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Understanding Infantilism (.org)

Gender Disorders and the Paraphilias

Quoted from: Gender Disorders and the Paraphilias
Written by: William B. Arndt, Jr.
Published by: unk.
Copyright Notice: This material is copyrighted. What is reproduced here is intended to permit access to those who would otherwise be unable. It is not to be reproduced for profit.


Infantilism is the achieving of erotic feelings by being treated as an infant. Infantilists are not to be confused with pedophiles who are sexually aroused by infants. This paraphilia combines features of fetishism, transvestism, and masochism; it is mentioned as a form of sexual masochism in DSM-III-R.

The only sources of information on this paraphilia are a few case reports and publications written for infantilists, such as True Baby Experiences, and The Play Pen. There are infantilist clubs, newsletters, correspondence networks, and mail-order houses that sell adult baby items. Magazines catering to this group include Bladder Chatter, and Crib Sheet .

The median age of a sample of infantilists was thirty-nine. Many had partners who babied them; half were bisexual or homosexual. their favorite baby things were diapers, rubber or plastic pants, baby oil and powder, nursing bottle, pacifier, and rubber sheets. Although about a third had sought professional help, most of these did not want to be treated for their paraphilia, but for the related symptoms such as depression (Speaker, 1986).

The infantilist may be attempting to reclaim affection from mother; dependency and sexuality become fused. A young college student would break into houses where he knew a baby lived, don diapers and defecate in them; having an orgasm with or without masturbation. He fantasized that an older woman who resembled his mother was in the background "smiling approval" at him. He started putting on diapers and defecating in them at age seven when his sister was born, beginning again when he was about thirteen. he was popular with his friends, athletic, sociable, and well mannered. He claimed he petted and had intercourse regularly (Malitz, 1966).

Wearing diapers has been proceeded by cross-dressing and associated with gender identity confusion and temporal lobe involvement. A twenty-four-year-old male began cross-dressing at the age of ten, and at fifteen started putting on diapers and sucking from a bottle. This gave him a feeling of well-being and confidence. He thought he would turn into a woman. Since eighteen months of age, he had had grand mal temporal lobe epilepsy (Pettit and Burr, 1980).

A physically retarded young man began receiving hormone injections when he was about fifteen years old. Three months later he started wearing diapers under his clothing and using a baby bottle. Each time he would have an erection, and frequently an orgasm. After five months of therapy he gave up diapers but began wearing feminine clothes for about one year after (Dinello, 1967).

A twenty-year-old, who suffered brain damage at the age of five, began his infantilist behavior when he was thirteen. Every three to four months he puts on diapers, sometimes a female wig, and sucks a feeding bottle. Erection and ejaculation result (Bethell, 1974).

A desire to remerge with mother was suspected in one case. A young married man had worn diapers during early adolescence and wore them again along with rubber pants at age twenty-three. Wearing them all day kept him in a state of continuous erection. Sometimes he deliberately urinated in them, keeping the wet diapers on. He had had incestuous relations with his younger sister when he was fifteen (Tuchman and Lachman, 1964).

In one case, infantilism was coupled with obscene calls to mothers of small children. Posing as a school physician, a twenty-one-year-old called mothers of schoolchildren. He told them that their child had soiled themselves in school, and instructed them to keep the child in diapers. After his calls, he would anoint himself with baby oil and powder, put on diapers and rubber pants, recall his phone conversation, and masturbate. Occasionally he would defecate in the diapers. His favorite fantasy was that he was eight years old and had soiled himself. As punishment his mother made him put on diapers and treated him like an infant. He enjoyed the feeling of dependency (Fensterheim, 1974).

A survey of letters from infantilists published in specialty magazines ( True Baby Letters and Experiences, 1985a) indicates that many were bed-wetters as children- "Like most adult babies I've heard of, I began to wet the bed at night" (p. 9). Dressing and acting like a baby provides an escape from the adult world to the helplessness and dependency of infancy. "Diapers are so important to the whole infantilism experience, that I can't see someone who's trying to recapture that feeling of helplessness and dependency settle for anything than a thick, absorbent cotton diaper!" ( True Baby Letters and Experiences, 1985b, p. 15).

Last Update: 08 March 1997

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