In Defence of Cub Porn

This article was originally published in June 2012.

There is a lot of cub porn out there.

Discussions around the topic tend to be highjacked by those making the biggest noise, either pro or con. Extreme viewpoints tend to attract extreme reactions, which produces a familiar deathspiral of invective. Such conversations tend to shed a lot of heat and precious little light.

In furry, such drama tends to appear whenever unusual sexual practices or identities are discussed – zoophilia or coprophilia for example. I speculated in a recent article that the haters are often closeted versions of the object of their hate. I think this might also apply to someone who is anti-cub porn, however it’s a more complex issue from a moral, legal, and ethical perspective.

There is certainly a disconnect between the prevalence of cub porn and the level of conversation. On sites where it is allowed (and even sometimes when it is not), it’s ubiquitous. A full 4.4% (out of 650,000) of posts on e621.net* are tagged “cub”. Yet attraction to underage characters is discussed as if it existed in the extreme margins of furry.

* As of July 2015.

The prevalence of cub porn suggests that a significant minority of furries are paedophiles. Or, to use a less inflammatory phrase, many furries are sexually attracted to underage characters.

Paedophilia is considered to be a paraphilia (i.e. a fetish) rather than a sexual orientation. A sexual orientation is usually assessed based on three criteria:

1. Affectional orientation (who we emotionally bond with)
2. Sexual fantasy orientation (who we fantasize about)
3. Erotic orientation (who we prefer to have sex with)

Paedophilia fails on the conflict between the first and third points: to have sex with a child, even consensual sex, you must lack regard for their emotional health.

It is, of course, illegal to be a practising paedophile. Child pornography is also illegal in most countries. The legality of furry cub porn is less clear.

The United States, EU and Australia have bans on simulated child pornography, however the legitimacy of such laws is mostly untested. The strongest flaw with such laws is probably their failure to define at which point an image becomes illegal, as cleverly explained by William Saletan writing in Slate (full article here):

I’m now going to depict an adult and a minor having sex. The adult is represented by the character on the left. The minor is represented by the character on the right. Here is my depiction:

&i

Have I just committed a crime punishable by 10 years in jail?

 

The furry world has reacted to such laws, preventing or restricting the hosting or sale of sexually explicit images with underage characters.

  • The administrators of Fchan have banned cub porn based on a conservative interpretation of such laws.
  • Permission to sell (the now defunct) Softpaw Magazine had been denied at Further Confusion and Eurofurence, partly due to legal uncertainty.
  • The largest furry website, Fur Affinity, had taken a more liberal approach to cub porn until 2010, when their payment processor cited it as a reason to cancel the site’s account.

However the fact remains that cub porn is common and easy to find. Inkbunny is a competitor to FA that has grown quickly in membership in recent times, driven in part by its acceptance of cub porn. There are also dedicated sites such as CubCentral.org*. Publications such as Softpaw are openly available for purchase from vendors such as Rabbit Valley.

* July 2015 update: CubCentral was closed earlier this year following the founder’s death.

There is demand for cub porn, principally, because some people are sexually attracted to underage characters.

Some people are sexually attracted to children too. The silent majority of such people who don’t act on their impulses – the good paedophiles – are often forced to manage their sexual impulses without any support. Dr James Cantor (@JamesCantorPhD), a psychologist, associate professor at the University of Toronto, and editor-in-chief of Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment refers to such people as “gold star paedophiles”.

Dr Cantor has led research that has shown strong evidence that paedophiles are born, not made: MRI tests have shown that paedophiles have impaired communication between different regions in the brain; they perform more poorly on various tests of brain function; they tend to be shorter; they are three times more likely to be left-handed or ambidextrous. As he puts it, one cannot choose to not be a paedophile, but one can choose to not be a child molester. He authored an article in late June 2012 for CNN (here) that gives a good summary of the science.

The struggles of gold-star paedophiles have also been highlighted on occasion by sex columnist and ethicist Dan Savage (@fakedansavage). Savage echoes Dr Cantor’s opinion (this excerpt from his 4 February 2010 column):

We should acknowledge the existence of “good pedophiles,” people who are burdened with a sexual interest in children but who possess the moral sense to resist acting on that interest.

 

Anyone openly identifying as a paedophile can expect hatred. Bruce Rind, assistant professor of psychology at Temple University and high-profile researcher into the effects of child sex abuse, calls it “America’s current insane moral panic”. This panic makes it difficult for paedophiles to seek help and advice, such that they may go through life without acting on their impulses.

For furries with such impulses, cub porn provides a resource for sexual release that does no harm. (This is not the case for anyone consuming real-world child pornography, as they are providing demand for the images. This is true even if the images are ‘free’: as we all know, the cachet provided by attention on the internet can encourage people to engage in all sorts of behaviour.) Accordingly, exposure to cub porn may reduce the risk of destructive behaviour in the future.

There is also a free speech argument for cub porn, as espoused by the FA administrators before their hand was forced by their payment processor. At the core of that argument is that cub porn is enjoyed by non-paedophiles: furries who imagine themselves as the child, or perhaps furries who fondly remember experimenting with sex at a young age.

From a moral standpoint, cub porn is not a special case in the furry world. Many illegal or immoral acts are shown in furry porn for the purposes of sexual gratification. Examples include rape, mutilation, and murder, none of which are objectively worse than the rape of a child.

