IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO HAVE A HAPPY CHILDHOOD:
Infantilism and Erotic Age Regression
by Sybil Holiday, CCHT, and William A. Henkin, Ph.D.
Copyright c 1997 by Sybil Holiday and William A. Henkin; revision copyright c 2008 by William A. Henkin
[An earlier version of this report appeared originally in Sandmutopia Guardian #s 16 & 17, Summer and Fall, 1994. Thanks to Pat Califia, who was then editor of the magazine, for interest in publishing work on this subject.]
1. Baby Talk
Communication is great when it works.
– Cynthia Slater
Once upon a time, when they were at a very grown‑up party playing very grown‑up games, a well-known Mistress told her slave to repair to the undressing room, to get as naked as he could, and then to return to the dungeon where strange and wondrous events were taking place. Knowing that her slave had difficulty bottoming in public, the Mistress assumed he might, for instance, take off his shirt, which would leave him about as naked as she expected he could get under the circumstances, and she happily anticipated doing a little Twist and Shout with his nipples when he returned. Her slave, however, a boy who possessed both a graduate degree in English and a profound yearning to please, took his Mistress’s words literally. Knowing from decades of experience how naked he could be, he came back to the play room in his birthday suit.
“How far he’s come!” the Mistress thought approvingly. She led her boy to a sling, shackled him to it by four points, and started to have her lascivious way with him. But it soon became apparent that her slave was not having his usual good time. Though he was ordinarily obedient and responded to her ministrations with that joyful agony some people call ecstasy, now his erectile tissues were limp, his beatific smile that fed her wicked satisfaction was forlorn, and despite instructions to the contrary, he wasn’t making a useful sound.
The Mistress tried all the tricks she knew her slave would respond to and got a whole lot of nothing for her troubles. When she tried a few new tricks the same nothing did not change. Finally she pulled up a chair and gently rocked the sling.
Sometime later – was it hours? – the Mistress’s slave began to talk. In a voice so low and halting she had to lean across his belly just to hear, he said, “I want to get down.”
No “please?” No “Ma’am?” Once he was unfettered he slumped off into a corner, curled up with his concerned and loving Mistress on a pile of mattresses, and settled in to a long fit of weeping.
What had happened?
Under the stress of going far beyond his limits in order to please his owner, the Mistress’s slave had undergone an unexpected age regression and retreated down the corridors of psychic time to a pre‑verbal stage of infancy. In part because of her extensive hands‑on experience with erotic age regression; in part because of his familiarity with the early psychological stages of child development; in part because they had both been working with their own inner child personas; and in part because they were both willing and able to communicate with each other about the upset, they averted disaster: they spent six weeks processing the scene and consequently deepened their relationship.
* * *
Since we learned of that long-ago evening, we have taken a fresh look at the whole experience of age regression, both erotic and otherwise; at the activities Sybil originally denominated age play; and at one of age play’s least understood and least discussed variations, erotic infantilism.
2. Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child
The hand that rocks the cradle . . . rules the world.
– William Ross Wallace
Age play scenes are common in the world of BDSM. At parties and in private, as well as in BDSM literature and pornography, Daddy and Daddy’s boy or girl, Wicked Stepmother and errant stepchild, Victorian Schoolmistress or Schoolmaster and naughty student – all these sorts of complementary roles reflect the highly charged energy of disparate power relationships based on significant age discrepancies, especially those that separate children from adults. These sorts of scenes commonly include spanking and other forms of corporal discipline; they often include cross‑dressing in the form of petticoat punishment as humiliation, turning a man or a butch woman into a sweet little girl in pink ruffles, or making Baby learn and recite a list of baby talk.
The relative paucity in the community of Mommy scenes, which are quite distinct from the visions of classic vanilla heterosexual adolescent initiation porn (e.g., Mother Fucker; Red Hot Mamas; Mommy Sucks; Dearest Mommy), may say something about the way our whole society views women generally; it may also say something about our attitudes toward our own child‑like states: that as adults – particularly among those most stalwart, masochistic men who are proud of their abilities to take whatever a Top can dish out, but who confuse gentleness with weakness and who have not yet learned how often a Mommy’s boy grows up to be a Ladies’ man – that as adults we are reluctant to acknowledge a vulnerable state of love, need, and devotion such as the one in which we all began life with our mothers.
