The furry subculture is often a physically affectionate one. Furs hug each other often, open (though not extreme) expression of every gender preference is accepted, and various paraphilias are quite common.
There is a lot of speculation as to why this is:
- One possible reason may be that furries are highly sensate people; that is, they strongly experience and appreciate stimulation of the senses. Being close to someone, whether it's sitting in someone's lap, or just a pat on the head, satisfies a desire for pleasurable stimulus.
- Another possible reason, often suggested by detractors, is that many furries may have been deprived of social contact for whatever reason, and thus have strong fantasies of intimate contact which they desire to act upon.
- A third hypothesis derives from anthropological observations of non-human animals, who will spend time performing social grooming and other nonverbal social behaviors to reinforce group ties and rankings. This kind of contact is in keeping with furry lifestylers' desires to express their animal nature.
In any case, the desire for contact, combined with fewer barriers to contact in an all-furry setting, and groups of furs who know each other, may lead to any number of affectionate actions. Due to this, one consequence of large group gatherings is the potential for conflict between people who enjoy physical contact and people who would rather not be touched.