My little brother is a furry?
August 16, 2007 12:49 PM   Subscribe

So it turns out my kid brother might be a furry. Is this normal?

My 17 year old brother and I are the only ones who share a computer here at my parent's house. Recently I discovered that his google search history contains a lot of "furry" search strings, including several for "vore", which is a kind of furry sex fetish that involves eating other creatures.

I try to be pretty open-minded about all things, but this has me a little freaked out. Is this kind of sexuality normal for 17 year olds? Is this healthy? If not, is there anything I can do to broach the subject with him or otherwise dissuade him from getting involved in such a strange fetish?

You can reach me at for private communication. Thanks.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (42 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Is this kind of sexuality normal for 17 year olds?


Is this healthy?

Yeah, sure. Let him be.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:54 PM on August 16, 2007 [15 favorites]

He's only 17. Let it be.
posted by chiababe at 12:56 PM on August 16, 2007

Normal? Probably not, but who cares?

Healthy? Probably more so then having his brother shut down his fantasy's as "freakish" when he's only seventeen. He's not harming anybody. Leave him be.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:59 PM on August 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yeah, it's an unusual kink. But he's also young, and being interested in various kinds of sexuality - even those you might not be interested in - is part of that. I certainly learned plenty about furry sex when I was about that age, without ever wanting to engage in it, just out of curiosity. For that matter, I also googled around to learn about lesbianism, gay male sex, leathermen, watersports, and all kinds of other things that I simply never wanted to do myself, but found interesting as concepts.

*plus*, it might have been, say, a friend. Or maybe one of his friends is getting into it, and he wanted to see what his friend was getting into. Or any of another billion possiblities that aren't "I saw some google history on furry sex, clearly my nearly-adult brother is descending into freakdom and will be harmed by this."

In short: I advise you to chill out.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:59 PM on August 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

So, a few answers to your question:

1. No, it's not "normal" in the sense that most people don't get off on it.

2. Yes, it's normal in the sense that 17 year olds (and 20 year olds, and 25 year olds, and 50 year olds...) often get off on lots of different things.

3. Yes, it's healthy enough. He's not hurting anyone.

Dude, it sounds like you're a guy. Do you mean to tell me that *you've* never searched for something you wouldn't want people to know about? Never looked at a little hentai, or midget porn, or *something*? (Um, not that I have, mind you. Just saying.)

Do not approach him. Either he's a lifelong furry, in which case he'll have trouble finding other furries to hook up with, which will be his problem, or it's a passing interest. Either way, it's not your business. PLEASE don't talk to your brother about what he masturbates to. I can't imagine having a more mortifying conversation at that age.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 1:01 PM on August 16, 2007 [3 favorites]

An addendum to clarify my point: I know a few furries, and just like folks with *any other* sexual interest, they're *people*. I know gay furries and straight furries; furries I enjoy hanging out with and those I find incredibly annoying. I know furries who need some really major mental-health assistance, and those who are happy and well-balanced. I'm not just saying "jeez, don't conclude he's a furry," but also "so freaking what if he is?"

Greg Nog, I think, has a perfect response.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:03 PM on August 16, 2007

Is this kind of sexuality normal for 17 year olds?

By "normal" do you mean to ask "is the statistically average 17 year old into furries eating other furries?" The answer is "no."

But I think you probably mean "is it harmful for a 17 year old to look at freaky, but essentially innocuous fantasy material?" In which case, I'd go with "naw."

Yiff on, young man!
posted by lemuria at 1:07 PM on August 16, 2007

He may have just watched that recent episode of Entourage on HBO that had a minor plot bit about Furries and that sent him off to Google. I'm guessing that's a pretty popular television show with his demographic.

And do not approach him. I think that would be more damaging than just letting him be.
posted by AaRdVarK at 1:24 PM on August 16, 2007 [2 favorites]

There's no guarantee that, because he's searched for it, he's "into it." 4chan, for example, loathes furries ("Yiff in Hell, furfag!" is a regular meme) and constantly finds the more ridiculous furry/vore/diaperfur material to post in order to better lampoon the subject.
posted by adipocere at 1:25 PM on August 16, 2007

I mean, I think Gadget on Rescue Rangers was hot, just like the next guy, and this thing isn't wrong, unhealthy, etc... but do remember that it is pretty lame.

