Listening to Feral Attraction each week leaves me wondering what I ever did without Metriko and Viro’s advice in my life. Even if you’re a non-furry (or “mundane”) like me, their podcast and advice column offer a smart, funny, science-based perspective on modern day sex and dating dilemmas.

A furry is someone with an interest in anthropomorphic (or human-like) animals, and contrary to mainstream perception, the community revolves around a shared appreciation for things like comic books and creating art as opposed to having sex in animal costumes.

One team of researchers called the International Anthropomorphic Research Project has found that only 10 to 15 percent of furries own a fursuit (the furry costume), but almost all have a fursona (or furry persona), which is a furry’s ideal self. It’s not unlike how non-furries put on personas in our day-to-day life—most of us have one for work or school, and another for when we’re with our friends and family.

Both 28 years old, Viro is a medical writer in Seattle with a PhD in microbiology and immunology and Metriko is an IT consultant in New York City with a background in environmental policy and advocacy. I recently chatted with the duo about their fantastic podcast, with the hope of clearing up some of the misinformation that continues to abound about the furry fandom.


Can you tell my readers a bit about your fursonas?
Viro: My fursona is really an anthropomorphized animal version of myself, an avatar of my personality and how I would like others in the fandom to perceive me. I think that is how many furries view their fursonas—essentially an idealized, usually fur-covered, version of themselves. […] I think of myself as intelligent, hard-working, playful, energetic and perhaps a little domineering at times, and I think [a border collie-wolf hybrid] really captures that.

Metriko: With fursonas, people choose them and create them for any number of reasons: insecurities, shortcomings, areas they excel in or animal qualities they relate to. I went with a red panda because, short of maybe the quokka, red pandas are the happiest looking things in the world. They sort of embody what I want to be: terminally delightful (to borrow a phrase from drag queen BenDeLaCreme). When in person, I do tend to be a bit more serious and down-to-business.

You’ve said that Feral Attraction was created with the goal of helping younger furries navigate dating and relationships. Tell us about that.
Viro: I felt there needed to be a furry voice talking about how to conduct yourself ethically while engaging in furry-style non-traditional relationships; for example, by living in a polyamorous “pack house” or participating in a Master/pet relationship. I approached Metriko with the idea of starting a podcast and an advice column.

Fursuits are expensive, bulky and you overheat easily wearing one and walking around. Fursuit sex is not super comfortable at all.

Metriko,
Feral Attraction

Metriko: The furry fandom really got started and developed online, and it continues to flourish and grow on the Internet. Many furries find it difficult to seek advice from someone outside the fandom because they are afraid of being ridiculed for being a furry, and we wanted to provide a space for advice-seeking furs to get their questions answered without fear of being made fun of for being a fake animal person.

You’ve spoken openly about how sex isn’t absent from the fandom. What is the response from other furries who would prefer to put forth a more “sanitized” view?
Viro: We haven’t had too much pushback, really, aside from a certain very well known furry convention rejecting us for a panel slot. We just try to present the fandom as it really is without whitewashing it so that furries coming into the fandom who discover they have some particular kink or sexual interest don’t feel like they’re being shamed by their peers, many of whom participate in the same kink or interest but have too much internalized shame to be open about it. We just want to keep the environment in the fandom friendly enough for people to continue being themselves and continue being open about who they really are, whether that’s a fanatic furry art collector or a harness-wearing alpha pup.

Metriko: There are a few individuals who view us as provocateurs within the fandom, especially since we do not shy away from discussing controversial topics. [But] people tend to resonate really well with the content we produce because we make it personal and are willing to talk about our faults, warts and all.

What are some myths about furries you’d like to debunk?
Metriko: There is a myth that we’re all basement-dwelling virgins. Let it be known that my apartment doesn’t even have a basement! But seriously, the furry fandom is highly creative in terms of art, literature, animation, and music. Something people may not know is that furries are also highly charitable, with most conventions participating with a local or national charity (typically associated with animal care, well-being or shelter adoption awareness). Even within the fandom there is a lot of internal support, with everyone looking out for each other (emotionally, or even in some cases financially).

Viro: But, you know, I empathize with people who are confused about the fandom. […] I understand, for example, that many people make the leap from “some furries have a sexual interest in humans with the physical traits of animals” to “furries are zoophiles; they all practice beastiality.” The thing is, for most furries with a sexual interest in furry art, it’s the animal traits that turn them on, not the animals they came from.

Metriko: Honestly, fursuits are expensive, bulky and you overheat easily wearing one and walking around. Fursuit sex is incredibly niche and, in my experience, not super comfortable at all. Sex is sweaty enough as is, thanks. At the end of the day we’re just people who bond over a shared appreciation of anthropomorphic animals. It might seem weird to some people, and that’s perfectly fine.

More recently, the media has focused on the link between some furries and the alt-right. In your minds, what is this subgroup about?
Metriko: One of the things about the fandom is that most people don’t really publicize their legal names. You are known as your handle or your furry name, and really whatever picture you have as your avatar. I will say that the alt-right movement within the fandom (they call themselves “alt-furs”) is a minority group, but much like the actual alt-right movement, they tend to be very vocal and gain a disproportionate amount of attention. These alt-furs find themselves in a fandom that promotes progressive behavior and in a culture they find themselves at odds with. So they band together and become louder and, in many cases, hateful.

Viro: I saw an excellent Twitter stream that talked about the appeal the alt-right movement has to younger, frustrated males—guys who are part of the “incel” [involuntary celibacy] community or who contribute to misogynist subreddits. I think the furry community does have some overlap with those communities, because [it] has always been a haven for outcasts and socially awkward folks. But that is really the only connection I would make: that furry and the alt-right both make a pretty seductive pitch to young, shy geeks, and some of these guys are deciding to sign up for both.


Debra W. Soh is a sex writer and sexual neuroscientist at York University in Toronto. She has written for Harper’s, The Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, The Los Angeles Times, The Globe and Mail and many others. Follow her on Twitter: @debra_soh.