Not long ago, I saw a post questioning why people feel the need to share with others their pornographic preferences. While there’s certainly something to be said about keeping sexual preferences private simply due to their nature, there are many people in the anime fandom who are quite open about the kinds of fanservice, character designs, and even hentai they enjoy, and further, are eager to share that with others.
As I said in my previous article, outcasts seek the company of other outcasts, and they do that because they understand one another. The same goes for those who perhaps have deviant sexual interests. If you look hard enough, you will find an online community for any sexual fetish you can think of.
Talking with someone who likes the same thing you like about that thing you both like is fun, comforting, and cultivates a deeper understanding of that thing you both enjoy. It’s a bonding experience. It’s the feeling of knowing you’re not alone, and having someone who understands even that tiniest part of you is like a reassuring pat on the back.
Being open about one’s preferences works both ways to expand the potential of finding people who have the same preferences. It makes it easier to approach people who might potentially understand and empathize, and it shows those who might still be “in the closet” (for lack of a better phrase) about their preferences that there are people out there that share the same preferences. Not only that, but that initial bonding can also serve as a jumping-off point for a friendship or more.
Take, for example, the FAKKU! community. They’re massive for a hentai community, but they’re very supportive, very tight-knit, and very open about their preferences in hentai. Put simply, they all know why they visit FAKKU!, so there’s no need to be bashful about it, even in-person.
In addition, it’s somewhat therapeutic to not be bound by the societal pressure to suppress one’s love for the things they love, especially when those things could be considered deviant. For some people, that pressure isn’t a big deal, but for others, it can be stifling, especially when they’re made to feel weird about the things they enjoy.
I feel like many of us who resist that pressure and are open about the things we like do so to show others who might share the same inclinations that there’s nothing wrong with them liking what they like. In the anime fandom specifically, I believe this is especially the case with subjects like hentai, ecchi, fanservice, and moé, which are popular punching bags for people with more accepted tastes.
Does it make some people uncomfortable? The answer is yes.
Is that a problem? That’s a more complicated question.
How much of a problem it is that some people are made uncomfortable by people being open about their admittedly deviant interests depends on a number of factors, but for the most part I’d posit that, outside of settings where that kind of discussion is actively discouraged (Professional settings are an example), the fact that some people are made uncomfortable by the act of other people discussing preferences they might not be into is a manifestation of that same pressure that so stifles those who want to find people who understand them and people to bond with over a common enjoyment of something.
That’s why I’m open about my love of moé, my enjoyment of hentai, and so forth, and I think that’s why a lot of other anime fans are too. We’re tired of being told that the things we enjoy shouldn’t be talked about above a whisper.