After publishing last week’s article about pet play I received several puzzled emails. Not so much about the post itself, but due to one of its links dedicated to a very complicated and absurd story about the world of furries – a story I have no wish to revisit anytime soon. What emerged from the readers’ questions was their difficulty understanding the anthropomorphic animals phenomenon, which is indeed one of the most bizarre in the field of unusual sexology.
Recapping the previous episodes: furries are those people who really really love the kind of human-like animal characters we are used to see in Disney animated movies – so much so that they adopt a second identity with those characteristics. To some of them this is merely an online fantasy, while others even wear the type of costumes theme park mascots use.
Things are further complicated by sexuality. In fact, most people associate furries with odd orgies between giant plushies, also due to the overabundance of such material you can find on the Internet. The actual enthusiasts generally deny with all their might there is any erotic subtext to their passion instead. As I wrote some time ago, truth probably lies between these two extremes. Although this isn’t exactly an overly marginal phenomenon, to this day I didn’t feel too much of an urge to examine the matter any deeper – but since you are so interested I went looking for information right where the top authorities are.
Furscience is the official website of IARP, the International Anthropomorphic Research Project. It is a serious scientific program backed by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, entirely devoted to the furry subculture. It ran sixteen surveys so far including one active since 2013, with over fifteen hundred furries involved.
Here are the IARP’s findings:
- Furries are mostly white (80%) male (72.4%) Christians (49%), politically leaning toward the Left (65%). 5% of the males are gay, while 10% of the total define themselves as genderqueer or non-binary and slightly over 5% as asexual. Fully heterosexual furries are just 22% compared to 80% of the general population
- 62% of furries have been bullied, compared to 40% of the general population. A furry has 30% more probabilities of being physically attacked compared to a sport fan
- Furries tend to be very young: 53.7% are 18-21 years old, and 24.1% are between 22 and 25. Identification dips after age 29 – with a curious rekindling among a few men over forty, or greymuzzles
- Most furries are happy enough with using an anthropomorphized animal avatar online. Almost one in three chooses a wolf, followed by hybrids, foxes, dragons, cats, dogs and tigers. The most uncommon species are horses and mustelids (weasels, badgers, otters, martens, minks…)
- Only 13% of furries own the iconic fursuit, mostly because they are very expensive and uncomfortable to wear. 18.5% however uses partial elements – especially tails (48%, collars (37%) and ears (27%)
- 20% of furries do not interact with others. 80% keep in touch online, 30% meet local friends and half of all furries participates to at least one convention a year
- Furries are strenuous creative types: 60% make on-topic drawings (17.6% of them exclusively of an erotic kind), while 50% write furry fanfictions
- When it comes to sex, the percentage of zoophiles among furries is on par with the general population. Such practice is actively opposed within the community due to common ethical reasons and to prevent stigmatization against the furry phenomenon in general
- Just one furry in five claims to have erotic motives: 70% mostly look for a feeling of belonging to a group, however half of the furries state they use on-topic pornography, and 40% admit their interest originated with that. 17% of males and 2.2% of females only finds arousal with this type of porn. On average, self-described furries show a slightly higher sexual drive (healthy or pathological) compared to the general population
I also found the answer to the question everyone has been probably asking themselves, or «how comes that somebody one day decides to be a furry?». Non considering that 40% who were inspired by anthropomorphic animal porn – called yiff – most of the rest say they discovered their inclination thanks to animation, Disney in particular. And now I double-dare you to see Chip and Dale in the same light ever again.