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What Is Infantilism?

by Tom Lee

On this site you'll hear terms like "infantilism," "adult baby," and "AB/DL" bandied about; this is an attempt to explain them. First of all, infantilism is simply a desire to experience an infantile role. Note that I am not saying that it is necessarily a sexual desire, though it is sexual for some. Nor am I saying that the desired infantile role necessarily be realistic.

But that's basically it: someone who practices infantilism is called an "infantilist" or sometimes an "adult baby" (often abbreviated "AB"), and all they want is to be consensually treated in a babyish way, though what that means varies widely. Usually, though, it means being diapered (some ABs use their diapers for their intended purposes, while others just wear the diapers as part of the outfit), or dressed in adult-size babyish clothing, or having a bib put on when one eats, or drinking from baby bottles, or crawling rather than walking, or a combination of these and/or other elements.

One thing that's important to understand is that none of this necessarily has anything to do with real babies or children. I bring this up because ABs are widely misunderstood and the ignorant often draw connections where none exist. I have no doubt that there are pedophiles and child molesters out there who are also ABs, just as there are child molesters who are also baseball fans, but I have seen no evidence showing that ABs are any more likely to sexually molest a child than non-ABs.

This is not to say that adult babies are nonsexual. Some ABs enjoy being babied as a way to unwind, reduce stress, or feel loved and cared about, but others do derive considerable sexual pleasure just from being babied. Some may actually masturbate in their diapers or desire to engage in sex acts with others while dressed in babyish clothing. We are talking about adults, after all. Some use their infantilism in a sexual way at times and a nonsexual way at other times. It appears that the majority of ABs seem to focus on the sexual side, however.

How often an AB actually engages in his or her infantilism varies widely. There are some who have a relationship in which they are babied by their partner and are always in their baby role, at least to some degree. Others will be babies over weekends, or one night a month, or one night a week, behaving in ways that have come to be called "normal" at other times. It all depends on how often the mood strikes, whether there is a partner willing to help, how often the partner is willing to help, and other factors.

It is difficult to say why people become adult babies. The vast majority seem to have a deep-seated need to act out a baby role, a need that probably has its roots in childhood experiences of some sort. One possibility is that there was some sort of childhood abuse or trauma, causing the person to want to relive a trauma-free childhood. Another possibility is that the transition to adulthood was traumatic, and the person now wants to return to the times before the trauma. But those are only two possibilities among many, I am sure. There are also those who have discovered infantilism while exploring other types of sexual roleplaying.

Closely related to ABs are those who have a sexual fetish for diapers themselves. Often called diaper fetishists or "diaper lovers" ("DLs" for short), they often gravitate to the same resources as ABs; ABs and DLs are often confused for one another. The confusion is increased by the fact that some people are both ABs and DLs, enjoying diapers for themselves but also for their connection with babyishness. But there are DLs who are not at all interested in being treated like babies.

It is hard to imagine a more harmless fetish than infantilism. The adult baby does not necessarily wish to whip anyone or be whipped, to tie anyone up or be tied up, or to handcuff anyone or be handcuffed. As with the rest of the human race, there is a great deal of variety among ABs, but they have one thing in common: they want to return to a time of life when we were all unconditionally loved and cared for.