The ‘stepping stone’ argument – that exposure to cub porn may lead to a fantasy life that may allow a paedophile to consider the real possibility of raping a child – is applicable. The logic is similar to the argument against comics depicting rape (that they provide a ‘how-to’ for prospective rapists), or the argument that cannabis is a ‘gateway’ to more dangerous drugs.

However the ‘stepping-stone’ argument is flawed: people masturbating to images of child sex abuse aren’t necessarily abusers. However abusers will be predisposed towards viewing such images, just as violent people are drawn towards violent video games. In the case of cub porn, abusers and gold-star paedophiles alike will consume the images, which means that a high(er) proportion of cub porn consumers will be abusers. However the images are not creating abusers: as outlined earlier, it’s likely that they are reducing the risk.

The ‘stepping-stone’ argument is a simple case of confusion of cause and effect. Paedophiles are attracted to cub porn; cub porn does not create paedophiles.

The legality of cub porn is a grey area in most parts of the world, and I am not qualified to give legal advice. However I see four ethical arguments for the continued existence of creative, artistic, and explicit cub porn:

Firstly, there is no evidence to link illegal behaviour with consumption of art depicting illegal behaviour.

Secondly, a ban on cub porn would deprive the responsible consumers of the art.

Thirdly, the art may reduce the incidence of child molestation by providing an outlet for those who are sexually attracted to children.

And finally, there are already ad hoc communities of cub-porn lovers brought together around sites like CubCentral. If such groups are rejected, they will demonize the mainstream using the sort of language common to any flamewar on the subject. This language will become normal within the group, emboldening more extreme members. And in an environment where extremists are tolerated, destructive behaviour – such as consumption of real-world child pornography – is more likely to be accepted.

Groups of cub-porn lovers will be exposed to a broader and more moderate range of opinions as happy members of the general furry population. Extreme behaviour in such a moderate group will be discouraged, and more vulnerable members will find it easier to resist potentially destructive behaviour. More paedophiles will keep their gold star.

Acceptance of cub porn makes for a better furry community.

 

Further reading on [a][s]:

About JM

JM is a horse-of-all-trades who was introduced to furry in his native Australia by the excellent group known collectively as the Perthfurs. JM now helps run [adjective][species] from London, where he is most commonly spotted holding a pint and talking nonsense.

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41 thoughts on “In Defence of Cub Porn

  1. As young-bearing mammals, we are driven to protect our children far beyond what is necessary. Removing cub porn is like protecting kids that aren’t real and trying to go as far as protecting imaginary children in other peoples’ minds. I think it’s a good way of looking at how our society and our instincts work to look to what is considered most offensive. Cub is banned yet as you said we can show explicit scenes of rape, mind control, scat, murder, forced transformation and a thousand other things that if done in the real world would make the perpetrator not just a criminal but often a supervillain. As David Mitchell noted, the two subjects guaranteed to stir audiences are necrophilia and paedophilia. Incidentally, necro is something I don’t see too often on FA either. Logically necro is victimless and a better outlet than a lot of other things, yet it seems to stir something in most people.

    I’ll ignore scat and cub if you don’t bother me about my harem of zombies and vampires. The vampires are better, of course. They don’t come apart when you get a bit rough.

    1. Hi Paul, thanks for the thoughtful and clever comment.

      I wrote this article a few days ago and I was reflecting on why I find this such an interesting topic. I think there is something in your comment that points towards that – it’s the contradiction between ethics and society’s moral standards. Something to do with the instinctual, animalistic nature of all humans, perhaps.

  2. There are multiple questions here.

    “Is furry cub porn equivalent to human child porn?” I say not really any more than Bugs Bunny’s cross-dressing jokes are equivalent to actual transvestite depictions.

    We can broaden that one into just “Is furry erotica equivalent to human erotica?” and again I say not really. The necessary element of fantasy and fiction disrupts the direct identification in both the specific and the general case here.

    “Is furry erotica equivalent to zoophilic erotica?” Again, I think the answer is a resounding “no.” And likewise, the furry cub stuff isn’t equivalent to the real hardcore photos and films.

    Does this mean that the entire community should approve of or promote furry cub porn? I don’t think this is the case either. You have pointed out the inherent conflict of interest very well. Should financial institutions discriminate against sites like FA or Inkbunny? No, they should not. In many cases, they continue to process transactions for sites that are far worse. I think the issue here is a matter or twisted perspective. Furry as a whole is still viewed as extremely weird and essentially a sexual perversion by far too many mainstream people.

    However, do I think it’s good for highly visible furry sites to be loaded with grossly inartistic depictions of sexuality, in forms analogous to expressions that are illegal or immoral in most human cultures today? My personal answer is “no, that’s not a good idea, nor is it necessary.”

    I am not a “hater.” I tolerate behaviors and beliefs that are widely variant from my own, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I condone them or want to look as if I condone them. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.

    Society, even in the archly conservative US (which lags behind most of the western world in this respect,) is quickly becoming more tolerant and even supportive of variations in sexual expression and affections. However, the basic conflicts you point out continue to apply with respect to extreme cross-generational sexuality and to some other forms of expression, such as zoophilia. This is not likely to change so readily unless a completely different viewpoint, one that doesn’t depend on “knowledgeable consent,” can be found and promoted.

