WHAT IS A FURRY?
Furries can be understood as a growingly popular culture surrounding anthropomorphic characters, often in the form of individuals dressing up as animal versions of themselves or characters they have devised. Such characters are often intelligent, can speak much in the same way that humans can, are able to walk on two legs, are clothed, and boast similar physical traits as humans, such as having breasts, muscles, and human genitalia.
The notion of “furries” in general relates to the community and fandom that has arisen following this idea, both at conventions in real life and on online chat forums where people chat and bond online, not only about the culture as a whole, but also about their individual personalities. Much of the time, this can come in the form of flirting, fantasizing and bonding their furries to others through forming relationships and attachments.
WHERE DO FURRIES COME FROM?
Furries initially originated from an underground comix movement in the 1970s, which depicted explicit erotica. Upon Vootie, an amateur creation of animal-focused art being released in 1976, the adult themes and explicit sex within soon grew more popular, leading to the meeting of interested individuals at conventions, each time becoming more and more popular as the community grew. The notion of being a “furry”, and the erotic nature and sexual arousal behind the animal and yet also somehow human-like creatures grew from such science fiction conventions, and the term was commonly used in niche fanzine in the early 1980s.
Over the next decade, a greater awareness and understanding of the term grew, and stricter definitions became available, only helping add to the popularity of the subculture and the community that thrived within it. Furry conventions aside from general science fiction and other forms of media became popular in their own right, and as the internet became accessible, it became easier for such communities to chat online and come to know each other on online chat forums. For those further away from the furry hub of California, this helped to provide them with a sense of community and a means of enjoying their fetish and interest even if they weren’t able to partake any further than creating an imaginary persona (or “fursona”) and drawing up images of what they desired their character to look like.
WHY DO PEOPLE LIKE BEING FURRIES?
For many people, it is the act of making and designing their own costumes that attracts them to being a furry. With each individual having their own “fursona”, thereby a furry personality and character to enjoy, there are a seemingly endless number of ideas they can design and manufacture into a wearable piece, if they so wish. For many, this comes with creating a head-to-toe outfit of the style and animal of their choice, called fursuits, often creating a helmet with ears, eyes and mouth, many of which are similar to a mascot helmet though many are mechanized to be fully blinking and moving for added effect, or even utilizing prosthetic makeup. Enjoying being a furry can even constitute simply wearing a headband of animal ears and painting on whiskers or simple animal makeup – part of the joy in the community is the ability to partake as much or as little as you want, thereby making it oftentimes a welcoming place for people who otherwise feel that they don’t belong.
It’s this very sense of community that attracts so many people. Here they can connect with likeminded people on online chat forums or through mailing lists, group chats, Facebook groups and a whole host of other forms of communication both in real life and on the internet, to form friendships, romantic and sexual relationships and to enjoy a sense of community as a whole. In addition, many people enjoy being a furry through online roleplaying games, such as Second Life, which they can enjoy individually and chat to and play with others online.
For many, it is the lifestyle that comes with being a furry that they enjoy, such as the roleplaying itself and how it makes them feel – often making them feel like a more confident, empowered and sexual version of themselves. The sexual nature of being a furry is also often enjoyed in the process of Yiffs, a slang term within the community for pornographic content of a furry nature. This often stands less for actual photographs of those in costume, but more explicit and erotic portrayals of furries and their fursonas in cartoons, typically Japanese manga-style. Yiffs often portray sexual scenes of intercourse and penetration between characters, or even simply provocative poses of characters.
The existence of Yiffs has also created the term “yiffing”, the sex between furries. Therefore, the roleplaying of individuals with fursonas has become an explicitly sexual thing and is enjoyed by those looking to form romantic and sexual relationships. Oftentimes this means staying entirely in character throughout the intercourse as a means of enjoying the chemistry and nature of the personas. Having sex while in character can only add to the sexual arousal between both individuals and allows both to roleplay as their desired furries, adding an animalistic and chemistry-fueled energy into the bedroom for them to enjoy however they please
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