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What is an Adult Baby?

An Adult Baby is a is a grown up male or female who enjoys spending time mentally regressing to a younger baby or child-like state. They enjoy the freedom from responsibilities that this time offers them. It is a form of escapism and relief. They like to express their emotions in play and forget about grown up issues. This is often characterized by, but not exclusively, props to help them achieve that mental state, usually the wearing of babyish attire, predominantly a nappy or diaper (either cloth or disposable ) and sometime suckling on a dummy, drinking from a bottle and playing with toys of a particular era that means something to them. They like giving over responsibility to usually to the opposite sex who takes a paternal or maternal role as the care giver.

Adult Baby / Paraphilic infantilism
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

See "Infantilism" for other uses of the term
Paraphilic infantilism is a paraphilia characterized by the desire to wear diapers and be treated as an infant[1] or toddler. One who engages in infantilistic play is known as an adult baby (AB). About one in three adult babies is also a diaper lover (DL),[2][3] so they are collectively known as AB/DLs.[4] The majority of infantilists are heterosexual males.[5][6] Paraphilic infantilism and diaper fetishes differ in self-image and the focus of attention. They can coexist in individuals, however, and they have some similarities. Neither includes a sexual preference for children.[1][7] There is no singular, archetypical infantilism, but a range. Some fantasize about being free of guilt, responsibility, or control, whereas 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.

Paraphilic 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[7][1]. 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 and might also end in orgasm and ejaculation.[citation needed]

Most individuals who have these fantasies do not seek psychotherapy.[8][9] 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.[7] 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[10][11][12] to infantilism and diaper fetishism and should not be confused with the basic paraphilias[5].) 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.[13] 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.[14] 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,[1] their interests are self-image or alter-ego focused, and might refrain from sexual activities during adult baby play.[15] In contrast, diaper lovers might have a diaper fetish,[7] 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.

Other contrasts


Confusing infantilism with pedophilia is a common misunderstanding.[16] Pedophilia is a sexual preference for pre-pubescent children.[17][18] 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. Most AB/DL organizations will expel child molesters.[19]

Other infantilisms

'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.


Diaper fetishes are sometimes mentioned as an example of anaclitism, a desire for things one was exposed to in infancy. Anaclitism is a more general term in one way, as the objects don't necessarily have to be infantile, just things that one would have been exposed to during infancy. However, it is more narrow in another way: It implies that the conditions started in infancy. While anaclitism's definition fit into Freud's theories well, it hasn't been developed or supported empirically.

Common fantasy elements


Force or coercion is sometimes present in AB/DL fantasies. This can range from the inclusion of S&M or B&D play into AB scenarios through to more specifically AB scenarios such as the Diaper Discipline, or Petticoat Punishment in which a supposed older child or adult is regressed into a baby-state as punishment for misdemeanors. This can sometimes form a validation activity, where the AB mitigates their guilt for having AB desires with the fact that they are only in diapers as a punishment.


AB/DLs may enjoy looking at pictures showing whom they want to be, as opposed to whom 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.

Permanent regression

A common fantasy among adult babies involves a permanent return to a more infantile position. This is a special case of a desire to regress, common among adult babies. 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 (onesies).

Control Removal

Just as a baby has no responsibilities, they also have no privacy. The inclusion of scenarios where the AB is not granted genital privacy and has no rights of complaint or choice of activity can provide a return to a baby-state and can allow deep immersion in the baby mindset. In this context the AB is usually not allowed to touch themselves, but may have their diaper changed, their body cleaned, their genitals examined, and even be internally examined, such as being given enemas and suppositories, without any warning, choice of circumstances or control over who is present. Their right to control access to their genitals is completely disregarded.

Sissy babies, cross-dressing

A sissy baby is a male AB/DL who mixes gender play with infantilism.[20] 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. Alternatively, some transgender people simply participate in ageplay as their gender identity as a logical extension of their transgender life. 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.


There are many different causes for Paraphilic Infantilism, and most AB/DLs are unaware of any specific reason for their AB/DL nature. Many AB/DLs describe incidents throughout their life from a young age that indicate that the inclination has been with them for a long time. Others discover a joy in it later in life.

Relief from stress

Relief from stress is often given by AB/DLs as an explanation for their desires. Acting on these desires can be quite relaxing in the short term. However, given how difficult and troubling these desires can be, relief from stress might be as much a justification as an explanation. For example, the AB/DL might be in the superficially carefree position of having a 'mommy' or 'daddy' looking after their every need, such as diaper changes, feeding, and bathing. However, the AB/DL will need to overcome the difficulty of establishing the relationship, and be careful to keep the relationship from being short-lived due to imbalance.

Negative incidents

Specific incidents may have occurred during childhood or adolescence that have caused nappies to get a sexual association, or that caused the developing child to feel safer when still in nappies. Examples can include so-called diaper-discipline still sometimes practiced on wayward children/teens, sexual abuse, or even simple chances of circumstance such as loss of a parent at the critical point of development. A number of AB/DL's report developmental delays in their bladder and/or bowel training, such as late bedwetting.

Gender association

Particularly amongst sissy-babies, but also amongst some other AB/DLs, the time as a baby may be associated with softness and aspects of life seen as more feminine. This can then show as an AB/DL fetish later in life when trying to unravel unexpressed elements of femininity.


