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Book review: The Age Play and Diaper Fetish Handbook

Book by Penny Barber, review by BitterGrey

The Age Play and Diaper Fetish Handbook

This book is available either on paper or in PDF from lulu.com. (After ordering, you may receive an email from 'noreply@lulu.com' thanking you for the order. The author's email address is in the 'reply to' field. This suggests that the author doesn't get access to email addresses until you respond. )

The book touches on a wide range of practical topics related to ageplay. It is more diaper-focused than some other books, but not to the exclusion of other aspects of ageplay. Penny Barber is a professional mommy with a practice in the San Francisco bay area. Her extensive experience is shown in this book. While littles are called "wards," the book doesn't have a clinical tone overall.

There is a wealth of practical tips in the book. Examples of the tips included are the warning that some fragrances can burn when used in a diaper, and planning a nursery's theme beforehand. Other good advice includes being careful not to make the partner feel like a mere "hook" on which fetish items are hung.

While largely devoted to tips and ideas, this book briefly touches on a few difficult topics, such as pedophilia. This is awkward but important, since for some, ageplay involves sex with partners roleplaying as minors. Penny Barber likened the contrast to that of BDSM and physical abuse.

Less problematic are the AB/DL triangles. In addition to presenting the the then-current triangle from Understanding.Infantilism.Org (used with permission), Penny Barber presents her own triangle. In contrast to role-object-control, the corners of Penny Barber's triangle are labeled vestism-fetishism-submission. In this, it is more similar to the 1995 version of Understanding.Infantilism.Org's triangle, which was labeled vestism-fetishism-masochism.

Penny Barber's vestism-fetishism-submission triangle

Penny Barber's Vestism-Fetishism-Submission triangle

The triangles are tools to express what particular AB/DLs are interested in, not a definition of what 'true' AB/DLs should be. They are descriptive, not proscriptive. As a result, there isn't a right or wrong version.

Careful readers might notice that 'change in role' moved from upper left in the current Understanding.Infantilism.Org triangle to lower left in Penny Barber's triangle. A change in role driven by roleplay could include a sense of loss, such as a man roleplaying as a boy who was forced to be infantile. However, changes in role aren't necessarily humiliating. Babies don't suffer baby humiliations.

A picture of Big Macintosh, a red stallion with yoke.

For discussion, let's take Big Macintosh, from "My Little Pony" "Friendship is Magic." He always wears a yoke. This could be considered a restraint device, denying him equal status among the ponies. It would then fall into the masochism/loss-of-status corner (lower left). Alternatively, it could be considered a liberating expression of his identity as a workhorse. Then it would fall into the vestism/role corner (upper left).

Both triangles can be effective if they trigger discussions about why this ambiguity occurs. Both are tools for discussion, neither right nor wrong.

Triangles and ponies aside, "The Age Play and Diaper Fetish Handbook" by Penny Barber is a good book overall, especially as a source for tips and ideas. It makes a decent attempt at being "The Ultimate Guilde to the World of AB/DLs."

Email BitterGrey[mail] Last Update: 12 November 2011 | First: 12 November 2011

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