online. This is how they represent themselves in art and refer to themselves when speaking. Sometimes a fursona may have its own name or sometimes the fursona creator will have a specific character design and use their given/legal name. Often, when people have fursuits made, they have them made based off of their fursona designs.

Each fursona can be as unique or plain as an individual person. A quick search through the typical furry website will reveal hundreds of black cats, white wolves, and red foxes—but a fursona is only limited by its owner’s creativity. Fursonas can be any type of animal or combination of animal, mythical or real. Furries may have fursonas that are birds, fish, otters, elephants, snakes, dragons, chinchillas, squirrels, phoenixes, or even Pokémon. Fursonas are also not limited to “just animals” or “just anthros.” They can be both, either, or neither.

  Furry: Kink vs. Lifestyle

One of the most common misconceptions about the furry fandom is that it’s all about sex. The typical furry’s knee-jerk is to immediately jump to the defense of the fandom by saying something like: “It’s not all about porn! Lots of people are in it just because they like the art! You can be a furry without liking furry porn. I just like the art—I swear I’m not in it for the porn at all!” I’m going to be frank here: people that tell you this probably either A) Don’t like any porn or B) Are lying.

That’s not to say that it isn’t possible to be a furry without liking furry porn. It’s actually completely feasible and lots of people do it every day. But most people that claim not to be in it for the porn are likely ashamed of what you’ll think of them or worried that they have to single-handedly redeem the furry fandom in the eyes of society by erasing the part that tends to weird people out: the sex. The reality is that a lot of people are in to the furry fandom for the porn. Many people are sexually attracted to anthropomorphic characters and art. If they weren’t, there wouldn’t be so damn much of it.

People often feel the need to “justify” the furry fandom and hide its sexual aspect, but in the end, I don’t think there’s anything to be ashamed of. Having a furry fetish isn’t any stranger than any other fetish out there and I tend to hold it to the same standards that I hold every other fetish to: “If you’re into it and it doesn’t hurt anyone else...By all means, have at it. More power to you.”

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Comments

Thanks for the story

10/04/2012

That was kinda sexy actually.

10/05/2012
butts  

I wouldn't say that all furries "want" to be an animal in some way at all, most furries I know are entirely happy being human, they just appreciate furry artwork and animals. Being furry has nothing to do with wanting to be anything other than human, it's largely an art community with a DASH of spirituality.

10/10/2012

@butts - I feel like there are plenty of people who simply enjoy furry art, but I also feel like the vast majority of people who are only interested in the furry fandom for the art are people who claim not to be furries. These are people who, despite having fursonas and pages upon pages of art of furries, have the words; "I AM NOT A FURRY!!!" printed in big letters on the tops of the furry-oriented-website pages and profiles. The majority of people I've met who identify as furry actually do want to be an animal or have the features of an anthropomorphic animal in some way, shape, or form. While this doesn't necessarily mean that they'd hop on the first train to get a furry-surgery if it ever became possible, these are people who do fantasize about having tails or fur (or who fantasize about everyone being a furry or about having sex with furries).

It's possible that we've met some different people, though.

10/10/2012

interestig article.

10/11/2012
ColdPaw  

I truly appreciate this. Now when people ask me to define it I can link them here.

10/13/2012

@ColdPaw - I'm really glad you agree with the definition! I was worried about the opinion of people who WERE familiar with it, since this article was mostly written from my experiences for people who weren't familiar. I wanted to make sure I covered all my bases.

10/15/2012
Sugoi  

Great article! Nekos are sexy. Nyannnn

10/16/2012
butts  

@MidnightStorm True, the people I hang out with who are in the fandom (mostly) have no interest in actually having animal parts, but that could just be my friend circle. I must admit, I've been in the fandom since I was quite young, and I've never had an interest in the sexual aspects of it, nor have I ever desired to have animal parts, I just appreciate the art. Most of my friends are the same, we say we're furry for the sake of simplicity but few of us "identify" as such. We like furry art because we like animals, and we like art, it doesn't go much deeper than that. However, I've met a large number of people who DO go much deeper than that, I'm just not friends with more "hardcore" furs for the same reason I'm not friends with many "hardcore" hipsters, the groups tend to come with a personality type that I don't get along with, not that all "hardcore" furs are like that. Of course everyone's experience in the fandom is different, it all depends on who you talk to, where you're from and what sites you frequent.

10/16/2012
Hubby80  

Thanks

10/22/2012

Thank you so much! I'm not a furry but I love the feel of fur against my skin, and I think that maybe one day I might identify as one. I guess for me it would feel more like a Halloween costume than a fursona, though. I'm coming to terms with my identity more... as human! I used to identify as part cat, when I was younger, strangely enough. Today I identify a lot with sea creatures, but it's always different for me. But yes, furries are hot! You forgot to include: You don't have to be a furry to like furry porn, either!

12/12/2012

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