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The Range Between Adult Baby and Diaper Lover

By B. Terrance Grey

Since the development of the adult baby (AB) and diaper lover (DL) terminology, there has been little progress towards describing the interests of AB/DLs. This is important because discussing and understanding these interests requires an ability to describe them. These interests are commonly described as one point (a fetish), two points (adult baby or diaper lover), or a spectrum (AB to DL). The survey results presented here explore a few interests of AB/DLs, and show that these descriptions are of limited accuracy.

For example, on the subject of wetting and messing diapers, the interests of AB/DLs were not bounded by those of adult babies and diaper lovers. The group most likely to enjoy messing was neither only AB nor only DL, but equally AB and DL. Furthermore, on the subject of the sexual attraction of diapers, ABs were both less likely to report that diapers were sexually arousing, yet also more likely to report not being able to imagine a partner that was as sexually arousing as a diaper.

Collectively, these interests showed that the AB/DL community is more diverse and more textured than would be implied by the three descriptions commonly in use.

Sections: Method - Results and Discussion - Conclusion and Limitations

Edit 21 December 2016: This initially appeared as a preliminary paper, based on the first three weeks of data from the first survey. As part of the tenth year standards update, it has been updated to reflect the complete results. The figures and values in the results and discussion section have been updated. The changes were subtle except for the 3D bar charts, which were replaced with charts to 2D line charts for clarity. The summary and conclusion were edited for clarity and to reflect the now-significant results on sexuality. The methods section was expanded and separated from the background section. A paragraph on limitations was added. A figure on preferred role was added, and a second figure on messing was cut.

One obstacle to understanding Adult Babies and Diaper Lovers (AB/DLs) is their diversity. They don't appear to display one single syndrome. There is one defining difference, an interest in diapers and/or babyhood. However, tastes and interests vary greatly outside of that. They don't have a standard set of symptoms that would define a syndrome. There might be mechanical differences in what drives these interests. There are clearly differences in how these interests are practiced. In AB/DL communities, these differences are clear, but difficult to describe. Previous polls and surveys typically averaged across these differences, loosing the texture of the community. This is analogous to averaging all the colors of a rainbow, and ending up with white. Key diversities are lost.


To explore this diversity, a 38-question survey was composed and posted to the internet at the author's website, understanding.infantilism.org. Participation was voluntary and anonymous. It was announced to a number of email and web-based AB/DL communities including aby.com, ADISC.org, BBIF.org, dailydiapers.com, foxtalestimes.com, bedwettingABDL.com, and livejournal.com. Inclusion as an AB/DL was by self-identification (in survey 1, question #4, or S1Q4). The survey used a five-point scale, with Only DL and Only AB on opposite ends, with intermediate values of Mostly DL, Equally AB and DL, and Mostly AB. Three non-AB/DL options were offered, mainly in the hopes of providing some information on ageplayers or other contrasting groups.

Due to the author's background, the survey was implemented as a web form, which emailed raw responses to the author. Responses were collected from 2006 to 2008. Responses with an incomplete birth year and those that, based on the entered birth year (S1Q6), might have been from participants under 18, were deleted. Responses that were probably duplicates were also deleted. Given the implementation of the survey, it was possible for the participant to send exact duplicate responses simply by clicking on the button to submit the response multiple times.

Two numbers were entered by the participant as text, the birth year and the reported age of onset (S1Q15). The format of these were corrected if necessary. For example, a birth year entered as "62" would have been corrected to 1962. If an age range was entered for the onset age (e.g. "6-8"), it was replaced with a mid-range value, rounding down. If the combination of birth year and onset age range made it clear than the participant had entered an onset year instead of an age, the approximate onset age was calculated and used (e.g. for a 1963 birth year, 7 would be used for onset age instead of reported onset values of 1970 or 70). In all cases, the original answer was preserved next to the correction. Some blank values in responses were replaced with the text "blank" if necessary. Particularly in the case of onset age, this was necessary to differentiate an answer of 0 from a blank answer.

