When Your Son Asks You About Furries, It’s Time for the Sex Talk
But there’s much more on the table than just babies and diseases
For a long while, I’ve been meaning to have a tough conversation with my son. It’s one that he’s probably already had with his friends and the internet, but now that he’s 11, I thought that it would soon be time to make it official. But before I could, he brought that conversation right to my door.
While I sat on the edge of his bed one night, my son safely tucked in under cartoon character sheets, he hit me with the question no father is ever truly prepared for.
“Dad,” he asked, “what’s a furry?”
A classmate had told him, he said, that furries are people who dress up like animals — to then have sex with animals, which is completely false.
I was thrown completely off guard. “What? Why are y’all talking about…” I started. Stopped. Took a breath. Now it begins.
A couple of years ago, my sister hinted that I might need to have “The Talk” with her son, who was 13 years old at the time. I told her that his father needed to handle that. It’s not like he had died in war; they were just in a custody battle.
“Let his daddy talk to him on some alternate weekend,” I said. “I don’t even want to talk about sex with my son.”
But okay, great, a sex question from my son. I’d prepared for the moment, and in my mind, I had a rough outline of a basic explanation of human anatomy, based partly on physical interactions and “the birds and the bees.” But it’s hard to work in the birds and the bees when you need to explain to your confused child that while there are people who dress up as animals for sexual purposes, they aren’t having sex with real animals.
Part of me wondered if this is really what sixth graders are talking about now. But I knew that wasn’t fair. We talked about sex when we were in sixth grade, too, though even an adult would probably have a hard time explaining a furry back then. Still, I’m continually amazed at how much influence the rest of the world has on my son.