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Paraphilia and Kink Among AB/DLs

By B. Terrance Grey


Historically, sexology has dealt with two groups, those who's sexual drive could be justified as necessary to preserve the species ("heterosexual") and those who's drive could not ("paraphilic"). Generally, this justification was used in leu of a biological explanation of why heterosexuality occurs. Similarly, the paraphilias were viewed as relatively static, the results of some unknown biological or psychological causes.

This study was an etiological exercise involving three hypothetical adult babies that might be dressed as a baby girl: A female, a male who was interested in dressing as or being a woman, and a male with no interest in dressing as a woman, outside of dressing as a baby girl. While the different backgrounds might have influenced how important they considered various aspects such as sexuality, control, and babyhood were initially, the results suggest that these initial differences were largely or completely obscured by later changes.

These results also show the development of new interests. Interests in masochism, crossdressing, furry fandom, and fetishism developed in Adult Babies and/or Diaper Lovers (AB/DLs) who had previously not had those interests. Similarly, masochists, crossdressers, furries, and fetishists developed new interests in diapers and/or babyhood.

These results confirm previous research that the AB/DL community includes both paraphilic and non-paraphilic segments. Depending on the rates at which interests develop, the non-paraphilic population in these communities might become substantially larger than the paraphilic population.


Sections: Method - Results and Discussion - Conclusion and Limitations

Edit 28 December 2016: This paper was updated as part of the tenth year standards update. One figure was replaced with text. The methods section was expanded and a paragraph on limitations was added. Section titles were changed and text moved to match APA guidelines.

The term "paraphilia" was coined by Wilhelm Stekel as an alternative to "perversion." It referred to a condition that caused a deep, driving desire, similar to heterosexuality, but not reproductively effective. These drives were stigmatized, and often carried social and legal consequences. Some older infantilists and diaper fetishists have spent decades trying to quit and be normal.

With the historic persecution, prejudice, and isolation, a map of the paraphilias would describe a static and spartan landscape. A discrete list of specific and largely unchangeable paraphilias was expected. These lists traditionally grouped paraphilias by their interest: masochism, fetishism, etc.

Paraphilias might be rooted in genetic or prenatal factors, surfacing and becoming more defined though childhood into the teens. These paraphilias had a few common properties, such as usually having an early age of onset, and mostly occurring among men. Previous studies of AB/DLs have shown that 85% are male (91% including transgendered males and male-to-female transsexuals, Grey, 2008). However, these studies have also shown another paradigm at work. 3% of AB/DLs report having developed the interest after being exposed to AB/DL-related practices or adult diapers, and they reported a substantially later age-of-onset range (Grey, 2009a). In addition to onset age, a disinterest in diapers has been suggested as an indication of a non-paraphilic AB/DL (Grey, 2008). The development of new interests, apart from any indwelling paraphilia, isn't a new discovery: They are popularly known simply as kinks.

Method

As an etiological exercise, this study will contrast three distinct groups of AB/DLs using data from the author's second survey. The three groups are 1) AB/DLs born female, 2) transgendered male AB/DLs, including male transvestites and male-to-female transsexuals, and 3) non-transgendered male AB/DLs who enjoy being crossdressed as a baby. For the sake of brevity, this study will refer to the third group as sissies, although in common use this might include some of the second category as well. While etiologically different, all three might appear the same, perhaps even wearing the same frilly, pink party dress. For contrast, a fourth group will be presented in analysis - AB/DLs born male who do not enjoy crossdressing.

This study used data from the second survey of the AB/DL survey series, as previously detailed by the author (Grey, 2009b). The 64-question online survey was composed and posted to the Internet at the author's website, understanding.infantilism.org. The questions briefly explored interests, practices, and backgrounds of AB/DLs. The survey was announced to a number of email and web-based AB/DL communities. Participation was voluntary and anonymous.

