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Paraphilic infantilism or diaper infantilism is a paraphilia in which there is the desire to wear diapers (nappies) and be treated as a helpless infant.  One who engages in infantilistic play is known as an adult baby (AB) or teen baby (TB), depending on age. About one in three adult babies is also a diaper lover (DL), so they are collectively known as AB/DLs. The majority of infantilists are heterosexual males.
Infantilism and diaper fetishes differ in self-image and the focus of attention. However, they can coexist in individuals and have some similarities in practice. Neither include a sexual preference for children. There is no singular, archetypical infantilism, but a range. Some fantasize about being free of guilt, responsibility, or control while others might not. Some act indistinguishably from a baby at times, while others practice in a way that would be unnoticed by passers by on the street. The desires and tastes of infantilists vary around common themes of diapers and babyhood.
- 1 Infantilism Contrasted with Diaper Fetishes
- 2 Other contrasts
- 3 Common fantasy elements
- 4 Practices
- 5 Growing up as an AB/DL
- 6 Paraphernalia
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
Infantilism Contrasted with Diaper Fetishes
One way to describe paraphilic infantilism is to contrast it with a diaper fetish, and this contrast is most clear in fantasies. Although there is no typical AB/DL fantasy, they often fall within two extremes. One extreme involves the fantasy of being an infant or small child; adorable, sexually innocent, and powerless. The infant fantasy might involve diapers, baby clothes, and toys to help define the infant's role. In the end, the infant might drift off to sleep in a soft crib. The other extreme is the erotic lover. The lover fantasy would focus on diapers as fetish items, sexually charged objects. The lover fantasy would end in orgasm and ejaculation.
Most individuals who have these fantasies do not seek psychotherapy . According to the American Psychiatric Association, if there is significant distress or impairment for a period of over six months, paraphilic infantilism or fetishism might be diagnosed, depending on the focus. The urges and fantasies caused by diaper fetishes focus on the diapers themselves, while infantilism focuses on becoming a baby. (Please note that many published cases are only tangentially related to infantilism and diaper fetishism and should not be confused with the basic paraphilias .)
In practice, the distinction between the two is much narrower; both involve diapers and adults. Those who try to act out the infant fantasy or similar ones are called Adult Babies (ABs). This may involve adult sized diapers and baby clothes, etc. If their partner is willing, they may engage in mother/baby roleplay. The adult baby may choose not to engage in sex while they are in the baby role, since it isn't babylike. In contrast, diaper fetishes are much more practical. They may involve adding diapers to otherwise ordinary sexual activities. Those who do are called Diaper Lovers (DLs). Neither are adult baby practices exclusive to paraphilic infantilists, nor diaper lover practices exclusive to diaper fetishists. Many AB/DLs describe themselves as 'mostly AB' or 'mostly DL,' based on which they engage in more frequently. Those with urophilia and coprophilia may enjoy similar practices.
To quickly summarize the theoretical differences, adult babies might have paraphilic infantilism, their interests are self-image or alter-ego focused, and might refrain from sexual activities during adult baby play. In contrast, diaper lovers might have a diaper fetish, their interests are directed at a sexual fetish object, and don't inherently involve roleplay. In practice, the differences among AB/DLs are much less well-defined.
Confusing infantilism with pedophilia is a common misunderstanding. Pedophilia is a sexual preference for pre-pubescent children. In contrast, infantilists have a desire to be infants themselves, and those with a diaper fetish have a sexual interest in diapers. Generally, they have ordinary heterosexual or homosexual sexual experiences otherwise. Inside the AB/DL communities, a sharp distinction is observed. One of the oldest AB/DL organizations, DPF, will expel child molesters , as well as other online communities.
'Paraphilic infantilism' is usually shortened to 'infantilism.' This can lead to some misunderstandings, since 'infantilism' can also mean 'lacking development.' Mental retardation involves never having achieved an average maturity, in contrast to adult babies, who actively set their maturity aside. In turn, psychosexual infantilism, a term coined by Freud, referred to those who haven't "matured" through the psychosexual stages into heterosexuality. Psychosexual infantilism includes paraphilic infantilism as well as other paraphilias and sexual orientations. Finally, regression is a broad term with many meanings. Adult babies regress, but those who regress aren't necessarily adult babies.
