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What makes someone attracted to anthros?

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I guess this is a broad and stupid question. I mean, the same can be said for anything: "Why are people attracted to ______?"

But when it comes to real humans (and most other animals), there's scientific reasons. Big penises better at impregnating, wide hips better for carrying a baby, etc. And a lot of the media bombarding us with images on what to find "attractive".

But "weird" stuff like furry characters... I'm still trying to understand it.

TMI (well, probably not for furries): I find anthros sexually attractive. But they have to be drawn a certain way. Not too realistic-looking, but not childish cartoony either. In between, I'm not too picky, as long as I like the look of the characters. If anthros existed IRL, I probably would not find them attractive because a realistic animal head on a human-like furry body seems weird to me. I'm not attracted to ferals or actual animals.

But also when it comes to humans, I like hairy guys (not exclusively though but moreso than others). So I feel like that translates to the fur thing, but so many furries I talk to who only like girls or smooth guys... so maybe that has nothing to do with it? And of course reptile anthros and such don't have fur.

I also like cartoon human characters a lot but again they have to be drawn a certain way.

Tbh at this point I mostly prefer drawn porn (whether human or furry) to IRL human porn but I've flip-flopped a few times with this.

I'm just wondering why I find it attractive. I also think certain aspects of my youth could have shaped it. That and I just like animals and nature in general. But again I'm not attracted to actual animals or ferals.

Anyone else ever wonder this?

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It's the combination of the best characteristics of humans mixed with the best characteristics of cute animals. If you're attracted to something anthro, you're most likely actually attracted to the human elements that are wrapped up inside the cute, "furry" aspects. We're attracted to human characteristics because sex appeal, and we're attracted to animal characteristics because cute appeal. Slap them together, and voilà, instant murrfest. 

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Endless' answer seems about right but i will continue to believe that it is because furries are just straight up weird as hell

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Aesthetic attraction plays into sexual attraction. It's not just "whatever will create healthy babies the fastest," because if it was, you'd go simply lust after whoever met these qualifications without any outside considerations, and homosexuality would not exist.

Furry is an aesthetic fetish.

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Furry porn is usually exaggerated and idealized, so in that way it's not unlike regular porn. Not much to add other than that, the sexual attraction comes mostly to the human elements and the animal aesthetic enhances it by wrapping all that up in the cute fuzzies.

 

Well, then there's dog dicks. Furries got me stumped on that one.

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I've always wanted to fuck my neighbors housecat, but it's illegal and I'm pretty sure they have guns so I go for the next best thing. :^) 

Edited by PastryOfApathy
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At an impressionable age, I was bombarded with swimsuit-model furries before I was even introduced to swimsuit-model humans.

Now my brain has been permanently warped, and I find the idea of erotic humans to be off-putting.

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52 minutes ago, jcstinks said:

At an impressionable age, I was bombarded with swimsuit-model furries before I was even introduced to swimsuit-model humans.

Now my brain has been permanently warped, and I find the idea of erotic humans to be off-putting.

How the fuck does that even happen?

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5 hours ago, Zaraphayx said:

I am a creature of twisted sensory perceptions and inappropriate emotional responses.

A man after my own heart.

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Human form plus animal cuteness & coolness. Considering their place in literature and art history, they tend to be fanciful versions of us.

Anthropomorphic animals are also suited to portray aspects of humanity better than pictures or drawings of humans can. Some look wild, others look tame, they have have colors that give off different vibes etc. Although people come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and shades, there isn't much that aesthetically sets us apart in a meaningful way. You can only tell so much from looking at us. Most of our uniqueness comes from our personalities. Furries give us a bigger pallet to express those personalities through design.

It doesn't stop there, however. Some of us are also into science fiction and fantasy themes like alternate dimensions and sentient non-humans. Or maybe we get along well animals so they're seen as less threatening. Sometimes, things just look awesome to us and no further justification is required. Furs can portray all sorts of interesting aesthetics. And we're animals too. It's not that much of a stretch to project our traits onto other creatures with eyes, ears, noses, mouths etc. Making them appear clever, dynamic, or sexy just comes with the territory.

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Yes to most of the reasons stated above.  I also have perhaps an unhealthy affinity for fur, and not the fake stuff either.  The visceral pleasure the touch of fur gives is a significant factor.  

