Recently I wrote about a kink known as DDLG. I explained what DDLG is, how it is practised, addressed some common misconceptions about DDLG, as well as showcasing some of the cutest DDLG products on the store.
Today I’m talking about a different community within the kink scene, one that is just as misunderstood as DDLG, if not more, and one that has its very own set of confusing letters to describe it.
I’m talking about ABDL.
What is ABDL? The Truth About Adult Babies & Diaper Lovers
What is ABDL?
ABDL is an acronym that stands for ‘adult baby’ and ‘diaper lover’ and describes a community of people in the wider kink community.
If you are into ABDL, you can be one of these things, or you can be both; just like how somebody who is in the BDSM community may be into bondage but not sadism, somebody in the ABDL community may be a diaper lover but not an adult baby, and vice versa.
Let’s break down exactly what it means to be an adult baby or a diaper lover…
What is an adult baby?
An adult baby is an adult who chooses to return mentally to a childlike state, either for fun or eroticism. In scientific terms, this is called ‘paraphilic infantilism.’
It describes a kind of ‘age-play,’ which is a specific form of fantasy role play where a partner embodies a person of a different age than their actual chronological age.
According to Ignacio Rivera in The Ultimate Guide to Kink (which is a fantastic book btw), age-play can be progressive (where someone pretends to be older than they actually are) or regressive (where they pretend to be younger than they actually are).
Somebody who is an adult baby is therefore engaging in regressive age-play (not to be confused with age regression, which is a defence mechanism related to trauma and has nothing to do with kink).
Something that may surprise you is that adult babies are often not role-playing as babies at all!
Adult babies do not necessarily regress all the way back to the state of being a baby, with many ‘adult babies’ identifying as toddlers, children and even teenagers! Not only that, but the age of an adult baby is not static and can fluctuate – while an adult baby may be a bratty schoolgirl one day, she may turn into a helpless newborn the next, a pouty teenager the next, and so on.
ABDL accessories, costumes and behaviours
Someone who is an adult baby might like to use various props when they are age-playing. For age-players, the right costumes and accessories can really help them get in (and stay in) their ‘little’ headspace.
ABDL products can include pacifiers, colouring books, bottles of milk, cribs, sippy cups, and of course, diapers.
ABDL costumes can include babygros, dungarees, school uniforms, frilly ankle socks, childish dresses and more.
ABDL behaviours could include anything from throwing a tantrum at bedtime to sucking on a pacifier, playing with dolls, crawling on the floor, becoming non-verbal (if role-playing as a baby), sucking on a lollipop, adopting a more childlike voice and lots, lots more.
Every adult baby is completely unique and different, just like every adult is completely unique and different!
You can visit our Lolita collection to see our range of DDLG and ABDL products – currently we don’t have many ABDL products on the store yet (pacifiers, diapers etc.) but I plan to add some in the near future so watch this space!
Partners of adult babies
The partner of an adult baby is often referred to as a ‘caregiver’ and is usually (but not always) a dominant figure in the relationship.
During play, they may take on the role of a stern school teacher, a nurturing mommy figure, a dominant daddy or a cruel babysitter.
However, sometimes this power dynamic can shift and the adult baby can often find themselves being the one in control – think a manipulative schoolgirl blackmailing her perverted teacher into giving her good grades or a toddler tormenting his babysitter until she cries.
Again, these roles are always subject to change, and as long as both parties are fully on-board, the sky really is the limit when it comes to ABDL role-play and the characters that can be created within it.
What’s in a name?
Now that we have a rough idea of what it means to be an adult baby, it is important to know that the actual term ‘adult baby’ is not favoured by everyone in the ABDL community.
There are a couple of reasons for this.
First, someone who embodies the mindset of a twelve year old when they are playing may not feel as though the term ‘adult baby’ describes them accurately, and find it frustrating when members outside of the kink community automatically assume that they enjoy acting like a baby.
An age-player named Emma, known as @ABDLgirl on Twitter, told Bold Pleasures that ‘I don’t really like the term. I know I’m “ABDLgirl” and stuff but it’s easy to use; it’s a term that most people know nowadays, but I think it’s too narrowed down. I actually prefer the term “age-play” because you can have so many facets, and the term “ABDL” – adult baby, diaper lover – I don’t consider myself to be an adult baby – more like an adult little girl.’
