Tuesday, July 02, 2013

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Open Forum: How Many Second Life Furries Are Furry to Explore Their RL Sexual Identity?

Furrycon furries

How many Second Life furries are using their avatars to explore their sexual identity? Because I just came across this fascinating insight on the furry subculture on Andrew Sullivan's blog, and it got me thinking:

When asked about their orientation versus the orientation of their fursona, the biggest change was that fursonas were much less likely to be exclusively or almost exclusively heterosexual and much more likely to be dead-even bisexual than the person behind the fursona... IARP researcher Courtney “Nuka” Plante (himself a furry) has hypothesized this might be because some furries who have questions about their sexual identity might use their fursona as a sort of testing ground.

Emphases mine. In the above context, Plante is talking about people who roleplay as furries in real life, but of course, a lot of furries are furries in Second Life. There's also a fair amount of furry-based sexual roleplay, whether that's full-on yiffing, or just eroticized furry avatars. (Furries with female human breasts, and so on.) So the question becomes -- and I know it's a sensitive one, so keep answers civil -- how much are SL furry activity is about exploring and playing with one's real life sexual orientation

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Hitomi Tiponi

I often think there is too much emphasis on sexual orientation in SL. We don't hear anywhere near as much about the disabled playing with able-bodied avatars (or vice versa), adults playing as kids or of a different age range to what they are, or race, or beauty, or just how insanely silly you can be compared to your real life. People are in sl to explore the world, relationships and maybe their own personalities - let's not get hung up on sex, as it is just a part of the whole.

Iggy

I will be opened minded about this, though the suits IRL make me always want to buy a hot dog, some beers, and cheer for a sports team.

Let's ignore the yiff business, as I've a more fundamental question. Why DO folks want to be furries? Seriously. Why?

Arcadia Codesmith

I don't have any furry avatars in Second Life, but I play furry characters in other games, and I've done other types of cosplay in real life.

Why? I don't know. Why do people like NASCAR or coin collecting or building ships inside bottles? I don't understand the appeal of those activities, but I don't have to. It's a hobby.

If I dress in a silly costume and have sex, it's because I like silly costumes and I like sex. And maybe I'm a little more willing to experiment when my face is hidden.

You can analyze it to death, but I don't really think it goes much deeper than that.

Bixyl Shuftan

Perhaps I'm a little biased, but I see no evidence users of furred avatars are any different in the bedroom, virtual or otherwise, than anyone else. Then again, in real life, I'm a blue collar. Some guys can go on and on about pretty perverse subjects in real life as well as on the Grid.

To the question "why the furred avatar," it's safe to say each user of them has their own reasons. I'm a science-fiction nut, and the avatar I use was inspired by a story I was reading at the time. I also wanted a unique look. The avatar and the outfit combined pretty much assured a one of a kind appearance. Also, as a journalist in Second Life, an anthro fox was pretty appropriate: "Fox News Reporter."

By the way Hamlet, maybe you should ask similar questions about males who wear female avatars: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-QWsqTKwN-ss/TZkwpPnHqeI/AAAAAAAAESY/jk9LlM-Tjdg/s1600/bixylgirlhamlet.jpg

Just kidding Hamlet, couldn't resist. ;-)

Pussycat Catnap

My furry avatar is where I am the least 'sexualized'.

I see no reason to connect exploring my 'cartoon feline side' with anything sexual.

When I explore SL, I see a LOT more 'human female' avatars used as a proxy to explore sexuality than furries or even nekos or anything else. Second up would be male human avatars - a LOT more of those doing the sexual exploration thing than furries.

Most of the 'yiff' clubs have long gone away, or turned into chat hangouts that oddly keep their names.

The longest running "SL lesbian couple" I know, is two real life married straight women, who don't see themselves as lesbian at all despite being a couple in SL. This seems the norm of what I observe among folks 'exploring sexuality' in SL.

Not furries.

Furry seems to be what you end up as if you like first person shooter video games. I have no idea why - but in every furry hangout I go to, including non-SL forums, half the conversation is over that, if not more than half...
(Which drives me nuts as I have zero interest in the topic).

Pussycat Catnap

"Why DO folks want to be furries? Seriously. Why?"

Why be human?

In an unlimited potential to explore how you relate to the world, why be something so mundane?

Why not explore some inner totemic experience you relate to, an animal spirit, or why not explore an idea or theme: a robot, a martian, a cardboard box, etc...

