Q: You cast furries in a bad light. Whatever your research indicated, furries and furry fandom arose in the mid-1980s, not the late 1990s. It grew out of a love for anthropomorphized (i.e. talking) animals, anything from Yogi Bear to Planet of the Apes. Just about every major science-fiction convention of the time would have someone hosting a furry party, where people could watch G-rated furry videos, trade sketches of furry characters and talk about their fan interests. Of course, sex has always been an aspect of furry fandom. Some of the early sketches were sexy, erotic or pornographic. And of course, the best known (and critically acclaimed) comic of the time, Omaha the Cat Dancer, featured sex among its furry cast. As a result, some aspects of furry got a bad name. But the vast majority of furs have no interest in fursuit sex or having sex with stuffed animals, as you stated in your column. —Fed Up Rabbit
A: Excuse me, FUR, but how does stating that furry fandom has something to do with sex put furries in a bad light? We’re pro-sex here at Savage Love — and decidedly pro-fetish. There’s nothing wrong with getting off on fursuit sex or fucking stuffed animals or anything else that doesn’t involve grave bodily harm, real animals, children or Ann Coulter. While I did make one wee mistake in my column about furries (for the record: not all furries are into fursuited sex or modified stuffed animals), in no way did I imply that there was something wrong with being a furry. For a taste of what being cast in a bad light looks like, read on.
Q: Sorry, Dan, but your “AIDS scared them away from sex and into fucking Pluto” theory is way off. When I first moved to Silicon Valley the housing market was tight and I had to rent a room in a house full of random strangers. I wound up with a furry roommate. He spent all his money and free time traveling all over the country almost every weekend to go to furry conventions to buy “art” (read: “cartoon-animal porn”). He was, by any social standards, a freak. He could barely hold a conversation with me because I didn’t know the furry lingo. Everyone he brought into the house was a different “animal” with a different fetish, and all they ever wanted to do was tell me about it. My theory: Furries are often too ugly or socially awkward to date or score with normal people. When they find their culture on the Internet it gives them a place to belong. And if you’re a sweaty, overweight and socially awkward dude on the outside, it must be liberating to fantasize about being a beautiful and majestic centaur inside. I’m still good friends with one furry guy I met through my ex-roommate. He’s pretty much normal, except that he wishes he was a cute, skinny, fuzzy, animal-man because he’s got some body issues that get in the way of real relationships with his fellow human beings. I don’t live with furries anymore. Now I rent a room with a good, wholesome, God-fearing gay man, and I only have listen to terrifying conversations about how to hook up in 30 minutes or less on gay.com. —We’re All Terrifying Freaks
A: Thanks for sharing, WATF.
Q: Your correspondent who wants a modified fursuit should look at fursuitsex.com. This is a fairly new business, run by a fur, and intended to produce and distribute fursuit sex videos. They sell the suits once the video is made. —Ostrich
A: I’m a little reluctant to print your letter, Ostrich, because I’m afraid that supply won’t be able to keep up with demand. I mean, think of all the people out there just dying to own an actual fursuit that some complete stranger wore while shooting a porn video. Anyway, I checked out the Web site you mentioned and it’s not for the faint of heart. There’s something about the combo of big-eyed, human-sized, mascots/plushies with decidedly unfurry pink human dicks sticking out of their crotches that, well ... I don’t mean to judge or anything, and I don’t want to cast furries in a bad light, but, Christ almighty, I’ve had some trouble sleeping at night. Anyone who’s going to Disney World in the near future shouldn’t go to fursuitsex.com until well after your vacation.
Q: Savage, being furry is not about fursuit sex or stuffed-animal sex. Furries simply like anthropomorphic animals. I’m sure you can understand how a white-bread furry, say, a guy who enjoys sexplay with his girlfriend wearing cat ears and purring, would cringe at being grouped with someone who likes to stick his dick into a hollowed-out Winnie the Pooh. —Neuracnu Coyote
A: I don’t know, NC. After checking out some furry porn — nothing so restrained, however, as a guy and his girlfriend wearing cat ears and purring — I can state with some authority that images of people fucking hollowed-out stuffed animals is infinitely less disturbing than images of people sucking off theme-park mascots.
Q: Dan, being a furry is a lot more than simply wanting to have sex in a fursuit or with a plush toy. It’s media coverage such as your article that gives that impression, and it has caused problems for many furs. In the simplest terms, furry culture centers around animal anthropomorphism, i.e. the mixing of human and animal characteristics. There is no clear definition of furry culture, but my experience leads me to believe it is, however, possible to split the culture loosely into two groups — furries and furry fans. Furries are people who actually believe their personalities would better fit a particular animal, and express a deep empathy with that animal or might even wish to become that particular animal. Furry fans are people who express an interest in furry culture, but don’t necessarily wish to be an actual furry — although they may have a furry character in role-playing games, and enjoy furry artwork, fiction and just the general idea of furriness. Of course, it’s not all good, clean fun. There are those in furrydom and furry fandom who will take their interest to a sexual level. What offended me in your article was your blatant assumption that all furries do this. —Fed Up Furry
A: OK, OK: Furries are just fans — Trekkies with flea collars! — and not all furries take their interest to a sexual level. But maybe you all should. In some ways it’s easier to accept and sign off on bizarre-yet-harmless behaviors and obsessions if there’s a sexual component. None of us can really help, control or direct our sexual interests or fetishes; we can, however, control how we choose to act on them. Someone who gets hard or wet when dressed up like a fox or a raccoon or chipmunk makes a rough sort of sense. But someone who fantasizes about being an animal or hanging out with people who do without the excuse/cover of sexual fetish or compulsion? I’m sorry, but that’s just sick.Contact Dan Savage at firstname.lastname@example.org