Hopefully he can deal well with having interests the whole rest of the internets make fun of.

(Is internets singular or plural? Make or makes?)
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 1:27 PM on August 16, 2007

I've searched for a hell of a lot of things that I am not actually interested in, just because of simple curiosity. (If you hadn't explained "vore" I would have searched to find out what it meant.) And I am a 32 year old female. If I were 17 and male I'm sure you'd see a lot more sicko things in my Google history.
posted by desjardins at 1:33 PM on August 16, 2007 [3 favorites]

What's that sound you hear on Eminem albums?


anyway, what everyone else has said. i mean, after i watched the csi episode with furries, i googled around. curiosity and all that...
posted by misanthropicsarah at 1:44 PM on August 16, 2007

searching for harmless sexual kinks on the internet is not that scary. I'm sure that a lot of 17 year old kids, in the age of the internet, are searching for a lot of crazy shit just because they're curious about crazy shit.

Now, if your brother buys a fur suit, that's a different story. Otherwise, let bygones be bygones. Curisoity doesn't not kill the cat.

though your brother might want to do the nasty with one
posted by Stynxno at 1:49 PM on August 16, 2007

Today is apparently kink day on ask.mefi

I'm guessing if your brother's search history is full of furry links, well, I would guess you have a little pup or kitten or what not in the house. I suppose it could be that he's just searching for sheer curiosity, but I'm guessing since you took the time to ask this question, setup a return email and what not, that you already guess that's not the case. Personally I can't think of a cuter kink anywhere (and lucky for him, one the most popular)

Is it normal, of course not. Too bad, but if he's into it, there's not a magic wand that's going to restore him to 'normal' sexuality.

Now, otherwise, if you found a coupe playboy's under his bed, what you likely do? If you said stash them back under there with a smile, you had the right answer.

If you really feel like doing something, and you think you have an especially close relationship, for god sake teach him how to clear his web history. Oy, the number of times I've heard horror stories of people who get to college and learn the hard way about this!

Also, it might be really adorable to buy him a little plushie.. But, that might be outside your comfort range.

As for the vore thing.. Ehh, it's weird, but your brothers a big weirdo! Personally, strange people are usually the best.

Stop freaking out. If you have any other questions email me..
posted by PissOnYourParade at 1:51 PM on August 16, 2007

Nthing that he probably saw it on TV or heard someone on the internets talking about it.
posted by desuetude at 1:52 PM on August 16, 2007

I was pondering the whole furry controversy the other day. There is a kind of violent backlash against furries all over the net, wherever you go. But think about the sort of characters we expose our children to through TV, toys, video games, and you'll of course realize that they are FULL of what you might call "furries": anthropomorphic animals. Moreover, our sports teams are often named after animals whose characteristics (speed, strength, agility) we admire, and the personification of a team often takes the form of a guy in a furry suit.

People have all kinds of weird fetishes. Foot fetishes. Bondage, sadomasichism. Watersports. These are the tame ones. Yet there's little or no stigma surrounding these on the internet. What's the big deal with furries?

I have a pet theory (pardon the pun). A violent reaction against somethign often tells you more about the reactor than what they're reacting against. Given the common exposure to anthropomorphic animals throughout childhood and even into adolescene, perhaps some kind of sexual identification wtih animals is not all that uncommon? And for those reacting violently - maybe it hits a little too close to home?
posted by PercussivePaul at 2:01 PM on August 16, 2007 [3 favorites]

Check out this previous thread for more info on 'furries.' Also check out "Pleasures of the Fur" [Vanity Fair] and "Plushies and Furries" [MTV | Sex2K].
posted by ericb at 2:09 PM on August 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

Back in 1995 or so, I stumbled onto a girl blowing a horse, and the horse came in the girls mouth, and it was like an explosion, blowing into her mouth and out and all over the place. The girl fell backwards, nude, and she threw up the horse's white mess everywhere.

That was like a moment in time for me, distilled, when I discovered the internet is a new place. Like a field of wildflowers hidden on the other side of a beautiful hill. Or herpes a week after a sorority mixer.

