Furries are an adult community who adore the idea of anthropomorphic animals slightly more than most of us. You know Mickey Mouse? Scooby? Brian Griffin? They’re all animals with human traits, and that’s the concept uniting most lovers of Furries.
This is a fluid fetish, embracing plenty of subcultures and sexual preferences. In the main, Furries fall into three categories. Firstly, there are the 'Toonies', who love cartoon characters like My Little Pony. Secondly, there are the 'Naturals', who are more inspired by real animals, especially big cats, wolves and horses. And lastly, there are the 'Supernaturals', who prefer werewolves, unicorns and dragons.
A recent survey found that only 15% of Furries actually dress up to indulge their fetish. The others just revel in the powerful connection they feel to a specific creature and want to play around with their animalistic side.
Many Furries are sensitive souls, and aside from the fetish aspect, it’s the erotic, edgy artwork that gets them hooked. There’s a huge anime influence on this anthro-art, but some images owe more to gaming visuals, and others are simple pencil drawings.
Furries fan art blends human and animal elements in a combination that’s surprisingly compelling. For example, tied up cats giggle with pleasure, foxes pose porn-style on beds and wolves wear bikinis at the beach. If the characters were human, this would be explicit 18+ rated fetish material, but for a non-Furry, the animal features tame it down.
Furry Fun. Woof!
Like any group that’s poised on the margins of society, Furries are equally feared and ridiculed. There’s regular pearl-clutching in the media about what goes on at conventions for Furries, but in reality, it’s not all about doing it doggy-style. Getting jiggy in fur suits is even less likely, as those fluffy babies can cost more than a car - so having it ripped off during a kinky session is a no-no.
On the other hand, this is an adult-interest fetish community, so naturally, there’s an element of sexual attraction between followers. Furries often use the term Yiff as an acronym for Young Incredibly Fuckable Furry, but it’s also a kind of catchall term used as an expression of joy, to refer to Furry porn or to mean feeling horny (yiffy) or even having sex. Skritching has less sensual overtones, like the Furry equivalent of kissing your sister, it involves a rub on the back or between the ears using the fingertips to avoid damaging a fur suit.
One of the greatest things about any fetish community considered deviant is the way members are happy to embrace difference. We see it all the time in the BDSM world, and the otherkin universe is equally tolerant. No one cares, or potentially even notices, if you’re trans, straight or gay, black, white or Asian. The focus is on a person’s species and the type of animal they’ve chosen to come out as - their fursona.
Finding a partner who accepts us for the fetish loving weirdo we are isn’t easy for anyone who identifies as a kinkster, but whereas BDSM has become a mainstream preoccupation, Furryism is, ironically, less cute and cuddly.
An attraction to humans dressed as animals, or getting pleasure in acting like an animal is different from bestiality and zoophilia, but to the uninitiated, the three can seem unnervingly close. So how do you meet your ideal kitty cat or fine-looking stallion if you’re part of a misunderstood subculture? You get into the online dating of course – just like the rest of us. Right now the number of Furry dating sites is blooming, and each has a different vibe.
Online Furry dating pages have a lot in common with other fetish or vanilla meet-up sites. 'Furries Extreme' for example, might sound hardcore, but along with the hookup opportunities, there’s a healthy social network to become part of and 14,000 other members to get stuck into. Unlike other furry dating sites, it allows adult content like cosplay or artwork, but nothing illegal.
For Furries that’d prefer a gentler introduction, one furry dating site called Furry Mate is probably a good starting point. This online furry dating community was formed very much as a group project and in reaction to Furry feedback. They’re pretty proud of it too, proclaiming: “You spoke, meowed, purred, tweeted, and followed, we listened.”
To stay on more familiar turf, check out the furry community on Ok Cupid. Enthusiasts can take tests like ‘How Furry are you?’, or, ‘What sort of furry are you?’, to be connected with other members of the furry community on a global or local scale.
Unfortunately, furry-haters exist, even though most of this community isn’t even visible and the lifestyle is completely harmless. However, just like bondage fans busting out their rubber S&M kit, Furries escape into their animal character to forget about the pressures of daily life, to feel sexy, strong and liberated. Social acceptance is not required.
All images: Eurofurence 2014 by Alex "Khaki" Vance via Flickr with CC BY 2.0 license
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