Even when undertaken by serious BDSM players, infantilism scenes often include little or none of the intense physical stimulation that is usually an obvious component of erotic power exchange. Nonetheless, the physical component of BDSM – the SM – can be present in such a scene, as when the adult in authority spanks or otherwise disciplines Baby corporally; and the psychological component of dominance and submission – the DS – is nearly* always present and just as nearly always potent, though sometimes it appears in unexpected forms.
* Nearly always: adult babies sometimes do engage in egalitarian baby scenes together.
In this essay we provide a general overview of erotic age play in order to provide a context for our focus on infantilism. These activities, undertaken by consenting adults for their own pleasure and edification, are not the same as sexual activity with minors, or thoughts and fantasies about sexual activity with minors, all of which are forms of pedophilia; nor are they the same as what the early psychoanalyst Wilhelm Stekel called psychosexual infantilism.
Adult sexual activity involving minors is, of course, illegal, and we could not condone it for that reason alone. But more important, to our thinking, is that – at least in our society and at our time in history – when such activity involves real children, rather than fantasy drawings of children or real adults posing as children, it has the potential to do tremendous psychological harm to a child, particularly if the child is at any of the very young ages many infantilists like to imaginatively re‑experience for themselves or with their partners.
Apart, perhaps, from the Buddhist tulkus, people are not born knowing who they are. The pleasures sophisticated erotic activity may bring to an adult who already has developed some form of stable identity cannot be compared to the effects the same activity has on a child who does not yet have much clear sense of self. A child’s developing psyche can rarely tolerate the overwhelming input imposed on her or him by the intensity of adult sex play, particularly when she or he cannot control the activity; this is true even if the activity is gentle and non‑invasive, and even if it feels sensually good to the child at the time. A form of infantilism is sometimes used in the psychotherapeutic treatment of active pedophiles, as a way to direct their attentions away from children and toward other adults who may like to dress and be treated as if they were children. But pedophilia involves chronological children, it is not a consensual adult activity, and it is beyond our purview in this essay.
As he describes their case histories, the psychosexual infantilists Stekel saw as a therapist lived significantly disordered lives. Many were severely dependent on their parents even as chronological adults; they felt deeply inferior to others, felt out of control emotionally and were demonstrably out of control behaviorally, and frequently did not derive erotic pleasure from their activities. Some later commentators, such as John Money, attributed their conditions at least in part to hormonal imbalances.
In consensual age play, by contrast, adults who know they are adults intentionally live out apparent age differences, which they consciously eroticize for pleasure and, sometimes, to learn about themselves. While many of the behaviors that interested Stekel’s clients are similar to those encountered in consensual erotic age regression, their purposes can be quite different. In any case, a discussion of psychotherapy or sex therapy in this context is beyond our scope in this essay.
Infantilism may be less known and less understood than other erotic age regression scenarios precisely because the fetish is still stigmatized, and people who enjoy it frequently feel embarrassed by their attraction to it. It is also, sometimes, not so much a fetish as a quest for identity or reliance upon a self-identification with a personality aspect, mood, or state of mind that is considerably younger than the individual’s chronological age. In such a case the infantilist may regard himself as a baby in fact, while recognizing he is an adult in presentation, with adult responsibilities to fulfill and an adult life to live. This sort of ego-dystonia typically provokes considerable anxiety, which a person can often relieve simply by acting out his younger identity by, for example, wearing baby clothes. The anxiety – though not necessarily the ego-dystonia – is also often susceptible to psychotherapeutic intervention. Like most people who discover they have sexual interests that lie outside the accepting arms of the popular consensus, an infantilist may even believe that no one shares his compelling fascination except, perhaps, his small circle of like‑minded friends in real or cyberspace.
But as many psychologists and media personalities have shown, privately we all have inner children who need and want the attentions of a loving adult, as well, perhaps, as the order certain disciplines can offer. These interests may be conscious or unconscious, overt or symbolic, pressing or insignificant for any specific individual, as they may or may not be erotic. Once a person becomes aware of them, however, if they are important to her or him, they are certainly suitable for exploration. Some people explore them in private play, and some, both within and outside the SM community, periodically call upon a few professional dominants who are specially suited to provide the hand that rocks the cradle.
