The Love ◦ Sex ◦ Fur Guide to Safer Sex
Welcome to the Love ◦ Sex ◦ Fur Guide to Safer Sex! Our goal is to provide a simple manual to help you enjoy a sexual lifestyle that’s safe and healthy for both you and your partner or partners. We’ll be covering the topics of consent, protection, and contraception in a clear and topical manner to help you make healthy and informed choices. This guide will be available online in a mobile-friendly format, as well as available in print so that it’s always there to be referenced. Additionally, we will endeavor to keep this up to date with the US Center for Disease Control’s information on sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy so that we never fall behind.
Talking About Sex
Here in the furry subculture, sex and sexuality play a unique role for a few reasons:
- We produce and consume art of all sorts of a sexual nature - visual arts, written erotica, and even videos involving live actors in costume.
- We interact with each other through constructed characters - there’s more to each fur than meets the eye, as many of us interact in the ways in which we choose: through constructed characters.
- We are pretty honest about sex and sexuality - the furry subculture is seen by many as a safe space for exploring and re-evaluating topics such as sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. 
Given these reasons, and many more to boot, it’s no surprise that the topic of sex comes up often with regards to furry life and social interaction!
This guide is intended to be a sex-positive map for navigating the waters of sexuality in the furry fandom. What is meant by sex-positivity?
- Sex-positivity is not hypersexuality - by providing a positive face to sex and sexuality, the goal is not to encourage sex, but to encourage acceptance of sex, lack of sex, lots and lots of sex, and all different stripes in between.
- A positive and constructive experience - sex and the discussion around sex should always be positive and constructive, never shameful or leave one feeling bad about oneself!
- The most important discussion is between you and your partner or partners - guides like this are good at providing you with the information you need to have healthy and safe sex, but the ultimate conversation should be one that you have with those closest to you!
Why do we need a sex-positive guide to safer sex, then? The goal is simple: more information is always better. We here in the fandom have the right and responsibility to make the best and safest decisions for ourselves in the ways we interact with each other. Standing by that principle, guides like this one right here need to provide accurate and up-to-date information to help make this conversation possible.
All sexual activity that you share with another person or other people must involve consent, and that often takes the part of a conversation you have with someone when you are ready to become intimate with each other. Consent is, simply, a willing and mutual agreement to take part in this act together. However, it’s worth dissecting just what that means:
- It’s voluntary - consent is never coerced from your partner; it’s the type of thing that only they can give.
- It’s active - consent means saying yes, even enthusiastically! There should be no doubt that your partner consents!
- It’s continual - it doesn’t matter what’s gone on before between you and your partner: your sexual history, your life history, or even what you’ve done already that evening, consent is given or not for everything you do. If someone says “NO!” then it’s time to stop.
Without all of these being taken into account, it’s not possible to consider the act consensual. Both you and your partner or partners have the right to say no to something that makes them feel uncomfortable!
More importantly, there are some things that consent is definitely not:
- Never implied - it’s always good to talk through what one wants to do with one’s partner or partners, and assuming implied consent can be very hurtful to them.
- Cannot be assumed - assuming consent based on certain behaviors or due to history does not mean that consent is given. Talk it through with those you’re intimate with and make sure everything is okay!
- And, more pertinently, costumes are not consent - someone in a fursuit or cosplay gear still has the right to give or revoke consent, and it’s always good to ask!
Consent is a very important aspect to healthy sexual interaction. It’s a process of negotiation that must take place between you and those with whom you are intimate: knowing about other partners, knowing about STD status, and knowing what’s okay to do in order to keep everyone healthy and happy. After all healthy sex means healthy in physical, mental, and emotional aspects!
Sex goes beyond just consent, though, and there are a number of reasons which one should practice safe sex with one’s partner or partners:
- Preventing Sexually-Transmitted Diseases (STDs) - more than just a simple cold, STDs can be serious diseases and infections that can be life-threatening if not treated. Some, such as HIV, do not yet have a cure and remain with you for the rest of your life.
- Contraception - beyond just helping prevent the transmission of STDs, the protection methods below are also effective at preventing unwanted pregnancies.
- Trust - discussing and using protection with your partner or partners builds the level of trust within your relationship and helps make sex a positive and less-risky endeavor!
Correctly used, latex male condoms are one of the best ways to prevent both STDs and unwanted pregnancy between you and your partner or partners. [3, 4]. It’s important to stay safe, after all! Condoms should be used for penetrative sex of all types, whether it’s a penis, a toy, or fingers - they work equally well for all cases!
To correctly use a male condom:
- First, check the expiration date and make sure the condom is still good to use! Condoms weaken with age, and also with heat, so make sure to store them somewhere other than a wallet or glove-box
- Squeeze the condom down to one side of the package and tear open on the other.
- Remove the condom from the package and, optionally, add a bit of lube to the inside of the tip (the inside is the side without the rolled edge).
- Pinching the tip of the condom, place it over the tip of the erection or toy to be used and roll it carefully down - pinching the tip maintains a reservoir for semen, in the case of an erection.