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Actual fur isn't really why. Non-furred creatures like dragons, birds and even sharks are very popular. It's just because animals with big eyes are cute and people like them.

Facial expressions can be emphasised more, and the medium of drawings means things are depicted exactly as they were intended to appear.

It's the furry equivalent of airbrushing, only it's far more powerful.

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I think animals are a good way to exaggerating and making more apparent certain traits. For example, imagine a puppy. Puppies are cute, yes? Now imagine a baby. Babies are cute, yes? Put them together. Its even cuter. Now, imagine a lion. Its proud, yes? Imagine the most proud person you know. Put them together. You now have something pushing the "proud" trait even farther. Thus, furries tend to exaggerate any sort of trait to new heights, making them more appealing.

I imagine that since furries typically exaggerate and make more apparent some traits, that when you draw a furry to be sexy its even sexier than a sexualized human would be, especially since it also carries with it that sense of being exotic and different, but still close enough to the human body that you can find it attractive. Plus as I said, furries are appealing for the aforementioned reasons.

Another possibility is that animals are more comforting than humans are, but animals themselves aren't sexy, so adding on human traits makes them take on both the comforting, likable trait of animals and the sexiness of the human form.

Edited by Battlechili
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6 minutes ago, Battlechili said:

I think animals are a good way to exaggerating and making more apparent certain traits. For example, imagine a puppy. Puppies are cute, yes? Now imagine a baby. Babies are cute, yes? Put them together. Its even cuter. Now, imagine a lion. Its proud, yes? Imagine the most proud person you know. Put them together. You now have something pushing the "proud" trait even farther. Thus, furries tend to exaggerate any sort of trait to new heights, making them more appealing.

I imagine that since furries typically exaggerate and make more apparent some traits, that when you draw a furry to be sexy its even sexier than a sexualized human would be, especially since it also carries with it that sense of being exotic and different, but still close enough to the human body that you can find it attractive. Plus as I said, furries are appealing for the aforementioned reasons.

Another possibility is that animals are more comforting than humans are, but animals themselves aren't sexy, so adding on human traits makes them take on both the comforting, likable trait of animals and the sexiness of the human form.

So what you're saying is that it's perfectly natural for me to fuck my neighbors cat?

Edited by PastryOfApathy

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1 hour ago, DrDingo said:

Actual fur isn't really why. Non-furred creatures like dragons, birds and even sharks are very popular. It's just because animals with big eyes are cute and people like them.

Facial expressions can be emphasised more, and the medium of drawings means things are depicted exactly as they were intended to appear.

It's the furry equivalent of airbrushing, only it's far more powerful.

Speak for yourself DD, while un-furred furries can be intriguing characters I don't generally consider them 'attractive'.  Although it depends a bit on what we mean by 'attractive' anyway.  IMHO anthro dragons, birds, and sharks can certainly be cool and beautiful characters, but I'm probably not going to be inviting them home at last call.  But to each his own.  

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1 minute ago, Strongbob said:

Speak for yourself DD, while un-furred furries can be intriguing characters I don't generally consider them 'attractive'.  Although it depends a bit on what we mean by 'attractive' anyway.  IMHO anthro dragons, birds, and sharks can certainly be cool and beautiful characters, but I'm probably not going to be inviting them home at last call.  But to each his own.  

Pfffff, you animal racist 

If you're new to the fandom, you'll soon find out just how many people want to shag dragons.

It's a lot.

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4 minutes ago, DrDingo said:

Pfffff, you animal racist 

If you're new to the fandom, you'll soon find out just how many people want to shag dragons.

It's a lot.

I'm not disagreeing with you DD.  I'm sure there are furries out there who are all over naked mole rats and giant clams.  I just personally like fur on my furries and have a few species preferences.  Just because you don't give me a raging hard on doesn't mean I don't like you.    

As for my time in the fandom, there's a good chance that I've been a disillusioned fur fan since before you were born. 

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5 minutes ago, Sarcastic Coffeecup said:

Am I strange for having a preference to actual people?

INFIDEL DEFILER! (kidding)

I'd hope that most of us would have some preference for actual people, otherwise we are all going to be very lonely.

 

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1 minute ago, Saxon said:

I absolutely don't understand the dragon lust. 