3. Little Blessings: What is it About Diapers?
A culture that protects children from sex is almost by definition a kiddie‑porn culture, since we are most turned on by that which is outlawed and untouchable.
– Daniel Harris
Infantilism without intense sensation can be one of the sweetest, gentlest, most nurturing scenes in the whole world of erotic power play. For the large proportion of infantilists who include and use diapers, it can also be one of the most intense. Wearing diapers is a physical, emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and psycho‑social cue that touches on deeply ingrained, strongly inculcated beliefs, and allows an adult who is so inclined to readily extrapolate the complete baby role. Only babies wear diapers, the psychic syllogism goes; I am wearing diapers; therefore I must be a baby.
In addition, the mere physical sensations of being full – of needing either to wet or to mess – and then of expelling, resemble the sensations that accompany orgasm: tensions build up in the lower abdomen, in the rectal vault, and in the genito‑urinary systems, leading to a (sometimes explosive) release. In babies as well as in adults the aftermath of such a release is frequently a feeling of deep peace. Moreover, since the substances released are sensuous – either liquid or soft, warm, squishy, and slippery – they can provide tactile satisfaction when the experience of feeling them can be freed from the usual bonds of taboo (or from the onus of picking up after one’s dog). And then, both chronological and adult babies often report and/or display great delight in their bodies’ creativity (“Look what I did!”).
Apart from good‑baby games, some adult babies simply take pleasure in being naughty. Bowel and bladder control are among the very first social rules we teach children in industrial societies. Some people whose parents found diapers a nuisance, or who wanted their children to be little adults, were effectively force‑potty trained so they’d be out of diapers at around one year; others were given daily enemas or suppositories so that their bodies would perform on their parents’ schedules, rather than their own. To break the societal or familial rules and let go of the internalized control by which they are maintained, particularly in the company of an adult authority figure such as a surrogate Mommy or Daddy, is to break a primary social taboo. For some people exercising the defiance inherent in relinquishing or rejecting that sort of control can feel extremely liberating, and for a healthy person, outside a serious medical context, it may only be possible to do in the safe confines of a regulated scene.
Some adult babies who do not enjoy being naughty have eroticized the shame they feel for messing their diapers and want to be spanked and humiliated during and/or afterwards, but there is little point in punishing a baby of any age for wetting or soiling a diaper: babies are supposed to do that. Instead, when the adult in authority approves the baby’s self‑expression, then lovingly cleans and changes the baby after she or he has wet or messed, the experience can be warm, intimate, and even healing. Having one’s pubic and anal regions bathed with warm, soapy water and a soft cloth; being dried with a big fluffy towel; being powdered and patted, soothed with lotion, and dressed in something fresh, soft, and clean – a new diaper – is a highly sensual experience of complete abandon most adults have long since forgotten. Many adult babies say this is the best part of the infantilist experience, and when it is given a different context a similar experience of sensual pampering is not uncommon in ordinary adult sexual activity.
Diaper changing often plays an important part if a baby scene is sexual. Washing and applying lotion to the genitals may even lead to orgasm – and the need to clean up all over again – or it may lead to a bubble bath with all the bath toys in the house, or to cuddling with Mommy or Daddy and perhaps a nap for everyone.
But not all baby scenes are intended to be sexual, and if sex is not negotiated it is a limit that must not be transgressed for reasons we shall discuss below in Section 4, on Child Personas. Whether the scene is sexual or not, of course, in the interests of keeping healthy bodies for healthy minds to play in and with, the person in authority should always wear latex or other impermeable gloves to change Baby. In any event, the opportunity to play with body fluids in a safe and contained way can provide unexpected relief for some people whose normal curiosities were overly or prematurely contained.
Although in most age play situations “younger” equals “bottom,” this isn’t always so. In some cases being younger than one’s chronological age simply means being in a young role. Such a role may that of another’s equal, as in a scene where two teenagers discover sex, or where a brother and sister tease one another.