Even some people that do enjoy role playing as a baby may not like the term ‘adult baby’ due to the negative connotations it carries (more on that later), and feel as though they may be stigmatised if they use it.
This is why many people in the ABDL scene prefer to use the catch-all term ‘age-play,’ feeling as though it is a much more accurate description of what they do, as well as being less confusing for people outside the scene to understand.
Another popular term used for somebody who age-plays as someone younger than they actually are is ‘little.’ ‘Little’ is a great way to describe a regressive age-player because being ‘little’ could be anything from a baby upwards, and it doesn’t hold as much stigma as ‘adult baby.’
Okay, okay. Enough about ‘adult babies,’ or ‘age-players,’ or ‘littles’ or whatever. What is a diaper lover?!
Well, I’m glad you asked!
A ‘diaper lover’ is somebody with a fetish for diapers (or nappies, to my UK readers). This means that they find diapers (and the act of wearing them) a turn-on.
They may become aroused by the soft material of the diaper against their skin, or they might enjoy soiling the diaper and being spanked and scolded (or nurtured and changed) by their caregiver.
An adult diaper lover may not have any desire to act like a baby, and age-play may not be a part of their kink at all.
For example, a submissive man with a humiliation kink may enjoy being ‘forced’ to wear a diaper in public by his Domme, or a coprophilia fetishist may enjoy the more ‘dirty’ aspect of soiling his diaper.
There are many reasons why adult diaper lovers enjoy wearing diapers, but for now it is just important to know that a diaper lover is not necessarily also an adult baby (although they could be).
ABDL – what it’s NOT
In ‘The Ultimate Guide to Kink,’ Mollena Williams says that ‘your fantasies do not have to be politically correct. They do not have to be socially acceptable.’
Just like DDLG, ABDL is a hugely misunderstood kink, even within the kink community!
Anything involving age-play is a huge taboo in society, with critics of ABDL and DDLG claiming that adults are just not meant to act like children, especially in a sexualised environment.
To the uninitiated, ABDL is just a cover for paedophilia and child sex abuse, with paedophiles acting out their disgusting fantasies in a role play scenario rather than with actual children.
Let me be very clear – paraphilic infantilism is absolutely not related to paedophilia or any form of child sexual abuse.
Adult babies are not attracted to children, nor do they want to form relationships with children.
They want to take on the role OF a child, rather than be WITH a child.
A 1993 series of case studies by sexologists Ray Blanchard and Kurt Freund corroborates this, noting that while paedophiles were attracted to children due to the desire for a child sexual partner, infantalists (age-players) imagined themselves as children and adopted the objects of childhood or infancy to increase the power difference between their partners and themselves.
Sexologist Gloria Brame goes one step further than this, stating that ‘infantilists who recognise and accept their sexuality – and its possible roots in infantile trauma – tend to be acutely protective over real children.’
As far as the ‘Big’ (partner of an adult baby goes), their attraction to their ‘little’ is also a far cry from being attracted to a child. While they may enjoy caring for their little in a pretend, role-play environment, they are attracted to ADULT bodies, not children’s.
There is also no evidence to say that adult babies are mentally ill, or suffer in any way as a result of their preferences.
Age-play is really just that – play and fantasy between consenting adults who do not condone coercion, violence and sexual abuse any more than the average person does.
Why do people enjoy ABDL?
Many of you may be wondering, why do people enjoy ABDL? What’s in it for them?
Well, why do people like any of the things they like?
People like things because ultimately, those things make them happy.
For example, I like watching horror movies because doing so makes me happy.
If I wanted to, I could come up with a myriad of reasons why horror movies make me happy – I get excited by the jump scares, I’m interested in the paranormal, I find it funny when the people I’m watching with get scared, I like being able to yell at the TV when the protagonist ventures down into the dark and spooky basement…the list goes on.
I have no way of knowing whether the things that I like about horror movies are the same things that other horror movie buffs enjoy, and honestly, it doesn’t really matter.
Horror movie fans enjoy horror movies because horror movies entertain them, which in turn makes them happy.
