Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Age Play (Part Two)

Part One

Back problems. Leg problems. Rhinovirus. Hippovirus. Low flying UFO scattering my chickens all over the neighborhood.

Okay, that last one isn’t entirely accurate. I don’t have any chickens. And now that I think about it, I’m not sure that there’s such a thing as a hippovirus (although, if there was, I’m sure that I’d be the one to get it.). But the rest of it has kept me from sitting at the computer and writing blog entries. And even if they hadn’t kept me from writing, they’d’ve still kept me from climbing that fucking hill to get to the library to actually post blog entries. That’s why this is so incredibly late. Sorry.

* ** *** ** *

This is where the recap would go, if I was going to bother to do a recap. Instead, once this series is finished, I’m planning on coming back and editing these posts to include links to the ‘previous’ and ‘next’ posts in the series.

I will, however, go ahead and repeat one of the disclaimers from the Part One: Age play has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with pedophilia. Age play has nothing to do with actual biological children. It’s about adults playing with the concept of age as it relates to themselves. Legal adults pretending to be kids. And legal adults interacting with other legal adults who are pretending to be kids. Any sexual age play has no interaction with actual children.

I felt that needed to be restated, in case you missed Part One, and didn’t want to go back and read it. (Also, age play has nothing to do with dissociative identity disorder, more commonly known as multiple personality disorder.)

Investment in Role

For some people, age play is just another one of a handful of things in their sexual fantasy toolbox.

For example: Lingerie, bondage, role play, costumes, age play, feathers, talking dirty, blindfolds, porn, and fantasy rape. See? It’s in there, but so are a lot of other things. It doesn’t really stand out. It’s just one of a bunch of different options for whoever’s list that is.

For these people, there might be an outfit or two. She might have a little school girl outfit. He may have saved his letterman jacket from high-school football. Maybe there’s a teddy bear that gets pulled off of a shelf on age play night.

But the roles – if they go as far as to have put any thought into roles other than just ‘younger’ – are disposable. Be a little schoolgirl for the night. Fuck the little schoolgirl, then throw her away. Go back to being a 27 year old woman and go to sleep with a post-orgasmic smile on your face.

But then you’ve got the people for whom their age play isn’t just a casual thing. People who are invested in their roles. People with recurring characters in their fantasy play.

The same name each time. The same backstory. (Always evolving, always growing.) The same cast of ‘off-screen’ characters. (“Why are you crying?” “My brother was mean to me!” If they have a brother once, they’ll always have a brother.) These roles aren’t easily disposable. (Nothing you put work into ever is.)

And sometimes, it goes from being a role, to an actual persona. It’s not so much a role you play as a personality you develop. (One you choose to develop – not a disorder like the DID/MPD label that some people try to slap onto age players.) A personality that they can step into, wear like a second skin, and don’t even have to think about. No need to study your lines, like a role – you’re not playing your character, you ARE this character, as well as being your usual self.

The full-on age play persona is far more than just one choice from a list of kinks.

Of course, for still others, their age play persona doesn’t stem from a kink list in the first place. There’s simply no sexual component to it at all. (Yet another group of people who probably won’t have sex with me. Sigh.)

Persona Building

There’s this guy named Terry Bollea. I don’t know if you recognize the name or not, but he’s pretty famous. Not as ‘himself’. Not as Terry Bollea. But as his persona, his alter-ego. As Hulk Hogan. Terry Bollea went through several different ring names before ‘becoming’ Hulk Hogan. I suspect that those were all just roles he was playing. But once he started being Hulk Hogan, it quickly developed into a persona. Terry Bollea didn’t just play Hulk Hogan. He WAS Hulk Hogan.

Jim Henson (may he rest in peace) was a real person. He always insisted that Kermit the Frog was just one of a number of puppets he performed. (Or, for the purposes of this post, just a role he played.) Most of the people who knew him, however, said that Kermit was a persona. Jim’s alter-ego. (Weirdly, Kermit was a persona that survived the death of his . . . what? Host? Yeah, let’s go with ‘host’. Anyway, once Jim Henson died, Kermit was still a merchandisable image and therefore considered a legitimate character for use by whoever owned the Muppets at the time. Kermit, now ‘played’ by Steve Whitmire – among others – is no longer anyone’s persona.)

In their beginning, personas are developed much like roles are constructed. Certain things are needed. A name. Personality. Cast of characters – either how your persona interacts with real people, or fictional ‘off-stage’ people that your persona has interacted with in it’s history. Oh yeah, and a history. Background, backstory, what-have-you. Race, class, hit points, armor class, feats and skill points, – wait, no . . . those last six were all D&D. (Sorry.)

Oftentimes, picking a name is the first step.

Some people pick the childlike diminutive of their adult name – Joey instead of Joe, Katie instead of Kate. Others choose a different name altogether. Sally instead of Miriam. Billy instead of Steve.

