Ageplay is a form of regressive roleplay in which a physical adult takes on the role of a child. This may be purely regressive (in order to re-experience childhood in a non-sexual sense), or sexual (the roleplaying of a child/adult relationship in sex, which may be a sexual fetish and is often grouped within BDSM).
Roleplaying adult/child scenarios sexually is controversial as it can arouse concern in many people's minds, due to the sensitive nature of its subject matter. However as with other sexual fantasy it is not, by itself, necessarily a problem, and can be for some, a healthy or healing outlet, and for others like any fantasy an exploration of different roles and feelings.
The term ageplay can be used as a standard roleplay term, but generally ageplay is a form of emotional regression. Some enjoy ageplay because they feel a need to express a childlike side, others may feel they are of a psychological age younger than their physical age, and some have dissociative child personalities (see dissociative identity disorder). Many people consider their "inner child," a very real part of themselves. When in a submissive role to a dominant partner, the person in the child-like headspace may be referred to as an IK (inner kid) or IC (inner child).
Ageplay may be as simple as time spent alone pursuing "childlike" activities such as playing games or watching cartoons, or as complex as an entire lifestyle built around living as a child, with a guardian, to the fullest extent possible. When in role, a regressive ageplayer will often feel and react like a real child. For some it may feel upsetting or even emotionally damaging to be treated as an adult when in their child role or headspace (a term sometimes used to indicate when someone is fully immersed in their child role).
A child personality may be referred to as a little to differentiate from the adult persona (big, bigperson, B or BP). The internet provides a rich source of community for ageplayers, who usually seek a guardian or other "littles" to play with, and there are many online ageplaying communities.
Most frequently, those who find long-term solace in ageplay were physically or emotionally abused or otherwise unhappy in their real childhood (see child abuse). Reliving childhood experiences, under the caring eye of a guardian of their own choosing (whom they may consider their "mommy" or "daddy", "aunt" or "uncle", etc) is a valuable healing process for many ageplayers. The term used for this is reparenting. Many ageplayers feel a need to be taken care of, or to live with rules that give them a feeling of stability. The reparenting relationship may be part-time, or as thorough as a genuine parent/child relationship, with rules, set bedtimes, childlike clothing and toys. Discipline as well as nurturing may be enforced by the guardian if such rules are broken, with the prior consent of the ageplaying adult. This may include punishments such as grounding or spanking.
Ageplay roles range from infanthood to adolescence, and some ageplayers may identify with more than one age, taking on different ageplay roles at different times. Differing types of ageplay may be referred to in the following ways:
Regressive ageplay may be linked to inner child therapy, the concept of which is to connect with one's childhood feelings in order to deal with trauma experienced in childhood. It has seen increased popularity in recent years and some areas may have ageplay groups or "inner child workshops" where adults can explore these themes in a safe environment.
Sexual Ageplay is a type of sexual roleplay which, because of its dominance and submission aspects, is considered a form of BDSM. It may be referred to as edgeplay because of its level of social acceptability; such roleplay may involve (fictional) incest, and a common reaction is to associate child roleplaying in a sexual situation with pedophilia. Most sexual ageplayers resent any association with pedophilia, and claim that neither party is encouraged to believe there is a real child involved, and that it involves two consenting adults with one expressing the assumed emotional vulnerability of a child.
In sexual ageplaying, the dominant generally plays the role of some form of a guardian/authority figure (teacher, doctor, parent, etc). Ageplay can also be bratplay in which the "child" is disobedient and bratty, and puts up verbal or physical resistance. (In such play, a safeword is even more important.)
Ageplay practices may include:
This article is based on "Ageplay" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org). It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ageplay&action=history