    1. I agree with your comments regarding the presence on cub porn on mainstream furry sites like Fur Affinity. I’ve heard a few people bemoan that they find it off-putting, not just from a personal sense, but also that it scares them off from sharing the site with non-furry friends. In this respect, the departed Yerf served those wanting to see furry art without having to constantly sidestep the pornography.

      The current state of affairs – where FA gives a (relatively) clean version when you’re not logged in, and Inkbunny requires an account – is perhaps not a bad compromise.

      1. I wish we still had a Yerf. I don’t know of any furry art site out there which has the specific goal of nurturing talent and improving the quality of anthropomorphic animal artwork.

        I’m not sure I’d want to run it on a community level, but I’m fine hosting the Yerf Historical Archive, and I could see it as something I supported in the future if anyone wanted to have a go at it.

  3. “The prevalence of cub porn suggests that a significant minority of furries are paedophiles. Or, to use a less inflammatory phrase, many furries are sexually attracted to underage characters.”

    I couldn’t read past this sentence because of the brain busting leap from “significant minority” to “many”.

    1. Good point, my apologies for the poor language. It should read “large minority”. “Significant minority” is imprecise. It’s intended to be a synonym for “many”.

      I hope you’ll forgive the error and try again :)

      1. “However abusers will be predisposed towards viewing such images, just as violent people are drawn towards violent video games.”

        Alright… I got that far this time… really?

        1. Oh wait nevermind another poorly worded passage, given context you might have meant that while violent people consume violent video games non-violent people consume them too. Which is interesting if true, though in my reading of video game violence over the years I’ve never seen any articles showing that violent people be more likely to pick up a violent video game.

  4. I support artistic freedom to the maximum extent possible. I am deeply disturbed by laws which attempt to criminalize harmless expressions of thought, justified not by scientific research, but concern from police and related interest groups who are unable to prosecute people who they “think are bad”.

    However, that doesn’t mean that cub art should be “pushed” onto people, any more than rape, violence, scat, drug use, necrophilia, bondage or mutilation. That’s why at Inkbunny we have pioneered keyword-based blocking, and are in the progress of rolling out a powerful keyword-suggestion feature for users to ensure that such work is categorized to the maximum extent possible, as soon as possible.

    With regards to law, I would say that the best defense against criminal prosecution is that cubs are not human, and so are not included in definitions of “underage person” or “child” which typically appear in legislation. The UK has criminalized work where “the predominant impression conveyed is that the person shown is a child”, but even it does not go so far as to outlaw animals having sex with other animals; it is intended to stop you adding ears, tails or antennae to depictions of humans. This is our basis for deciding what is allowed on Inkbunny.

    1. Thanks for the comment and thanks for explaining the nuances of Inkbunny’s position. I’m curious as to whether you guys have based this on legal expertise, or whether you have simply logically assessed the law.

      I also agree that cub porn, or any pornography for that matter, should never be pushed on to those who prefer to avoid it. It sounds like the new Inkbunny system will go a long way to making that as easy as possible. As Altivo suggested in a preceding comment, it’s not always easy to balance free speech while minimizing overtly offensive content.

      1. Jery obtained a legal opinion before publishing Softpaw. The work was printed in Canada and passed through U.S. customs without any problems that I am aware of. I believe the conventions which banned it did not contact a lawyer to make their assessment, but I cannot be 100% certain.

        My opinion of the recent change in UK law is based on my own review of the initial consultation and the discussions in the UK Parliament during passage of the law, and not on legal advice. Police indicated at the time that they intended to use it as a fallback in case they found no actual child pornography, while legislators noted the significance of “amending an image of a child slightly” by “adding antennae or animal ears”. Our focus is therefore on people who appear to have amended a human child to add furry attributes.

        1. From all the examples I gave, Fchan are the only ones to have banned cub porn based entirely on a conservative interpretation of the law. Their interpretation is lay.

          The conventions to have banned the likes of Softpaw have cited the law, but seem to be driven by their desire to keep good relationships with hotel management. Those conventions don’t allow juvenile characters to be portrayed in sexual situation in the art show, so they just extended that rule to cover published material. (FC and Eurofurence cited legal uncertainty as a contributing factor only.)

          FA, as you know (your Flayrah article sums up the issue excellently), only took action when their hand was forced for commercial reasons. I’m not sure but I think they may have had a more liberal interpretation than Inkbunny, in that they didn’t place a restriction on human(ish) characters. You may be able to enlighten us?

          The discussions in Hansard are interesting, in that they clearly point to the shortcomings in enforceability of laws against simulated child pornography. Obviously the opinion of a politician holds no weight in court. However I’d tend to agree with your assessment that the laws fall somewhere between unenforceable and nonsensical. I am, of course, no expert.

          I am glad that Inkbunny (and the likes of e621) haven’t chosen to censor cub porn. As I outline in the article, I think you have a good influence on he community.

