FA 074 All Questions Show Vol. 5

Introduction topic

  • Facebook likes don't make you feel better

    • These are the findings of a preliminary study presented at the British Psychological Society's Annual Conference in Brighton on May 3, 2017, by Dr Martin Graff from University of South Wales.

    • A total of 340 participants recruited via Twitter and Facebook completed personality questionnaires. They were also asked to say how much they agreed or disagreed with 25 statements relating to the ways people appreciate being valued on social media. For example 'the attention I get from social media makes me feel good' or 'I consider someone popular based on the amount of likes they get'.

    • Analysis revealed that participants who said they went out of their way to get more likes (such as asking others or paying) were more likely to have low self-esteem and be less trusting. The same was true of those who admitted deleting posts or making a picture their profile picture on account of the number of likes it received.

    • The results also showed that receiving likes didn't actually make people feel any better about themselves or make them feel better when they were down.

    • Dr Graff said: "The proliferation of social media use has led to general concerns about the effects on our mental health. Although this is just a relatively small scale study the results indicate that the ways we interact with social media can affect how we feel and not always positively."

Topic

Question 1 (00:16:17)

  • Partners attracted to secondary personas

    • Question / Message / Feedback: Hi, all. This may seem like a minor thing to worry about, but I wanted to get a second opinion. I have my 'main' fursona that I created first, is very close to who I actually am, and I identify with very strongly. However, I have a few other characters I portray in roleplay and art in order to explore different ideas, kinks, and perspectives. One of these characters has drawn a bit of a following based on their traits and appearance, much more so than my main fursona. So much so that I end up portraying the secondary character far, far more often than my main.
      I've gotten to know several people very closely and intimately through this secondary character. They know me best and refer to me as the secondary identity, even if they are aware on some level of my main fursona. But this secondary character is more appealing to their tastes, even if it's the same person underneath and behaving pretty much in the same fashion regardless of what name and reference art I'm using. It's gotten to the point where more people know me through this secondary identity more than the one that I identify with the most. Some of these relationships are so intimate that they better resemble long-distance romantic relationships than just friendship.
      I can't help but feel like I'm being misleading on some level. I'm concerned that if these relationships were to go further, there could be friction when they get to know me in person, and not through an avatar. The same issue could occur if they knew me better as my main, but I feel like it could be more pronounced in the case with my secondary. Again, I'm almost positive that those closest to me know that I portray multiple characters, and some of them do as well. But something about them preferring and referring to me as the secondary character feels dishonest, since that's not the 'real' me. Then again, neither are any of the characters I play as - they're all representations, and I am separate from them. But this secondary character is a bit more removed from how I am in reality in terms of appearance, behavior, and mentality than my main, and that gap is concerning to me.
      I will admit that this is a very hypothetical problem, and that ultimately it's likely not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. These relationships are still intimate, and I care about these people deeply, but I have no clue if I'll ever be in a place where these issues could arise. I just can't shake the feeling that when I say "I love you," and they say it back, there's a lie in there. Even if I'm attracted to the person at the keyboard and not the art on the screen, I'm still anxious that I've tricked these people to care about this image of me that isn't accurate.
      I don't think this is an impending identity crisis, and I don't foresee me shifting so much that I identify more strongly with the secondary character more than my main fursona. I still enjoy portraying both characters, even if one has more fans, art, and faves on social media than the other.
      Please let me know if I'm being completely irrational, or if I am being dishonest in some capacity. Feel free to edit this post for clarity and length, but I'd please request to stay anonymous. If you would like me to clarify any points I made, feel free to contact me at the E-mail address I listed. Thank you very much!

Question 2 (00:30:23)

  • How do I open up my monogamous, heterosexual relationship to explore polyamorous / bisexual feelings?

    • Feel free to read this on the show, or just respond via email.  If you do put it on the show I'd like to remain anonymous.   I've listened to a few of your podcasts, not sure  how many, 15-25 I guess, I bounce around various podcasts a lot.  I like what you're doing, and much of what you say rings true for me in a way that's really reassuring.  You seem to take the time to present well reasoned and well thought out ideas.  So thanks for doing what you do.