Essay answers were entered into larger text-entry windows, which might not have provided the participant with spell checking or other usability features. To compensate for this, papers quoting these text will correct spelling, punctuation, and other minor errors while preserving phrasing, terminology, etc. The end of the survey included a checkbox where the participant could opt-out from being quoted.

A total of 1489 responses were received for this survey, excluding responses from minors and probable duplicates. Of the 1397 that self-identified as AB/DLs, 1311 completed all the relevant questions. The questions relevant to this paper are self-identification on the AB-to-DL range (S1Q4); roleplay (S1Q24); fantasy role (S1Q25); regression (S1Q26); enjoyment of wetting (S1Q28); enjoyment of messing (S1Q29); AB/DL paraphernalia (S1Q30); the presence of sex in AB/DL games, scenes, and fantasies (S1Q32); and the sexual arousal of diapers (direct in S1Q33, relative to a sexual partner S1Q34, and relative to a sex toy S1Q35).

Chi-squared tests for independence were used to check questions or pairs of questions for statistical significance. Post hoc, the Benjamini-Hochberg procedure was used to test pairwise comparisons for significance within questions or question pairs that had shown a significant contrast. Benjamini-Hochberg was selected over a Bonferroni correction, because of its lower sensitivity to the family size. As it was not assumed a priori that the AB-to-DL groups would follow an AB-to-DL continuum, non-neighbors needed to be checked, possibly resulting in large family sizes. A 95% confidence and 5% false discovery rate was used.

Results and Discussion

The distribution of participant's reported AB-to-DL self-identification is plotted in Figure 1. Interestingly, it is superficially Gaussian. Defining DL only as 1, AB only as 5, and assuming equal intervals gives a Gaussian fit to DL only, Mostly DL, and Equally with a mean of roughly 2.1 (on the Equal side of Mostly DL), a standard deviation of roughly 0.9, and a scaling factor of 0.86. (Since the range below 1 would be binned to 1, but the range above 3 would be shared with 4 and 5, the mean of the fit curve is offset from the mode bin slightly.) This fit Gaussian would underestimate the values for Mostly AB (5% vs. 11%) and AB only (0.3% vs. 11%). (Since the curve is fit to 3 of 5 values expressed as percentages, it isn't coincidental that the scaling factor is similar to the shortfall in the other 2 values.)

Figure 1 - Sample sizes: This plot shows the distribution of AB/DLs, with the peak self-classifying as mostly DL.
Figure 1, AB to DL Distribution. The bars show the percent of the AB/DL population that self-identifies as each value, based on S1Q4. Vertical lines show the standard error.

Wetting and Messing

Wetting and messing diapers is a common practice among AB/DLs. Figure 2 shows the percent of AB/DLs who reported yes when asked about enjoying these practices. For wetting, this varies significantly for both wetting, Χ2(4)=10.01, p=.04, and messing, Χ2(4)=39.82, p<.001. However, no pairwise group contrasts were significant themselves for wetting. For messing, all groups except for Equally were significantly less likely than Only AB to enjoy messing, post hoc, Only DL Χ2(1)=26.52, p<.001; Mostly DL Χ2(1)=18.32, p<.001; Equally Χ2(1)=1.33, p=.2; Mostly AB Χ2(1)=8.03, p=.005. Those in between AB and DL reported an enjoyment of messing at frequencies that weren't necessarily in between those of ABs and DLs.

Erratum 19 Jan 2017: This paper previously included both yes and sometimes in the Χ2 for for wetting, Χ2(4)=10.40, p=.03, as opposed to only yes, the values shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2 - Wetting and Messing Diapers:  This figure shows the distribution of wetting and messing among AB/DLs.
Figure 2, Enjoyment of Wetting and Messing. The bars show the percentage of each AB/DL group that reported enjoying wetting or messing, based on (S1Q28) and (S1Q29). Vertical lines show the standard error.