          1. They are really two ways at getting at the same issue. FA has chosen to ban underage characters in sexual situations. Inkbunny has chosen to ban human characters in sexual situations. Both have their issues; we feel it is both easier in terms of discrimination and more in line with being a furry site to focus on identifying humans. Ideally you might only ban underage human characters in sexual situations, but this raises the bar even further. Essentially, Inkbunny doesn’t want to be in the business of deciding whether someone is “old enough”, especially because many cartoon characters have canonical ages well below their apparent age. Besides, humans made the laws, they should suffer. ;-)

            FA claimed that cub art made it impossible to survive due to card payment processor issues for donations, yet appears to have gone over a year without one. The fact is, most sites with adult artwork find it hard to maintain a relationship with such processors, in part because the level of fraud/chargebacks in the industry is so high. (The one time I had to claim a fraudulent charge on my credit card, it was for a porn site; I told them I like furries, not humans . . .). Inkbunny tried one route, but was shut out along with FA and SoFurry – our future efforts will be targeted towards facilitating transactions between two parties rather than acting as a “hub”.

            It is of course a good idea to have diversity in art sites; it was a shame that ArtSpots went down, as it was providing something unique. If FA had not banned cub porn, other sites would have been created that did so. But the fact is, Cub Central has existed for over a decade. If authorities had a real problem with such content, they could have taken action.

            I think the real issue for FA’s users has been a lack of technical means to block content featuring objectionable topics at a fine level – an issue which still exists today. The state of the art has moved on; if they fail to innovate in a meaningful way, they will fall behind.

        2. Not wanting to deal with shady gray areas of humans being in art, while I don’t agree since SoFurry has managed not to be sued into oblivion at least so far, I can still say, “Okay, fine, whatever, I don’t feel like arguing about it.” But why not allow human characters who are adults to be in sexual situations in stories, where their age is explicit? There would arguably be virtually a factor of zero for varying visual interpretations, and the only reason not to allow this is wanting to be fair in a negative way.

  5. I just think people give cub porn an importance or ‘deep meaning’ it really doesn’t have. The same way a violent videogame is just ‘fun’ for the vast majority of people who like it, cub porn is just ‘hot’ for the vast majority of people who is just into it. Why? 99% of people will shrug and tell you ‘lol, dunno, just find it hot’, and it’s the honest response for most of them. Sure, there will be people that will be into snuff because they’re potential cruel murderers, or people that would honestly put a gas tube in somebody’s mouth to inflate them up.

    The problem with cub porn is just with people wanting to see a problem in it, probably because they feel identified with events in their own childhood, but it’s the same as rape art: people who were raped or about to will find it totally intollerable because they recall a personal experience. So again, and I’m sorry: those are the ones with the psycollogical problem, not the rest of us!

    1. Jeepers, that last paragraph is a controversial one (!).

      But you main point is well made. I have certainly been accused of over-thinking in the past, and there is an argument that I’m doing that with this article. But then, that’s kinda the point of [adjective][species]. Maybe we can ask Random Wolf to work in into the About page.

  6. I don’t think I’ll ever comprehend the public’s moral preoccupation with certain forms of drawn or CG pornography. The act itself, when performed, may be quite immoral. A drawing of the act, on the other hand, is necessarily victimless. I may not have an appreciation for some kinks, but the psychological fulfillment afforded to some who enjoy drawings can result from any number of psychological triggers.

    Suppose a non-paedophilic drawing which depicts brutal sexual aggression. Some people will find it fulfilling due to the implied Dom/sub component. Others will be attracted by the S/M dynamic involved. For still others, it might be a gritty public setting depicted which triggers their interest. In any pornography, various psychological triggers will be assuaged for various people depending on their context and dynamics.

    Which brings me back to cub porn. The value inherent from it for some folks might be for any number of root causes, all of which we currently lump under paedophilia. Without knowing where people are coming from and understanding why, many others are nevertheless willing to label their position morally wrong. The decision to do that seems to be morally slipshod and irresponsible, particularly when the direction of the argument has been to call the morality of someone else into question. Hypocrisy is typically the undoing of any moral argument, even if it’s just the result of a half-formulated thought process.

    Similar to the terrific William Saletan “&i” argument you’ve shared, there seems to be an additional hypocrisy inherent in a refusal from many to distinguish between a morally-objectionable act, and a drawing which depicts that act. Courts of law have sentenced people to death for murder, but society would hardly accept that same death penalty for someone having merely drawn an image of a murder. I can’t relate to the apparently rampant opinion that this is true for murder but not true of paedophilia. Indeed, I can’t acknowledge that drawn images CAN be immoral – though I can and do find some content objectionable for comfort- or spiritually-based reasons (gruesome depictions of harmful subjects having “bad vibes”). Drawn art itself can’t really be non-consensual, and it’s the inability for paedophilic acts to reliably involved informed consent that makes the act morally objectionable. To brand a drawing, or a word, as inherently morally reprehensible, is a position I literally can’t comprehend. There are many four-letter words that reference offensive subject matter, and I typically refrain from using them myself. The fact remains however, that they are merely syllables comprised of four letters. They cannot be inherently morally objectionable. The intent towards another person in using them can often be, and this is typically the cause for offense. In the case of paedophilia, that underlying intent can’t be clearly established by a casual observer, let alone understood and judged. So there is no parallel basis for a moral determination, and to suggest that drawn visual art be forbidden due to subject matter, when drawn visual art cannot reasonably violate someone’s consent, seems roughly analogous to an attempt to ban a book. Or a word. Or a thought.

    Indeed, attempting to impose that kind of control and suppression over someone else, particularly non-consensually, seems morally objectionable and offensive to me. And ironically, for the same non-consensuality that’s implied against cub porn aficionados.

