Forbidden Fantasies: Shifters

Raythe says …

Continuing on with our Forbidden Fantasies series that so far has covered incest and rape, I want to talk about today the desire to have sex with wild beasts, namely shifters of all sorts.

There are books, though few as they are banned from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the like that deal with actual bestiality (having sex with animals that are not shifters) and there also are many fans of anthro, too. I’m not as familiar with either so I’m going to focus on what I know, which are shifters. Please feel free to write about your own understanding/experience/fantasies about these in the comments.

It’s His Animal Nature that Makes Me Wild – Or the Fantasy of Dominance and Submission, Animal Sex and Forever Love

Books with shifters and the word alpha in the title are hugely popular now.  Werewolves, weretigers, werebears, were-anything is topping the charts in both heterosexual and m/m categories.

What’s the allure?

In my opinion, one large part of the allure is screaming from the word “alpha” The idea of a strong, dominant, hyper-masculine, and very wild lover who is very in touch with his base or animal nature has been around since the beginnings of romance tales told around the fire.

But what does the shifter element add or eliminate?

One, for a lot of people being “submissive” is thought of as being weak, but submitting in the culture of the shifters of one male being dominant is not weak, it’s normal and right.  Often the submissive must be “tamed” and “made to obey”, which makes the eventual giving in completely stripped of even the possibility of weakness.  In male/female relationships it actually can reach back to more traditional gender roles with the man is categorically in charge, which is often not the case in modern relationships (nor is it necessarily wanted in real life relationships).

Two, the shifter elements adds wild, no-holds barred animal sex.  With a shifter that’s guaranteed.  While there can be flowery courtship, there’s also the fact that an animal has needs that must be met right now.  It leads us to feel that we can give into our deepest fantasies to let go of all inhibitions without any guilt or shame about what we want to happen to us.

Three, this is the extended trope of “wolves mate for life”.  Most of us have had our share of relationships that were supposed to last forever, but didn’t last longer than for now.  Human infidelity is well known. It’s actually harder to believe a partner will be with you forever than that they will leave you.  But often in a shifter story, mates are forever.  Once mated, a shifter is forever yours and you are theirs.  You don’t have to worry about tomorrow bringing broken promises, because it’s part of a shifter’s nature to remain forever faithful and adoring.

So those are my thoughts, what are yours?  All through this series, the commenters have added much more than the posts so please tell us your thoughts!

 

29 Responses to Forbidden Fantasies: Shifters

  1. DarkPhoenix April 22, 2015 at 1:12 am #

    I agree with most everything you said I enjoy shifter romance abecause of the forever love aspect and the wildness of being close to your animal self I’m glad you’ve decided to open these discussions I read all the others but this was the only one to have the courage to comment on

    • admin April 22, 2015 at 8:01 pm #

      The forever aspect, which is definitely not a surprise if you look at all I write, is a huge aspect for me as well. A primal fantasy.

  2. Alfani April 22, 2015 at 1:16 am #

    I’d have to say I most agree with number two. Being able or made to let go of your inhibitions and give into your inner most desires is the main appeal of shifters for me. The idea of two shifters doesn’t very much appeal to me, but a shifter and human or some other seemingly vulnerable race is what I honestly prefer. Such as Wulf and Jordan or Jordan and Scott. This is a prime example of some dubious consent that I refered to in my previous post. Would love to see more of it. If there is anything I would have loved to see in one of the stories would have been some dragon shifter naughty fun in Drakon with Fallon and Sebastion. I know we got partial transformation and a full transformation would have killed Sebastion, but other fun creative things could have been done without penetration. I hope to see Drakon return in the future!

    • admin April 22, 2015 at 8:04 pm #

      I like the human x shifter aspect of it as well. Maybe because of the fantasy aspect of it. A human wouldn’t expect such devotion. And normally the sex for the shifter is just wild and accepted because they are closer to the animal than humans are.