It included questions on the importance of babyhood, control, and sexuality in AB/DL-specific games scenes, and fantasies. It also included questions about other interests, such as crossdressing, masochism, etc.

A total of 997 responses were received for this survey, excluding responses from potential minors and probable duplicates. Of these, 737 self-identified as AB/DLs and completed all the relevant questions. The questions relevant to this paper are self-identification on the AB-to-DL range (S2Q3); sex (S2Q4); timing of interests in masochism (S2Q22), crossdressing (S2Q24), furry fandom (S2Q27), and other fetishes (S2Q29); the meaning of crossdressing (S2Q23); and the importance and change in importance of various aspects (S2Q48-57). These included 65 AB/DLs born female, 36 transgendered male AB/DLs, and 243 non-transgendered male AB/DLs who enjoy being crossdressed as a baby.

Erratum 22 Jan 2017: For one month, this paper listed the sample size as 715 instead of 737. This value was mistakenly not replaced when the paragraph was adapted from Birthorder of AB/DLs.

The results included here will be of AB/DLs only: While it would be interesting to contrast AB/DLs and non-AB/DLs, few non-AB/DLs completed the survey.

Results and Discussion

The most direct question that can be used to differentiate one adult baby in frills from the others is to ask whether he or she crossdress as a baby mainly for the humiliation, mainly to express their femininity, etc. As shown in Figure 1, male sissys are more likely to report that their crossdressing as a baby is mainly for humiliation. Interpreting the results for the other groups is more problematic, because the females that crossdressed would be dressing as males. This would also true of some of the male transvestite/male-to-female transsexual group, particularly after sex reassignment surgery.

Figure 1 This bar chart contrasts the meaning of crossdressing for three groups of AB/DLs, showing percentage that it reported the crossdressing to be mainly a source of humiliation (left) or an expression of femininity (right).
Figure 1, Meaning of Crossdressing. This bar chart contrasts the meaning of crossdressing for three groups of AB/DLs, showing percentage that it reported the crossdressing to be mainly a source of humiliation (left) or an expression of femininity (right), based on S2Q4 and S2Q23. The groups are AB/DLs born female (Female), male-born AB/DL transsexuals and transvestites (M TS/TV), male AB/DL sissies (M Sissy), and Other AB/DL. Percentages are of each group of AB/DL. Vertical lines show the standard error.

Importance of Aspects

A more general approach would be to consider the importance of various aspects in AB/DL-specific games scenes, and fantasies. The aspects surveyed were the feel, sound, and smell of diapers; sex; being under another's control; babyhood; and convenience. In addition to the current importance, participants were asked if the importances had increased, decreased, or stayed the same. If these importances were mainly rooted in a static biological or deep psychological cause, they would be mostly unchanging and might be used to differentiate one adult baby from another.

Figure 2 -This is a bar chart shows, as a percentage of AB/DLs, how many reported an aspect as either Important or Very Important, and that the importance had increased; or that an aspect was Tolerable or Must Be Absent, and that the importance had decreased.
Figure 2, Aspects Polarization. This bar chart shows, as a percentage of AB/DLs, how many reported an aspect as either Important or Very Important, and that the importance had increased (the bars on the left); or that an aspect was Tolerable or Must Be Absent, and that the importance had decreased (the bars on the left). Those who reported an aspect to be neither positive or negative are not shown. Values are based on S2Q48-57. Percentages are of the AB/DL population. Vertical lines show the standard error.

However, as shown in Figure 2, these importances are changing. Clearly, the importance of feel, sound, and smell, as well as the importance of convenience, tended to increase, while the trend in importances of sexuality, control, and babyhood was to became more polar. That is, they were important and becoming more important for some, unimportant and becoming less important for others. Both changes obscure the original importances.