Everyone wants to know some new shit, mostly. Just delete your history and let him be young. Let him discover what the internet is, just like you did.

His innocence is his to lose, not yours to maintain.
posted by four panels at 2:11 PM on August 16, 2007 [11 favorites]

Maybe the kid is researching a report for health class.
posted by LarryC at 2:12 PM on August 16, 2007

Styxno's right, it's not that you walked in on your brother humping a huge teddy bear -- he's just been looking at stuff on the Internet, he's probably just curious, no biggie.

having said that, God I'm so happy that there was no Internet back in my teenage years
posted by matteo at 2:17 PM on August 16, 2007

I know a couple of people who are furries. With a few of them, it was something they kept to themselves and, while odd, wasn't that big a deal.

But I also got stuck once waiting for a meeting with someone who wanted to tell me about how he had the soul of a unicorn/dragon/bear chimera and how he was starting a religion based upon this deity.

Point out to your brother that just because you talk to someone who shares a kink, that doesn't mean that they're not raging retards. I remember finding (regular 'ol jpeg) porn communities back when I was a high schooler on the internet, and having to learn that just because we both liked, say, cheerleaders in bondage or whatever, that didn't mean we had to be friends.
posted by klangklangston at 2:55 PM on August 16, 2007

First: experimenting with a lot of things, including sexuality, is normal for 17 year olds. As long as no one's getting hurt and no laws are being broken, leave it be.

Second: I want you to stop and think for a moment how you would feel if your 17 year old brother gave you advice on how to conduct your sex life. Whom you should sleep with, whom you shouldn't, what positions and toys and lingerie to use, and so on. Would this truly be welcome to you? If the answer is anything other than a resounding "yes," maybe you should rethink the goals of what you're trying to do in terms of what you think a normal fraternal relationship ought to include.

Third: On the question of whether furry is mainstream or not, a group of friends of mine have taken to loosely referring to this question as the bet. As you might expect we are divided on the topic. I'm in the camp that this is going to be mainstream to the point of unremarkable by 2010. The reasons why I believe this are that it is mostly harmless, doesn't violate any laws, taps right into a giant mainstream marketing juggernaut, and leverages the enthusiasm of a bunch of geeks.
posted by ikkyu2 at 3:22 PM on August 16, 2007 [2 favorites]

Hey, so...I'm a furry. In fact, I help run a convention for them. Lemme start off by saying I'm impressed by the responses thus far -- they've been remarkably reasonable.

I'd like to add, though, that "vore" isn't necessarily a furry fetish. Any fetish can be applied to furries -- furry characters are, after all, different from humans only in appearance. So, any kink that a human can have, can be applied equally to furries. That doesn't make that fetish a part of the furry fandom, though. In fact, lots of us would argue that our fandom isn't about porn and sex anyway. But like any human interest, sex has become a part of it.

If most of the furry stuff he's looking at is vore art, it's probably just because it's easier to find than non-furry vore. If he looks at a lot of furry porn in addition to the vore, then well...he might just be a furry.

Either way, I agree with everyone else that it's pretty much harmless.
posted by CrayDrygu at 3:45 PM on August 16, 2007

@ericb: "Also check out "Pleasures of the Fur" [Vanity Fair] and "Plushies and Furries" [MTV | Sex2K]."

Yeah, please don't. We (meaning furries in general) hate those two pieces of trash media, because they may be the least accurate depictions of our fandom that have ever come to light, but people take them as gospel. If you come to a furry convention or gathering expecting anything close to what those articles (or the CSI episode) depict, I'm afraid you'll be sorely disappointed.

It's like taking the story of a couple of trekkers who enjoy rough Klingon dress-up sex, and claiming that's what the entire Star Trek fandom is about. I have no doubt that it goes on, but it's all behind closed doors.
posted by CrayDrygu at 3:53 PM on August 16, 2007

Just thank god he's not into autoerotic-asphyxia-bloodplay-injection-inflation-scat-bondage-exhibitionism, and move on.
posted by tehloki at 5:10 PM on August 16, 2007

Normal? No...

Creepy, a little freaky, but basically innocuous? Yes.