Pienaar

Sex sells, so the headline and the question are well chosen. But I am very happy that most comments have been so relaxed. I pity all people who reduce every motivation to sex. Such thinking tells much more about the person making assumptions than about the people im question. I bet that most furries (while admiting that I don't know many) have all kinds of reasons to chose their avatar. Unfortunately the tone of this article makes it easy for the narrow minded to reduce it all to a sex theme.

zzpearlbottom

If not in Sl where "Your word, your imaginations" where else?
Who cares really, unless those who still think that SL is nothing more then a giant (not even that, lol) chat room!

zzpearlbottom

"Your World" damn claws!

Wolf Baginski

FurryMUCK is still running. Started in 1990. So is Tapestries MUCK: 1991.

I'm not averse to the sexual element, but it's far from the only aspect of a furry character. Anyway, furry connection exist in much older stories, from Aesop and Peter Rabbit through to Příhody lišky Bystroušky.

But maybe that extra dose of unreality in a furry AV makes SL work that little bit better, whatever we do.

It's all in the mind, you know.

Cicadetta Stillwater

Honestly? I get to be human all the time in real life. SL is where I can be just about anything I darn well please, and furry avatars happen to be fun. Cute, too. It's definitely not about sex for me.

Anubis

I've been a furry for thousands of years. I was the most ancient god in the Egyptian pantheon. I presided over the embalming of the dead, and still watch over the mummies during their journey through the afterlife.

I came unto SL to inform avatars here that the journey of the dead is nearing its end. On April 15, 1985 the NY Times reported that DNA
from an ancient mummy had been recovered and resurrected by genetic engineers:
http://www.nytimes.com/1985/04/16/science/intact-genetic-material-extracted-from-an-ancient-egyptian-mummy.html

This is not another religion promising alvation from death at some future time. This is science proving the ancient Egyptian beliefs are correct, and the resurrection has already begun. And yea, ye must be born again to be resurrected by cloning from thy DNA; the Christians got that part right.

I hope it is clear that my being a furry hath nothing to do with sex, and everything to do with the spiritual in art.

SLURL to my temple: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/FurNation%20Phoenix/235/38/25/

Kim Anubis

Em hotep, Foremost of the Westerners. I'll visit your temple. :-)

As to whether being a Furry is all about sex, I think Tall of Ears and the others here have summed it up well.

My main was a Furry in SL for a while, mostly a Tiny, which is just a very small (very cute!) Furry. The alt I usually use to avoid business stuff while inworld is a Tiny. I have never seen a Tiny involved in anything more sexy than a hug. When I was researching my second SL book I talked to a lot of Tinies and found that many of them choose that sort of avatar specifically to avoid people hitting on them inworld.

These days my main goes Furry when I am sick of shopping for upgraded body parts and clothing to keep my human av current. Just have to pick out a Furry av and pop it on, and no worries about if my stupid hair or feet are obsolete, if the skin isn't quite right, if the mesh doesn't fit. Don't even have to think about clothing at all, or if it matches, or if the layers are going to clash, or if the baked in shadows and art style on the different pieces and parts match well enough. I just head off to Rocket City or whatever and get a new Furry av, customize it with whatever menus it has, and I'm done with shopping and fashion and can go do whatever I was gonna do without worrying a prospective client is going to see me wandering the grid in my favorite obsolete skin and slider tshirt.

CronoCloud Creeggan

Back in the old days some furries were self identified on the autistic spectrum and used their fur-form to poke their nose at "The conformists", in a sort of "i'm neuro-atypical so I'm going to be a nonconformist furry and not be a Ken doll". That sort of thing.

But really there's a bajillion different motivations/reasons. I may have a human fashionista avatar but even I have a tiny or two....and a pony.... couldn't resist the pastel pony.

Shockwave Yareach

Furries have sex. It's true. Guess what though? Humans have sex too! Oh, you can pretend it doesn't happen and that our science and philosophy hides it from view. But human beings, in RL and SL, knock boots together just as often, and for the very same reasons. So pretending it's a furry only thing doesn't hold up to the evidence.

People dress up as furries for a variety of reasons. "Why dress up as a furry when you aren't one?" Well, why dress up like a French harlot then, when you aren't one of those either? Or a biker? SL is a fantasy land where you can be anything and do anything. Only those people who still think SL is nothing but cartoon RL and everyone should be required to look like their drivers licenses ask the question "Why".

The best and most encompassing answer which captures the most people involved is simply "Why not?"

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