Figure 3 contrasts the current importance of sexuality with the rate of change. The vertical axis shows the percentage of AB/DLs who reported sexuality as being either important or very important to AB/DL-specific games scenes, and fantasies. The horizontal axis shows the flux. The flux is the number who reported an increase, minus the number who reported a decrease, divided by the number of responses. This gives a result from 1 (all increasing) to -1 (all decreasing). A result of zero would mean all unchanging or an equal number increasing and decreasing.

Figure 3 - This bar chart compares the distribution of family size (# of children) reported by AB/DLs with expectations based on US Census data, compensated for birth year, but not parental
ethnicity or education level.
Figure 3, Sexuality Importance vs. Flux. This scatter plot shows the distribution of importance and flux of sexuality for four groups in AB/DL games, scenes, and fantasies. The data points are for AB/DLs born female (Female), male-born AB/DL transsexuals and transvestites (M TS/TV), male AB/DL sissies (M Sissy), and Other AB/DL. Flux and importance values are based on S2Q50-51.

Given that the importance is based on only five survey options and the horizontal only three survey options, the closeness of the linear regression is surprising: R2 = .991. The linear relationship between importance and flux suggests that a significant part of the present importance is due to the flux. That is, for a sizable portion of the AB/DL community, the importance or disinterest in sexuality developed later.

Figure 4 - This scatter plot shows the distribution of importance and flux of control and babyhood for four groups in AB/DL games, scenes, and fantasies.
Figure 4, Control and Babyhood, Importance vs. Flux. This scatter plot shows the distribution of importance and flux of control and babyhood for four groups in AB/DL games, scenes, and fantasies. The data points are for AB/DLs born female (Female), male-born AB/DL transsexuals and transvestites (M TS/TV), male AB/DL sissies (M Sissy), and Other AB/DL. Flux and importance values are based on S2Q52-55.

In contrast to Figure 3, which showed the importance of sexuality simply diverging, Figure 4 shows a more complicated state of flux. For a male sissy adult baby, the importance of babyhood could be interpreted as being high compared to the flux. It deviates from a best fit line defined by the other three babyhood points by roughly 10%. This could be interpreted as an indication that the male sissy adult baby started off considering babyhood more important than other groups, on average. The importance might have been distinguishable at some time in the past. Even if this were the case, it has now converged: All three adult babies in frills now place a similar importance on babyhood, and so this property can not be used to differentiate one from another.

Interests

The survey also included questions on related interests in masochism, crossdressing, furry fandom, and fetishes. In addition, it asked participants if they were interested in diapers and/or babyhood before the other interests developed. The results are shown in Figure 5. The data on fetishes is filtered to include only fetish items that were not associated with the participant's infancy.

Figure 5 - This bar chart shows, for AB/DLs who reported having the respective other interest as well, which developed first. The left bar represents those who reported developing the other interest after already having an interest in diapers and/or babyhood. In contrast, the right bar represents those who developed the other interest before. Other options included the two developing at the same time, and the two being the same interest.  These are not shown.
Figure 5, Interests. This bar chart shows, for AB/DLs who reported having the respective other interest as well, which developed first. The left bar represents those who reported developing the other interest after already having an interest in diapers and/or babyhood. In contrast, the right bar represents those who developed the other interest before. Other options included the two developing at the same time, and the two being the same interest. The data for AB/DLs is from S2Q22, S2Q24, S2Q27, S2Q29. Percentages are of AB/DLs who reported an interest in both being an AB/DL and the other interests individually. Vertical lines show the standard error.

With the exception of fetishes, the clear mode is for the other interest to have developed after the participant was already an AB/DL. For this discussion, we'll call the first interest primary and the other distinct, later interests as secondary.

The differences in the rates of new interest development might be due to 1) differing population sizes, 2) differing probability of development, and/or 3) sampling effects. The first explanation would be consistent with a primarily masochistic population that was roughly one-seventh the size of the primarily AB/DL population. This is considered unlikely: It would involve infantilism being more prevalent than masochism. Similarly, it is also considered unlikely of the crossdressing, furry, and (non-diaper) fetish populations.

