> Etc. >
Understanding Infantilism (.org)

Triangle Update

By BitterGrey

In 1995, this website opened with a quick XPaint sketch that mapped out the emphases of ABDLs.

The 1995 abdl triangle

Now, after over a decade, an update is more than due. This update would have two goals: 1) to include common terms such as AB, DL, etc, while reducing the dependence on concepts that might not be universally shared, such as the distinction between transvestism and fetishism. 2) better define the boundary (or lack thereof) between ABDL and the other paraphilias.

This first involves proposing five definitions, specific to this context.

Primary examples

To probe out what impact these definitions have, let's apply them to some hypothetical examples.

Interest Placement
Example 1: A man finds the thought of diapers especially arousing. This example has a clear focus on diapers as an object. It can be considered a fetish. He would most likely be a DL, but might also be an AB at other times.
Example 2: A man finds diapers arousing, sort of like an artificial vagina. Clearly, finding a simulation of a vagina erotic isn't a fetish. In this example, the diapers could be replaced with another means of simulating a vagina. He wouldn't necessarily be an ABDL, but an ordinary person who was willing to try diapers.
Example 3: A man wants to be a baby, curled up happy and contented in his mothers arms. For years, he has persistently and specifically wanted this. Men like this have been called ~vestic-infantilists or diapervestites. For them, diapers help to express an alternate identity that they assuming for a time. Like a transvestite, he shifts into a headspace that matches the costume. He becomes a baby. The diapers are involved as part of the change in role.

This example would be distinct from that of example #1, where the focus was on the objects. He would be an AB, although he might be a DL at other times.
Example 4: A man enjoys curling up as a baby, as a way to get away from daily pressures. Sort of like fishing. Escapism is common. Since diapers are stigmatized by the adult population, few would engage in AB play simply as an alternative to golf or fishing. However, if the man is being honest, he might actually be in it for the escapism. Perhaps on a non-rainy day, he would choose to be on the golf course or the lake. In which example, he wouldn't necessarily be an ABDL; he would simply enjoy escapism.
Example 5: A submissive man enjoys the humiliation of being made to wear a diaper by his mistress If humiliation is the central factor here, it might be better to consider this person a masochist, instead of an ABDL. Similarly, a submissive may also the humiliation of being forced to cross-dress, without necessarily being a transvestite.
Example 6: A submissive enjoys being reduced to mother's baby boy. In contrast to the previous example, diapers play a central and non-interchangeable role here. In this example, the change in headspace is more subtle. The 'baby boy' might be physically stronger and financially more independent than the 'mother', but takes on a submissive headspace.

This example differs from example #3 in that the headspace and role don't quite match. Example #3 involves a baby-like headspace being happy and content as a baby. Example #6 might involve the headspace of a small boy, being forced to be a baby. The diapers are a reminder of control and privileges lost.

Example #6 could be considered an AB, since a specific headspace is necessary. However, since it isn't an infantile headspace, so the terms doesn't match as well.
Example 7: A man desires to wear diapers. He wants to simply wear diapers more than anything else. He doesn't regress, doesn't feel a sense of loss, and isn't particularly aroused by them. We could speculate that diapers once meant more to him, and so had a more clear emphasis. However, right now the example is relatively non-descript. Since the focus is on the diapers, not what the diapers show about him, it seems reasonable to group him near the 'object' corner, but somewhat inwards from the edge.

A proposed Update

Not surprisingly, this gives a three-cornered space, the modified triangle. When labeled for what the diapers meant, the corners would be called object/role/loss. When labeled by headspace, they would be ordinary headspace/matched headspace/unmatched headspace. The 'corners' of ABDL would overlap fetishism/transvestism/masochism for specific understandings of what these were. The lines defining the triangle are not absolute. For example, there isn't much difference between an AB who's masochistic and a masochist who touches on some AB-like scenes. 'Object' was moved to the right, to avoid labels reading DL/AB. 'Loss', near the realm submissives and bottoms, was placed on the lower left. ABDLs would then be somewhere within the triangle.

Updated 2007 object/role/loss triangle

This triangle also suggests two individual thresholds for 'headspace age-inappropriate behavior'. The first relates to sexuality, and the second to bondage.

Quick summary of ABDLs

With reference to the above triangle, we can quickly summarize the three corners outlining ABDL interests.

OBJECT (lovers with toys)
On one corner, we have those that emphasize the OBJECT. This corner is a typical, sexual fetish. Diapers are seen as an erotically charged item. This corner may or may not involve other items, roleplay, etc. Depending on individual tastes, the DL, his partner, or both would wear diapers.

ROLE (mommy/baby)
A second corner emphasizes the change in ROLE. The diaper, and sometimes other pieces of adult-sized baby clothing, are used to express a change in the infantilist role, mindset, and identity. He is a baby. This corner is most similar to transvestism, with two exceptions. The first being that adult babies assume the role of a baby, not a woman. The second is that unlike transsexuals, infantilists can't surgically alter their age.

May involve mother/baby roleplay, or the wish to. Those in an infantile headspace might not be receptive to sex, but some adult babies are more liberal about changing headspace than others.

Technically grouped as a masochism, but this grouping may cause problems to those that have a narrow definition of masochism. While a lot of control is given up when accepting a baby's role, this corner doesn't involve a sense of loss.

LOSS (mother/son)
The third corner, in contrast, does involve a sense of loss. The child is aware that he is under mother's control. He may have the mindset of an older child, being treated as a baby.

This may involve bondage, but it would be headspace-age-inappropriate. Thresholds for this vary and must be respected. A crib may work in a mother/son scene, however, a cage would generally not. Exceeding one's threshold violates the infantile headspace, converting the scene from an infantilistic one to a more conventional sadomasochism scene.

2014 - A further update

The ABDL triangle was again updated as part of the 2014 rewrite of the "What is Infantilism?".

A triangle relating a paraphilic infantilism, emphasizing change in role or loss of control, to a diaper fetish, emphasizing diapers as objects.  In some ways, the corners are similar to transvestism, masochism, and not surprisingly fetishism.

The 2014 update was much more subtle than the 2007 update. Unless side by side, the differences might be overlooked.

2015 - A different spin

A triangle depicting the range of ABDL emphasis.  The corners are diapers (as objects), blissful babyhood (as a role), and diaper humiliations (as loss).

The rewrite of the ABDL Primer in 2015 introduced an alternate version of the triangle with more illustration and fewer terms. It was intended to express the same triangle in a way that was more accessible to non-ABDLs. Time will tell if it was successful.

Do you have Questions, tips, suggestions, or other feedback?