Obsessive compulsive disorder - OCD treatment and therapy from NOCD

I’m turned on by furry porn. Does that mean I’m attracted to animals?

By Jessica Migala

Nov 13, 20239 minute read

Reviewed byApril Kilduff, MA, LCPC

Sexual fantasies come in more flavors than ice cream—and almost all of us have them. In fact, up to 97% of people have sexual fantasies that they tap into to get turned on and enhance their pleasure, research suggests. So you can probably understand what it’s like to fantasize.

And if you’re reading this article, there’s a chance that one of your sexual fantasies has to do with furries. Furries are people who are interested in animals or cartoon characters that have the characteristics of people (anthropomorphic), according to a study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. If you’re a furry, you may create a fursona (the unique identity you have as the furry) and interact with others online in character or while wearing a physical or digital fursuit. 

Despite the media depiction, being a furry isn’t necessarily motivated by sexual interests at all—there’s also the tight social community that’s built from being a furry. And many people who are furries do not incorporate fursuits or their fursona into their sexual practices whatsoever. 

However, for some, this is a huge turn on. There is a wealth of furry porn available, and if you’ve watched it and felt turned on in response, you may wonder if it says anything about you. Namely, if you’re actually sexually attracted to animals. 

If you’ve had this worry or fear, we will break down what could be going on, why it may actually be related to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and how you can seek treatment to feel more confident and comfortable with your sexual fantasies and desires—no matter what flavor they come in.

Fantasy vs. desire

Let’s first talk about fantasies in general. “Fantasies are a safe way to explore anything sexually,” says licensed therapist April Kilduff, MA, LCPC, LMHC, Clinical Trainer at NOCD.

There are endless types of fantasies, and sometimes, you may make them happen in real life. Other times, they remain a fantasy—just because you fantasize about something doesn’t mean you want it to occur in real life. 

Kilduff uses the rape fantasy as an example. Nearly two-thirds of women in one study reported having a rape fantasy. On average, the fantasy occurred four times per year; for a smaller group, it happened weekly. That doesn’t mean that a woman with a rape fantasy actually would like to be raped. “What’s happening is that in the safety of one’s brain, they can play that out in a way that’s hot—not that this is something they want in real life at all,” she explains.

One of the wonderful things about fantasy is that the sky’s really the limit. “Fantasy lets your mind go wherever it wants to go without censorship or succumbing to social norms or pressure,” Kilduff says. 

Sometimes, fantasies can make you nervous or think differently about yourself. However, “just because you have a fantasy does not mean that you’re a certain type of person,” Kilduff says. One example of this is if you’re a heterosexual person who likes gay or lesbian porn. What that tells you is that you are turned on by that type of porn—not that you necessarily have a different sexuality than you identify with, they explain.

Why am I so worried that I’m attracted to animals?

Unfortunately, sometimes our brains step in and ruin the fun of our fantasies—one particular way is through obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD. It’s often thought of as only a need for cleanliness or order, but OCD actually involves a limitless range of themes, and some of the most common ones are sexual or taboo

It will turn a safe fantasy involving consenting adults and turn it into something that sparks anxiety and extreme distress. As a result, you might pull back from something you enjoy (such as being active in the furry community or watching furry porn) because of your OCD.

OCD is a chronic mental health disorder that features the presence of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are intrusive thoughts, images, sensations, or urges that are distressing. Compulsions are things that you do—avoiding, seeking reassurance, researching, ruminating, checking—in order to quickly relieve that distress and/or prevent something “bad” from happening. 

There are so many subtypes of OCD, and many of them center on taboo topics–including bestiality OCD, or a fear of sexually abusing animals. 

Does liking furry porn mean anything about me?

In response to watching furry porn and enjoying it, OCD could step in and say no, these people are dressing up as animals to have sex. Since you’re turned on, it must mean that you want to have sex with animals, explains Kilduff. 

The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. “Learning about furries or talking to them, you see they have zero interest in sex with animals. Maybe they like to have sex with people in animal costumes, but those two things are very different,” says Kilduff. “This is what OCD does—it takes something and creates a weird logic around it that doesn’t make sense,” they say.

Liking furry porn only means that you like furry porn. Nothing else. Overall, you should have the freedom to watch porn that you’re into (if it’s safe, consensual, and legal) without making the leap that it means something about you as a person, Kilduff adds. 

However, if you’re struggling with OCD, your brain likes to make these connections, which is why the disorder is so difficult to live with. It fills you with intrusive doubt and worry that feels impossible to shake, often about the things you care about most. These doubts and worries are called ego-dystonic, which is an important term to learn and understand if you have OCD. 