    1. Absolutely. Excellent stuff, Satori, thanks for commenting.

      It’s the conflict between society’s morals – cub porn is bad – and simple ethics – as you say, it’s necessarily victimless – that prompted this post. In hindsight, it’s a theme that appears in many of my articles, such as the one on Eating Your Spirit Animal a few weeks ago (or, more notoriously, the Zoophilia article). It appears to be something I find interesting, and probably why I’m drawn to contrarian thinkers like Jesse Bering or Christopher Hitchens.

      Then again, these articles probably wouldn’t be very interesting if I merely outlined the ethics of a widely-held held belief. Like, say, an article on why there is nothing wrong with being gay. Of course, there was a time when such an article would have had value – my hope is that articles like this one help provide some language for future discussion. And hopefully that will lead to society’s standards changing towards something more balanced.

      As a special bonus for such an interesting comment, I would like to share something I picked up from Twitter. It’s another example in the vein of Saletan’s depiction of child pornography, and further evidence as to the untenable nature of such a law: take a close look at the London 2012 logo. You will clearly see a depiction of Lisa Simpson performing fellatio.

      You’re welcome.

  7. Good article, for the most part. I have a complaint, though, and I ask for your forgiveness before I post if I make a mistake, because I was only just now linked to this journal and read the ones Further Reading ones, and I may have missed some sort of disclaimer somewhere, but from what I’m gathering, when you say, “A significant minority of furries (and not *cub art viewers*) are paedophiles” suggests to me you are referring to all cub porn fans as pedophiles. Was this the claim you meant to make, did I misinterpret anything, or did I flat-out have a temporary case of dyslexia? If you didn’t mean what it reads like, then I ask that you change the wording. Whatever the case, allow me to at least make the claim that despite me viewing cub art, I do not feel that I am attracted to real-life children, depending on what you define a child as. Legally, if I have sex with someone who’s sixteen, it’s going to land my tail in prison and a record of being a sexual predator child molester all the same as if I had done it with someone who’s nine. Lots of states have different age of consents depending on sexual orientation, unfairly discriminating against them (example: in Nevada, the age of consent is 16 for heterosexual intercourse, but 18 for homosexual; in Pennsylvania, it’s 16 for married couples and 18 for unmarried, and of course gays can’t get married there; and in some states, there are “Romeo and Juliet” laws that lower the penalties for people who are within a certain age range of each other, such as if I at 22 had sex with someone at 17, but some of these laws, which vary from state to state, also discriminate based on the genders involved). In short, there is legitimate reason to feel that laws regarding age of consent are in actuality unfair towards the gay community, and thinking that in combination to viewing cub art does not make me a pedophile.

    1. Hi Nilm, thanks for the comment. I don’t think that all cub art viewers are paedophiles, I just think that a lot of them are likely to be. I appreciate that I didn’t spell this out in the first few paragraphs, but later on I say cub porn is enjoyed by non-paedophiles.

      I think it is okay to assume that many cub art viewers are paedophiles. Most furries who enjoy gay furry art are gay (or bi) – it follows that most furries who are sexually attracted to underage furry characters are also sexually attracted to children. There will be exceptions to this generality, and you may be one of them. However my general point is that nobody chooses their sexual preference or sexual interests, so nobody should be castigated for such.

  8. Cub is considered a hot-button issue to those who try to connect dots that don’t exist. Those people are blurring the line between fantasy and reality, trying to impose (their) morality on fictional situations. Anyone who tries to tell me what fictional things I should and shouldn’t like has already lost because there really is no point in do that aside from them trying to override my interests with their own, claiming that their (very subjective) interests are some how ‘better’ than my own. I question why are these people wasting time on something that simply doesn’t matter?

    It sounds like you’re saying that most cub-fans are pedophiles. I think that would be a mistake because then you’d also have to also think most people into guro porn are murderers, most people into non-consensual (NC) porn are rapists, most people into vore porn are cannibals, and ultimately most furries are zoophiles.

    It’s realistic to say that a portion of cub-fans are actual pedophiles, a portion of NC-fans are actual rapists, a portion of furries are actual zoophiles, etc. Also, just as realistic, there must be pedophiles who aren’t cub-fans, or maybe are even anti-cub. Being a fan of cub stuff doesn’t automatically mean anything.

    There are several things about cub (or any type of art) people can draw enjoyment from. For some it could be the cuteness factor, people always adore baby animals more than adult ones (for example), people also find human kids cute, so it doesn’t automatically have something to do with ‘pedo’. Another possibility is the innocence/inexperienced factor (as suggested in the quote), people recalling their own ‘first-time’ or perhaps their own positive under-age experience. I’d imagine there’s a similar but opposite response from those where cub recalls a negative experience. Both sides of that coin are valid, those who have had an unfortunate bad experience in their history should avoid such subject matter, but they should not force their subjective views on others and deprive those with positive experiences from being able to enjoy them.

    You said “Many illegal or immoral acts are shown in furry porn for the purposes of sexual gratification. Examples include rape, mutilation, and murder, none of which are objectively worse than the rape of a child.” IMO, rape is listed twice in this quote because it doesn’t matter what age someone is; rape is rape. Sex is not rape unless it’s being violently forced on someone. To be fair, and to avoid confusion, everyone should call what the act actually is rather than what a law says it is for court cases.