Some people are kinky, some are really kinky, as long as he isn't meeting up with people online at his age to dress up and play Disneyland after dark, I wouldn't worry about it.
posted by whoaali at 6:05 PM on August 16, 2007

Normal? No, but it's not the end of the world either. If you're worried about it, take him out and get him a hooker. I think the repression of sex is what fuels these kinks, and as long as there's no equitable and legal way to exchange money for sex, the kinks will just get more and more strange.
posted by mullingitover at 6:14 PM on August 16, 2007

I hope you're not seriously concluding he's a furry based on his past google searches. He's not a (noun) until he decides to self-identify that way, but that whole aspect aside, random google searches are really not a good indication of one's deepest desires. They can certainly be a reflection of morbid curiosity, boredom, passing fascination, or any number of other feelings other than genuine self-identity.

As for how normal being a furry is, it is certainly more normal now than it was a few years ago, and I'm intrigued by ikkyu2's argument that it is likely to become essentially mainstream. People think it's bizarre, but it's not dangerous or violent, so once it's more or less known by everyone, it can't really maintain its bizarreness, and it just becomes kind of silly/weird but in a "roll your eyes" kind of way. For someone who doesn't find it sexy, it's hard to relate to, but we don't really need to get the whole thing on an intimate level to accept it.

The difficulty, I think, will be the number of people who can relate to it on some level. It seems to me that BDSM is somewhat mainstream because most people can relate to the ideas expressed in BDSM sex to at least some degree, and even if they don't like the extreme version, will enjoy a "lite" version - being pinned or holding someone against a wall, or maybe they'd give something like handcuffs or a blindfold or some hot wax a try even if it's just That One Time In College. But furry sex seems like a joke to most people, and unsettling specifically because it combines entirely nonsexual images of cute fluffy animals with sex. It isn't something taboo that we can relate to & enjoy a watered down version of. It's just something weird we don't understand the point of.
posted by mdn at 6:15 PM on August 16, 2007

From what you're describing, are you sure it's not just a morbid fascination with the subject? I mean, furries are pretty interesting. And now you've gotten me obsessed with what a 'vole' is. This kind of stuff is like crack to me, and I'm as vanilla as they come (no pun intended).
posted by mattholomew at 6:38 PM on August 16, 2007

God, if someone took my inquisitive meanderings though the internet as an indicator of my psychosexual make-up... well, they'd be shocked. And wrong.

For example, there was a month back in 2000 when I was obsessed with a website featuring furniture porn. Photos of sexy teen lawn chairs getting it on with each other. Saucy occasional tables performing lewd acts in a variety of positions. That sort of thing. I spent long, long hours at that website. I promise you no wanking ever took place. Honest.

Point is, the internet is full of tantalisingly weird shit. Seventeen year olds are gonna look at it. Doesn't mean they're perverts. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
posted by hot soup girl at 6:49 PM on August 16, 2007

hot soup girl, your forgot the link in your comment.
posted by desuetude at 8:26 PM on August 16, 2007

/me googles "furniture porn"
posted by desjardins at 8:47 PM on August 16, 2007

(sigh) How soon you both forget.
posted by rob511 at 8:55 PM on August 16, 2007

Wow, I feel like I've discovered a whole new world. A strange & disturbing one, but news nonetheless. There's a whole vore subculture, only partially connected to your basic furry culture. Hard vore, soft vore, shreddies - I'm astounded at the diversity & specialization that's happened here. But yeah, I'll chime in & say as long as the goldfish don't start disappearing from your brother's fishtank, it's pretty harmless.
posted by scalefree at 9:11 PM on August 16, 2007

rob511, thanks for the reminder.
posted by desjardins at 9:43 PM on August 16, 2007

Um, not for nothing, but the first thing that came to my mind when I read about "furries" is the Entourage episode, too. I hadn't heard of it til then, and it just came out about two or three weeks ago...

Don't bring it up. Let him love how he sees fit. :-)
posted by disillusioned at 10:29 PM on August 16, 2007

It's just something weird we don't understand the point of.

Funny, mdn, that's just how my father (born in 1925) felt about BDSM.