  3. Meemee April 22, 2015 at 5:42 am #

    To me shifters are always a curiosity to me. There is so much about the shifter element that I love. You have covered most of them, when I think shifter I think that the being is closer to their base desires and it does reflect in their actions and their personality.
    One thing I do dislike about the shifter trope as of lately is that they make them mates forever or have predestined mates. It is an ideal that is completely based on a human desire, it seems to take out or detract from the animal side that they have. While I know that it is a surely a much colder relationship and can be seen as one that is hardly a romantic relationship. For me it has a certain appeal because while everyone is fascinated and desiring being loved wholly and completely forever, it isn’t how we actually treat our significant others in reality. I don’t know, maybe its just me, I mean stories are for our fantasies right?
    Either way I would read any shifter story that I come across because despite the forever/predestined mate trope, I am still a fan of them.

    • admin April 22, 2015 at 8:06 pm #

      Maybe that aspect of the fantasy is something you just can’t suspend disbelief enough to enjoy it. It might push you out of the fantasy. That could be jarring.

    • Alfani April 22, 2015 at 10:13 pm #

      I completely agree with this. Nothing more need be said.

  4. Hallivell April 22, 2015 at 4:56 pm #

    I agree and think you’ve touched upon all the big reasons there could be for wanting to fantasies and/or read about shifters, I definitely agree with the whole part of ‘letting the animal side in’, something we might feel is shameful, uncivilised or hard to fit into our society and social life. We have abandoned the more primal lifestyle, but perhaps this is our gateway to experience that basic part of us again? In a way we are allowing ourselves to respond and feel like animals are allowed to be (or better yet: expected to be) and we do this through shifter-fiction and the like. For some the focus is not the domination and seduction of the human party by the more animalistic man or woman, though that is a fine fantasy and may very well be a part of it too. For some, like me, it’s identifying with the shifter that’s the big deal and what draws me in, the one who is truly ‘allowed’ to roam free without repercussion. I think we feel a constant need to excuse our own animalistic urges and ideas in an attempt to avoid feelings of guilt or shame – and that’s perhaps why the shifter is so essential to us, part-man part-animal. The shifter or supernatural creature has the best excuse of them all to be exactly who he is, his most basic self.
    I think I envy that.

    • admin April 22, 2015 at 8:08 pm #

      Humans are bound by a lot of elaborate civilities. We can and can’t do many things. I think that’s what you’re getting at so eloquently here. It would be nice to be free of them sometimes.

    • Alfani April 22, 2015 at 10:17 pm #

      Very good point I didn’t really think of it this way, but can definitely agree with it.

  5. Kathy April 22, 2015 at 6:56 pm #

    One thing I haven’t noticed anyone mention yet is the distinct desire for otherness, as in physically, a lover that is not entirely recognisable as human. (Except perhaps intellectually, a core understanding that they have humanity, somewhere, and that they are possibly dealing with a lover that is human itself. (Jordan did this exceptionally. Haven’t read Wulf yet.)

    A creature that has physical aspects, as well as mental, that aren’t human. Be it fur, extra limbs, or anything imaginable that isn’t human.

    We can read about every sexual experience humanly possible, we probably have, but reading something that is outside human, into the realm of bestial and alien, is exciting (to me) and alien enough that none (in theory) of us can actually experience this except by reading or seeing art.
    – I think that’s one of the reasons I like reading sex between men, because I as a female can’t experience that myself.

    I like it when a character is not human, but I like it even more when the writer doesn’t sacrifice that otherness in preference of being “normal” (in or out of bed.) If he’s alien or animal, then we should read the repercussions or realities of that state.

    – Kathy.

    • admin April 22, 2015 at 8:11 pm #

      I hadn’t even considered this aspect but the desire for the “other” makes sense. There’s a fascination for other experiences. To make love to something not human but to have a connection to them at the same time.

  6. catkisser April 22, 2015 at 7:08 pm #

    I like the insta or predetermined bond idea. It can make for lots of angst if there are roadblocks to fulfilling that destiny of being together, whether from outside forces or inner demons.

    I don’t know if this was even on the table but I do NOT fantasize or like to read about humans having sex with shapers in their animal form.

    • admin April 22, 2015 at 8:13 pm #

      This is something I thought of addressing but forgot to: sex with the beast instead of them in human form. That can sqwick someone out biting imagine for others it’s a big turn on. I’ve only written two scenes with that. One in Drakon and one in The Erl-King.