    That said, since you’re arguing about real-life situations, anyone could (easily) argue that rape, mutilation, and murder are demonstrably worse than enjoyable sexual activities between two individuals. Hopefully not much needs to be expanded here, but the first 3 deal with pain, suffering and death while the last one deals with enjoyment. It’s pretty clear which situations are objectively worse.

    Your first two ethical arguments for the continued existence of creative, artistic, and explicit cub porn should be reasons enough. IMHO, if people actually care about real kids & child rape they would prioritize -them- over fictional drawings. By not doing this I strongly question their motives and can quickly assume their intentions aren’t as positive or pure as they claim to be. If anything these anti-cub activists who actually go around and essentially troll people are only using cub as a way to pick socially acceptable targets for their trolling. It’s rare outside of a cub community to find anyone who’s going to stand up for a cub-fan, so they’re essentially ‘easy pickin’s for these trollish individuals.

    Finally, the acceptance (or, at the very least, tolerance) of -all- furry porn makes for a better furry community.

    1. I’m disappointed you’re apparently not going to reply. I’ll just give a TLDR version: IMHO, if people actually care about real kids & child rape they would prioritize -them- over fictional drawings.

      1. Hi Deafshot, apologies for the late response. I thought your comment was an interesting and provocative one. I didn’t comment because I felt that other readers may have wished to chime in – I sometimes feel like readers might be disinclined to join in a thread that includes the original author.

        I think that you and I are using the word “paedophile” to mean different things. Your comment indicates that a paedophile is someone who has molested a child, which is why you can compare paedophiles to rapists. My use in the article, and the use of the term by psychologists, defines a paedophile as someone with a sexual attraction towards children. It’s a sexual fetish, not a sex act. (Similar to zoophilia: you can be a zoophile with no sexual experience, just as you can be homosexual with no sexual experience.)

        I’d also add that your comment seems to equate child molestation with “enjoyable sexual activities between two individuals”. I don’t think this was your intent (maybe you were just referring to how it’s depicted in some cub art?). If it was your intent, suffice to say that I thoroughly disagree.

        Semantics aside, I tend to agree with your analysis of the trolls. When writing these articles, I try to maintain a positive or neutral perspective – anything negative is, I think, less interesting to read and less likely to provoke critical thought. A negative article can easily come across as defensive or combative. I’ve written about the haters before here on [a][s] and tried to look at their motivations, and why we shouldn’t be quick to write them off. However I think your comments are correct in many cases – the internet is a bit of a high school environment at times, where it’s much easier to find something to hate than risk becoming a target by saying “I like x”.

        Someone who is anti-cub is always going to find people who agree with them. If the same person is, say, big on inflation, they might find themselves a target if they’re open about it. So it’s easier to be negative. This article is, in part, an attempt to counterpoint that torrent of invective.

  9. I think that everyone who approves of cub porn is missing the point. I agree with everything, except that last statement. I do not agree that cub porn, nor any kind of extreme fetish pornography, makes furry a better fandom. It’s not what is right or wrong, legal or illegal, not even what it might make someone do (which as you pointed out, is a confusion of cause and effect). The issue with extreme forms of furry pornography is that it draws unwanted attention and hatred toward the fandom, due to in-acceptance by the general public. It is my opinion that we remember that furries are not in large sexual deviants, and therefore should not accept things that are deviant. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have to tolerate it, to some degree, but we should at least distance it from the center of the fandom. Take cub porn for example, we don’t have to identify it as ‘furry art’ or even ‘furry porn’; it is anthropomorphic, yes, but that does not mean that it has to be furry-related. I guess what I’m trying to say is, we shouldn’t focus on what is to be accepted to exist, but rather what should be accepted to be ‘furry’. Because I, for one, don’t want to see a baby wolf being raped by his father and then have to say “Mom, thats part of furry fandom, too.”
    ~Daryx

    1. Hi Daryx, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I’m not asking for approval of cub porn, merely acceptance and tolerance.

      However your general point is a good one, that was also touched on by Greenreaper and Altivo in preceding comments. Lots of people will find cub porn – and other extreme fetish pornography – to be morally objectionable. Many non-furries, perhaps like your Mom, are going to find any furry pornography to be objectionable.

      The balance between the value of accessible cub porn (as outlined in my article) and the desire to avoid making us look like freaks to outsiders (as per your comment) is difficult. I think there will always be a conflict between the two. The porn is certainly not going to go away. The situation we have at the moment, where FA gives a clean feed unless you instruct it otherwise and Inkbunny has its (new) keyword-based blocking feature, is a pretty good compromise.

    2. I could say a lot here about history, but it boils down to this: whenever you say “furry fandom is about anthropomorphic animal art, but not if it involves X”, it doesn’t work out. Is furry fandom better because cub porn exists? Probably not. But is cub porn furry? Yes, because cubs are anthropomorphic animals.

      The main issue with your approach is a lack of authority. Too many people (like myself) are committed to art inclusivity, even at a potential cost to the fandom’s reputation. Organizations such as the Ursa Major Awards have modified their rules to allow them to exclude some work, but they ultimately recognize success in the fandom rather than determining it. They might stop the next Softpaw from being considered for an award, but they could not stop it selling. Conventions have some leverage, but given the online focus of fandom (and the sheer number of conventions nowadays), it’s not enough. There is no official body endorsing what is furry, nor is it likely that one could be established with that authority.