Lots of people like them for inflation and latex and fat fetishes

Because their skin is more like a balloon and no fur gets stuck in the gooey stuff

I've seen too much

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2 minutes ago, DrDingo said:

Lots of people like them for inflation and latex and fat fetishes

Because their skin is more like a balloon and no fur gets stuck in the gooey stuff

I've seen too much

You must ogle some pretty strange dragons

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2 hours ago, DrDingo said:

Facial expressions can be emphasised more.

You can push the facial features of a human face just as much as you can an animal face. It's just that A, animals give you a different starting point, and B, it seems like a lot of furry art is based on reference and not invention, so it's hard to push their designs.

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I've wondered this myself, as I am generally curious about why people like what they like, and are aroused by whatever it is that arouses them.

I imagine part of people's attraction to anthros is rooted in pure nostalgia, and I tend to suspect that another part of it may have to do with real porn being too "real," and therefore, too intense and overwhelming.

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29 minutes ago, Saxon said:

Are you sure it's nostalgia? Many furries have been crushing on animal characters since they were small. 

You can usually tell if their shit is a rip-off of a character from like Rescue Rangers or something. I'd been virtually asexual up until I was 17.

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On 3/1/2016 at 5:54 AM, MuttButt said:

Furry porn is usually exaggerated and idealized, so in that way it's not unlike regular porn. Not much to add other than that, the sexual attraction comes mostly to the human elements and the animal aesthetic enhances it by wrapping all that up in the cute fuzzies.

 

Well, then there's dog dicks. Furries got me stumped on that one.

Ive found that people are attracted to phallics in general regardless of form, as long as its on a form they like.ive seen people delve into fantasy penises with bumps and ridges...because people can imagine it feels good. And people like the idea of taking the knot up the bum apparently

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Just now, Saxon said:

I don't understand this sentence. 

I meant to say that you can tell if them getting a stiffy from cartoon animal people is heavily rooted in nostalgia if their art (or people they commission art from) has styles lifted from old cartoons like 'Tiny Toons', 'Rescue Rangers', and other notable autism magnets.

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1 hour ago, WolfNightV4X1 said:

Ive found that people are attracted to phallics in general regardless of form, as long as its on a form they like.ive seen people delve into fantasy penises with bumps and ridges...because people can imagine it feels good. And people like the idea of taking the knot up the bum apparently

Form-fitting dongs are best dongs.

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4 hours ago, Saxon said:

I don't understand this sentence. 

I think @Troj's argument that nostalgia may become conflated with sexual attraction requires further clarification (How can we be sure this argument makes sense?) and that it fails to explain crushes which developed before sufficient time had passed for the characters to be considered 'nostalgic' in either case, so it isn't comprehensive. 

I just tossed it out there as a theory, because I'm honestly not sure either.

Your point's well taken, and I'd suggest that for furries, animal characters have always felt welcoming, safe, and relatable,  more so than human characters. I've always preferred animal characters over human ones, for whatever reason.

I wonder if it has something to do with a lot of us being bullied by peers as kids, either as a cause or as an effect.

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It's because furries are sexual deviants.

...I'm joking. Please don't get triggered.

Edited by Nekokami
WORDS
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5 hours ago, Saxon said:

How can we possibly tell? 

Well, good luck getting a grant to do longitudinal research on children to see which turn out to be geeks, which was my first thought.

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On 3/3/2016 at 8:19 PM, Troj said:

I've wondered this myself, as I am generally curious about why people like what they like, and are aroused by whatever it is that arouses them.

I imagine part of people's attraction to anthros is rooted in pure nostalgia, and I tend to suspect that another part of it may have to do with real porn being too "real," and therefore, too intense and overwhelming.

 Perhaps ironically, one might consider furry porn to be more "real" in the sense that real porn is ridiculously contrived. The expressions in real porn are fake, the positions are often uncomfortable for the performers etc. It's hard for me to look at real porn without wondering if the woman would rather be somewhere else. Oh sure, it's real in the sense that there are actually people there going through the motions, but what they're expressing is false. They might be suffering and angry on the inside, for all I know. Furry characters portrayed in similar scenarios, on the other hand, are clearly into it. Their expressions may just be lines on paper, but their desires and pleasures are only as depicted and are therefore more genuine. The same can be said for erotic writing.

