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Infantilism Isn't Pedophilia

In American society there is currently an outcry against child sexual abuse, and understandably so, because we are just now finding out how common it is and has been, and how damaging it can be to its victims for the rest of their lives. Some of the perpetrators are undoubtably pedophiles, so there is a considerable social stigma against pedophiles in our society. However, we should be careful not to let the understandable outcry against child sexual abuse harm people who are innocent of any wrongdoing. Infantilists have desires to wear diapers and babyish clothes and to use baby bottles, bibs, toys and other babyish objects, but they do not wish to involve real children. In fact, DPF, the world's largest organization for infantilists, has a policy to expel any member who involves children in infantilism play. Yet infantilists on talk shows are reviled by audiences as much as pedophiles would be.

Why They Might Be Confused

A casual observer might confuse infantilism with pedophilia because both contain the concepts of adults, children, and (often) sex. With all the concern about child abuse around, people may not be thinking too critically — anything that "feels" like it might be pedophilia could become pedophilia in the observer's mind. This is understandable, but it is something that I am trying to stop with this essay.

The Differences

Infantilism and pedophilia are in fact quite different, and the biggest difference is that in infantilism play, no actual children are involved. No parent has any reason to fear that an infantilist might harm their children. Pedophiles do have a desire to have sexual contact with children, but that is quite another matter.

It is possible for a person to be both an infantilist and a pedophile, but to my knowledge the incidence of pedophilia is no greater among infantilists than among the population as a whole. It is also possible for a pedophile to try to avoid punishment by claiming to be an infantilist, but it's not our fault if they lie.

Special Issues

In infantilism discussion areas on the Internet it is easy to run into underage infantilists — teens under 18 who are interested in diapers, but who are also under the legal age of consent. This wouldn't be an issue if it weren't for the laws currently on the books about distributing "indecent" information to minors over the Internet. As things now stand, over-18 infantilists who talk to under-18 infantilists about infantilism are almost certainly committing a Federal crime. I just want to highlight here that this does not make the over-18 infantilists pedophiles, any more than an adult who gives birth control to an underage youth is a pedophile.

I'd also like to mention that there are those who wear diapers but are not infantilists. There are incontinent people, of course, and they may wear undergarments or briefs (which we infantilists prefer to call "adult diapers," but which I'll call "briefs" in this paragraph out of courtesy) to control the problem. There are some who wear diapers for a feeling of security but wouldn't call themselves infantilists. This is all well and good, but there are pedophiles who wear diapers and do other babylike or childlike things because they see no difference between themselves and the children they molest. They may even claim to be infantilists, but that's not what we real infantilists would call them.

Definitions

Infantilism
A desire to wear and use infantile or babylike garments, toys, and other objects, and to act like and be treated as a baby. The desire may be sexual, emotional, or both. Some facts to remember:
  • Infantilism does not equal pedophilia. Infantilists have no desire to involve actual children in any of their activities. It is possible for a person to be both an infantilist and a pedophile, and it is possible for a pedophile to falsely claim to be an infantilist in an attempt to avoid punishment, but infantilists usually try to distance themselves from pedophiles as much as they can.
  • There are male and female infantilists, although male infantilists seem much more common than female ones. This could be because males just seem to be more susceptible to developing sexual fetishes than females, but it could also be because in this society males are more encouraged to explore their sexuality than females are. Consequently females may not discover that they like infantilism, and those who do are far less open about it than males.
  • There are straight, gay, and bisexual infantilists. Here I'm not sure what the distribution is.
  • Although infantilists may fantasize about being treated like a baby 24 hours a day by a dominant person or other similarly unrealistic scenarios, many of them would not actually choose to play these fantasies out in reality.
  • It is unlikely that there is any cure for infantilism. On one hand this means that infantilists can accept that they are and always will be infantilists, but on the other hand this means that they may have to act out their desires in private. In fact, most infantilists are quite private about acting out, dressing as a baby in private or with only a few other understanding people present.
  • There is a lot of variation among infantilists. Some prefer to wear diapers, and some don't; among those who do, some may prefer to use them, while others may prefer not to. Some people just like the diapers, while others enjoy the whole babyish experience. Some may desire to be treated as babies by another person, while others may just want to dress and act like babies by themselves. Some (both men and women) want to roleplay that they're baby boys, while others want to roleplay that they're baby girls.
Pedophilia
A desire to have sexual contact with children. I assume the desire is primarily sexual in nature, although it seems possible for it to have other sources. Some facts to remember:
  • Pedophilia is not limited to men, or to women; both men and women can be pedophiles. I don't know which is more common, however.
  • Pedophilia is not limited to heterosexuals, bisexuals, or homosexuals; pedophiles can have any sexual orientation. Here again I don't know which is more common.
  • There is a difference between desire and action; there are undoubtedly many pedophiles who have never acted out their desires. A pedophile who recognizes the pedophilia in himself/herself and gets help from a therapist to prevent the desire from becoming reality is to be respected for having done the responsible thing.
  • It is not likely that there is any cure for pedophilia. On one hand, this means that pedophiles can accept that they are and always will be this way; on the other hand, in order to avoid harming children, pedophiles must be constantly vigilant so as not to act on their desire.