When the young role is that of a baby the assumption that “younger” equals “bottom” can lead inexperienced players into difficulty. Babies are generally vulnerable and receptive, and they may even be passive, but rarely are they submissive. Instead, in the world of erotic power exchange as in real life, quite often they control the scene: “Goo – feed me!” “Waahh – didies changed!” “Yayayaya – Mommy cuddle?” If the authority figure in such a scene is Mommie Dearest, these sorts of demands can be ignored or used to inspire punishment or reward; but if the scene does not concern BDSM – if it is simply a scene between Baby and a parent or other guardian – much of the power lies with the bottom, who is probably going to get done.
4. Tales from the Crib: Age Play and Child Personas
The child is father [or mother] of the man [or woman].
– William Wordsworth [updated]
Age play is about more than just diapers and being young. As we suggested earlier, it’s often about letting go of control that may have been imposed too early or too intensely on a child who had to grow up too fast before she or he was psychologically or physically prepared to do so. This might be true, for instance, for someone who, as a child, had to become the “little man” of the house when a father died, or when parents divorced, or when the adults in the family were incapacitated by injuries, drugs, or other difficult circumstances.
If childhood wasn’t safe for someone infant scenes may be especially tricky, but they may also provide the person with a chance to reframe history. If someone was abused as a child and the abuse was not eroticized, or if eroticized abuse now feels unsafe, infantilism consciously pursued without BDSM and without sex but with intentional awareness can be deeply healing. Cuddling, bottle feeding*, lullabies, and non‑sexual diaper changing can help the baby reconfigure the painful experiences of history and create a variant past, or a “new tape” for the future**.
*Warm milk mixed with a little vanilla and sugar or honey makes a tasty substitute for real baby formula, which often does not taste good to adults.
**We do not wish to imply that people can or should do psychotherapy in the playroom: quite the contrary, as we will discuss below.
If childhood was safe, becoming an infant again for an age play scene can be a way to retreat to a time and place where, free of adult responsibilities, a person can feel completely trusting, dependent, and taken care of. For adult babies to feel as much like real babies as possible, they usually want the adult in whose care they place themselves to be nurturing and sweet but not overly indulgent. After all, the really good Mommy will let Baby have some sweets, but not too many for its own good.
Taboos exist against incest in virtually every society, as well as against sex between adults and children below whatever age the specific society regards as that of consent, knowledge, consciousness, adulthood, or personhood. Where the incest and child‑sex taboos are not an absolute proscription they usually describe the limits of some specific, required adult‑child sexual contact, as in the ceremonies with which certain societies initiate children into adulthood.
Especially in a society such as ours, where these taboos are broken on an alarmingly frequent basis, their presence tends to make consensual age play into a kind of edge play, and the edge itself can make age scenes feel extremely intense and pleasurable. But if the taboo was broken non‑consensually in someone’s childhood, painful emotional issues will almost certainly arise in the context of age regression.
Becoming young, or being an authority figure with someone who is feeling and acting young, can inspire a “flashback” or even an abreaction for some people. For this reason, among others, it is critical that all parties to an age play scene be honest about their pasts, and talk openly with their play partners about any history of sexual, emotional, or physical abuse, or other taboo transgressions in their childhoods.
It is also crucial that the authority figure be consensual with her or his charge. Limits must be respected in an age play scene, lest people who merely entered into something they thought would be fun or sexy, suddenly feel traumatized and, possibly, abused all over again. People who reach an emotional limit in age play scenes, whether as Top or bottom, should not hesitate to use and honor their safewords; similarly, people should attend to safewords their partners use, without trying to fix whatever seems to have gone wrong. Sometimes Baby will know some way to pull him‑ or herself out of a particularly difficult head space, such as having the Top use Baby’s real name, or taking a bath or a nap. Whether as a Top or a bottom, this kind of information is best conveyed as part of the negotiation for any age play scenario.
Correlatively, someone who resists being regressed is not necessarily just being naughty. Before proceeding with a scene someone seems reluctant to have, it is prudent to pause and renegotiate. Age play may look innocent, especially since it doesn’t include the obvious tools or symbols of heavy play; but emotional limits are subtler than physical ones, and may be reached without warning.
Age play personas may often be our real “inner children.” We were all kids long, long ago, and somewhere inside us the joy, peace, excitement, and curiosity of the innocents we were is still alive. If we can access this psychological condition, those aspects of us have the capacity to revive our most jaded adult sensibilities. And if you heal the inner child, as recovery movement devotées like to point out, the child can heal the adult.
