Tag Archives: Anne Lawrence

Furries and Erotic Target Identity Inversion

In a recent article for [adjective][species], I wrote about a 2009 paper that presented an origin theory, of sorts, for furry. The author, Dr Anne Lawrence, proposes that furries (she uses the term “furverts”) are all plushophiles, that fursuiting (“fursuitism”) is a fetish activity, and that furry identity is an attempt to turn ourselves into the object of our supposed desire. We are, she concludes, autoplushophiles.

To put it simply, the paper is balls. I won’t rehash any of the reasons here, except to note that it is possibly the first peer-reviewed scientific paper in history to cite an episode of Entourage.

Yet Dr Lawrence’s paper uses an interesting approach. We here at [adjective][species] are interested in exploring furry, and while Dr Lawrence is factually wrong, the general idea—erotic target identity inversion, or ETII—is one that can provide useful guidance to the big question: why are we furries?

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Furry Research: Autoplushophilia and Erotic Target Location Error

“Erotic target location error” (or ETLE) is a theory that describes how fetishes might develop. It was first mooted in the early 1990s, but has been largely ignored by psychologists and sexologists since then. In 2009 it was revisited, and possibly reinvigorated, by Dr Anne Lawrence for a paper in the Journal of Sex Research titled Erotic Target Location Errors: An Underappreciated Paraphilic Dimension.

The ETLE theory is simple enough. It suggests that people who experience normal sexual attraction sometimes associate peripheral objects with that attraction, creating a fetish towards that new object. So a foot fetishist might originally have been attracted to, say, women, but they have experienced “location error”, making feet their preferred erotic target.

Dr Lawrence proposes that furries are an “uncomplicated” version of ETLE. Furries, she says, are sexually attracted to stuffed animals, and that fursuiting (or as she calls it, fursuitism) is an attempt to transform into an erotic ideal, i.e. a stuffed animal. Furries are therefore autoplushophiles.

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