That being said, I suspect most who are into the adult side of the fandom already liked animal characters anyway. Their appreciation for anthropomorphic animals may not be sexual at all, but one's sexuality might mix with it. Especially if one has a history of identifying with such with such characters. Let's say I've always liked anthro sparkledogs, and used to pretend to be one when I was a kid. Now that I'm an adult, there may still be times when I feel a little like an anthro sparkledog on the inside. When I see a drawing of an adult sparkledog character with attractive human secondary sex characteristics and come-hither eyes, a little light goes on in my brain that says "Let me play for you the song of my people." I'll think it's petty neat. Liking the art because it combines adult sexuality with something I think is kind of awesome anyway. With ties to the past, but not necessarily nostalgia.

I'm similarly fascinated by this subject, and have wondered as much myself.

Edited by Xaende
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Apparently another researcher got butthurt over Ms. Lawrence's study lol

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00224490903230053?journalCode=hjsr20

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erotic_target_location_error

(although I think his arguments are more drawn towards the use of the term "error," rather than methodological flaws)

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10 hours ago, Xaende said:

 Perhaps ironically, one might consider furry porn to be more "real" in the sense that real porn is ridiculously contrived. The expressions in real porn are fake, the positions are often uncomfortable for the performers etc. It's hard for me to look at real porn without wondering if the woman would rather be somewhere else. Oh sure, it's real in the sense that there are actually people there going through the motions, but what they're expressing is false. They might be suffering and angry on the inside, for all I know. Furry characters portrayed in similar scenarios, on the other hand, are clearly into it. Their expressions may just be lines on paper, but their desires and pleasures are only as depicted and are therefore more genuine. The same can be said for erotic writing.

EXACTLY! That's pretty much it, I'd say!

Real porn leaves me cold the vast majority of the time. I either find most real porn hilarious or creepy. The men are usually hairy and gross, and the women often do look like they'd rather be somewhere else, and I'd argue that many aspects of sex are often sexier in theory than they are in practice.

Furry porn typically leaves a lot to the imagination, and you're right that the characters do usually look authentically engaged.

2 hours ago, Saxon said:

@Troj So I was thinking about how you would test the idea of how someone develops a fetish, specifically a furry fetish, and oh my god, it turns out that a woman, called Anne Lawrence, has actually published a paper with some specific comments on this subject. 

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00224490902747727 (You should be able to access this if you have a shibboleth log in)

The article references previous research which shows that people usually become interested in their fetishes in childhood and that those fetishes then manifest as fully-fledged sexual fantasies in puberty. When objects or materials become the focus of fetishes those objects often resemble human skin or hair, in some fashion. This is compatible with a hypothesis called 'erotic target location error' in which an intrinsic libido which calibrates itself in childhood, by locating future erotic targets such as the genitals, skin, hair and so forth, locates an irrelevant or 'erroneous' target for erotic fixation. 

I struck me that the identification of future erotic targets in childhood may, somewhat unfortunately, explain the relatively high incidence of paedophilia as a paraphilia in men who are fetishists. 

The author applies this model to attraction to plush animals and fursuits; plush animals may erroneously be identified as erotic targets in childhood. 

The paper features a line which I found very amusing: "Formal study will be necessary to clarify the nature, prevalence, and interrelations of plushophilia, fursuitism, and autoplushophilia among furverts and to document the nature and extent of any co-occurring paraphilias."

If the 'erotic target location error' hypothesis is right then this would imply both your 'it's nostalgia' and 'it's a result of bullying' theories are wrong, at least as primary explanations. I suppose there are some caveats to their dismissal though; maybe latent erotic targets can 'stowaway' and only manifest later when childhood memories are revisited, in a fashion analogous to your nostalgia hypothesis. It may also be possible that children who are bullied are more likely to locate erroneous erotic targets; perhaps one might expect an unhappy child to seek comfort in a soft toy and, through increased exposure at a time of heightened emotional state, increase their likelihood in identifying the toy as an erotic target? (no idea if this is correct)

Hope you find this interesting, Troj. 