That’s all there is to it.
It’s the same with ABDL.
Adult babies and diaper lovers do the things they do because they derive a sense of happiness from them.
What’s so fun about an adult baby fetish?
Some people like to age-play because they like to return to a time of simplicity, where they didn’t have any responsibilities and they could just play all day without having to worry about work, bills, deadlines, and all the other fun things that come with being an adult.
Some people enjoy being in a vulnerable state and having a caregiver nurture them, making them feel protected and loved.
Some people may have had an abusive or neglectful childhood and find that age-play gives them the innocence and sense of warmth that they were never able to receive as a child.
For some, they may work in a very high-powered job where they are the one calling the shots all day. Age-play allows them to surrender that control and relax, entering an almost meditative state of being.
Ignacio Rivera says that for them, age-play takes them to ‘wonderfully enlightening places as well as deep, dark ones.’
They go on to say that age-play can also ‘sexualise a forbidden inter-generational relationship or explore a wide variety of D/s power dynamics.’
And what about diaper lovers?
For diaper lovers, their feelings may be slightly different, but ultimately lead to the same sense of fulfilment and happiness.
Maybe they enjoy the thrill of having a secret, of wearing something underneath their clothes that nobody else knows about. This is exciting to them, which in turn, is a turn-on.
Maybe they enjoy being an adult in baby diapers because adults should not wear diapers. It is taboo. It is forbidden. It is this sense of the taboo that draws them towards diapers.
Perhaps they feel embarrassed, degraded or humiliated when they choose to wear diapers – or, even better – when a dominant female ‘forces’ them to wear a diaper as a punishment or humiliation tool (consensually of course).
Some adults in baby diapers like soiling their nappy – sometimes even in public – because it makes them feel dirty and disgusting, and it is this feeling that they enjoy.
They may enjoy having their diaper changed by a ‘caregiver’ or female dominant. This may evoke feelings of shame and humiliation (something they enjoy), or it may make them feel loved and cared for.
Whatever the specific reason why somebody enjoys age-play or wearing diapers, the underlying motives are the same – doing these things makes them feel good. It makes them feel happy.
After all, what is any human being motivated by, if not a quest for happiness?
ABDL and aftercare
Aftercare is very important in the BDSM community and it describes the practice of the Dom taking physical and mental care of the sub after a ‘scene.’
In this case, the sub would usually be the adult baby or the diaper lover, but as I explained earlier, it doesn’t always have to be this way.
Aftercare gently pulls the sub back into the ‘real world,’ and is particularly helpful if the sub has undergone a gruelling BDSM scene with corporal punishment, humiliation, degradation etc. After all, BDSM can be really physically and emotionally taxing.
Aftercare is also especially important when it comes to age-play because age-play can put both the ‘top’ and the ‘bottom’ (the dominant and the submissive) in a very intense and vulnerable headspace.
During this time, you should check in with your partner that they are okay, that their physical and emotional needs have been met, and you can ask them how the scene was for them and if there was anything that they didn’t like. For some, checking in once is enough, but others might need to be checked on every hour, or a few days after the scene to make sure that they are still okay.
Aftercare looks different for everybody, but making a cup of tea, having a cuddle and having a laugh and a joke together are all great ways of getting the natural dynamic of your relationship back and coming back down to earth.
What is ABDL? The Truth About Adult Babies & Diaper Lovers | Final Thoughts
I hope that I’ve managed to clear up some of the confusion about ABDL, age-play, diaper fetishes and more in this post! ABDL is not my personal idea of a good time, but I absolutely abhor kink shaming and it is a sword that I am prepared to die on (okay, maybe not literally but u know what I mean).
Just because you don’t like something or don’t understand something, it doesn’t make it ‘wrong’ or ‘weird.’
I don’t understand why my boyfriend is so obsessed with FIFA, but hey, he probably doesn’t get my true crime obsession either.
Every single person on this planet likes something that other people may consider weird (or even taboo), and if you take away one thing from this article, let it be this – adult babies and diaper lovers are not weird, f****d up or strange. They are not paedophiles, they are not abusers and they do not have something wrong with them.
People in the ABDL community just like what they like, and that’s all there is to it.