    • I'm wondering if you could recommend a book that might help my mate and I continue to have a successful relationship despite some major changes that I've gone though relating to how I see myself and my sexuality.   Basically I've gone from being someone who has generally always considered himself straight (but not like super manly man man straight) and monogamous, to being bisexual and ?( I'd say poly, but the term seems to have a variety of meanings, so I'm not sure it fits precisely, but it's the best I've got) .  Over the last 2 years I've become aware that I need to explore some bisexual feelings that have arisen (been uncovered?) within me.  Her and I both acknowledge that this  has been a process for me, and that these feelings are both valid and genuine, and seem to be more than curiosity.

    • She's played a major role in some of my explorations and been very supportive through the process so far.  We had a very cool threesome with a guy friend of ours who we've both know for years, feel great love and affection for, and we were all very happy with how it went.  There's a really good chance the three of us will be together again at some point.  That said, due to distance and other physical issues,  he's really not the best candidate for me to continue to explore my feelings for guys, and so I'd like to have a greater degree of openness in our relationship, and on one level, she'd like me to have some freedom to explore.  Her and I are in the process of creating a list of conditions with behaviors I could engage in, that we would both be ok with to some degree.  However at this point she's struggling with how she can truly feel ok about my side of the relationship being less than monogamous, while she, for her part, feels that she's never really had a strong desire to be anything less than monogamous.  I believe that she truly feels monogamous despite her willingness and enjoyment relating to the threesome that we had.

    • Do you have a book recommendation that might allow her to consider the situation in ways that neither of us may have yet thought of?  Perhaps something that applies to being the monogamous person in relationship with someone who isn't monogamous (is there a word for this? lol).  I've read The Ethical Slut, and she's presently reading it, although the ideas put forth in it don't really resonate with her, and certainly not to the degree that they resonate with me.  In fact the tone of that book, as she reads it, seems a bit condescending toward those who are monogamous, tending to make her feel that she's somehow wrong to want to be monogamous.  She's smart and self aware enough that she realizes that her own bias toward being monogamous is creating some false tone there, but that still makes it a more difficult read for her.

    • I'll add at this point that we didn't make any initial forays into the threesome (or the consideration of an open relationship) due to anything that either of us feel is lacking in our present relationship.  Quite the opposite, we both are aware that this is happening because our relationship has been so successful due to being open and honest with each other; and those very qualities have allowed me to feel so much love and acceptance of myself, that I've ending up exploring long locked away feelings toward guys.  So, if it weren't for the fact that she can't possibly transform herself into a man and back again at the drop of a hat, I'm not sure I'd even be looking to open my end of our relationship.

    • Her and I have talked deeply and at great length about this all.  I'll say again that I feel very loved and supported by her though all this, and that our level of communication and understanding couldn't be better.  We both get emotional sometimes while talking, and we feel we're doing well at expressing and validating each others emotions in a generally positive way, even the negative ones.  We feel as though at least one of her core concerns is a fear that she'll lose me somewhere in all this, and although I'm confident that her and I can work on and get through this together, on some level I'm afraid of that too, as neither of us can know what the future truly holds.

    • And I'll stick this other stuff here at the end because it's probably worth saying but I'm not sure where it fits.  Her and I are both around 35, we've been together for the last 10 or so years (known each other for probably 17).  I found furry about 2 years ago and I feel like it had been a real missing piece in my life to that point.  So I'm definitely newly minted but I've had a lot of interaction in the community over the last two years and consider myself furry. She's basically a furry herself, as historically she's had a more consistent interest in many components of furry than I had, but she hasn't had a lot of interaction in the community, and isn't really sure she considers herself a furry, yet (she totally is though, lol)

    • Thanks so much for what you do, even though I haven't heard all your episodes, the one's I have heard have have been a great way to help me understand myself, others, and the fandom.

    • Sincerely, Anonymous

    • Resources

Question 3 (00:46:34)

  • Subject: Pursuing intimacy in the face of limitations

    • Question / Message / Feedback: Hi!! I'm queer, allosexual (maybe demi-? Idk), alloromantic and non-binary. I want some advice on a situation I'm in. Well, more like I just want to let some stuff out? I don't have a super set question, so much as a bunch of thoughts. I hope that's okay.