The third explanation, that the contrasts are due to sampling, is more likely. It is possible that individuals preferentially monitor forums and websites dedicated to their primary interest. As a result, those with a secondary interest in diapers and/or babyhood might be less likely to complete a survey announced in AB/DL forums. They also might be less likely to self-identify as AB/DLs.

The second explanation is also plausible, and would magnify its own effects. Simply put, it involves different practices being tried at different rates, due to visibility or other factors. Once tried, the interests might have differing probabilities of developing. Some practices might be enjoyed by most who try them, while others are enjoyed only by a few. The interested population would then grow, becoming larger and more visible. This increased visibility would then increase the rate at which people tried the practice, magnifying the effect.

While the rates might be uncertain, it is clear that new interests are being developed.

Conclusions and Limitations

The results show a clear transience. While there is no indication of new paraphilias forming in individual adults, the results show that individuals are able to form new interests in diapers and/or babyhood, masochism, transvestism, fetishism, etc. Additionally, among AB/DLs, the importance of control, babyhood, and sexuality change over time. For the three AB/DL groups explored, the importances of control and babyhood showed some indication of a prior contrast, obscured by later changes. For sexuality, the relationship between importance and flux was surprisingly linear, suggesting that the present value is mostly due to flux.

For kinky individuals without an underlying paraphilia, or paraphilic individuals who have seen their own tastes shift over time, these findings aren't surprising. They would have experienced this transience firsthand.

For communities, this transience might cause a demographic shift. Unlike paraphilia, kink has growth potential. The distribution of interests might shift from those inherent in the base paraphilias, to practices that are more widely experimented with or tastes that are more easily acquired. Decreasing stigmas against diversity, and increased visibility due to the Internet, would both contribute to this growth potential. In terms of population, communities that include both paraphilia and "kink" might become less paraphilic on average, and more "kinky", unless this transience is checked by some other factor.

For researchers, this transience will make scientific research more difficult. Currently, there is no certain, scientific criteria for separating paraphilic and non-paraphilic populations. Indicators such as the age at which desires surfaced, or the presence of distress or impairment, can not be used without impacting results and circularly reinforcing that indicator.

Overall, this individual transience might cause populations to shift away from the paraphilias to the kinks. This shift would be away from hypothetically understandable biological or psychological causes to mere maters of taste and experience. It would be away from something that might have been inborn (possibly due to genetic or prenatal factors) to something communicable. This shift would require, but also would feed, a movement from persecuted secrecy to something more mainstream.

While illustrating the importance of this transience, this study was not able to quantify its magnitude. It was based on retrospective data: It would not capture any forgotten or unnoticed changes, perhaps from early childhood. Furthermore, a source variation is neglected by grouping AB/DLs into groups presumed to be homogeneous. If the figures on flux and importance had shown each AB/DL individually, the R2 values would have been lower. Additionally, because the survey was of AB/DLs, not the general population, the proportions of developed interests might have been affected. It is possible, for example, that a large number of masochists who developed AB/DL-like interests exists, but did not participate in the AB/DL survey. While the results might be generally applicable, the targeted sample did not show this generalizability directly. However, at least for AB/DLs, the data suggests that the development of new interests, and changes to the importance of aspects, are much more common than the development of new paraphilias.

Email BitterGrey[mail] Last Update: 22 Jan 2017| First: 17 Feb 2012


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[icon] Books and Other References:
  1. Grey B T (2008) Girls, Boys, and Diapers Retrieved from http://understanding.infantilism.org/surveys/girls_boys_and_diapers.php
  2. Grey B T (2009a) Trauma and Exposure Among AB/DLs Retrieved from http://understanding.infantilism.org/surveys/girls_boys_and_diapers.php
  3. Grey, B. T. (2009b) Diaper Preference among AB/DLs Retrieved from http://understanding.infantilism.org/surveys/abdl_diaper_preferences.php

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