  7. Kathy April 22, 2015 at 7:09 pm #

    I mean, reading, learning and experiencing mythical creatures or aliens that aren’t anatomically like us is great fun, and challenging sometimes, it throws us entirely into the unknown. I find that thrilling, couple it with dominance and submission, other cultural norms that we aren’t accustomed to, and good relationship clashing and creating, what could be more thrilling?

    – Kathy

    • admin April 23, 2015 at 4:01 pm #

      I actually love writing because it allows me to be and experience so much more than my own life can offer. Than any life can offer really. Add reading, audio books, movies and television and you can live a million lives.

  8. Adeline April 22, 2015 at 7:16 pm #

    I like shifter fiction because my boyfriend is a real shape-shufter.
    He can’t turn into just anything, but he can alter his bone structure to look female.
    It is cool to watch, but can be painful for him as well.

    Much love to the REAL supernatural Beings who we use for our fantasies!
    Let us respect ALL other races in our fiction.

  9. Aiko-chan13 April 23, 2015 at 12:04 am #

    As a lover of Anthro stories I would like to agree with the three main themes brought up here. I’m a definite sucker for anthropomorphized animals and shifters are especially interesting. Even though I have more experience with stories with unchanging anthro animals, I like the idea of shifting back and forth and retaining some of the animal features.
    I think you really hit the nail on the head with the fascination about the alpha personality and it does bring out some interesting relationships to be sure. There is a tension there that could be lacking in regular human relationships. I do enjoy having two alpha characters battling it out though (which is something I haven’t really seen in your stories beyond Demetrius and the Nomad). Or maybe I just like to see more versatile partnerships.
    I think we all love the idea of an animalistic nature and pushing the limits of humanity.
    Although i’m not a fan of straight up beastiality, at all, there is something sexy about fluttering tails, twitching ears, and sharp claws.

    • admin April 23, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

      I’m reading/listening to a lot of urban fantasy enter the main female lead is as strong as the alpha male. It’s a fascinating pairing but I grow tired of the posturing and the need to establish dominance on both sides. I think people are both but it depends who they are with alpha and beta I mean. I’ll think on pairings to write about.

  10. River Iris April 23, 2015 at 1:18 pm #

    All of the above–I’ve yet to read the comments though. I also like the extra persona that a beast brings. A wolf, as you stated, brings ‘forever love’ with it. It also brings a unique aspect of ‘pack family’, something many people don’t have so much/at all in real life relationships. Other animal forms bring other aspects that may draw someone to one type as apposed to another. Were-cats may be a bit more snobbish or finicky with who touches them and how, were-otters more playful etc. The possibilities are kinda endless. Anthropomorphic vs. Furry vs. Were, to me, depends on what I’m reading and how I want to see the characters. Were’s are fine if I want the human and animal to not live in the same world yet share the same mind space; I wan’t to know the wolf hunts by moonlight, but the man walks the gardens in spring sipping tea. It establishes two worlds for me to explore. Furry is the real world with animal like behaviors. It can be fun and adds a different take, but I don’t care much for it unless it adds to the story in a significant way. Anthropomorphic, for me as I know it’s not for everyone, allows the world as I know it to slip away entirely. This is the realm of pure fantasy. The moon can be for a wolf goddess to howl at it. The River Nile, a place that crocodiles talk with their human/hawk (were even) priests about the next world. In this world, anything is possible. Think ‘Narnia’, think ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’, think most every avatar in any myth created. I know I’m rambling, but however animals are established in a story, bring something humans alone can’t quite touch on.

    • admin April 23, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

      You’ve written so many beautiful things here. Quite lyrical really. It’s hard to respond by because I know I’m not able to reply in kind. Lol! I do want to pick out what you said about pack family. I love that possibility but haven’t yet explored it yet. I’m going to though a bit in Valkyrie. I think that pack aspect is why Fast and the Furious franchise is so beloved by so many people.