Oh, yeah, I vaguely remember this blast from the past, and an ethically-questionable Northwestern study it inspired.

http://www.adjectivespecies.com/2015/03/30/furry-research-autoplushophilia-and-erotic-target-location-error/

https://www.flayrah.com/6069/concerns-over-conduct-northwestern-sexology-researcher

Various members of the IARP (self included) have had serious issues with this hypothesis and the research it has inspired.

For me, strike one was that Lawrence seems to have gotten most of her information on furries from pop-culture rags and secondhand sources--ones which furries themselves have rejected themselves, no less! Her bibliography of furry sources is pretty sad.

Back when I first heard about her theory, it sounded to me like she was just using furries as a way of forcing her personal pet theory into the DSM-IV.

Also, because ETLE theory could be interpreted (rightly or wrongly) as passing "judgment" on people's attractions, it also bothers me that Lawrence and another researcher at Northwestern have basically stomped around like Godzilla while weighing in on different populations' erotic "errors" like there are no stakes or costs here.

I particularly resent how this research has casually lumped furries in with pedophiles.

In the end, I think it's a trifle presumptuous to call something an "erotic target location error," personally, or say that someone has "erroneously" zeroed in on an "incorrect" sexual stimulus.

But, if we strip the theory of its arguably-judgmental and problematic wording, I don't think it's entirely off-base. I'd tend to say that various fetishes or kinks are the result of people appraising their memories, feelings, or experiences around certain stimulii as sexual or romantic.

That's what I was basically getting at when I alluded to childhood nostalgia, without explaining or clarifying what I meant. (Sorry.) The young furry finds animal characters particularly calming, inviting, welcoming, exciting, fun, and/or interesting, and at some point, the young furry appraises those emotions as sexual or romantic.

"These characters made me feel really safe and happy," and/or "I strongly identify with these characters," and/or "I wish I could hang out with these characters in real life" becomes "I would like to fuck these characters."

I brought up the bullying piece because the odd kid who gets bullied may be more likely to see their fellow humans as scary, mean, unpredictable, and threatening, and more inclined to gravitate towards non-humans therefore.

Edited by Troj
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I couldn't get the Shibboleth to work, so I'm having to go on what I vaguely remember about the paper from eons ago. So, I have not read the paper recently. I'm tap-dancing and lazily bullshitting based on what I remember.

And yes, ETLE was coined by Blanchard, not Lawrence, but Blanchard's gotten his share of criticism for how he used the theory to conceptualize trans people and/or cross-dressers in particular.

You can explain that you don't mean "error" and "dysfunction" to be pejorative, but that doesn't automatically put you in the clear, because the associations people have to words are powerful, and that power shouldn't be underestimated. You've got to make a solid case for why your terminology should be embraced, in spite of its connotations.

I said it was presumptuous because you could make the case for a lot of sexual preferences and tastes being "errors," because they don't automatically lead to reproductive success.

It peels open a potential can of worms that isn't really productive, in my estimation, because people will inevitably begin to split hairs over the meaning of "reproductive success," unless that can be very precisely and tightly defined.

I think science needs to be willing to march forward towards the truth even when the truth is uncomfortable and politically incorrect, but scientists should still be mindful of how their work or the terms they use might be interpreted or applied.

The furries aren't the only ones to see problems with this theory and its framing. Zop posted Moser's article above.

I was able to articulate my hypothesis without invoking words like "error" and dysfunction," and without throwing anybody under the bus directly or indirectly. I also didn't wade into the weird "smells-like-Freud-to-me" minefield that is autogynephilia.

Lawrence's exploration of ETLE probably has nuances  that I'm not aware of because I haven't delved into it in depth, so I honestly can't say whether or not it overlaps substantially with the little hypothesis I've proposed, or not. (The autogynephilia business does generally strike me as barking up the wrong tree, though.)

But yes, you're unfortunately right about furries nitpicking, distorting, or misunderstanding the study and the theory--most studies don't properly include non-gender-binary people, so that shouldn't typically be the crux of your criticism, for example--in some cases in order to bolster a "Researchers are always after us" narrative. It was sloppy of me to just yank out some old links because I couldn't remember the study itself.

As an aside, there were other, more basic issues with Hsu's study in the end--for example, it was unclear whether his study had included an informed consent. But, what inspired people to scrutinize the study more deeply in the first place was the wording of the survey itself (so, using words like "shemale"), and the fact that the study was informed by the ETLE hypothesis and, seemingly inspired by Hsu's previous research on pedophiles. The basic lesson there is if you're proposing something controversial or dicey, you'd better have all of your ducks in line.

