The top nine things you weren’t sure you wanted to know about age play.

Photo by Lauren St. Clair
Photo by Lauren St. Clair

#Littles is gaining major popularity on Instagram lately. But what is it, where did it come from, and why is it important?

1. What is age play?

According to the ABCs of Kink, age play is “any type of play/scene/scenario you and your partner(s) are engaged in where you are purposefully playing a different age than you happen to be in reality. You can age play as older or as a younger age than you actually are.” Scenarios can include (but won’t necessarily include) activities typically associated with childhood, like drinking from bottles, diapering, spanking, and playing with toys.

2. How is this different from being a “little”?

Many members of the littles community feel that age play doesn’t pertain to them. This is because being a little is a lifestyle; being an age player is an activity. One blogger writes: “being a babygirl is an integral part of who you are and not something you can turn on and switch off at will as you can do with a persona you wear for role play. Anyone can act like a child much in the same way that actors play a part in a production. However, it takes a very special person to be a natural little, and that part of your personality is always with you, no matter whether you actively indulge it at any given moment or not.”

3. What are some common terms within the community I should know?

The little community houses many diverse members. These can include:

Caregiver / Babysitter / Big / Mommy / Daddy: These terms are typically given to the more dominant member, or whoever is in charge. They vary depending on preference.

Little / Babygirl / Babyboy: These terms are typically given to the more submissive member, or whoever is doing the age playing in that particular scenario.

Middle: According to Kinkly, “the most common type of age play involves choosing a role to play between the ages of one and ten. ‘Middles’ specifically identify themselves because they prefer role playing ages older than ten.”

Regression: This is the act of mentally going back to a younger age. Deeper levels of regression often take longer for the participant to come back to reality.

Adult Baby / Diaper Lover (ABDL): Kinkly says, “this term is generally used to identify the entirety of the act of age play and diaper wearing. If someone says they are an ABDL, they’re into some aspect of age play or diaper wearing. However, not everyone who enjoys age play wants to wear a diaper.”

4. Are littles or age players often adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse?

It is important to note that the littles community is comprised of consenting adults, and each one is unique with unique experiences. One member of the littles community, Sassafras Lowrey, stresses, “not all littles are survivors. Just like being queer isn’t the result of childhood abuse, neither is being a little or being involved in BDSM. Some littles are survivors, but it’s not causation.”

Read the rest of this feature in our latest issue, here!