I have been studying the Furry world. I suppose you could say that I have been confused for a while about where exactly I fit in. I know I have a connection to wolves. But how? Am I a Furry? I don't really seem to fit in with most Furries. So I decided to try to figure things out.
I first heard about Furries in 2004 when I met Avatar-X. He is a Furry. He kinda showed me a little glimpse into the world of Furs, and I was intrigued. I had the nick name Roadwolf since the late 90's when I made it as a yahoo chat name. At the time I had over 1000 yahoo chat names, and 'roadwolf' was not my main name. The nick name was then revived in 2000 when a Tow Truck driver referred to me as the Road Wolf on the CB, when I was helping people out in a blizzard on the roads. So I kinda took to the whole furry thing, but didn't really wonder what it was all about, and if I really classified as a furry.
I mostly let the whole Furry thing subside after I moved to Buffalo, and only last year, in 2011 did it get revived, when I met my friend Luna. She is of native heritage and considered herself a cross between a panther and a wolf. I told her about furries and we both figured that we were as such. However upon further soul searching and investigation I have concluded that both of us were in fact otherkins (or perhaps therians -edited Feb. 2014).
An otherkin is more of a spiritual connection to your animal. Where as furries tend to be more of a mask for people to hide behind to allow themselves to come out of a shell and express themselves. Then you have "FurFans" (my own term) who claim to be furries, however they are just interested in the sub culture for the 'art', sexual aspects, or as a way to get around age barriers. Fur Fans are often younger furs who often populate Furry communities, and sometimes claim to be older then they actually are. Their only real motivation for being Furry is the art, which is often seductive in nature, and 'yiffing' which is a furry term for basically engaging in sexual roleplaying.
Fur Fans are a problem in the furry community, and one which has caused people serious legal problems as well. I interviewed about 300 'Furries' in my investigation to try to figure out the differences, and a few older adults, did mention that they have had legal issues in the past after having inapproperate relations with teenage furries who were not always truthful about their age. This is a problem, since the online Furry community tends to be filled with furries who stay in character. They refuse to bring their real lives into the furry community, so they act out as their fursona, and are generally carefree and trusting of their partner. Real life questions seem to be rarely asked, or are often seen as taboo in an roleplaying environment. Fur Fans never engage nor show any interest in fur suiting. They also tend to be more aligned with the Anime sub-culture.
I have extracted myself from randomly roleplaying now, after having a few close calls myself. I prefer to actually get to know people now, both in a real life sense, and a roleplaying sense.
True furries however, are not sex addicts. Sure sex plays a role in the culture, as it does in every aspect of life, no matter how much we try to brush it off. And much of the art depicts peoples characters in sexy or revealing poses... Why? Well why does Hollywood put their sexiest people in the limelight? People want to feel good about themselves, and while I bet many furries are a little overweight and geeky, they like to have an alternate personality to escape to which might be more attractive.
I did get a commission (drawing of myself in wolf form) done for myself a while back. Sure it was naked... But it was natural. I was chubby and not exactly a super star in the drawing, which is how I wanted it. However the drawing looked a little too human for my tastes (I still haven't paid the artist, tho I feel bad about that, but it wasn't quite was I was hoping for, and she did tend to make payment more difficult by refusing paypal). I have no problem sharing who I am. I am quite open and revealing, and need no such mask to hide behind to express myself.
True furries also tend to be anthropomorphic in that their 'fursonas' tend to have human features or abilities, or even special abilities or the ability to transform. They tend to utilize their furry selves to return to a, sometimes, innocent child like state, with no cares except having fun and playing. Most will engage in baby like talk, mewing or petting, as a form of displaying how cute they can be. A large portion of true furries are also gay. I believe this is related to the stress of living two lives. One trying to hide your nature from your parents, and your social life, which is your true desire. I believe that being furry is a kind of middle ground, which maybe allows both lives to converge in a 3rd lifestye which, while strange to some, is often easier to accept for the parents. Not all true furries engage in fursuiting, but most will desire to, or have a partial suit or mask. This is not how I see myself.
Otherkins are more spiritual. Often believing that they are reincarnated from their previous phenotype or animal. They are often much more connected to the feral or wild versions of the animal, and often have some native or pagan backgrounds. This began to seem like it was more of what I am. My connection with wolves is fairly strong. When I roleplay as a wolf, or write about wolves, I write as a wild, feral wolf. I prefer not to talk, but rather act and react with body language. I do not have human features, when I close my eyes and envision my wolven self, I am just a wolf. In a roleplaying sense I usually seek adventure, and conflict. My favorite roleplaying situation is a random meeting of two fairly well matched animals. The territory disputes and conflict between two wild animals can make for a very exciting story and plot. Sometimes this will turn sexual as one animal eventually submits, but it could just as easily end in death to one animal too.
I recently met an otherkin, and our conversation basically embedded in me my theory that I was in fact an otherkin. Otherkins are rarer, and not as well known as furries, so I doubt I will find many others like me out there. But I did enjoy talking to Emely, and I do hope she does message me sometime.
I also met another furry, (or I am pretty sure she is more correctly termed as an Otherkin), who is from Belarus. She mainly just speaks Russian, and communicating with her has been interesting. Her characters name is WolfRoad, or RoadWolf in English. Her story is also fairly interesting. A rocker who enjoys motorcycles, collecting hides, and bones, and drawing wolves. A prime example of her work is here (Alone by WolfRoad):
I really do love her art, and I know she has physical art for sale. I so badly wish to collect some of her work. I also do want her to do a few commissions for me. If you wanted any gift ideas for me, this is always a wonderful idea. Her art is beautiful, and I do wish to support her as much as I can.