Kilduff often explains this term by first talking about the definition of ego-syntonic, which means that your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are in sync with who you are. Ego-dystonic, on the other hand, means the opposite: Your thoughts and emotions are out of sync with your values, intentions, and beliefs as a person. 

Why does this matter? For example, if you are an animal lover, you don’t want animals to be hurt, abused, or suffer. But what if you had a sudden, fleeting intrusive thought pop into your head that you could take the knife you were cooking with and stab your cat? Thoughts in OCD are ego-dystonic—they go against who you are as a person. Often, it’s the most horrifying thing you can think of that OCD decides to hook onto. OCD knows that you don’t want those thoughts and you certainly don’t want to be a person who would act them out. As a result, the disorder will tell you that you have to do compulsions to prevent these bad things from happening. 

As this relates to furry porn, you might also be someone who cares about animals. So the thought that you could hurt one—that fleeting “what if?”—is horrifying. And that’s where this theme of OCD can develop. When you experience those worries, you feel as if you have to do something in order to feel better. In fact, that may be why you’re here in the first place: to feel better about your fears.

Can I get help for my fear of being attracted to animals?

Absolutely. First, it’s important to be clear about what you might get help for. You are not getting treatment for liking furry porn. If you are watching consensual furry porn in a way that is safe for all involved and enjoyable, then that is completely fine. Your sexual fantasies do not need to be treated. You are okay. 

And remember, finding furries sexual does not indicate that you are attracted to animals, so you also won’t be treated for being sexually attracted to animals. You will be treated for OCD, specifically focused on the doubts and fears that are causing you such distress and anxiety. 

What your therapist will work with you on is releasing the fear that liking furry porn says something about who you are. If you are also displaying symptoms of OCD, like avoiding animals or repeatedly checking yourself for signs of arousal, then your therapist will also help you break free from any rituals and compulsions that are triggered by this fantasy—because it’s your OCD that’s hurting you, not your sexual fantasies or likes. 

The gold-standard treatment for OCD is called exposure response prevention therapy, or ERP. During an ERP session, your therapist will work through therapy exercises with you, designed to help you confront your fears and worries in a gradual, intentional way. You then allow those uncomfortable emotions to exist, without resorting to compulsive responses like continually reassuring yourself that you could never be attracted to animals. Over time, when you stop performing these compulsions, the power of your worries begins to fade away, and you experience fewer OCD symptoms in the future.

The exercises that will be recommended depend on what applies most to you. Here are some things you may do to confront your worries:

  • If you are a furry, can you try on your fursuit again? (If you have only a tail or paws, you might be putting these on rather than an entire costume.) 
  • Look at pictures of people in fursuits.
  • Watch a documentary on furries.
  • Write out your fears. What does it actually mean if you are sexually turned on by being a furry or by furries? 
  • Watch furry porn on your own.

Part of treatment with any OCD theme is living with the “what if” questions. “We want to help members exist with a little bit of uncertainty—because 100% certainty is never possible—of what it would mean if they were sexually attracted to animals,” Kilduff says. This isn’t about admitting anything about yourself, but rather learning to live with the uncertainty that naturally exists with these fears. OCD asks you to be absolutely 100% certain about something, but absolute certainty is not a thing that you can ever attain. In fact, this is how OCD grows stronger over time.

If, instead, you learn to exist with the idea that there can be uncertainty in anything, this will help quiet OCD symptoms. “We want to get you to a place where you can live with whatever your fantasies are,” says Kilduff, “Even if intrusive doubts creep up from time to time—you can handle them!”

Finding the right help for you

OCD is common, affecting around 1 in 40 people, or roughly 8 million in the US alone. However, seeking help can be difficult—especially if you have a “taboo” subtype of OCD, because you may worry about being embarrassed or judged for your thoughts. Research indicates that people with OCD may conceal their thoughts and avoid trying to find treatment because of these worries.  

Know that the clinicians at NOCD will not stigmatize or judge you for whatever obsessions or compulsions you have. They are available to help and they understand all the different ways OCD can manifest in someone’s life. 

So, don’t let those worries stop you from reaching out. An empathetic and compassionate ERP-trained therapist is available to talk to you in live face-to-face sessions at NOCD. In between sessions, you will have access to support through support groups, clinician messaging, and in-app tools. I recommend learning more about NOCD’s evidence-based, accessible approach to treatment.

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