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Mapping Paraphilic Infantilism - Background

By B. Terrance Grey

Sections: Abstract - Background - Results - Discussion - References

Part of the Survey Project at Understanding.Infantilism.Org

Many things, ranging from the human genome to the ocean floors, have been accurately mapped.  Maps are essential for communication, exploration, and understanding.  However, accurate maps are still needed for other aspects of human life.  Specifically, paraphilic infantilism and diaper fetishes have been described or generalized in many ways, but not accurately understood.

In 1910, something similar to paraphilic infantilism was described by R. Pettow, under the name "infantosexual transvestism."[2]  This observation included the generalization that "the patient seems usually to be a woman."  More recent descriptions have a more accurate ratio of 20 male paraphilic infantilists for each female.[1]  Descriptions have improved over time, but many are crippled by the assumption that paraphilic infantilists and diaper fetishists are a homogeneous group.

Roughly two decades ago, the terms "Adult  Baby" and "Diaper Lover" came into use among the ABDL community.  The Adult Baby to Diaper Lover spectrum was explored in one of the author's previous papers, "The Range Between AB and DL"[3].  Generalizing ABDLs along a continuum was more accurate than generalizing them onto one point.  However, this generalizing still had drawbacks, as those who reported being between AB and DL in general weren't always between AB and DL is particular properties. 

In 1995, the author presented a more detailed map of paraphilic infantilism and diaper fetishism.  The ABDL role/control/object triangle is shown in Figure #1.

A triangle relating paraphilic infantilism, emphasizing change in role or loss of control, to diaper fetishism, emphasizing diapers as objects.  In some ways, the corners are similar to transvestism, masochism, and -not surprisingly - fetishism.
Figure #1 - The ABDL Role/Control/Object Triangle

The triangle was based on an overview of published material, as well as the fiction and reported fantasies that were being posted to usenet's alt.sex.fetish.diapers.  These references tended to emphasize one of three themes, paralleling fetishes, masochism, and transvestism respectively.  This parallel also eased communication, since the common understanding of fetishes, masochism, and transvestism is at least superficially correct.  

ABDLs in the rightmost corner of the triangle focus on diapers as sexual objects, a fetish item.  Their fantasies center on what erotic things they (or they and their partners) would do with the diaper. 

ABDLs in the top corner use diapers to express their inner role, as a baby.  This is similar to how a transvestite assumes the clothing of a woman as part of assuming the role and identity. The exception being that these ABDLs realize that they can't change role surgically, as a transsexual might.  This theme tends to use first person language, since the diaper is a comment about the self - "I'm a baby".

ABDLs in bottom corner enjoy being deprived of adulthood, comfort, and control.   Diapers become a symbol that someone else is in control.    This might involve second-person language  -  "Mommy" does this or that.    This is analogous to someone who enjoys surrendering control to others, a masochist.   As is the case with masochism and transvestism, there is some apparent overlap.  For example, male transvestites crossdress to express their femininity, while male masochists are crossdressed to deprive them of their masculinity.
It is possible to be blissfully contented, erotically aroused, and ashamed at the same time, but not common. Except in such instances, these themes are momentarily exclusive.  However, the focus of a fantasy or scene could easily change from moment to moment.  If ABDLs averaged the emphasis over time, they would end up somewhere on the triangle.  The interests of individual ABDLs might also shift over time.

One drawback to the triangle is that both those who did not value any of the three themes, and those who valued all three equally, would be mapped to the middle of the triangle.

In 2003, Drs Pate and Gabbard published an article describing four cases involving diapers and masturbation[4].  The first case repeatedly stated his desire to be a baby, using mostly first-person language ("I want to be a baby"I").  Three other cases were drawn from other papers.  One of these cases fantasized about the approval of an older woman, who came to resemble his mother during analysis.[5]  Another didn't involve either a change in who he was, or the involvement of a mother figure.[6]  The fourth case was physically, psychologically, and socially retarded.[7]  The title, "Adult Baby Syndrome," was a reference to an episode of a television program, "ER."  The article stopped short of asserting that these dissimilar patients all had the same syndrome. 

Isolating the one or more syndromes present in ABDLs will first require finding similar patients.  Expressing this similarity will require a map of some form.

Email BitterGrey[mail] Last Update: 5/27/07| First 5/27/07

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