What is Age Play? A Complete Guide To Littles, Middles & Bigs
As you've come to this article, the question on your lips must be "what is age play?"
Keep reading to learn more about the meaning of age play and a brief introduction to a variety of roles within this genre. You will also get to learn about information on the different styles of play within this diverse subset of D/s relationships; tips on how to get the most out of your play; activities that your Little may enjoy and outfits that are associated with each age level. Finally, we answer some FAQs about age play and dispel some myths.
Meaning of Age play
At its most basic level, age play is a spectrum of activities that consenting adults can indulge in. Age play does require a power exchange, the Little hands over responsibility to the caregiver, whether this is for a set period or indefinitely. It is a subset of dominance and submission dynamics. Although this can be physically intimate, there doesn't need to be a sexual element to ageplay.
Roles in Age play
Age play offers adults the space to behave at a certain age, whether this is through regression or playing the role. Starting from adult baby and progressing through Little, Middle, and Big. Adult baby is, as the name suggests, baby aged. A Little is most commonly 0-10, a Middle is 11-17 and a Big is an older teen. Responsibilities in each category reflect the assumed age of the player and will tend to focus on play. The role of the Big, or caregiver, is normally a parent such as Mommy or Daddy, they must respect the needs and boundaries of their partners, provide a safe and nurturing space for them to relax into the Little space.
Types of Age play
There are three typical types of age play. While they lie on a spectrum, this shouldn't limit you from finding what feels right in your dynamic.
On one end of the spectrum, you have regressive age play. This is where practitioners will go to Little space, and regress to a much younger age. Little space is usually described as a non-sexual space, where they can express their natural behaviors. For these Littles, they have the heart of a child and remove the mask of adult that they must wear in day-to-day life. Here they can show their most vulnerable side in a safe and nurturing environment, under the watchful eye of their caregiver.
For most Littles, this would be a natural state of being, rather than an act. A way of embracing their childlike heart rather than putting on an act and playing the role of a child. Punishment may happen, but this would be in terms of a scolding or time out. They would more likely experience nurturing, or praise and reward. Younger Littles may also be involved in the nappy play, they would be described as an adult baby diaper lover, ABDL for short. They could be dry, wet, or full use, depending on the pre-negotiated boundaries discussed with their caregiver.
In the center of the spectrum, there is roleplay. This is where practitioners act out roles to create playful scenes. It is implied that these characters have a larger age difference, and while these can dip into the Little role, they tend not to be in Little space. This could include but is not limited to, daddy-daughter, teacher-student, even carer and an elderly patient. There are really no rules, other than respecting boundaries.
Taking the teacher-student roles as an example, a schoolboy may be called to his teachers' office for not completing homework. They may be punished with a cane or tasked to write lines, and later to seek forgiveness through pleasuring their teacher orally. There tends to be a balance between sexual and non-sexual, but the emphasis is on losing their inhibitions. The game can come from pain, humiliation, perhaps even a battle of wills.
Dark Age play
On the far end of the spectrum to Little space is Dark Age play. Many who enjoy Little space are unlikely to include the sexual element, however, those who enjoy dark age play generally will do. Dark age play is, as the name suggests, great for exploring the more tabooed fantasies and edge play. This may be incest roleplay, "forced orgasm" and sexual discipline. Many people find the discomfort of acting out taboos deeply satisfying sexually.
Ideas for Age play Practice
Each age comes with its own activities, here are some ideas you might like to try.
An adult baby may be wrapped in a blanket, cuddled while being fed a bottle. Or perhaps they would dress in a sleeping bag, and suck on a pacifier while being sung a lullaby before being put down for a nap. They may also enjoy diaper play, whether this is dry, wet, or full use. Adult babies are very reliant on their caregivers for their every need.
With innocence, obvious playfulness and distinctly childlike differences Littles are often the easiest to identify. There are lots of activities that Littles will enjoy when they regress. Reading a picture book together can be lots of fun. If the Little enjoys quiet time, then coloring in with crayons, a tea party for their teddy bears, or a game of stacking blocks. When it comes to mealtimes, they may need their food cut into small pieces, to drink out of sippy cups, or be made to eat their greens. They may be scolded gently for knocking their food on the floor or receive positive reinforcement for good behavior like asking to be taken to the toilet.
Middles, on the other hand, are less playful in a childlike way. They take on a more teenage persona. Perhaps they speak in a certain way, using "lol" for example. Unlike Littles, who could have their clothes chosen for them, Middles are more likely to have their own, distinctive style. They may also enjoy more independence in the kitchen, like baking cakes. The TV that they watch would be older cartoons and teenage shows, also they may be more inclined to video games than their younger peers. However, with age comes teenage rebellion and sassiness, answering back and pushing boundaries. This is the classic brat age, and discipline may change from gentle scolding to over-the-knee spankings.
Age play Clothing
In a dynamic, the caregiver would often take responsibility for deciding what their Little will wear. The outfits they choose will depend upon the age of their Little, the style of play that they enjoy, and the boundaries which are set in place.
A strict headteacher may want their students in a little school dress. This is a common fantasy for newcomers to ageplay. Mainstream nightclubs often host back-to-school nights, so it is easier to envision yourself in these clothes. And to source the outfits. A short skirt and blouse, or a pinafore dress, paired with thigh-high stockings, ankle socks, and patent leather school shoes complete the look.
A Mummy may dress her Little boy in a school uniform, or perhaps a football kit. Defining specific roles with outfits can make the vulnerable or nurturing side easier to access for the caregiver, and allow them to get into the right headspace.
The younger the age that the Little regresses to, the cuter the outfits become. Pastel shades, soft fabrics, and clothing that is easy to change in case of spills or other accidents are important. If your Little's age is pre-school, they will need help with dressing. In this case, adult babygrows and vests with poppers will be important. This means that the Little doesn't need to step out of Little space in order to help their caregiver dress them. These are available from specialty shops such as privatina-shop.com which provide a selection of high-quality clothing and accessories, alongside advice and a sense of community.
Age play FAQs
What is age play pride flag?
Many pride flags are associated with age play, but here is the most commonly used one. In the early 90s Mako Allen, a member of the age play community created the inaugural design. The pink and blue background represents the boys and girls who play the Little role. The heart represents the love and passion which is brought to dynamics through age play, and the white stripe represents purity and innocence.
Is age play illegal?
Age play is not illegal. It is a consensual activity between adults with capacity who give enthusiastic and informed consent. The emphasis is on reaching a childlike state of freedom and relaxation, rather than focussing on being a child.
Is age play a Pedophilia?
Age play is not a Pedophilia. Pedophilia is, by definition, sexual feelings directed towards children. A Little is not a child, but a consenting adult. And a caregiver wants to be with THEIR Little, rather than little children.
Is DDLG the same thing as age play?
Age play covers a range of relationship dynamics. While DDLG can feature in this, they aren't always the same thing. Ultimately, each relationship makes their own rules.