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Psychosexual Infantilism in Adults: The eroticization of regression Part 7

Section 7 of Thomas John Speaker's Doctoral dissertation "Psychosexual Infantilism in Adults: The eroticization of regression"

Psychosexual infantilism is a sexual variation in which diapers or other infant clothing and/or infant behaviors (such as enuresis) are found sexually arousing. The sexual behaviors of infantilists are similar to those of other fetishists in that arousal is generated by a non-human object. Describing infantilism as at fetish may not be technically correct in all cases, as wearing diapers may not be the exclusive or preferred method of achieving orgasm. Infantilists are likely to have other 'sexual scripts', conventional and variant, available to them as well as the infantilist script. Heterosexuality is an example of a conventional script. Dominance and, submission, the "erotic aspects of power", is a very common variant script; the infantilist is normally submissive to a "Mommy or Daddy" when acting out fantasies with a partner.

Infantilism has been described since the 1930's and was especially well-described by Steckel in the 1950's. These early writers were primarily psychoanalysts and their definitions and explanations were adequate for natural infantilists, but were somewhat less able to explain the 'time-travelers' (balancers). Behaviorists in the 1960's added a classical conditioning as an explanation of fetishes' origins, but large theoretical holes remained. It wasn't until the 1980's that holistic explanations for the creation and maintenance of fetishes were developed which were able to demystify cases with few experiential correlations and also the differences between rates of fetishism for male and female. Gosselin and Wilson developed this comprehensive new theory which appears to be substantiated by these case reports.

Infantilists prefer the style of baby clothes they wore, not what was used during adolescence or later, and infantilism has two primary scripts; infantile dress and submission to a dominant partner. Despite negative social sanctions toward infantilism as a sexual preference, the drive to involve a partner in acting out fantasies is very strong. Some partners participate willingly but most do not, and creating such an 'arrangement' requires substantial communications.

The average infantilist is a male in his late 30's who was enuretic as a child. Bladder control was achieved by age 5 but he returned to diapers voluntarily at age 14. He is now a college graduate in a white collar job. Sexually he practices infantilism with a partner as well as conventional heterosexuality. Infantilism involves wearing diapers and plastic pants several times a month, wetting occasionally, but masturbation frequently. Other infantile behaviors (bottle feeding, soiling, sleeping in a crib) are rare. The libido in infantilists is stronger than in controls according to reports and in frequency of fantasy reports.

Infantilists have created a support system for themselves utilizing correspondence networks, support groups, and a "small industry" turning out stories, newsletters, magazines, photos, tapes of infantilist fantasy, adult sized baby clothes and furniture. Professional. dominants will frequently list "infantilism" among specialties now, although few infantilists purchase their services. Various softcore magazines write about "Big Babies" regularly. Infantilism is coming out of the closet, but, like most fetishes, is still considered a highly variant preference.

Most infantilists reported infantilism caused problems in their relationships at some time although few sought therapy because of these problems. Psychotherapy is valuable in the treatment of the emotional side-effects of this preference, in building communication skills necessary to develop and maintain relationships and to deal with the hazards of compulsive and addictive sexual behavior.

It seems unlikely that the rates of infantilism are increasing but rather that more infantilists are making contact with each other and becoming slightly less secretive about their preferences. Accepting infantilism as an aspect of sexuality rather than as complete sexual orientation is likely to minimize blocks to conventional scripts and reduce negative emotional consequences.

Dissertation: 1986| HTML conversion: 16 August 2010

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