Age play is deeply based in resonant fantasy, and sex in age play scenes is no more synonymous with intercourse, or even with orgasm, than it is elsewhere. Baby may find it erotic to have his temperature taken rectally; Mommy may find it erotic to show Baby where all babies come from, either may want to cuddle, and both may find these behaviors both fully and sexually satisfying.
Playing with inner children only in an erotic context can also be limiting, so in age play it’s worth considering ways to expand options. Take your child to the circus, to the zoo, to the beach; fly a kite, play miniature golf; throw a birthday party for inner kids and their parents or babysitters, complete with crayons, finger paints, and kiddie activities from Patty-cake to Pin‑the‑tail on the donkey, depending on the age of your children. Lullabies and bedtime stories can be intimate and soothing, as can cuddling and baby‑talk; some activities can be so intimate that they lead adult bodies to sexual arousal, so it is important for people involved with infantilism and similar age play scenarios to pay attention to their feelings and the feelings of their partners, and to keep their boundaries clear and clean. If players can’t think of ways to maintain their boundaries and still satisfy the inner kids, ask the little ones what they need, and listen carefully to their answers.
As with other important personas, inner kids sometimes take hold of people’s imaginations in ways that are stronger than they would have thought they could. Usually such a compelling presence indicates that the role someone has adopted for age play has significance beyond a simple scene; sometimes that significance makes it hard to step out of role when the collar or the bib comes off. Changing the internal landscape can often be accomplished by changing something on the outside, such as showering, changing clothes, going for a walk, and thinking about truly adult concerns.
Even though clothes don’t make the man, woman, or child, they certainly affect the ways we present and think about ourselves, and the ways other people perceive and respond to us. In addition to anticipating these sorts of problems, or the possibility of slipping into role inadvertently after the scene, a change in activities or power dynamics after play can also help, as can spending time with people unfamiliar with age play.
A person’s psychosexual interests are often archetypal, so enacting age play scenarios can sometimes satisfy incomplete experiences from someone’s childhood. These sorts of scenes tend to be sufficiently compelling that people want to repeat more than once, as if they were, in effect, revisiting and even reconstructing their pasts. To a certain extent they may be doing just that: such an effect is the goal of many interactive forms of psychotherapy, and of some theatre games as well.
At the same time, it’s important not to confuse a play scene, however healing it may feel, with the deep, long‑term work of psychotherapy. The reasons this is so are worth an article by themselves, but in brief: even though buried memories may be stirred up by dramatic role play, their resolution does not take place in one or two sessions of intense emotional agitation and release; few people have been trained to do therapy; and even among those who have, no people who have played together can ever be as neutral with their feelings and behaviors as a therapist must be most of the time, nor will they be available to the other on the kind of schedule a therapist provides, nor should either they have to bring their shingle to their play time. Playroom activities are supposed to be fun; if they are not, something about them is probably wrong.
5. Other Matters
A. Happy camping: gender play in age play
Why does a “nose job” or “breast job” or “eye job” pass as mere self‑improvement, all – as the word “job” implies – in a day’s work for a surgeon (or an actress), while a sex change (could we imagine it called a “penis job”?) represents the dislocation of everything we conventionally “know” or believe about gender identities and gender roles .... Is it the change of pronoun, finally, as much as surgical intervention, that makes so profound a difference?
– Marjorie Garber, Vested Interests
Gender play is often included in age play. The obvious sort of scenario, which underlies a lot of fetishistic cross‑dressing, is the Victorian classic, Petticoat Punishment or Petticoat Training. In this sort of scene a male is either forced or allowed to dress in girls’ clothing.
But gender play need not be so limited: this is sexual theatre, after all. There is no rule that says a Daddy and Daddy’s boy can’t be two women, or that a man cannot be a sissy, Mommy’s baby girl, a naughty schoolgirl with her Schoolmistress, or even the Mommy or Mistress herself. A scene in which an 8‑year‑old boy is tormented and teased by his 15‑year‑old sister might well be played out by two women; the baby girl in the family scenario may actually be a 50‑year‑old man, and under his mustache her Daddy might be a 25‑year‑old woman.
