To be fair, 'infantilist' isn't my choice of language. It's a term coined by psychology that has long been in use. While some fetishists and fetish communities do use this terminology, the more commonly used language is AB/DL (Adult Baby/Diaper Lover), and age play.
I don't like using the phrase 'infantilist' because it sounds incriminating. And hanging out in diapers is not a wrongdoing. But there was certainly a time when I thought differently.
Growing up as a clinical social worker's daughter supplied me with lots of reading materials, notably all editions of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual up to the fourth edition. It was the first place I turned to when my high school boyfriend, then 17, confided that he got off from wearing diapers.
Infantilism, I learned, was a paraphilia grouped with masochism (although it should be noted that infantilistic and masochistic tendencies do not necessarily coincide.)
At age 15, I didn't understand what masochism was, anyway. What worried me was that infantilism was listed in a psychological text widely used by professionals for diagnosing mental disorders.
When my boyfriend (we'll call him John) told me about his fetish as an infantilist, I was a little shocked, but only due to the novelty of it. I wasn't concerned. I didn't think there was something wrong with him. But texts I read suggested there was.
Being a sexually open-minded person myself, I was of course, supportive. I agreed to partake in age play scenarios, napping with him in his diaper, trying one on myself, and even feeding him baby food (banana's pretty good).
But I constantly struggled with whether our play time was transgressive or dysfunctional. I didn't love what we were doing, but I didn't hate it either. It certainly wasn't causing any harm.
But I was a teenager with only the internet and psychological texts to guide me. The only phrase I had to go off of was infantilist.
It's what I typed into online search engines and the reason why they churned out often dated psych resources: an alleged case of a 35-year-old man who expressed to a therapist that he felt trapped in his desires, studies on atypical people with unrelated disorders and/or criminal histories, and reviews of that one CSI episode about an infantilist businessman.
My mother, a working professional in the field, didn't even believe in bisexuality; she definitely wasn't going to have a helpful opinion on dating an infantilist. High school sex ed couldn't even begin to cover what I was experiencing.
All of my research only supported what the DSM suggested: infantilism is a faulty mental state, and should be treated. These findings lacked perspectives of healthy, normal, humans who like John, are both relaxed and stimulated by the sensation of wearing diapers and being infantilized.
Despite my mixed feelings toward John's fetish, I continued supporting him. As time passed, he began to open up about other hidden interests, such as cross-dressing and BDSM, both of which we explored together.
By senior year of high school, I was overwhelmed and desperate for someone to talk to. I confessed everything to a friend. Her immediate reaction was repulsion, which I had expected. But I hadn't anticipated her source of repulsion; she had confused infantilism for paedophilia.
This mistake is common, while completely unwarranted. AB/DLs are the complete opposite of paedophiles; the first group sexualizes being infantilized, the second sexualizes infantilizing.
In fact, a child is an adult baby's worst nightmare – children require care-takers, and adult babies want care-takers of their own, not to be a care-taker.
But even after I explained this fundamental difference, my friend was sceptical. She had never heard of this before, and diapers are gross. The whole idea of it was creepy to her.
I didn't know how to change my friend's opinion of John. So, I just invited her to hang out with us more. He was admittedly eccentric, outspoken, and naturally assumed a leadership role in everyday life.
From an early age, John had taken on much of his family's financial responsibility and often served as mediator during fights between his siblings and parents. It was understandable that he should desire an extreme break from constantly being the primary adult.
After getting to know John, my friend got over her initial scepticism. Having her approval also made me feel better. For years I'd struggled with the negative connotations of what we were doing behind closed doors. All along, I had only needed an outsider's validation that what made John happy was OK to do.
I eventually broke up with John because our relationship helped me realise that I'm a sexual submissive myself (in a way entirely unrelated to diapers). Much like an adult baby and a child, it can be difficult for two submissives to both tend and be tended to.
Does age play get you off? Do you go potty for Pampers? If you have experience with infantalism, we wanna hear your stories about it: share with the kinky Fetish.com community below. And, while you're here, make sure to sign-up for free to access forums, chat, dating and loads more.
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