- Once done, carefully slide the condom off and throw it away in the trash - never use the toilet! A new condom should be used for every act.
Dental dams and other forms of barrier protection
Male condoms don’t fit every scenario, however. It’s always good to be safe no matter the act, however, so it’s best to keep a barrier of some sort in place for all different sorts of acts. These mostly include dental dams and latex gloves
Dental dams are flat sheets of latex normally used in oral sex of some sort. They are excellent for both cunnilingus and oral-anal stimulation (or rimming). If you do not have one available, one may be constructed by cutting a condom or latex glove down one side and flattening it out.
Insertable or “female” condoms are also an option. These consist of a looser latex sleeve with two rubber rings which help to hold it into a cylindrical shape. The closed end is inserted in to the body (either the vaginal canal or the anus) and then the penis is inserted into the provided latex. Lube may be used to help out in this case.
Simple latex gloves can be used during manual stimulation to avoid direct contact. There are several instances where one might use latex gloves when playing with one’s partner or partners:
- If one has also used their hand for stimulating oneself or others - this reduces the potential for fluid transfer.
- If one has cuts or abrasions, new tattoos, or piercings on their hands - this reduces any contact with a break in the natural barrier of the skin.
- If one is allergic to lubricants - you can use any non-oil based lubricants with latex gloves (note that oil-based lubricants will weaken latex gloves just as they will weaken condoms!).
PrEP stands for “Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis” and indicates a set of drugs taken to combat HIV before infection can take place . It is used in individuals who are at risk of acquiring HIV and consists of some of the medications used for those who have already contracted HIV. The idea is that it is used to prevent the virus from ever having the chance to take hold in the body.
PrEP, like condom use, is one of those things that is only effective when taken properly and consistently. Missing doses can reduce the effectiveness of the medicines.
Should you still use a condom whenever possible while on PrEP? Absolutely! PrEP is intended for use with condoms. PrEP does not protect against pregnancy or other STDs, and PrEP is a means of insurance, not a guarantee. It is intended for those who are not mutually monogamous and also have any amount of unprotected sex. Additionally, it may be used in monogamous relationships when one partner is HIV positive and the other is negative, and may help prevent babies from contracting HIV in the womb.
Additionally, there are some other tasks involved in taking PrEP than simply taking a pill a day. You must get tested for HIV and other STDs once every three to six months even if no symptoms are present. PrEP isn’t for everyone, but may provide additional reassurance around HIV for the sexually active among us
Alternatives to penetrative sex
The CDC and many programs across the United States advocate abstinence as the safest form of sex - after all, if you’re not in sexual contact, you’re sure unlikely to contract any STDs! However, if you do wish to be sexually active, there are still activities that can take place between you and your partner or partners that are much safer by virtue of not involving penetration.
- Manual - Manual stimulation such as mutual masturbation with your partner or partners present, or manually stimulating your partner or partners.
- Mammary, intercrural, intergluteal, or axillary sex -
- Grinding or Frottage - Rubbing or grinding against your partner or partners (note that frottage sometimes carries the connotation of non-consensual, which is obviously not the intent here!).
- Massage, kissing, and sensual touch -
Sex and sexuality are a normal and pleasurable part of life. We are wired to enjoy sexual interaction and many within the furry subculture embrace this. With the knowledge of informed consent and the tools of safer sex, you and your partner or partners can enjoy a healthy, sexually active lifestyle.
- Consent means that all parties involved are willing to participate in an act with each other; an agreement and consensus among all parties.
- Any form of birth control, meant to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Contraception is not necessarily protection against STDs.
- Dental dam
- A flat piece of latex used as a barrier during oral sex to prevent fluid exchange through the mouth.
- A thin, pliable rubber used to make condoms, dental dams, and rubber gloves; if one is allergic to latex, alternative materials are available!
- Lubricant or lube
- A material, usually a liquid, cream or gel, used to reduce friction during a sexual act. Note: oil-based lubricants are not compatible with latex condoms or gloves, and silicone lubricants are not compatible with silicone-based toys - be careful to only use an appropriate lubricant.
- Safe Word
- A mutually agreed upon word or phrase used to stop everything. This is usually “no”, “stop”, or anything along those lines.
- Any act, not necessarily involving penetration, involving two or more people in a sexual context (basically: masturbation gets its own guide!).
- The idea that sex and the conversation surrounding it should not be negative experiences.
- STD (or STI)
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases (or Infections; we use the CDC term of Diseases) such as HIV, herpes, gonorrhea, and several others.
Footnotes and References
Re-Evaluating Your Sexual Preference - JM, [adjective][species] (19 March 2012) ↑
What Is Consent? - Sexual Assault Violence Prevention - Vassar College (Retrieved 6 July 2013) ↑
Male Latex Condoms and Sexually Transmitted Diseases - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Retrieved 6 July 2013) ↑
Contraception - The Centers for Disease Control And Prevention (Retrieved 6 July 2013) ↑
PrEP - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Retrieved 16 January 2016) ↑
Current Version: Fc 2016 Update (16 Jan 2015)
Updated with information about PrEP and additional non-penetrative acts.