    • Anyways, I have this friend. We've been close for about a year-and-a-half, and we've been living together for.... Oh maybe nine months give or take. We are very close. We talk about all kinds of things, mostly relating to them and their issues (which I'll get to). We both get a lot out of these interactions: they tell me things that, according to them, they've never told anyone before, and I help them to articulate and sort through them, and gain a feeling of trust and intimacy that comes with such vulnerability.

    • We've been talking a lot about their aversion to touch and potential asexuality. See, they identify, seemingly on-and-off, as asexual, because of a very clear, present and intense aversion to touch and certain other displays of romantic or sexual intimacy. These gestures and kinds of relationships result in a lot of real anxiety and often physical discomfort for them, as they describe it, and while they can point to a number of traumatic situations in their past, they can't identify any direct cause of this aversion. Furthermore, they've voiced to me a total lack of feelings of attraction - physical or romantic - as they are conventionally defined, for anyone, ever.

    • However, they also have expressed to me that they do desire romantic and sexual intimacy, to the point that they fantasize about it frequently. They are very drawn to romantic and sexual literature (mostly yaoi, which is a passion of their's), and are able to masturbate and enjoy doing so. Furthermore, they've attempted a few times in the past to "overcome" their aversions and limitations through different kinds of relationships, all to no avail. It seems to me that they desire this very intensely: whether that stems from a desire for "normalcy" in the wider culture, or whether it is a genuine want of their's is something they aren't sure of. This contradiction of sorts results in even further confusion, discomfort and pain for them.

    • Right now, we're at a point where I've expressed my desire to be in a relationship with them. That is a very recent thing, after all these months of closeness shared between us. It kind of happened out of nowhere - I was laying in bed one day and was like, "Oh shit, I have feelings for them." But anyways, I've expressed these feelings and - to my surprise - it didn't send them running for the hills, the way they say it does with most in these situations. They've even said things about our friendship having "emotional connection" and "commitment" which are a big deal to them. Either way, there definitely seems to be something there, even if - given their current limits in this regard - they're unable to express or even comprehend feelings of attraction or desire.

    • Anyways, we communicate fairly openly about this and are currently at a point where they are continuing to talk to me about their limitations as well as their fantasies, and I am trying to help them sort through them, with the goal of a) most importantly, helping them heal and b) possibly being able to have a romantic relationship with them.

    • For me, such a relationship could take whatever form they wanted it to: as someone without the kinds of aversions to intimacy that they have, I want to get to understand their fantasies better and help to actualize them. I would be so much more than happy to let them boss me around, telling me everything they need to have the first healthy relationship of their life - as long as, of course, it doesn't violate my boundaries.

    • All-in-all, I'm feeling good about this situation. We have a really good connection and, furthermore, both of us are entering therapy in about a month: they want to get help with these issues, and I want some help with my depression, anxiety and (currently self-diagnosed) PTSD.

    • So, again, I don't really have a specific "concern" aside from those which constantly arise from my confused and anxious brain. I guess I'm just wondering if you have any thoughts on the matter, especially regarding their limitations. I feel confident in our ability to communicate well with one another and keep each other safe, but do you have any particular advice on how to explore and navigate touch aversion? Any general advice would be super great too.

    • I really, really care about and adore this person and want to be part of their healing in this way. Obviously, this is their journey, and their's alone. But if I can help them to identify their issues - and particularly, if I can help them to explore the desires and fantasies they DO have in a safe and healthy space, I would really cherish the opportunity.

Question 4 (00:56:01)

  • Subject: HOW TO HANDLE MY FIRST RELATIONSHIP WITH ANOTHER MAN IRL AFTER GETTING USED TO FURRY PORN

    • I am 27 male, and I am in my first serious, long term relationship with another man. Ever since coming out gay, I had had doubts of my sexuality because I only started looking at gay furry porn, instead of people. Outside of porn, I do eye men in real life and not women. I've only ever persued men, even though I had plenty of opportunities to persue women. I've been with plenty of men, but for never more than 2 or 3 months at a time.  I think that furry porn has set unrealistic expectations for me. I enjoy the sex that my boyfriend and I have, but I could live without it - I typically engage with him for his sake. I get immediately arosed by furry porn, but oftentimet takes a bit of effort from either myself or my boyfriend for me to get aroused. I think he's an attractive man, but I feel that my brain has the most powerful reaction to the porn than any other stimulation. I find myself masturbating in private frequently like I did befor our relationship, and he's okay with that, but I still feel shameful and as if I am hiding it.