Because age play is so explicitly fantasy that the only limits to its fulfillment are the players’ imaginations and their physical and emotional safety. All roles can be played by people of all genders and sexes, as well as of all chronological ages. If the personas are real aspects of the players’ personalities, the fun may be augmented by personal growth and an attendant, rewarding feeling of reality.
B. Babes in Toyland: Age Regression Props
. . . from this instant
There’s nothing serious in mortality,
All is but toys . . . .
– William Shakespeare, Macbeth, II iii
Props help to distinguish play time from everyday life. It’s important to draw these boundaries, especially in an ongoing relationship, lest the play dynamics spill over into straight time. Using a ritual that is repeated every time two people play, such as wearing special clothes, setting the scene in an historical context, or framing a scene with one particular pro – “We’re only Mommy and Baby when I put your bib on” – can help separate a scene from real life.
Props need not be expensive or fancy. Adult disposable diapers can be purchased in almost any large drug store. Baby bottles, pacifiers, rhumba panties, bibs, frilly socks for girls of all sexes, t‑shirts for boys with Mickey Mouse, trains, sailors, and firemen, as well as scout and sports team logos, and other age‑ and gender‑specific motifs can all help set the stage. These, too, are frequently available in drug and department stores, and thrift stores frequently provide one‑of‑a‑kind treasures. There are also sources that supply custom‑made baby clothes, shoes, diapers, plastic pants, and other accoutrements in adult sizes.
C. Young at Heart: Public Play
The public doesn’t require any new ideas. The public is best served by the good, old‑fashioned ideas it already has.
– Henrik Ibsen, An Enemy of the People, III
When age play activities take place in a public setting, such as at the zoo or in a restaurant, other people present have not agreed to participate in the scene: it is not consensual to bring one’s bedroom or playroom into their lives. Cute baby displays may amuse some folks, but circumstances may require that some moderation of behavior. Spanking, changing diapers, and other overt age play activities are easily misconstrued, and engaging in extreme behaviors in front of people who do not understand them not only may be felt as abusive, it can also create problems that will interfere with a scene and will complicate other people’s alternate erotic opportunities in the future. Needless to say, never involve real children in age play games.
D. Small Wonders: Tops Get Tired
Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
– Matthew, XVIII, 3
It is important for Tops to get something from their scenes that really pleases them, even when they take pleasure from the simple fact of Topping, or the simple acts of taking or giving, which can be their own rewards to some extent. Otherwise, Tops may feel they’re doing all the work. Baby gets bathed, changed, dressed, fed, played with, read to, and peacefully put to bed – by which time the adult authority is pretty wiped out. So what can Baby do for Mommy?
Even toddlers can help with easy chores such as setting the table or washing the dishes (and doing it very well! No mistakes, so Mommy won’t have to spank!). But this is a point for negotiation. Sometimes an adult baby is so much in need of nurturing that she or he really cannot give back to the Top in a scene; yet, some balance must be struck, since Mommies and Daddies often need nurturing, too.
What Baby can do for the authority may take place on another day, at another time, in another scene, or in no scene at all. Older children can give Mommy a foot, hand, or back massage, while students might buy their Teacher a Victorian blouse (at a thrift shop if Baby is financially challenged; gifts don’t have to be expensive) or – with permission and instruction, of course – revarnish the Headmistress’s canes or oil her straps. Who knows what rewards may lie in store for so industrious a little helper?
Age Roles (Sidebar)
Although there are areas of overlap, the descriptions that follow fit adult babies, and to some extent adult BDSM babies, more closely than they fit real babies. In age play it is useful for a person to identify his or her emotional age. The number in years need not correspond to the chronological reality of babies; it is more important that Baby’s functional age correspond with her or his emotional needs.
The age groupings here are approximate, boundaries do blur, and in any case, behaviors cross over. If you have a serious interest in the reality of child age role games, the Gesell Institute of Human Development offers an excellent series of books delineating the real characteristics of real children at real ages. For particulars, see the Resources section at the end of this article.
Infant: three months to 1‑1/2 years. Sweet, vulnerable, totally dependent; talks only in baby sounds (burbles, giggles, coos, and cries) or, at the upper end of this continuum, in baby talk (baba, wawa, Mama); is nursed, bottle‑fed, or spoon‑fed baby food (players sometimes use foods like oatmeal with mashed bananas, creamed spinach, and creamed corn if they do not like real baby food); is dressed and undressed, bathed, cuddled, read stories and sung lullabies at bedtime, and put in diapers.
