Dear Patrick: My fantasies, for as long as I can remember, center on being something other than a human being. Sometimes I am a cat-like being and sometimes I am a horse. This feels like my real form, and when I can sleep and dream that I am having adventures in a four-legged body, I wake up feeling incredibly happy—until I realize I am not in a dream.
I have been told that there are conventions for people who want to be animals. Part of me really wants to be surrounded by others who would understand that I am much more than I seem to be, not just a mortal human being. I have other forms and I have traveled in other worlds. But I am cautious because when I went to a support group on the Internet, it wasn’t what I was looking for at all. This “furby” group was focused almost 100% on sex. It seemed like people just wanted to dress up in pointed ears and fake fur suits so they could go to orgies. I wasn’t at all interested in that.
To me, this is much more of a spiritual thing. I have never been that interested in sex, perhaps because I would want a partner to understand these otherworldly experiences. Do you think I have a better chance of finding someone like myself at a convention? Should I be looking for other support groups? Where are my counterparts?
Dear Softpaw Night Terror: I am not sure where to send you because almost all of my information for referrals has to do with sexuality. But I do know that when a person is different, even if they don’t know whether there are other people like them out there, it pays to spread as wide a net as possible. Simply keeping your identity to yourself won’t bring other people into your life. It also helps to keep an open mind. Maybe some of the people who want to have sex in their animal forms are also open to other experiences in these alternate bodies. It’s just that sex predominates on the Internet and becomes the easiest way to bond with others.
Looking at conventions, support groups on-line, anywhere people are discussing this topic is a good idea. Be polite and kind. Be helpful to new people. Avoid flame wars and insults. Respect the fact that everybody has their own experience with identity and sexuality. If someone doesn’t respect yours, just stop talking to them and keep looking for others who DO understand you. I don’t have any magical solution that will guide you to friends on the same path. It is going to take some persistence, patience, and courage for you to be able to locate anyone else who is willing to discuss what you have also experienced.
Do some creative brainstorming, too, about other places where you might find people who have walked in the skins of animals. Off the top of my head, I can think that you might do well in pagan groups or at classes that teach shamanic vision quests. Both of these folks are open to other realities, including those that provide us with wisdom drawn from animal sources and dreams of living in four-footed bodies.
Making art or writing about your experiences is another way to reach out to someone who will share or understand your internal world. The symbolism of Jungian psychology also has a lot to say about similar or parallel identities. Good luck to you.
By the way, I am wondering why you are not at all interested in sex. Is it because you don’t think you could ever have sex in human form? Being determined to keep sex out of your life might add to your loneliness. Perhaps you could write to me again and give me a little more information about that.