“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.
Continue reading Furry Research: Autoplushophilia and Erotic Target Location Error