      • Keith April 23, 2015 at 9:11 pm #

        Wait – are the heroes of Fast and Furious like a pack?? Are there some fanfics of them where they’re all gay werewolves or something? I NEED to watch all those movies then!!! *w*

        About Valkyrie – aaawww really are they like a pack?? I can’t waiiiit!!!!!!!!! *overexcited*

        • Raythe April 24, 2015 at 1:52 am #

          There are a ton of fanfics with Dom and I’m blanking on his name … omg. But I don’t know about the whole “pack” idea but it would be brilliant.

  11. Keith April 23, 2015 at 9:07 pm #

    I SO agree with everything you said, Raythe!!! And I’m very grateful that you’re writing these posts. Honestly, if someone had asked me why I love shifters yesterday, I wouldn’t have known what to say. You’ve really helped me put words on my feelings. I wholeheartedly agree with your 3 points!

    I’d like to add a few more things that also make shifters story so very enjoyable (though they mostly come back to what you’ve already said). I noticed the list below are words I actually search on AO3 to find cool fanfics:

    Pack family – as discussed in the comment just above. Weres often have a pack, and when you’re part of a pack you know they’ll love you no matter you, and they’ll always have you back. It’s such a strong feeling, and it goes beyond just your lover, it’s a whole family!
    And besides the love that makes my heart melts, there is all the pack dynamics that can be real fun to read.
    Personally I’ve gone as far as reading a 300k words long Mpreg fanfic, even though I usually don’t like Mpreg, just because I really loved the dynamics in the werewolves pack.

    Puppy piles! – someday you just want to read something very very fluffy, and for that nothing is better that a story with a puppy pile of weres! <3 Makes me melt. I also love when a human cuddle with a were in his animal form.

    Biting, scenting, knotting – They show the dominance of the alpha and his possessiveness, it often goes with mating for life, and of course it's also very kinky and arousing ^^

    Heat cycles – it makes the sex that much more hot, whether it's the alpha or the omega who *needs* to mate beyond reason.

    So, yeah, I love shifters story. Especially werewolves but not only <3

    • Raythe April 24, 2015 at 1:57 am #

      Again, this is why the comments are the best part of these posts, because I didn’t even think about all those kinks involved with shifters, but I’ve read them! I stopped reading fanfic some time ago b/c I got frustrated with not finding my perfect fantasy (not the writer’s fault, but I just needed more control, i.e., writing).

      I think I’m going to do a short story with a pack dynamic and see how people like it. Valkyrie sort of has this aspect. If you find any Furious pack tics let me know!

  12. Akiraki April 24, 2015 at 2:29 am #

    As I’ve been skimming through the post/comments I notice most on here use the term Were-, but as of late a lot of people use the more detailed versions like Lycan or Anthro. Some even go so far to use the longer terms: Lycanthrope.

    As Kathy posted (which I very much agree) people are seeking the otherness which these stories show us. AS well as allowing ‘forbidden’ acts to help us visualize a world that might have been if things happened differently in our past, or future.

  13. Starchild April 27, 2015 at 5:21 am #

    I am a lover of any and all types of stories in which males have sex. However my favorite ones are the ones with aliens or other nonhuman characters. If you’ve ever read Homestuck you’ll know what I’m talking about if you haven’t that’s okay it doesn’t matter much. In Homestuck there are alien characters called trolls who have a completely different romantic system than humans. I particularly like the fan fictions that expand from the story because they explore more thoroughly the different types of romance the trolls have. These different romance systems challenge the human idea of romance in general and also the cultural origin of labeling people based on who they choose to love or even just be with. Those types of stories where the entire premiss of the type of relationship and the people in said relationships is new different or challenging are my favorites.

  14. Kelvin Phoenix April 29, 2015 at 2:41 am #

    Agreed on the last two. I think everyone wants that elusive mate for life concept. The images of trusting someone with the barest part that makes you who you are without turning it against you. that someone who knows you better then you know yourself. Not to mention the primal beast is us all. That raw savage lust that can make you jump on and wrap yourself around your mate or be taken by by him. I know a lot of people will see the Submissive one as weak but in all truthfulness it’s more trusting to let someone take you. Though I tend to think the one really in control is the submissive one. their’s also that allure of being someone or something else it true lustful and primal urges.

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