For some, the furry identity – or 'fursona' - they adopt when they don their animal suit of choice is pure escapism, with no sexual subtext whatsoever. This is Recon though, so we're focusing our attention on furries as a fetish.
What is a furry?
Broadly speaking, furries are those who like to dress up as anthropomorphic animals; animal characters that have humanlike abilities, like walking and talking – some of these also have overtly masculine physiques. Originally emerging from the cosplay scene, furry subculture has grown exponentially since, becoming a global movement in its own right with dedicated furry conventions all over the world.
Many furries choose animal fursonas that they feel reflect their personalities or that embody qualities they would like to have more of. Fursonas can allow many furries to become a different version of themselves, usually one that's more confident and less inhibited, a kind of 'idealised' self. A fursuit that completely hides a guy's identity can make this even easier.
Furry gear varies though, some furries opt for full body fursuits that cover them from head to toe, some have 'partial' suits that cover just the head, arms and legs, while other just wear a tail and/or ears to tap into their fursonas.
Furries and fetish
Being a furry means different things to different people; for some it's just a way to express their fandom of the kind of animal characters we see in cartoons, movies and videogames. For furry fetish men however there's more to it, and the furry fandom can be a way to meet like-minded guys.
Furry fetish comes with its own set of terminology, including 'scritching' – grooming one another's fur, and 'fur pile' – a group of furries lying on top of each other and scritching, which can be a part of furry play. 'Yiffing' is sex between furries, which takes its name from the sound foxes make when they mate, and some furries incorporate their animal fursonas into roleplay with other furries.
Yiffing may or may not involve wearing fursuits, although there are suits specially designed with cut out sections around the crotch that means they can be worn during play, known as murrsuits. Suit-clad play can be known as 'murrsuiting', although some furries prefer to wear just the head or mask of their fursuit to help them stay in character.
Where fetishes meet and blend together, there can also be a power play or bondage element involved in yiffing for some furries. For some, their fursona is also a sub or a Dom, which again can be an accentuation of the traits of their animal counterpart.
Getting involved in furry fetish
Furry porn is a good place to start, there's a wealth of both animated furry porn art and live action yiffing content out there. If there's something specific you want to see, you can even commission your own piece from a furry porn artist.
You can buy pre-made fursuits from specialist sellers and auction sites, although many furries prefer to go for a custom-made suit that allows them to bring their personal fursona to life. Although they may not advertise the fact, many fursuiters also make murrsuits.
Before you invest in a suit though, it's worth going along to a furry convention first to get a taste of the scene. The fetish side of the furry fandom tends to be underrepresented at most cons, but that's not to say that it's not going on after hours and behind closed doors. 'Furclubbing' is also taking off around the world; furry club nights that mean furries don't have to wait for a con to hit the dancefloor.
Take a look at WikiFur for a list of international furry conventions to find out more.