The phrases adult baby and diaper lover developed informally, and so don't have singular, authoritative definition. One common differentiation is based on roleplay: Adult babies act like babies, while diaper lovers do not. This differentiation was stated in the survey question on AB-to-DL self identification (S1Q4). As a result, it is unsurprising that many DLs report rarely or never engaging in roleplay, many ABs report engaging in roleplay almost every time or sometimes, and many of those in between to report engaging in roleplay sometimes, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3 - Roleplay.
Figure 3, Frequency of Roleplay as part of AB/DL Activities. The lines show the percentage of each AB/DL group that reported various levels of roleplay, based on S1Q24. (*) Sometimes and Never are both the sum of two options. Vertical lines show the standard error.

The preferred roles reported by the AB/DL groups is shown in Figure 4. As might have been expected, the preferred roles follow the AB-to-DL identification somewhat.

Figure 4 - Role preference.
Figure 4, Preferred Role in Ageplay-related Fantasies. The lines show the percentage of each AB/DL group by their reported preferring specific roles in ageplay-related fantasies, based on S1Q25. Equally and Mostly AB did not differ significantly and so were combined for clarity, Χ2(5)=2.32, p=.8. Only AB was less similar to Mostly AB than Equally was, Χ2(5)=10.76, p=.06, and did differ significantly from Equally and Mostly AB combined, Χ2(5)=20.94, p=.001. (*) Non-caregiver teen or adult, and Caregiver, are each the sum of two options. Vertical lines show the standard error.

Similarly the trend in paraphernalia, shown in Figure 5, largely follows the trends in roleplay and preferred role: Most diaper lovers have only diapers and maybe plastic pants. They were largely without the costumes and props used in roleplay. An interesting exception are Toys, which were more common among Mostly ABs than among Only ABs, ad hoc Χ2(12)=382.28, p<.001; post hoc Χ2(1)=11.53, p=.001, both after binning Nothing right now and Diapers (and maybe plastic pants only) options.

Figure 5 - Paraphernalia:  This plot shows that DLs tend to have diapers only, with toys, adult baby clothes, etc becoming more common towards the AB end of the range
Figure 5, AB/DL Paraphernalia. The lines show the percentage of each AB/DL group that reported various collections of AB/DL items, based on S1Q30. The survey options were cumulative, with each expanding on the previous. This is compensated for in the figure, resulting in non-exclusive categories. (*)Toys includes two options. Vertical lines show the standard error.

In hindsight, S1Q30 should have been implemented as multiple-multiple-choice. This would have permitted a participant to report having AB clothes, but not toys, for example.


While roleplaying, some AB/DLs also regress. That is, in addition to dressing and acting like a baby, they try to think like a baby as well. In sadomasochism, this is called a change in headspaceDEF. The distribution of regression is plotted in Figure 6. As would be expected given the trend in roleplay, DLs tended not to try to regress, while others on the AB-to-DL range tried to regress with varying frequencies.

Figure 6 - Regression: This plot shows a gradient between DLs, who seldom regress, and ABs, who sometimes regress.
Figure 6, Regression. The lines show the percentage of each AB/DL group that reported regressing or trying to regress as part of roleplay, based on S1Q26. (*)Never is the sum of two options. Vertical lines show the standard error.


One ongoing debate, even among AB/DLs, is about whether or not the interests of AB/DLs are sexual and/or a fetish. The reasons why this summary might be favored are clear. Clinically, the sexual aspects might be emphasized to distinguish paraphilic infantilists from those who regress due to other causes. In more casual conversation, it is much easier to explain a fetish than paraphilia. However, some AB/DLs argue that their interests are neither sexual nor a fetish.

Figure 7 - Do You Find Diapers Sexually Arousing?
Figure 7, Are Diapers Sexually Arousing. For each AB/DL group, the bars show the percentage of participants who reported a) find diapers sexually stimulating, yes or sometimes, based on S1Q33; b) being unable to imagine a sex toy that was more sexually stimulating to you than a diaper, based on S1Q35; and c) being unable to imagine a partner who was sexually arousing than a diaper, based on S1Q34. Vertical lines show the standard error.