    • Him and I have talked about this, and at first he was upset and felt like he was competing with furry porn, but now he's more accepting and finds ways to enhance our sex with furry porn and role play which we both enjoy.

    • I am worried that gay furry porn made me a gay furry, and not a gay man. I love my boyfriend more than anything, but I am worried that my self-doubt and anxiety will get the best of me and rui our relationship. I try not to discuss this with him since it makes him worried about our future together, but he's supportive of me and wants me to get help.

    • Do you have any advice, or words of wisdom? How should I go about getting professional help without running into religious nutso organizations?

      • Aasect.org

      • OpenList - Tristan Taromino

Question 5 (01:06:49)

  • Subject:  HOW TO SEEK RELATIONSHIPS AS A YOUNG GAY FURRY TEEN

    • Question / Message / Feedback: I'm 15 and I'm legally able to consent to sex (under certain circumstances such as specifically both parties being within the age range of 14-17) in my state, but this makes no sense because my high school doesn't offer any form of sex education. Everything I know about sex comes from you guys, Sexplanations with Dr. Lindsey Doe (on YouTube), and other resources I sought out on my own time. I think it's sad that people my age can consent to sex whilst knowing nothing about it. It also doesn't help that I'm gay in a house that is so Republican that my parents unironically placed a Trump sign in our yard and discussing anything outside of heterosexuality is weird, awkward, and taboo. I don't know much about relationships or sex and I wanted to hear your personal opinions on issues such as teen sex, sex education, and consent law clashing with such things. I was also curious to hear your opinion on how to approach a relationship in the furry fandom at an age such as mine where I lack experience. I love your podcast and I listen to it all the time, I hope you read this and consider my question.

Feedback (01:43:24)

This is in response to the guy who felt his life was "on hold" and was trying to live well in the meantime.

I feel your pain.  Modern culture is one of prolonged adolescence - We are all in high school until we are legally adults (about 2 years past older than when our distant ancestors were starting families), and then many of us go to college for an additional 4 years or more, leaving a lot of people dependent on parents or with reduced agency and control of their lives well into their twenties, which is totally counter to what your body wants you to do., which is strike out on your own and start living your life already.

I had this feeling badly enough that I dropped out of college after 2 years and got a manual labor job in a small town and moved in with my girlfriend.  I don't recommend this, but it really did give me a sense of self-efficacy when I realized just how much crap I could put up with and still come out on top - A physically and emotionally demanding job supporting my girlfriend who mostly wasn't working wasn't a pleasant experience, but it did toughen me physically and mentally and impressed upon me the importance of completing my education.  When I went back to school, it was with a solid goal in mind and a self-confidence that comes from knowing you can make it on your own if you have to.

During college, I coped with the prolonged adolescence through self-improvement, mostly.  One very pleasurable self-improvement was in getting out more and meeting new people (and fucking them!  :D)  - I had discovered my pansexuality, and getting involved in the local LGBT community helped me learn to be more social and develop my ideas about what I wanted in relationships.  I also tried to pick up useful skills - I learned emergency first aid, did some camping, dabbled a bit in ham radio, and learned swordfighting at a local foam fighting group (Belegarth is what it's called - 10/10 would recommend to a friend).  Adjust as needed to your own interests, but maybe you want to be able to fix your own car, or learn to dance, become physically fit, or learn to cook like Metriko suggested.  Also, your mindfulness will come in handy, but try and focus on things you have now that you should appreciate while they are there - College is a great time to meet people with similar interests and network with other people your age.  Try to get away from seeing all good things as being something you'll get in the future, and start focusing on the good things that are happening now that you might be overlooking because you think your career, family, or finances in the future are more significant.

I hope this helps.  Your hard work will pay dividends in the future, but that doesn't make it any less frustrating in the moment.  For what it's worth, I've been there, and very recently (about a year out of school) my career seems to be taking a big leap forward that would not have been possible without delaying my gratification for awhile.

Hope this helps,

Branth

Closer

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Metriko Oni

Metriko Oni is a former government environmental disaster mitigations expert with a focus on outreach, education, and policy writing. He now works with computers. He has been active in the fandom since 2013 and has been an advocate for transparent lines of communication. His interests include philosophy, media, futurism, and speculative fiction.