Check this quote from a recent article by Andrew Brown in the Guardian Unlimited:
“Furries are people who pretend to be animals for sexual gratification.”
Okay, granted that part of the furry population gets some “kicks” out of doing the deed as an animal, but the majority of the furries I’ve ever encountered are that way simply because it is a fun way to create a new persona in a virtual world.
An author by the name of Xepher wrote a very interesting essay on the definition of a furry from which I shall quote from rather than continue my, often, vague ramblings.
“I’m a furry, but, to quote one of the artists on Yerf, I’m “Not a furvert!!!” I also feel that there are many who share my opinion. I think there are many furs that are, at least partially, scared away by those who are “furverts.” They end up retreating into the shadows and not voicing their opinion simply because they fear being associated with things like yiff. I think this trend is at least partially to blame for the image the fandom seems to have in the mainstream media. I hesitate to use the phrase “silent majority,” but I think it applies. The “bad” press outweighs the good for two reasons. The first is one that many others have pointed out. The press is looking for “interesting” stories, and as such, seek out the extremists. The second reason, in my opinion, is that too many quiet furries remain in the shadows, leaving the boisterous ones to fill the limelight.”
Link to essay.