An Interview With Simone Brooks: Why We Should Talk About Furries

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Why We Should Talk About Furries

The internet constantly evolves, fostering a myriad of communities that allow people to express themselves beyond societal norms. These online spaces have become platforms where diverse subcultures can thrive, from the rise of YouTubers to the explosion of TikTokers. Among these vibrant subcultures is the Furry Fandom, a community that has gained significant attention in recent years.

In this article, we interview Isabella Walsh, Lovegasm’s resident sexual wellness expert, to shed light on the Furry fandom. This interview aims to raise awareness and clear misconceptions about the community, especially for professionals, concerned parents, and individuals. While we do not promote the activity, we highlight the risks and offer suggestions on how to engage with those who may show an interest. Speaking of unique interests, some might even explore primal-themed toys for an intense experience. You can read about these toys including dog dildos or knotted canine dildos here.

What are Furries?

Walsh: “In it’s simplest definition, a furry is simply someone who likes anthropomorphic animals. “Like” doesn’t even have to have sexual connotations. Indeed, the fandom wasn’t inititally founded on furry porn, it actually started as a splinter group from the Sci-Fi/Fantasy fandom. A fairly accurate parallel could be drawn between furries and trekkies (hardcore fans of Star Trek).”

Furries often create their own unique characters, known as “fursonas.” These fursonas serve as alternate personas that embody traits, physical features, or ages that the creator desires. Community members use their fursonas to interact with others through roleplaying and art. This level of creativity allows for a wide range of expressions and interactions within the community.

W: “You get Star Trek or Star Wars and general Sci-Fi conventions where people go to collect things and meet other enthusiasts. Next, you get people who like to collect stuff from those fandoms, read and write fan fiction. Some even go so far as to dress up as a Klingon or a Storm Trooper. And then you also get the horny forever-alone nerds who fantasize sexually aout Princess Leiah and Consoler Troy. Now swap the fandoms out with furries and it’s just called being human.”

Some furries go a step further by crafting elaborate costumes, known as “fursuits,” which they wear in public settings or online. These costumes help bring their fursonas to life and are often showcased at conventions and meets held worldwide.

Recent Claims and Hoaxes

Recently, rumors have circulated about students in various UK schools identifying as cats and engaging in disruptive behaviors, like crawling on all fours and demanding litterboxes in toilets. These stories have been reported by different news outlets, but it remains unclear if the students themselves use the term ‘Furries.’

W: “The Furry Fandom tends to be very closeted because people assume too much. If people didn’t think that they have scat orgies then most Furries would be out and loud and about.”

The Furry Fandom often remains closeted due to misconceptions. If people understood the community better, more furries would feel comfortable being open about their interests. However, the community is frequently misrepresented by sensationalist media and online platforms like TikTok and MumsNet, which perpetuate hoaxes and false claims.

W: “Popular media such as CSI and Vanity Fair, a popular image of a typical furry has become someone who dresses up in animal suits and has sex in a pile on the floor. This is, of course, not representative of a majority of the fandom. But it is representative of the really crazy side of the fandom, and that’s why it gets so much attention. The media (and definitely 4-chan) is very sensationalist when it comes to stuff like this, so they get the craziest thing they can find and put it on the air.”

Common Questions

How are ‘Cosplaying’ and Furries communities different?

Isabella Walsh explains that the Furry and cosplaying communities have distinct differences, though they share some similarities. Fursuits are optional for Furries and are based on characters created by the individual. In contrast, cosplaying revolves around dressing up as a fictional character or famous person. Furries use their ‘fursona’ as an alter ego, while cosplayers typically act like or ‘play as’ the character they are dressed as.

Walsh adds that most furries are drawn to the fandom because they like animals, whether as pets or for spiritual reasons. The reasons are diverse. Only about 20% of furries actually have full fursuits, highlighting that the community is more about the shared interest in anthropomorphic animals than the costumes themselves.

Are “fursonas” based on ‘real’ animals?

According to Walsh, while some Furries may base their characters on real animals, many prefer to create fursonas inspired by mythological beasts or creatures. This allows for a wide range of creative expression within the community.

She also mentions that Therians are individuals who feel they are innately something other than human, which can be spiritual or psychological. This often takes the form of animals, adding another layer of diversity to the types of fursonas created.

Are Furries sexual in nature?

Walsh addresses the portrayal of the Furry community as ‘sexually deviant’ and focused on the sexual aspect of being anonymous and in a suit. While many people in the community dispute this, the fact remains that beneath the suit or persona is a real person. Some individuals, by virtue of their sexual motivation, may represent a risk. This is true in many environments, from those who hide behind anonymous online accounts to those who misrepresent themselves and engage in groups with an ulterior motive.

She further explains that very few Furries have sex in the suits, partially because “it ruins or dirties up the suit”. The cost of a full custom suit is roughly $3000, and it is also sweltering hot inside a suit. This practical aspect further dispels the myth that the Furry community is primarily sexual in nature.

Risk Factors

The Furry community aims to build confidence and respect creative expression. However, its presence across numerous online platforms with little moderation poses risks for vulnerable children and young people. The concept of a ‘fursona’ can blur the lines between reality and fantasy. While it offers a judgment-free space for self-expression, it can also lead vulnerable individuals into risky behaviors and excessive immersion in an alternate reality. Speaking of blurred lines, just like how a good diet can lead to a gigantic orgasm, balancing reality and fantasy is crucial for a fulfilling experience. So, while exploring your fursona, don’t forget to snack on some of those 10 foods that promise mind-blowing pleasure!

Adopting a fursona often involves assuming a different age, which can increase the dangers of online interactions. People may not be honest about their true age or identity. Even if initial interactions are on moderated forums, conversations can shift to private, encrypted platforms like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, or even to in-person events like Furry Conventions. This makes it harder to protect children and young people from exploitation or undue pressure, especially if they are already vulnerable.

When To Worry

Young people often express themselves through “dressing up,” and niche interests or hobbies are a natural part of their development. Events like Comic-Con have made elaborate costumes more mainstream. However, issues arise when an interest becomes an unhealthy obsession, fixation, or escape, or when it exposes the young person to potential risks. Dissatisfaction with their current situation might lead them to retreat into a controllable alternate reality, especially if they lack a supportive community. Such fixation can cause dissociation, anxiety, depression, and irritability.

Walsh notes, “While many dispute negative portrayals, the reality is that beneath the suit or persona is a real person. Some individuals, driven by sexual motivations, can pose risks. This is true in many settings, from anonymous online interactions to those who misrepresent themselves in groups with hidden agendas.”

What You Can Do

Overreacting or ridiculing a child or young person’s interest in any community, whether online or offline, is counterproductive. How you approach and handle these conversations is crucial. Building a safe, trust-based environment where they feel comfortable expressing themselves is essential. To assist with this, our online safety experts have compiled some top tips.

First, approach the interest without judgment. Ask open-ended questions about what your child or young person finds engaging. It’s important to remain understanding, even if you don’t fully grasp why something interests them. Next, do your homework. Familiarize yourself with the forums and terminology used by the Furry community. This will help you understand and contextualize what your child is discussing.

In closing, Isabella Walsh emphasizes, “Being a Furry is about having a global family and participating in an artistic movement. It’s not about ramming some dude in a fox suit.”