The AB/DL community is a tremendous community that is one of the more established fetish communities on the internet. While, there is a significant establishment of AB/DL community in the real world, the community on the internet goes far beyond what is present in the real world. But, the AB/DL community is vibrant and attempts to highly control its community because they hate the stigma many people label them as.

Sex Ratio

There is a strong tendency for AB/DLs to be male. Estimates range from 10 to 20[5] males per female AB/DL.


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.

Diaper usage

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[21] 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. Some AB/DLs need to retrain to overcome this. Some others go a step further, and attempt to un-potty-train themselves.

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.[22] Other AB/DLs enjoy wearing diapers intermittently more than they would enjoy wearing them all the time.

Coming out

A difficult choice that AB/DLs must make involves to whom to disclose 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. It is human nature to reject things that are different of others to ones-self, the existentialist would challenge the criticisms of those around them to help develop their own niche in the world, which the internet has helped with.

Finding a "mother" or "father"

A difficult part of life as an AB/DL is finding a partner that will succesfuly, and voluntarilly fulfill their needs. This is extremely difficult for adult babies because they desire their partner to take on a caregiver role, which means acting as a "mommy" or "daddy" to them. It is hard because not many people truly desire to take care of their significant other in this way. Female AB/DLs are not necessarily willing to be mommies. Diaper lovers may end up taking on the role of the caregiver to an adult baby. In fact, 95% of mommies and daddies started as DLs.[original research?] Also, some AB/DLs "switch" roles. Switching means sometimes they may act as the caregiver and other times as the baby.

Growing up as an AB/DL

Teens who are infantilists are often referred to as teen babies (TB). Generally, adult baby and teen baby are not used in an exclusive manner. Teens who are adult babies are also teen babies. Infantilist teens often struggle with their urges for infantile items, treatment, or behavior. Often, the hardest part of this struggle is telling other people about these feelings - doing so during adolescence can mean social or parental rejection and, in some cases, can also lead to abuse and violence. Teen infantile behavior varies heavily and can be influenced by factors such as puberty, privacy and life stressors.

While feelings of isolation are still a common part of the youths of AB/DLs, a number of online communities have developed, many of which have grown due to the increasing ease of accessing the internet. Before the age of the internet it was not uncommon for a teen diaper wearer to feel extreme isolation, and would often feel they might be the only one to like diapers. Now they can be open with people like them.


While the tastes and collections of individual ABs differ, some items that might be involved include diapers, onesies, blanket sleepers, cribs, playpens, plastic pants, high chairs, baby bottles, pacifiers, baby powder, baby lotion, dollies, and stuffed animals.

See also

Diaper lover | Ageplay | Sexual fetishism | Paraphilia | Erotic lactation

[edit] References

    ^ a b c d
    Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text-Revised. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000, pg 572-573.
  1. ^ Thomas John Speaker, Psychosexual Infantilism in Adults: The Eroticization of Regression. Columbia Pacific University. pg 83. Available from: DPF, Sausalito, CA 94965.
  2. ^ Section 10 - Into the Future Retrieved 2002 from, now mirrored at
  3. ^ Watson, J. (2005, June 9). Baby Man, Phoenix New Times
  4. ^ a b c Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision, 2000 Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000, pp 568
  5. ^ Thomas John Speaker, Psychosexual Infantilism in Adults: The Eroticization of Regression. Columbia Pacific University. pg 78. Available from: DPF, Sausalito, CA 94965.
  6. ^ a b c d Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text-Revised. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000, pg 569-570.
  7. ^ Stekel, W. (1952). Patterns of Psychosexual Infantilism. Washington Square Press., pg 144, ISBN 0-87140-840-6
  8. ^ Pate J.E., Gabbard G.O. (2003). Adult baby syndrome Am J Psychiatry 160:1932-1936, also available as a PDF
  9. ^ Pandita-Gunawardena, R. (1990). Paraphilic Infantilism, A Rare Case of Fetishistic Behaviour. British Journal of Psychiatry. 157, 767-770
  10. ^ Mitchell, W. (1954) Epilepsy with Fetishism Relieved by Temporal Lobectomy. Lancet. Vol. II, pp. 626-630
  11. ^ Croarkin, P., Nam, T., Waldrep, D. (November 2004). Comment on Adult Baby Syndrome. Am J Psychiatry 161:2141
  12. ^ Baumeister, Roy F. (1989). Masochism and Self, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. pg 159. ISBN 0-8058-0486-2.
  13. ^ Thomas John Speaker, Psychosexual Infantilism in Adults: The Eroticization of Regression. Columbia Pacific University. pg 80. Available from: DPF, Sausalito, CA 94965.
  14. ^ Stekel, W. (1952). Patterns of Psychosexual Infantilism. Washington Square Press., pg 143, ISBN 0-87140-840-6
  15. ^ Arndt, William B., Jr. (1991). Gender Disorders and the Paraphilias, International Universities Press, pg 394, ISBN 0-8236-2150-2.
  16. ^ International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, tenth edition, Sect. F65.4
  17. ^ Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000, Fourth Edition, Pg. 527
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ Tistan Taormino, Still in Diapers Retrieved 8 May 2007 from,taormino,37378,24.html
  20. ^ Thomas John Speaker, Psychosexual Infantilism in Adults: The Eroticization of Regression. Columbia Pacific University. pg 81. Available from: DPF, Sausalito, CA 94965.
  21. ^ What Would it be Like to Wear Diapers 24/7?, Understanding Infantilism