Practical or voluntary use
Those who wear diapers because of incontinence are probably not AB/DLs. While they may wear and use diapers, they aren’t necessarily doing it to express an alternate self-image or indulge a fetish. This also applies to those who use diapers for practical reasons, such as astronauts and scuba divers. Finally, there are some who start wearing diapers as a "new kink."
There are many that wear diapers but are not paraphilic infantilists or diaper fetishists in the strictest sense. Their motivations and underlying mechanisms are different. However, those who share AB/DL interests and practices are generally welcome in the communities, and may sometimes be counted as AB/DLs.
Common fantasy elements
Force or coercion is sometimes present in AB/DL fantasies.
AB/DLs may enjoy looking at pictures showing who they want to be, as opposed to who they want to be with. For example, a heterosexual male adult baby may enjoy looking at pictures of men in diapers: he may be imagining himself as the men in the diapers.
A common fantasy among adult babies involves a permanent return to a more infantile position. This may involve being put back in diapers or returned to the nursery for the rest of their life. These fantasies may be enjoyed even by ABs who are consciously aware that they would not want to give up their adult lives.
Modesty and self-consciousness are not expected from infants and small children. Babies can be out in public in just a diaper and t-shirt, and can have their diaper changed in public. There are no local, state, or national laws that prohibit adults from wearing diapers, t-shirts, diaper covers, or body suits (onsies). Nontheless, an adult in an uncovered diaper can expect to be treated like any adult in uncovered underwear. Every year a few AB's nationally are arrested for public indecency.
Sissy babies, cross-dressing
A sissy baby is a male AB/DL who mixes gender play with infantilism. This cross-dressing might involve stereotypical or exaggerated "little girl" clothing, such as frilly panties or dresses. Sissies are not necessarily transsexual in that, while some might be expressing an alter ego that is a baby girl, they might not wish to be an adult woman at other times.
A separate group enjoys the masochistic demasculinization of being dressed as baby girl, analogous to non-AB/DL masochists who enjoy being cross-dressed by force.
Integrating other interests
The individual AB/DL may have other interests that have become integrated with AB/DL. Sissys are one example. In turn, a babyfur has integrated infantilism and furry fandom. Sissys and babyfurs are among many groups resulting from the integration of side-interests with infantilism. The combinations can themselves be combined in countless ways. For example, there are sissy babyfurs.
Aside from the many things that AB/DLs would like to do, but cannot, there is an extensive list of practices that they might actually engage in. Some common elements and practices are listed here.
A central practice to AB/DL is wearing a diaper. When wearing diapers, many AB/DLs like to urinate in them, and a smaller number defecate in them. Others do not because they find such practices disgusting, do not enjoy it, do not want to go through the cleanup afterward, or wouldn't be able to without being obvious. Some AB/DLs have difficulty wetting their diapers when they want to, as the result of overtrained bladders or paruresis.
A common compromise between wanting to wear diapers and needing to go about daily life is to wear diapers under normal clothing. When adult babies do so, it is in their everyday mindset, as opposed to an infantile one. A few adult babies wear diapers all the time, and may seek to develop urinary incontinence. The level of enjoyment in wearing diapers all the time is mixed, and it may have lasting effects; some adult babies have found that the enjoyment diminishes rapidly when the need to wear diapers is always present. Other AB/DLs enjoy wearing diapers intermittently more than they would enjoy wearing them all the time.
A difficult choice that AB/DLs must make involves who to tell about their interests. This offers the possibility of being accepted for who they are, and not having to hide. However, it also includes the risk of disgrace at home, school, and work.
Finding a "mother" or "father"
A difficult part of life as an AB/DL is finding a compatible spouse. For diaper lovers, the search is difficult because there are few diaper lovers in the general population. Most people aren't particularly aroused by diapers. In contrast, adult babies would be seeking more of a caregiver. This search is hard since the desire to care for an adult baby is rare. Female AB/DLs are not necessarily willing to be mommies. Some AB/DLs are willing to be 'switch' mothers or fathers.
