Remember when you were younger and you desperately wished to be an adult so that you could go out whenever you wanted and enjoy the freedom that adulthood brings?
Or how about now? Finally, you’re an adult, and perhaps you wish you could transform yourself back to when you were a kid… a simpler time without huge responsibilities and burdens.
Age play is sort of like that, but not really.
What is Age Play?
Age play is a kind of kink that involves role-playing. In it, one or more partners act as though they are an age that they are not.
Age play can be a sexual thing or a non-sexual thing, and oftentimes includes props, clothing, toys, and other things that’ll enhance the experience.
It is more common for those who engage in age play to behave as though they are younger than they are (often called a ‘Little’), like taking on the role of a baby, teenage brat, or daddy’s girl.
With that, there is oftentimes a link between age play, incest (living out a fantasy of incest with a consensual partner), and BDSM.
Alternatively, there is a subcategory of age play/BDSM called ‘pet play’, which is when a participant plays the role of a non-human animal. These all involve a power dynamic.
Is Age Play all About Pedophilia?
Actually, no. Many who have a relationship with someone pretending to be younger than they are aren’t living out this kink because of their desire to be with children.
And in this form of play, both parties can have their individual needs met without causing any harm or ill intent.
This kind of play is always consensual, even when it is consensual-non-consensual.
What Do People Get Out of Age Play?
For those who identify as a younger person, like a baby or a child/teen, it’s often about seeking love, affection, guidance, discipline, and care from someone.
For those who identify as an older person (often called a ‘Big’), like a daddy or a babysitter, it’s often about having a need to care for, love, teach, discipline, and give affection.
The dynamic between a Little and their older partner can be one that is solely nurturing, or it can tie into the BDSM lifestyle. That is, giving rewards for good behaviour and punishment for bad behaviour. Not all Littles are well-behaved, like the term ‘brat’ which pertains to a bratty teenager mentality.
Living the Little Lifestyle
For many Littles, it involves dressing and acting the part. This includes wearing diapers (some have a diaper fetish), drinking out of a bottle, crawling on the ground, having stuffed toys, and owning a crib.
For those who live this lifestyle, it may also be the aspect of masochism that appeals to them. For example, being spanked or disciplined when they’ve behaved badly. In this way, it is like a dominant/submissive relationship.
Other ways in which this kind of relationship can unfold is one of a non-sexual nature. This could be for those who have experienced trauma as a child, and who hope to regress back to their childhood days in hopes of overcoming the experience.
However the relationship is experienced, it’s a way for people to feel safe and to embrace their desires and kinks.
Age Play and Power Dynamics
Whether age play involves forms of reward or punishment similar to that in the BDSM community or not, there is still a power dynamic that takes place.
The Big in the relationship is the one that nurtures, disciplines, and/or cares for their Little. The Little is, in this dynamic, more so a submissive, who then allows their Big to be dominant.
The level of BDSM, incest play and investment in this kind of play really does depend on the couple, and how they both feel comfortable.
Regardless, it’s important to note that this kind of play is simply an individual living out a fantasy, and more times than not, is not a true reflection of what these individuals want in real life.
For that reason, age play is oftentimes simply a form of role-play between two consenting adults and nothing more.
Helena Lorimer, Sexual Health and Wellness Expert at JOUJOU