There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding kink and BDSM. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding D/s too and I have written about some of those in 13 Things about a D/s Relationship, and a Bertie. But I think that one of the most misunderstood areas, even within the BDSM community is DD/lg or Big/little dynamics. Age play has always had a bad press and the fact that for some, age play moves into being part of how they identify, confuses and freaks out many.
For those of us who experiment with age play, or identify as a big, little, middle or something similar, it is often best to keep what you do fairly quiet for fear of being judged harshly or being shamed. Other kinks and dynamics seem more easily accepted and less open to judgement but there is something about age play that people appear to take personally. Of course, no one is asking anyone else to share in their experience of age play anymore than they are asking them to share in their spanking or their bondage, but for some reason it is perceived differently.
I am not sure why the addage your-kink-is-not-my-kink-but-your-kink-is-ok tends not to apply, but there are a few acceptations to this unwritten rule of BDSM etiquette, and DD/lg seems to be one. With age play it is acceptable to judge, to take out of context and to voice your thoughts of it as something creepy and wrong. You won’t be challenged for it very often and so, for that reason, many don’t speak out much about what they do or why they do it. Personally, I identify as a middle and although I have written about it a few times, I tend not to write as much about that as about other things for this reason.
A what’s what and a who’s who
I want to deal with some of the misconceptions of age play in this post, but first, a couple of definitions:
- Age play – refers to play where one party acts as a different age to their chronological one. This can be simply roleplay (they choose to adopt this role for an agreed period) or it can be more of a headspace (the person slips into what feels almost like a different part of their character or personality).
- DD/lg – this stands for Daddy Dom/little girl. This tends to be an umbrella term for lifestyle dynamics where age play is part of the relationship. You don’t have to have a male dom and female sub, but because this is the most common set up, the term seems to represent all the different roles within age play.
- Big, caregiver, daddy, mummy – this is usually the role of the dominant person and the one who is taking the lead as the ‘older’ person/person in charge. The honorific will be determined by the age players themselves and will be dependent on how they identify and what they are comfortable with.
- Little, middle, babygirl, little boy – again there will be other titles, but these are the more common terms used to indicate the ‘younger’ person.
While it sounds as if these roles are gender specific, they are really not. For many they may not be fixed and it might be something that you try in one relationship, but not in the next. For others, where it feels like more of an identity, it may be more firmly part of who that person is.
# Age play is always sexual
Age play can be sexual but often it is not. If what you are doing is role play, a schoolgirl scene for example, then you might include some spanking, some innuendo and it may lead to things getting sexy. You may choose just to use this as a pre-play activity because you find it exciting and it fulfills some of your fantasies. Remember, this is about consenting adults exploring their kinks. It is not about the desire to do something immoral or illegal; it is about pushing boundaries in areas which are sexual taboos: that is what kink it.
For many who use age play as part of their lifestyle, it is not sexual at all. It comes from a desire to be taken care of, to be free, to shake off all responsibilities and lead a simpler life where you are taken care of. It might provide your partner with an opportunity to do this in a way which extends beyond the instruction and direction they can make as a Dom and allow them to nurture and provide on a level which they wouldn’t usually do.
# DD/lg is about sexualising children
While one of the many fears of this sort of play is that the parties have latent desires to do things to children, this is certainly not the truth. In fact, it is insulting and hurtful to those who take part in this kink that people would think this of them. To suggest that this is the case is the same as suggesting someone who engages in impact play wants to physically abuse or hurt their partner. They don’t. Impact play is not an outlet for repressed urges to commit domestic abuse and age play is not an outlet for repressed urges to commit child abuse.
Far from it. This is about kink. It is about exploring the boundaries of societal norms and the taboos which fall within that. It is agreed between consenting adults and allows both parties to explore certain desires which turn them on – innocence, control, freedom, loss of inhibitions etc. People who engage in age play know that they are with an adult. They share a kink with their partner and explore it through this medium. It does not mean that they want to play with people who are underage and those I know who practice this find that idea abhorrent.
# Age Play is incestuous
Daddy, Mummy, little boy, little girl: again, the honorifics are chosen by the players themselves. No ‘little’ actually thinks that person is their parent and neither does the caregiver think that this is their child. They are fully aware of the relationship with their partner so the name represents the attributes of that role, rather than being oedipal. Usually it is used because the caregiver has a focus on care. They will take responsibility on a greater level than they might in their regular D/s and this will free up the little to behave in a more childlike way.
Again, this is roleplay of sorts, even when it becomes a lifestyle thing. It is about embracing the inner child in a way which society closes off to us with its many norms and expectations. It is about tapping into another part of yourself and adopting a different role in order to locate that mindset. You do not become a child, you simply behave in a more childlike way. The person in charge does not become your parent but they do nurture and protect you. It is about allowing your partner to embrace their innocence rather than wanting to take someone’s innocence from them. It is about allowing them to explore kink which frees them from the responsibility of every day life.
# People who engage in age play have usually been abused as children
Again, this is an unhelpful misconception. While abuse is a very real and unfortunate part of life, DD/lg is part of BDSM and is a form of kink. It often arises because of the levels of safety, care and consideration in close D/s relationships leave people feeling free to be more playful. They will likely feel more comfortable in being vulnerable around the other person, which again arises from the really close and intimate connection they build with their partner due to their D/s dynamic. People can have a happy childhood and still enjoy being taken care of in this way.
This level of intimacy, trust and safety is not always experienced by people in relationships where they are focussed on meeting their own needs rather than the needs of the other. D/s relationships can allow feelings to develop into something where people can shed off the protective layers they have build around themselves in adulthood and engage in a way which is detached from that. What you are is defined by the way that you appear to the other person, and therefore the usual social expectations seem much less relevant.
Age play in a lifestyle dynamic
I have noticed that there are quite a few subs who, over time, move towards wanting a strict master or a nurturing Dom or a bit of both. I think that this is because of the way that the safety, vulnerability and trust work in D/s. It creates an environment where you feel seen, noticed and cared for in an intimate way. For many this can bring out a carefree side to their nature which can affect their behaviour. They are able to be playful in a cheeky, teasing way that might not fit the obedient submissive but is a little more bratty and challenging.
The adoption of a role, or a title to mark this out can be helpful. It means that you both know when the ‘rules’ have changed. It makes it easier to enter and maintain that headspace and allows you the freedom to explore within that. While this may not be seen simply as roleplay, it is about tapping in to another side of your own nature; one which is not held back by self-consciousness and learnt behaviours or by the weight of adult responsibilities. It feels simple, natural and can be a good release or escape.
On a personal level, this sort of headspace will only be present when I am relatively relaxed and secure. For others it may be the opposite and it might come more easily when they feel vulnerable. For me, it offers me the same sort of freedom and ability to let go in an every day setting as play does on a sexual level in the bedroom. I am able to throw off the things that hold me back, making me over think and check myself, and become a more carefree fun version of myself. This is a positive for me and one which I wish more people understood.