You could pick a name you’ve always liked. (“Why, or why, couldn’t my parents have named me Rufus?”) Steal the name of your grade school best friend. Ask your lover what their favorite name is, and see if that clicks with you.

Once you’ve got a name, the next logical step is determining what age category your persona is. AB? Toddler? School kid? Brain in a jar? Teen? Post-teen/pre-adult? Adult? [If you answered ‘Brain in a jar’, then you chose the trick answer, and owe me $50. Gotcha, sucker!]

Then it’s a question of who you want to be. Let’s say that you’re 30 years old, and your age play persona is going to be 9. Some aspects of the persona’s personality are generally obvious. Open up your personality control panel, and move your ‘maturity’ slider way down. Move your ‘silliness’ slider up a ways. There are classic personality differences between the young and the old that are almost stock.

Really think about who that 9 year old is. What does your persona want to be when it grows up? Is it the same occupation that your 30 year old self has? (If so, congratulations on landing your dream job.)

History. Where did he or she come from? What were the first 9 years like? (And while you’re looking at history, who are the major players in your persona’s life? The same family members you had at that age? Or even the same family structure? This could be starting over for you – pick what you want. And if you’ve got an age play partner, are they taking on a parental role? If so, work with them to get their persona integrated into your own backstory. And no, this doesn’t have to be a complex thing. It can be, if you’re detail oriented, but it can be as simply as getting the names right, and having a couple of pleasant shared stories from the past.)

Once you get this all put together in your head, you can get a better grip on who your persona is. (And fun little things like what they know – versus what they are completely ignorant about, and need Mommy or Daddy to teach them.)

I don’t have an age play persona yet (something I’ll talk about later on in a later installment), but if I did/when I do, I suspect that everything that that persona knows about sex is information he learned from his best friend (who learned it from his older brother, who got the info from locker room talk). Mostly accurate as far as what goes where, but still a woefully incomplete sexual education that will need filling in by either a patient older tutor, or by trial and error with a same-age experimenter.

Multiple Personas

Well, since I used Terry Bollea/Hulk Hogan for an example earlier (and here’s hoping you’re all familiar enough with pro-wrestling to understand this reference), Mick Foley is a person. Cactus Jack, Mankind, and Dude Love are all personas. One wrestler, three different ring identities. All of which are radically different from each other.

I’m another decent example. Zeitgeist the Clown is at least somewhat persona like. (He’d be more so if I had more internet time for him to stretch his wings.) But that’s not the only persona I’ve ever used, either online or in the print zine community back in the day.

Sometimes, a single persona just isn’t enough. This is true in age play. Having a fully developed six to eight year old persona is fine, if that’s all you want to do. But if you’ve got an equal investment in being an early teen (say, thirteen to fourteen years old), then having that second persona allows you to pursue both age category interests.

Variable Persona

And other times . . . well, some people want multiple age categories, but only the one persona.

A little girl with an age range that covers both toddler and early school kid. With her position on the grid dependent on how she feels (and what she wants to do) at any given time.

Wardrobe, Props, and Sets

Is just ‘knowing’ that you’re currently a baby, or a kid, or a teenager good enough to satisfy the needs of the persona? Maybe. Maybe not. I’m sure it is for some. Others need props. Triggers.

And even if you don’t actually need things like props and wardrobe . . . come on, who doesn’t like toys and playing dress-up?

The Age Play Clothes Closet

Serious age players are big on wardrobe. Obviously, AB/DLs are diaper-wearers. But they also like the baby clothes that go with them. Onesies. Footed pajamas. Cute little overalls with cartoon characters on them. (All, of course, in adult sizes, usually custom made)

School kids can be found dressed in school clothes. Either the kind of things that Mom buys in late August for them to wear on the first day of school, or school uniforms, depending on where the persona is said to be going for their education. Sport team uniforms are also a good choice for this age play range, as are scout uniforms.

And as for teens . . . well, it all depends. I suspect that one of the major trends would be toward something I can only think to call rebellion-wear. Ripped jeans. Skirts that are just a little too short. T-shirts that straddle the line of inappropriateness. (Or smirk rudely while standing firmly on the wrong side of that line.)

And speaking of t-shirts (and other clothing with images printed thereupon) – licensed character motifs seem to be a common sight in the wardrobes of some age players. This kind of themed clothing for the younger littles (AB/DLs and school kids) include Sesame Street, the Muppets, Winnie the Pooh, Mickie Mouse, Donald Duck, the Disney Princesses, Curious George, Thomas the Tank Engine, Peanuts, Garfield, Bob the Builder, Looney Tunes, Dora the Explorer, Barney the Dinosaur, Babar, and any other character from children’s-oriented entertainment that you can think of.

Moving up a notch to the school kid/teenager overlap, the themes change to include things like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, Star Wars, Comic Book Super-Heroes (Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, the Hulk, and any other popular Marvel or DC character), and video-game characters (from the kid-friendly Mario up through Resident Evil and beyond).