Times change, and the Internet spreads these ideas around. I remember the first time I got on Usenet in 1990. Within 5 minutes I'd found rec.arts.sf.written and was reading one of the stories that is archived here. The casual, extremely graphic depiction of furry space-alien sex shocked me to the core. But nowadays the idea that someone would write a story about an anthropomorphic feline spacesuited princess' sex life is old hat, just like goatse and Kirk/Spock slash fic. That is because I have used the Internet and if you poke around you will find darn near anything you wanted to find and a million things you probably rather hadn't.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:11 PM on August 16, 2007

What are you going to do if he's not 'normal'?
posted by zemblamatic at 1:52 AM on August 17, 2007

First, I'd echo the fifty billion responses saying that while it may not be "normal" in the sense of usual, it's perfectly harmless (assuming it actually even is his kink), and not really any of your business unless he decides to share it with you, but you might want to drop him a hint on how to clear his browser history. If you're his brother, you should be supportive of him however he ends up.

As a side note, I'd say that claiming an identity as a member of 4chan who "hates furfags" seems like a pretty good cover to look at furry porn every evening without having to be branded as a freak, maugre the Foley-esque hypocrisy. I mean, some of those folks really do obsess about it.

Also: mdn: "It seems to me that BDSM is somewhat mainstream because most people can relate to the ideas expressed in BDSM sex to at least some degree, and even if they don't like the extreme version, will enjoy a "lite" version - being pinned or holding someone against a wall, or maybe they'd give something like handcuffs or a blindfold or some hot wax a try even if it's just That One Time In College. But furry sex seems like a joke to most people, and unsettling specifically because it combines entirely nonsexual images of cute fluffy animals with sex."

I'd disagree - purring, meowing, and growling during sex are all acceptable concepts to most people, and puppy and pony play are examples that are closer to the line but not necessarily directly related to furry.
posted by Drexen at 3:03 AM on August 17, 2007

He may have just watched that recent episode of Entourage on HBO that had a minor plot bit about Furries and that sent him off to Google. I'm guessing that's a pretty popular television show with his demographic.

I second AaRdVarK. I hadn't heard of furries till I watched an episode of CSI. I looked it up after that. When my boyfriend and I watched Entourage he hadn't heard of it either, so we looked it up online.

All in good fun. Just tell yourself he was curious, with a friend, and thought it was funny. And sleep easy.
posted by CAnneDC at 9:08 AM on August 17, 2007

I'd disagree - purring, meowing, and growling during sex are all acceptable concepts to most people, and puppy and pony play are examples that are closer to the line but not necessarily directly related to furry.

yeah, i thought of animal noises after posting that comment & wondered if that would count - I guess it's the way the extremes are depicted in things like the entourage episode in contrast to the way casual things might come up in sex play organically. But I suppose the same is true in the other example - hardcore BDSM sex is really not very much like one party pinning the other in bed, and we only see the connection because we're looking for it.

Funny, mdn, that's just how my father (born in 1925) felt about BDSM.

yeah? I guess I'd have thought dominance & power play would be a fairly obvious element of sex, but then, 'fucking like bunnies' is a fairly obvious concept, so again i suppose the question is just whether the relatable threads are relatable enough for us to adopt a subculture from afar, so to speak. Anyway, I certainly wouldn't bet against it. I was just trying to clarify what might be different. I guess it's that BDSM was too dangerous while furry sex is sort of too dorky or something... One was a taboo while the other is a joke. So it seems like BDSM had to be lightened up to be mainstreamed, while furry sex will have to be sort of sexified to be mainstreamed.
posted by mdn at 9:21 AM on August 17, 2007

I remember the conversation my dad and I had about it, mdn, I was 13 or so. He got this look on his face of "I wish I didn't have to explain this, son, but the world is full of all kinds of things which you will someday have to learn about" as he explained to me that some people like to hurt their partners during sex, and why those people had this sickness in their mind, he didn't and could never understand.

Dad was not a closed-minded, intolerant or malicious person and his intent in having this conversation was not evil. His cultural context simply didn't admit of any way that BDSM could be parsed as acceptable behavior. Sort of like the way most of the posters in this thread, including you, mdn, are talking about furries.
posted by ikkyu2 at 3:45 PM on August 17, 2007

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