Most, but not all (90%, 1184), AB/DLs reported finding diapers sexually arousing sometimes or more, and this did vary significantly across the AB-to-DL range, Χ2(4)=81.74, p<.001. A majority (58%, 766) of AB/DLs found diapers more sexually stimulating than any other object, such as an artificial vagina or sex toy, and this did not vary significantly across the AB-to-DL range Χ2(4)=1.39, p=.8. A minority (11%, 142) of AB/DLs found diapers more sexually arousing than any person they could imagine and this did vary significantly across the AB-to-DL range, Χ2(4)=16.80, p=.002. The percentage of AB/DLs who could be described as having a diaper fetish would vary with the specific definition used.

AB Only was among the groups least likely to report considering diapers sexually arousing; post hoc, vs. Only DL Χ2(1)=31.12, p<.001; Mostly DL Χ2(1)=65.24, p<.001; Equally Χ2(1)=37.25, p<.001; Mostly AB Χ2(1)=5.58, p=.02. However, they were also among the groups most likely to report being unable to imagine a partner that was more arousing than a diaper; post hoc, vs. Only DL Χ2(1)=11.19, p=.001; vs. Mostly DL Χ2(1)=10.94, p=001.

Figure 8 - Sexuality During AB/DL Scenes:  This plot illustrates the distribution of AB/DLs.
Figure 8, Sexuality During Games, Scenes, and Fantasies. For each AB/DL group, the bars show the level of restriction placed on conventional sexual practices during AB/DL games, scenes, and fantasies, based on S1Q32. (*)Excluded is the sum of three survey options; excluding sexual practices when roleplaying, when regressed, and from all AB/DL games, scenes, and activities. Vertical lines show the standard error.

Figure 8 shows the distribution of the reported presence of sex (e.g. masturbation, intercourse, etc.) during structured AB/DL scenes, games and fantasies. 39% (516) of AB/DLs engage in unrestricted sex during their scenes, games, and fantasies. Another 28% (369) moderate what sexual practices are engaged in. For example, they might engage in masturbation, but not intercourse during the scene, game, or fantasy. In contrast, 10% (136) exclude sexuality entirely from AB/DL scenes, games and fantasies, and a further 13% (173) exclude sexuality either when roleplaying or regressed. They might still masturbate, have intercourse, etc. at other times. (The remaining 9%, 117, reported not engaging in AB/DL games, scenes, or fantasies.)

Conclusions and Limitations

This research is not without limitations. Most relevantly, any study that uses self-identification as an AB/DL as an inclusion criteria will tend to circularly reflect the common definitions of AB/DL. Resulting from a study of AB/DLs only, this paper would exclude potentially similar non-AB/DL populations and present the AB/DL population as isolated. These would be in addition to the limitations common to surveys of voluntary, self-selected participants.

The data presented here showed some limitations in the three more common ways in which the interests of AB/DLs are currently described. The first describes the interests of all AB/DLs as a fetish. The second describes them as two points, as might be expected from equating adult babyhood with paraphilic infantilism and being a diaper lover with diaper fetishism. The third presumes a linear spectrum between adult baby and diaper lover.

Showing that the interests of all AB/DLs can not be accurately generalized as a fetish was difficult, because many AB/DLs find diapers sexually arousing. However, a significant minority intentionally exclude sexual activities from their AB/DL games, scenes, and fantasies. This observation is neither consistent with the description of AB/DL interests simply as a diaper fetish, nor consistent with the description of AB/DL interests as inherently sexual in general.

An alternative to describing everything as one point (a fetish) is to describe it as two points (AB and DL). This also does not match the observations. While some indications of diaper fetishes appear less prevalent among adult babies, they are not absent.

Finally, describing the interests of AB/DLs as a spectrum between two points also has limitations, but better described the AB/DL population than the other two approaches. However, ABs appear to be divided on the topic of sexual arousal, an observation that is not consistent with an AB-to-DL spectrum description.

The results presented here show that the AB/DL panorama is not simply defined by one point, two distinct points, or a spectrum between two points. These results map out a few properties but fall short of explaining the terrain.

Email BitterGrey[mail] Last Update: 22 Dec 2016| First 4 July 2006

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