At “Baycon” 2005, a man and woman brushed past me, nuzzling each other, wearing raccoon tails tied to their belts. I began to notice several other people wearing similar outfits. Sometimes the tail was accompanied by kitty ears or fur around the wrists.
I eventually began seeing full mascot-style animals wandering about. I didn’t think too much about it at first, because there were several costume contests, and Luke Skywalker and Papa Smurf strolled by earlier. However when I ran into a friend of mine who was also sporting a bushy raccoon tail, I had to ask.
My friend told me she was a “Furry.”
“What is a Furry?” I asked in a classically naive after-school-special type manner. She then explained about the wild world of the fur loving people, or as they are commonly known, “Furries.”
Apparently there is much dispute over the true definition of what a “Furry” is, as there are so many different types. However the common link between all of them is their attachment to humanoid animals.
One Furry fan explains, “Furries enjoy entertainment and art featuring animal creatures endowed with human traits (like Bugs Bunny). But this common thread immediately frays into several diverse sub-strings. There are ‘Furry fiction fans,’ ‘Furry art enthusiasts,’ ‘Fursuiters,’ ‘Spiritual Furs,’ ‘Furry rave kids,’ ‘Plushies,’ and ‘Furverts.’”
You can look up any of these subgroups online and come up with dozens of sites. From what I’ve gathered there are two very different groups. The “Furverts” are the ones in it for the sexual side of furrydom, and the “Clean Furs” distance themselves as much as possible from anything sexual or perverse.
Illustration by Jessie Day
The Furverts claim you can’t get close to your animal nature without having animalistic sex, but the Clean Furs insist that their furrydom has to do with the very innocent, even spiritual side of animals. Of course, the most well known types are the sex related ones that explore the kink of fur, and let’s all face it, that’s really what you perverts want to hear about anyways.
Of course I’m not the only one that knows that about you, the writers for “CSI” and “Vanity Fair” figured it out months ago. The “CSI” episode titled “Fur and Loathing in Las Vegas” took us to a Furry and Plushy convention where a character named “Sexy” (a man dressed in a blue cat suit fitted with a bikini) explained about the sexual world of Furries. This episode focused on such things as a semen incrusted fur suit, and groups of Fursuiters humping and petting in a pile.
The “Vanity Fair” article, “Pleasures of the fur” seemed to concentrate on “Plushies,” or people who are turned on by stuffed animals. They interviewed one Plushie who cuts small holes into the nether regions of his larger stuffed animals to have sex with them, which is a common practice among people with this fetish.
Biased media exploitation has deterred many furries from wanting to be interviewed. The ones I approached claimed they were angered by the over emphasized sexual side of Furries. Most felt misrepresented while others just didn’t want to talk about it.
Furries tend to be shy or socially awkward in some way and feel safer when surrounded by warm welcoming animal creatures. As with most unorthodox subcultures, many Furries claim that once they discovered these groups it was the first time they ever really felt they belonged; and they could never go back.
This is a statement that I have heard from cross-dressers, S&M life-stylers, and random fetishists alike. It’s putting on a mask, feeling sexier or just plain more acceptable through a costume, and escaping into a world of fantasy where everyone accepts you.
It’s like when people find religion, “I was lost and confused, and then I found a fur suit!”