For DLs, there are some prostitutes willing to partake in diaper play. For ABs, there are professional "adult babysitters." Many seek the services of a ProDomme/Dominatrix who specializes in role play activities centered around being the mother or Governess/Nanny figure.
Growing up as an AB/DL
Teens who are infantilists are referred to as Teen Babies (TB). Infantilist teens often struggle when they begin getting urges for infantile items, treatment, or behavior. Often, the hardest part of this struggle is telling other people about these feelings - doing so at such an important age can mean social rejection or even worse, parental rejection. Teen infantile behavior varies heavily, but is generally simpler than the AB/DL activites of adults.
While feelings of isolation are still a common part of the youths of AB/DLs, a number of online communites have developed, many of which have grown due to the increasing ease of accessing the internet.
While the tastes and collections of individual ABs differ, some items that might be involved include nursery equipment or childhood toys
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000, pg 529 (IV) or pg 286 (IIIR)
- Thomas John Speaker, Psychosexual Infantilism in Adults: The Eroticization of Regression. Columbia Pacific University. pg 83. Available from: DPF, Sausalito, CA 94965.
- Watson, J. (2005, June 9). Baby Man, Phoenix New Times
- Thomas John Speaker, Psychosexual Infantilism in Adults: The Eroticization of Regression. Columbia Pacific University. pg 78. Available from: DPF, Sausalito, CA 94965.
- Stekel, W. (1952). Patterns of Psychosexual Infantilism. Washington Square Press., pg 144, ISBN 0-87140-840-6
- Pate J.E., Gabbard G.O. (2003). Adult baby syndrome Am J Psychiatry 160:1932–1936
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision, 2000 Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000, pp 569-570
- Pandita-Gunawardena, R. (1990). Paraphilic Infantilism, A Rare Case of Fetishistic Behaviour. British Journal of Psychiatry. 157, 767-770
- Mitchell, W. (1954) Epilepsy with Fetishism Relieved by Temporal Lobectomy. Lancet. Vol. II, pp. 626-630
- Croarkin, P., Nam, T., Waldrep, D. (November 2004). Comment on Adult Baby Syndrome. Am J Psychiatry 161:2141
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision, 2000 Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000, pp 568
- Baumeister, Roy F. (1989). Masochism and Self, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. pg 159. ISBN 0-8058-0486-2.
- Thomas John Speaker, Psychosexual Infantilism in Adults: The Eroticization of Regression. Columbia Pacific University. pg 80. Available from: DPF, Sausalito, CA 94965.
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text-Revised. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000, pg 572-573.
- Stekel, W. (1952). Patterns of Psychosexual Infantilism. Washington Square Press., pg 143, ISBN 0-87140-840-6
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text-Revised. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000, pg 569-570.
- Arndt, William B., Jr. (1991). Gender Disorders and the Paraphilias, International Universities Press, pg 394, ISBN 0-8236-2150-2.
- International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, tenth edition, Sect. F65.4
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000, Fourth Edition, Pg. 527
- Gilstrap, P. (1999, March 7-11). The Diapers They Are a-Changin'. The New Times Los Angeles. Available from DPF and the website of the interviewee, Mike A.
- Thomas John Speaker, Psychosexual Infantilism in Adults: The Eroticization of Regression. Columbia Pacific University. pg 81. Available from: DPF, Sausalito, CA 94965.
- What Would it be Like to Wear Diapers 24/7?, Understanding Infantilism
- Friday, Nancy (c. 1980). Men in Love: Men's Sexual Fantasies, Delacorate Press. ISBN 0-385-33342-0.
- Allen, Clifford (1969). A Textbook of Psychosexual Disorders. ISBN 0-19-264414-9.
- Love, Brenda (1992). Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices, Barricade Books. ISBN 0-942637-64-X.
Websites on infantilism and diaper fetishism:
- Still in Diapers - Still in Diapers (2002), Tristan Taormino
- Understanding Infantilism
- WindelWiki - Extensive informations about diaper fetishism and infantilism from a non-sexual view. (German langauage)
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