It's an exciting time to talk about sexual identity and lifestyle. Especially with the ever-increasing number of social media and special interest sites, many, many more people are finding a place to explore and learn more about their own sexual identities, and others who share them.
|What's the difference between a hentai schoolgirl and a Catholic schoolgirl?|
Even with this advent of increasing sexual identity awareness, though, there are still some areas of sexual fantasy and interest that get the side-eye from others. As an erotic author, this creates an opportunity: I'm a huge fan of exploration of these 'taboo' sexual fantasy realms, and the underlying allure that makes them attractive--and hopefully, more accessible to the mainstream.
Why are these taboos rich for an author's exploration? Much like the 'taboos' of yesteryear -- gay romance, polyamory, and BDSM -- these fantasies appeal to many but may only be expressed out loud by some...but when you break it down, the appeal isn't that hard to understand. As authors, perhaps we can find ways to turn this appeal into some terrific, enjoyable stories.
Part of the hentai brand of pornography, tentacle erotica seems to still get a bad rap when it comes to sexual fantasy. It's likely this goes towards the implications of bestiality. This, perhaps, stems from the earliest (at least, to my knowledge) depiction of tentacle porn, which is The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife, a Japanese woodcut print from 1814:
The piece is clearly a rendition of zoophilia. However it is also, admittedly, highly erotic, from an artistic standpoint. If we look past the literal octopi involved in the sex act, we should at least be able to admit the image of twining, grasping limbs all over the female body is undoubtedly sensual, as is the implication of multiple penetration and stimulation of multiple erogenous zones.
Again, though, the Dream of the Fisherman's Wife literally depicts an act of bestiality, and so the aversion felt by many people can be well understood. Looking at the evolution of tentacle erotica, from Japanese hentai into contemporary erotic fiction, one finds literal octopi are no longer the crux of the fantasy. Classic sources of tentacle penetration in this genre now include supernatural demons, anthropomorphic humanoids, machines, or amorphous creations (either sentient creatures or non-sentient objects).
Let's break these down. Supernatural demons are popular enough in other forms: the stories of Kresley Cole and other paranormal romance authors. Sometimes these demons have non-traditional anatomy, though quite often not too far from traditional. So what's the difference when the demon has tentacle anatomy? Sex machines are actual sex toys used by many, and the inclusion of multiple penetration appendages doesn't change the nature of these as toys. Amorphous creations can either be considered anthropomorphs (we'll discuss these next), or non-sentient sex toys. Again, what you're essentially imagining in this case can be boiled down to a sex doll with multiple dildo penetrators. So while the trappings of these tentacles may differ, when you break them down they're not really unthinkable, and they don't inherently translate to bestiality.
But why is tentacle porn sexually interesting? Going back to the Dream of the Fisherman's Wife and it's legitimate eroticism, there's something very appealing about sinuous, sensual stimulation across multiple parts of the body: consider the pleasure of a feather tickled along the skin, or corded/braided leather. Think of a tightly gripping appendages, and--perhaps the most attractive fantasy--the multiple penetration. Tentacle erotica by its very nature melds lots of physical sensation (which can be either gentle or rough), the sexual indulgence of group sex, and the allure of something otherworldly and forbidden. It's what I like to think of as "greedy satisfaction"--the erotic desire for more.
There are authors in the erotic field interested in bringing more tentacle erotica to readers. I first became interested in writing on the subject thanks to authors like Remittance Girl and Nobilis Reed, the latter of which has put out his own volume of tentacle-themed erotica, as well as edited an anthology with Coming Together: Arm in Arm in Arm. Inspired by these two and their contemporaries, I've also written a short story, now published, called Bad Dreams. Part of my Blood and Fire series, it melds the tentacle theme with the supernatural, and to be very honest, I'm quite proud, and very excited that my regular publisher took a chance on signing it.
This XKCD comic really captures my personal feelings on furries (besides the fact I don't think the fetish is really weird as hell). Furries have long been the target of accusations of bestiality and zoophilia fetish, which are some pretty serious and very cruel accusations.
Generally more popular in webcomic, art, and special interest gatherings, furries are individuals who find an attraction (not always exclusively sexual) in the concept anthropomorphic (part-animal) humanoids.
|NOT a depiction of zoophilia;|
but clearly the tiger adds to her allure.
First of all, our society in general does find animals--or animal features--attractive. Consider all the artwork surrounding beautiful animals; consider all the clothing and fashion that includes fur (faux fur, I would hope, but of course real fur is still quite in demand), snakeskin, leather; look at pin-up art and flat-out "girly" skin pics that include a woman in close proximity--sometimes even holding, embracing, or otherwise interacting with--and animal. Common "sexy" animal elements include snakes, big cats, fantastical creatures like dragons and griffins, etc. We simply cannot say we don't consider animals or animal themes to be sexy.
|Jay Naylor. I don't always agree|
with him, but damn does he
draw some sexy furries.
Furries simply embrace that sexiness in a similar--but more overt--way. Furries admit the attraction behind the idea of anthropomorphism: humans with animal features, sometimes to the point of being half-animal. However, there is always an important human element in these anthropomorphs; it isn't the same if you remove that human element. Paranormal authors are seeing a rise in the popularity of "shifter" romance (including people who turn into animals), and the shifters often display characteristics of their animal "forms"...which is, in my mind, no different.
There's animal behavior involved in the fantasy of furries, and this strikes others as very strange. Again, however, break it down: furries enjoy things like nuzzling, cuddling, nibbling, stroking, and making animal sounds. These are all things that other couples do, only usually they are exclusively related to intimate or sexual moments, whereas furries may display them more openly. Furthermore, I'm not sure anyone would really have a problem with a person nuzzling or mewing at their significant other in public, except that in the case of furries, it is openly associated with animal behavior.
(Before anyone points out the "weirdness" of the terms used by furries, such as "yiffing", really... who the hell cares what they call it?)
|I've head it said that Disney's Beast|
is one of the earliest animated crushes
girls have. I know I loved him.
Art by J. Scott Campbell