How “little” are you? Are you a baby who likes to be put in thick diapers, a sleeper, and given a bottle? Or are you a toddler who likes to run around in shortfalls, play with Lego and get more water on the floor than in the bath?
Now: what’s your “big” age? Is there a connection between these two things? Are you only allowed to be a baby when you’re in your 20s?
Does being ‘little’ change as you get older? Do you eventually ‘grow up’?
Do you feel like you’ll get older and your ‘little feelings’ will go away? Are you worried you won’t look cute enough, that no one will want to cuddle you, that you’ll pass some mysterious expiration date?
There Are No Limits to Being Little
This is a serious topic. And it’s connected to all kinds of things that have nothing to do with being a baby or little boy.
Society imposes certain notions of beauty. Technology amplifies the ‘spaces’ we find ourselves in. And we all carry with us fears and our own personal histories: fears of getting older, our own histories of being children and whether we received the care and attention that every chid deserves.
When you hear someone say “age is a state of mind” it’s really easy to dismiss them.
If it’s true, then why does it seem like everyone on Twitter (or Snap, or IG, or wherever) is a cute twink in thick padding?
It’s an odd attitude to hear from an ABDL: here are people who feel the most secure, who find the greatest happiness in being any age other than the age that they really are. They feel like toddlers trapped in a bigger body.
An adult baby or little boy has a magical power: the ability to enter a space where they can express joy, adventure, affection, and dependence. They defy the constraints of the numbers related to physical age. They can be creative and joyful, needy and giving, silly and cuddly.
And yet they somehow worry that they’ll turn a corner and all of those ‘little feelings’ will disappear.
Social Media is Not Society
And it made me sad to think that someone struggled to feel they still have a place in the ABDL community.
Everyone deals, at some point, with fears and anxieties related to getting older. But these issues aren’t helped by viewing the ABDL community through the sole prism of Twitter or IG.
The truth is that if you attend an ABDL meet-up or event you’ll find little ones on both age spectrums: from babies to little boys, and from 20 to 60 in “real” years.
Social media creates a self-reinforcing bubble of images: a competition to be the most cute, to post photos of the squishiest diaper, the most adorable onesie.
Have you ever resisted posting a photo? Maybe you’re 20 but you didn’t post because you thought a photo was unflattering, it wasn’t “cute enough”.
This self-editing can lead to an illusion: that the *real* ABDL community is always cute, always adorable, always super cuddly (and super squishy!)
Where Did All The “Older” ABDL’s Go?
When I was younger I used to love going out to clubs. I’d dance all night! But I used to wonder how horrible it must be to be older: clearly you life ends when you’re 30, otherwise there would be more older people out in the clubs dancing the night away.
And I think there’s a parallel to becoming an older ABDL: the joy and connection you get on social media (the dopamine rush of all those likes!) fades, and you get more out of, you know, meeting people.
I was talking to a Daddy from Atlanta recently. He’s the real deal and has high chairs and a nursery. And he’s part of a large circle of friends and visitors, most of whom are in their 40s (and older).
For him, social media doesn’t allow for real chat and communication. The thrill of the short-term dopamine hit of likes and scrolling through endless photos of squishy diapers doesn’t do it anymore. He’d prefer to grab a group of friends and organize a dinner: one where everyone is thickly padded!
The Healing Power of Being A Little One
But there’s something else at play here. And I say this based on my own experiences with little ones.
Sometimes, being ‘little’ can be a way to resolve issues related to anxiety, connection or acceptance. And sometimes little ones are able to find some small bit of healing through their ABDL experiences.
After, their needs change: they will always have a ‘little side’….and yet they become more comfortable with it. More creative. They don’t NEED to get approval in the same ways as they did before. They become comfortable with who they are.
I have always thought that little ones provide a gift to the world. They remind us that innocence, dependence and creativity are powerful things. They remind me that the “rules” of society (that we always need to be responsible, that we need to be ‘tough’, that we’re not allowed to cry) are choices.
And so, in my eyes, older ABDLs are like monk warriors: pathfinders, explorers, and courageous kiddos who refuse to grow up.