I do find it interesting, at least, that whenever ETLE rears its head, a shit-storm regularly seems to follow.

Edited by Troj

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43 minutes ago, Saxon said:

In general I think you're distracted with whether or not researchers' language and ideas about people might be perceived as pejorative, rather than whether the ideas are actually right or not. 
 

I probably am.

On top of that, I definitely don't like how the ETLE theory has been traditionally used to conceptualize trans people in particular, because I think it's pejorative and mostly inaccurate.

Getting down to the actual nitty-gritty of the theory as I understand it, I'd say that these various forms of sexual arousal aren't necessarily about imagining yourself as X or Y--and even when it is, that's not actually the most relevant piece of the story. I'd say ETLE theorists are thinking too narrowly about sexual arousal here.

So, I think the idea that furries are "autoplushophiles" just sounds dumb if applied to the furry population as a whole, and misses the actual interesting nuances of why furries like stuffed animals or like fursuiting. The furries-as-autozoophiliacs proposal hits much closer to actual paydirt, I'd say, but still arguably misses some of the most interesting meat.

While I'm not an ETLE expert or scholar by any means, just based on what I've read about it, it just seems eager to needlessly over-complicate why people like what they like, by making it about people always wanting to BE something or someone.

I also think that if you're going to propose a theory about what makes a certain group of people tick, you should probably at least talk to them first. Neither Lawrence and Hsu give the impression of actually having tried to genuinely understand the population on its own terms before formulating theories about it. Not only is it arguably unethical, presumptuous, and rude to come up with theories about people in a vacuum, but it also means you may end up wasting time re-inventing the wheel and chasing false leads.

43 minutes ago, Saxon said:

I'm not sure why you would split hairs about defining whether an erotic target is 'related to reproduction' or not. The meaning of reproductive success already has a definition in evolutionary biology, though, where it is called fitness, and is defined by the product of the relatedness of kin, with the number of kin, divided by the the fitness of the fittest available trait. For example if people with brown hair tend to have 0.5 times as many children as red-heads and red-heads have half as many as blonds, who have the most, the the fitness coefficient for brown hair would be 0.25, red hair would be 0.5 and blond would be 1.

Right.

Now, are people willing to concede that liking brown hair, or especially, red hair is an erotic targeting error, relative to liking blondes? If we are willing to concede that, I don't see a problem.

If we're only going to accuse people with odd, rare, or unusual kinks of "erotic targeting errors," then we're setting the stage for science to be turned into pseudo-science to support a political or social agenda.

That's my main worry there.

Edited by Troj

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3 minutes ago, Saxon said:

You've made an error in your 'isn't liking brown hair detrimental to fitness?'. In the model I proposed it can actually be the fittest possible target, because if brunettes attract fewer partners then someone attracted to brunettes may avoid competition and hence have a better fitness themselves.

Excellent point.

Monomaniacally pursuing blondes is counterproductive and maladaptive if it means you can never get laid.

7 minutes ago, Saxon said:

I find the 'target inversion' addaptation to this hypothesis less believable, but it is definitely true that fetishists often do present fetish alter egos; we need to explain why sexual fursuiters derive pleasure from dressing up themselves, instead of only from viewing somebody else in costume.

Fair point.

I suppose I find ETLE theory a bit dull because it just presents itself as so Freudian, to my ears. That doesn't necessarily render it invalid, of course.

When it comes to murrsuiters, I'd suggest that a) fur feels nice, and b) as with non-sexual fursuiting, a murrsuit allows you to conceal and/or set aside some of the flaws and shortcomings of your everyday self, and become something and someone greater and better.

4 minutes ago, Saxon said:

 then maybe it would be possible that the fetish actually becomes so significant that it does influence reproductive potential, and actually become prevalent and fixed in future generations...what do you know, you've just arrived at a hypothesis for the evolution of courtship behaviours.

I'd suggest that about several kinks and preferences, actually.

So, another problem with calling something an "error" is that it can kill our curiosity, and stop us from considering how the behavior or preference might actually be adaptive.

 

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