      I also take issue with your assertions that a) most furries are not sexual deviants, and b) if we are not, then we should not accept deviancy. Both of these points are highly debatable, and b) in particular sounds outright dangerous. (Should heterosexuals, being in the majority, not accept homosexuals? Should we even be worried about the proportion of gay sex in the fandom?)

  10. One of the problems with what people see as ‘cub’ art, is when you come across characters (like Kio for example), or Shayla The Pink Mouse; who owing to their stature and shape could be misconstrued as ‘Cub’.
    So if one is simply trying to find say excessively short characters (what would you call that; dwarf porn maybe?) then you might find yourself unwittingly towards mis-tagged Cub art.
    On the other hand, there are those who like to point at art of dwarf characters and simply cry out ‘LolCub’, in part out of simple misunderstanding.

  11. What well worded drivel. As furries, you say artwork depicting underage ‘cubs’ in sexual situations is harmless, yet, your artwork is the center of your very fandom, provoking all manner of emotion, from anger, to love, to lust? How conveniently you deny the same effects on cub porn. Saying such art has no effect on the mind or emotions is as pathetically disingenuous as you can get. I take offense at the string- grasping, that it can provide an “outlet” for people obsessed with child rape. What lines are drawn for their “outlets”? Given the nature of the sexual deviancy crowd in America, i find the lines to be constantly being pushed back, farther and farther, as gays flaunt their behavior in public, *trying* to offend others. “We can’t reproduce, so we must recruit!” they say. If you draw a picture depicting a minor and an adult in a sexual situation, you are indeed guilty of ten years in prison. The sick mind who drew it, and the sick minds who will be stimulated by it, their desire for such acts growing, possibly feeding a burning fire that will eventually burn out of control when they decide to act out on it. To deny this is to deny reality itself. Deviancy feeds deviancy. Deviancy is unhealthy. Even for those who say “As long as it doesn’t hurt others…” Are the first to decry those who would imprison pedophiles for possessing such art. And yet, pedophilia is the horrific crime that destroys and ruins a child’s most precious wiring, the one responsible for the closest and most spiritual of all human closeness, the act of sex, and sometimes damages it irreparably for the life of the victim, preventing them from ever truly knowing this sacred bond.

    1. I’ve always thought that ‘Furries: We Recruit’ would make a great slogan. Hey, it worked for the Lesbian Avengers!

      As for your point, perhaps you could provide the peer-reviewed research that supports it?

      (Fun fact: The most popular gallery for professional furry artists is deviantART.)

  12. I think your first two points are valid, but I have a problem your third: “For furries with such impulses, cub porn provides a resource for sexual release that does no harm. […] Accordingly, exposure to cub porn may reduce the risk of destructive behaviour in the future.” It supports the obsolete notion that our brain operates like some sort of pressure cooker, and that it is important to let off steam. Here’s a study that shows they work the exact opposite, and that “catharsis” is severely questionable: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bbushman/bbs99.pdf

    My understanding of the brain is that if you do something, you’re optimizing yourself to do that thing in the future. That thing becomes more likely simply because it is increasingly the path of least resistance. Thus, looking at porn makes it more likely you will look at more porn. From my own experiments, looking at my porn makes me want to have more sex. It seems illogical that the inverse would be true, which is what is suggested here.

    1. Rāga, thanks for kind words and the fascinating link. I love this kind of stuff.

      I’m aware that the ‘catharsis hypothesis’ is flawed, however I’m not sure how much research has been applied to the management of sexual fantasies.

      People who are ashamed of their sexual interests are prone to engaging in binge-purge behaviour, where they will deny themselves for a period of time, before a period of intense obsession. This behaviour doesn’t happen with, say, aggression – it’s more comparable to the behaviour of bulimic people, and I wonder if there is something special about activities that are fundamental survival traits (like food and sex).

      A binge-purge cycle seems, to me, to be really dangerous when someone has a sexual interest in children. So perhaps access to simulated underage pornography might provide a framework for more stable behaviour.

      But I’m just speculating. Your point is a really good one and a great addition to the article. Thanks.

  13. To me, saying someone is a pedophile because they like the art sounds just like the same thing that people who like scary movies are muderers….

    It doesn’t make sense to me to use the media someone enjoys like it’s a thought crime.

    1. Hi Fenick, thanks for the comment, and a few people felt my that my use of the word “paedophile” is a bit… strong. I understand the point. It’s an emotive word.

      Having said that, I’ve used it as psychologists use it. It’s not ideal, but I’m not aware of a better alternative.

  14. “I speculated in a recent article that the haters are often closeted versions of the object of their hate.”

    Which article was this from? I may have missed it but, I’d like to add to this discussion anyway.

    The book “‘You Can Tell Just By Looking’: And 20 Other Myths about LGBT Life and People” has a chapter discussing the myth that homophones are repressed homosexuals. It uses racism as an analogous example, as I summarize in paraphrase: ‘By this logic, a person who is racist believes they are, secretly on the inside, black/asian/mexican.”

    We’ve all seen a repressed fear manifest as a zealous reaction to a topic, but I wouldn’t say for anything that this is ‘often’ the case. There are a plethora of reasons to express disgust of a topic, but I’d like to believe it has more to do with implicit bias collected over past events. Many different external forces such as parents, trustworthy friends and mass media have the power to shift our points of view on any topic, simply because we take their descriptions into account when making future decisions.

