Age Play: a definition
Age play is when consenting adults roleplay in which at least one person acts or regresses to a younger age, usually under 18 years of age. This can be sexual or non-sexual and may or may not involve other fetishes such as diapers or Dominant/submissive play.
A sub-sect of age play includes paraphilic infantilism in which the age player or players will regress in behavior to that of an infant. Actions could include being diapered, being bottle or breast fed, even playing with baby toys and enjoying entertainment for infants. While some age players may be interested in infantilism, not all age players regress to such a young age.
Age Play: what it is not
Age Play is not pedophilia. All participants in age play scenes are consenting adults over the age of 18 years.
Age Play is not incest. The participants in an age play scene are not related. The woman pretending to be a little girl is not actually the man’s biological daughter or even step-daughter. The “boy” is not actually related to the woman playing his big sister. They are acting out a scene.
In order to understand the dynamic, age play can be related to rape play. Both deal with taboos that the general public are not comfortable with. Just as the participants of a rape play are not actually performing a violent act without consent, the participants of an age play scene are not actually related or under age. Nothing illegal is actually happening.
A Little is a person who regresses to a younger age. This age varies from little to little and some littles can regress to various ages. At one point they may be two and interested in diapers and breast feeding while later they could be fourteen and interested in a “sex education scene.”
A Big is a person that counters the little and acts as the adult or older person in the scene. This person could take on various roles from mommy or daddy to aunt or uncle to big brother or sister. Some scenes could involve a nanny or babysitter as well.
Neither the role of the Little or the Big is by definition a submissive or dominant role, unlike those roles in other fetish or kink scenes like Master and slave or Owner and pet. A Little could be the dominant of the Big or submissive to a Daddy-Dom or Mistress-Mommy and dominant to a brother or sister.
Just as neither role is dominant or submissive in nature, neither role is limited by gender either.
Sissification, the feminization of a man, is also done in age play. Many male age players enjoy regressing to a young age and being treated, dressed and acting like a little girl rather than a little boy. This is commonly done with frilly dresses, wigs, girl-specific toys, and even make-up to make a man look more like a girl. For some, this allows them to act out desires they had as a child that they felt were too taboo or that they would have been in trouble for. Other men use sissification in an age play scene as a form of humiliation, which is consented upon just as the age play is.
Women also can change gender in an age play scene and act and are treated like a little boy. This form of age play simply doesn’t have a specialized terminology that is commonly used.
Age Play Pride
With shows such as National Geographic’s Taboo and TLC’s Strange Sex featuring age play and infantilism, the fetish and lifestyle has received a lot of interest. In response to that interest, a lot of age players are coming out and making themselves known. One way they have come together is under such flags and symbols as the Baby Pride Flag, a symbol of a red and white heart surrounded by a circle that is half baby girl pink and half baby boy blue. The pastel pink and blue are common colors for age play pride and used on book covers and all over related websites.
There are a lot of resources in age play today. Some of the best include:
Age Play: From Diapers to Diplomas by Paul Rulof (2011)
The Toy Bag Guide to Age Play by Bridget “Lee” Harrington (2008)
The Age Play and Diaper Fetish Handbook by Penny Barber (2011)
The Big Little Podcast hosted by Spacey Bob and Mako Allen