Toddler: 2 ‑ 4 years. Sweet and mischievous, vulnerable but active; at the earlier end of this spectrum talks in sentences that may be broken with baby talk (“Want my baba!”); likes to help authority figure with chores, loves to cuddle and to engage in child’s activities such as drawing, coloring, finger painting, playing with dolls, playing patty cake, dressing up; may or may not be in diapers, and may or may not be interested in potty training or enemas.
Child: 5 ‑ 8 years. Similar to toddler, but may be less willing to be treated as a baby; as a fetishist may still be in diapers or may still secretly want to wear them, but by this age may know “that’s for babies – I’m a big girl” and will therefore resist; may like outdoor activities such as riding bikes and flying kites, may want to play doctor with other kids; sometimes also likes being naughty.
Pre‑Teen: 8 ‑ 12 years. Sometimes rebellious or naughty; may initiate sex exploration with authority figure, including virgin games (which are renewable, since it’s always the first time), and may want or need formal discipline such as that associated with spanking, caning, having the mouth washed out with soap, standing in the corner, or writing 100 times “I will not play with myself in class.”
Teen: 12 ‑ 16 years. May be rebellious or naughty, may want to learn from and explore with an adult; may want adult to teach her or him about sex and its rules, may have a fetish for diapers as a teen‑aged girl of either sex, or as a teen‑age virgin slut; may also like to play with younger children or with other teens.
Baby Love, WinLar Publications, Suite 194, 1316 W. 76 Hay, Branson, MO 65616. Stories and features by, about, and for adult babies, Mommies, and Daddies.
DPF (Diaper Pail Friends). 38 Miller Avenue, Ste. 127, Mill Valley, CA 94941. Newsletter with contact ads and adult baby products.
Edwards, Emily, “Age Play for Young and Old.” Venus Infers, Vol. 1, No. 2, 1993, pp. 16 ‑ 23.
Florence, P.O. Box 835, Ceres, CA 95307. Mommy Florence, founder of Crib Sheets, offers bedtime stories, birthday cards, and audio tapes geared to the adult baby.
GLADS (Great Little Adults Diaper Society). P. O. Box 631, Friendswood, TX 77549-0631. Contact newsletter.
Harris, Daniel, “Baby Talk,” originally published in Salmagundi, reprinted as “Baby Talk Deconstructed and Defended,” Harper's Magazine, February, 1991, pp. 20 ‑ 23.
Money, John, "Components of Eroticism in Man: I. The Hormones in Relation to Sexual Morphology," Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. Vol. 132, 1961, pp. 239 ‑ 248.
Speaker, Thomas John, Psychosexual Infantilism in Adults: The Eroticization of Regression. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Columbia Pacific University, 1986.
Stekel, Wilhelm, Patterns of Psychosexual Infantilism. New York, Liveright, 1952.
Gesell Institute of Human Development books:
Ames, Louise Bates; Ilg, Frances; and Haber, Carol Chase. Your One‑Year‑Old: The Fun‑Loving, Fussy 12 to 24‑Month Old. New York: Dell, 1982.
Ames, Louise Bates, and Ilg, Frances. Your Two‑Year‑Old: Terrible or Tender. New York: Dell, 1976.
Ames, Louise Bates, and Ilg, Frances. Your Three‑Year‑Old: Friend or Enemy. New York: Dell, 1976.
Ames, Louise Bates, and Ilg, Frances. Your Four‑Year‑Old: Wild and Wonderful. New York: Dell, 1976.
Ames, Louise Bates, and Ilg, Frances. Your Five‑Year‑Old: Sunny and Serene. New York: Dell, 1979.
Ames, Louise Bates, and Ilg, Frances. Your Six‑Year‑Old Loving and Defiant. New York: Dell, 1979.
Ames, Louise Bates, and Haber, Carol Chase. Your Seven‑Year‑Old. New York: Dell, 1982.
Ames, Louise Bates, and Haber, Carol Chase. Your Eight‑Year‑Old. New York: Dell, 1989.
Ames, Louise Bates, and Haber, Carol Chase. Your Nine‑Year‑Old. New York: Dell, 1990.
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