    Thoughts?

    1. Hi Krunklehorn. The article referenced, also from back in 2012, is here:

      http://www.adjectivespecies.com/2012/05/07/the-haters/

      The content of that article is very relevant to your comment.

      Thanks for the reference and the extra information. I think you make a good point. I read your comment yesterday and my initial reaction was to think that you had a point, but I couldn’t see how something as niche as furry cub porn – a subset of a small group – could be affected by implicit bias.

      I’m glad I waited, because of course the connection between cub porn and paedophilia is an easy and obvious connection to make (however flawed), and that could easily be the source of disgust towards the topic. Having said that, I can see that someone who spends time decrying the morality of cub porn might be using this as a mental “cover”, to give themselves the internal excuse to spend time browsing the porn.

      What do you think? And I’d be curious as to your thoughts if you get a chance to read the Haters article.

  15. The “Puppy vs Baby” Fallacy:

    One of the leading arguments put forward by opponents of erotic depictions of young anthropomorphic characters, is that the supply of said depictions is pernicious to the mental well-being of the individual consuming said content. Opponents further claim that the consumer will eventually become dissatisfied with the fictional and non-human nature of the artistic work, thus ultimately leading to the abuse of a child.

    I feel the need to point out that the execrable argument above could have only originated from an extremely benighted individual who lacked a penchant for logical and rational debate. But let’s not take my word for granted, let me prove to you that the argument put forward above is about as enlightening as a broken light bulb. To do this, I’m going to start with an analogy which you will find below:

    ———————————————–

    One day, a woman named Mary approached her husband Tom and said, “Tom, I’d really like to buy and raise a puppy.”

    Mary had been thinking about this for some time, though Tom was only finding out just now and he had his own plans. “Having a puppy is a lot of work you know?” Tom responded before continuing, “Why don’t we put that time and effort toward having a baby?” He proposed instead.

    Mary shook her head at this counter-suggestion. “No, I really want a puppy!” She insisted, though Tom didn’t want to put the time into raising a puppy, so he instead made another suggestion. “Why don’t you get an older dog instead? It would save us the trouble of training it.” He pointed out. Mary again refused, she wanted a puppy – Not a baby, or an older dog, or a virtual pet, or a parrot. She wanted a puppy and eventually she got it.

    ———————————————–

    From the analogy, one can conclude that Mary wanted a puppy. She wanted a puppy not because she wanted something to add to her family, not because she wanted to raise or nurture, not because she wanted something young, not because she wanted a dog (of any age), not because she wanted something real – Nope! She didn’t want any of those things, at least, not when each element was considered individually rather than as collective whole. Rather, Mary only wanted a puppy because a puppy provided the right combination of those attributes for her to desire having one. Having a baby did not interest Mary in the slightest despite sharing similar attributes to a puppy within the given context. A baby is something young, real, something to raise and look after, something to consider part of one’s family – Yet it wasn’t a dog, it didn’t have fur or any of the other attributes that are unique to a dog and this was a deal breaker for her.

    To use another analogy, if I took the blue eyes of your partner and put them into the skull of Hugh Heffner, I think most people will agree that they won’t automatically be sexually attracted to Hugh Heffner despite having a particular love of blue eyes.

    But how do these analogies relate to the argument featured at the top of the response? Quite simply because it demonstrates that people are not wedded to traits when they are considered on an individual basis. Rather, it is the resulting equation of traits that determines attraction rather than any individual element, that there are far more variables in the equation than meet the eye and that any interest or attraction to erotic depictions of young anthropomorphic characters does not automatically transfer to other things that also happen to share the attribute of being “young”. In layman’s terms, just because an individual is generally attracted to women with red hair, doesn’t mean they are also generally attracted to men with red hair. Just because an individual is generally attracted to erotic depictions of anthropomorphic characters, doesn’t mean they are also generally attracted to people in fursuits or wild animals.

    If I were mistaken and the opposite were true, then opponents of erotic depictions of young anthropomorphic characters should really be lobbying to outlaw erotic anthropomorphic art altogether. Why? Because if the argument at the start of this response, and the intellectual fallacy for which it relies upon, were to be correct – then young erotic furry art would be no more or less likely to result in the sexual abuse of a child than any erotic furry art is to result in the sexual abuse of a living animal. I’d fail to see how the latter would be any more appropriate or justifiable than the former. However, we all know (or should know) that the vast majority of furries do not feel a sexual attraction to real animals, and of those who do, the vast majority never act on it. The same is true also in this context.

    That concludes my response to the fallacy of “If you like X because of Y, then must also like Z because it is also Y. YOU MONSTER!” – If my input is valued, I might highlight and address some other fallacies in further responses.

  16. There’s one topic regarding cub porn that deserves attention, and it’s what is represented in a cub porn picture.

    Would you put on the same level a picture depicting a cub x cub scene and a picture depicting a cub x adult scene? Can you consider them the same thing? Could someone say that one is “better” than the other one?

  17. As a survivor of childhood abuse and a neighbor of a recently charged furry pedophilr, I can tell you that no therapy in the world will cure you. Your soul had been murdered….To serve another’s ego.
    I believe that you should do what you want if you harm none….. HARM NONE.

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