Teddy Bears (and Elephants, Turtles, Aardvarks, Walruses, Buffaloes, etc.)

Stuffed animals. (Or ‘aminals’, depending on the speech capacity of your age play persona.) A key prop among age players.

(Oh, here’s some more information about me. I want to get into age play, and I want to do it primarily for its sexual aspects. That’s not the information, you all knew that already. Age players are big on stuffed animals. (As are furries, but that’s a post for some other time.) I am not, however, interested in any type of sexual interaction with stuffed animals. In fact – and this may seem weird, but here it goes – stuffed animals are one of my HARD LIMITS. They’re a sexual deal breaker. I’m a fairly open-minded guy, but one of the times when I find myself closest to adopting the “your kink is NOT ok” mindset is when I’m thinking about people who fuck teddy bears and their plush brethren.)

Kids today (and, of course, modern littles) have access to things like Build-a-Bear. Which, makes me all kinds of jealous. When I was younger, teddy bears didn’t have pajamas. Or pants, shirts, and jackets. They certainly didn’t have boxer shorts.

A favorite plush (to sleep with, to confide in, or just to drag around everywhere you go) is an important tool. It’s someone you can age play with when there aren’t any humans around to participate.

A teddy bear (or other form of stuffed critter) is sometimes just a soft knick-knack, gathering dust. But other times? Other times it’s an imaginary friend with a real body.

The Age Play Room

What happens when you’ve got a one-bedroom couple living in a two-bedroom dwelling? (Or a two-bedroom family in a three bedroom dwelling, or something with similar mathematic consequences.) Sometimes it means that there’s a whole room given over to storage. Sometimes that ‘extra’ room becomes an office. Other times it’s the guest room. There are seventeen gazillion different options for it. But when age players have an extra room in their house or apartment, it oftentimes will become the age play room.

I’ve heard stories about AB/DL houses with a ‘baby room’. Compete with an extra large, extra extra sturdy changing table. And an adult-sized crib with colorful mobile overhead.

If your persona is older, then the extra room becomes a school kid’s bedroom. Toys, books, a desk (for homework or for coloring), and so on.

But really, when you get right down to it, it’s not having the physical space to play that matters as much as having the mental space.


BDSM activities (and some of the things that generally get placed in the BDSM category, simply for a lack of anywhere else to put them) tend to deal a lot in ‘headspace’. During a heavy scene, a submissive or bottom will sink into something commonly called ‘subspace’.

Originally, subspace was a reference to the physical and mental state a sub attains during heavy pain play. The psychological response of the mind separating the sub from their physical environment, usually making them withdraw inside themselves, oftentimes making them go all babbly and incoherent. (Huh. My pal Zorch isn’t into BDSM at all, and yet, from what I just described, he’s in subspace all the time. My friends and I have just always called it ‘being in Zorchland’.) At the same time, there’s a physiological response – a rush of adrenaline and the release of endorphins – to the pain.

But I’ve also heard about a type of subspace from people that don’t do the whole paddle, whip, and flogger stuff. Subs who get off on submitting to their Doms, and enter into this second definition of subspace by being ordered around by someone they’ve come to trust as having their best interests (both physical well-being, and what they need to get from their BDSM activities) at heart . . . and then following those orders without question.

They describe this form of subspace as feeling ‘small, protected, and owned’. Definitely more psychological than physiological under this definition. But still obviously a real definable state to them.

Now, while I’ve never seen the term used, it only stands to reason that there exists a ‘littlespace’. A point at which pretending to be younger than you are becomes something else. More than ‘just’ pretending, for one thing.

Last month, when I spent the night at Inky’s age play sleepover, Baby E (not his real name) was talking about how he would sometimes regress (mentally and emotionally) to the state of a two-year old. Sometimes with the aid of a toy used as a kind of meditation device, other times just when he felt completely comfortable enough to let it happen on its own.

The next day, on the way to the age play munch, I got to see it happen. (Actually, I saw that it had happened. I missed watching the actual transformation, but one moment he was an adult, and the next time I looked at him he’d become a baby.)

Most of his verbal skills were gone. Once we got into the restaurant he tried to put anything he could get hold of into his mouth (silverware, crayons, etc.), and Inky not only ordered Baby E’s food but also fed him. He spent some time fascinated by my voluminous facial hair.

Baby E’s regression would be at the extreme end of what I imagine littlespace to be. Closer to the other end of the scale (and probably more easily obtainable to most people) would be something like coloring with crayons and feeling the relaxation hit you, coupled with the realization that “this feels right to me”.

And Speaking of Space

This may seem like a completely arbitrary ruling, given that I’ve cranked out 6700 word long posts in the past, but . . . I’ve decided that this is the point at which we’re out of space for today.

I’ll be back tomorrow (no, really – I’ve got tomorrow’s post already written and everything) with part three of the Age Play series.

Part Three

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