So you’ve heard about adult babies maybe you even read the recent “Inside The Misunderstood World Of Adult Baby Diaper Lovers” but do you know about littles? What being a Queer Little means to me is that to the world I look and act like a badass grownup, but when I’m at home with my Daddy/partner I choose to live a relationship dynamic where I act like a preschooler!
Leather isn’t all about whips, chains, and dungeon play parties: in my case it doesn’t involve any of that! I’m a full time lifestyle participant in a subpopulation of leather/kink/BDSM known as ageplay, and I identify as a little. I identify as being five, My daddy takes care of me, I have a bedtime, chores, pocket money to spend on coloring books, toys and trinkets, my daddy delivers messages from Santa and the Easter Bunny, ze cooks me dinner, and takes me on outings. Ze sets rules, and I believe living under hir protection makes me the best version of myself possible. In turn I surrender to the vulnerability of being cared for, am devoted to hir, and strive to bring silliness and whimsy to our life together.
I write novels (Lost Boi, Roving Pack, A Little Queermas Carol) that center on little characters and feature Big/little Caregiver/little Dominant/submissive (D/s) relationships. As an author I’m invested in creating portrayals of leather culture, including Big/little dynamics that aren’t erotic, feature queer, transgender, and genderqueer identified characters and thus speak to the diverse ways that so many of us build our identities, structure our families, and conceptualize of ourselves in the world outside of the dungeon.
I think it’s important to talk openly about being a little to demystify what ageplay is and who littles are. For this piece I asked my little followers on social media what they would want the larger queer community to know about us, and my other followers what questions they have always wanted to ask...
10 Things You Should Know About Littles:
1. What is age play?
A subpopulation of leather community comprised of individuals who consensually play with age. This can manifest in numerous roles or identities including but not limited to: girls, boys, babies, daddy, mommy etc. for some age play is part of negotiated scenes, and for others
It is an identity that is part of how one always relates to the world. Age players may (though not always) be engaged in D/s dynamics, sometimes in Big/little dynamics, sometimes little/little dynamics. Age play can be both sexual and non-sexual depending on preferences of the individual(s) involved.
2. Not all littles wear diapers
If anyone even knows littles exist, they assume we are all walking around in diapers and sucking on pacifiers. There is nothing wrong with doing those things, and I totally celebrate adult baby littles, but I’m so tired of the only media representation of our community being that image. There are as many ageplay “ages” that exist as there are ageplayers ― all the way from adult babies, to littles, and even middles (folks who ageplay as pre-teen/teen)!
3. We aren’t duped/infantilized/abused
First and foremost I’m a consenting adult. I choose to live my life this way, and I make the empowered choice to be very out about my identity and lifestyle in part to try to break down this stigma.
4. I’m not little because I’m a survivor of childhood abuse
Not all littles are survivors. Just like being queer isn’t the result of childhood abuse, neither is being a little or being involved in BDSM/leather. Some littles are survivors, but it’s not causation.
5. Ageplay is not pedophilia
This is the worst and scariest stereotype. I almost don’t even want to include this because it should be obvious. All BDSM / leather activities / dynamics etc. occur exclusively between consenting adults. Period. Ageplay has nothing to do with actual children. Ageplay is a kink or lifestyle dynamic between two (or more) consenting adults.
6. Not all littles are submissive
Littleness is often seen as submissive but it isn’t, at least not always! There are littles who have Daddies or Mommies or babysitters they might be submissive to OR dominant over like a spoiled princess! There are also littles who are free agents and only want to fly solo, or find themselves to be more compatible with other littles.
7. We aren’t all thin/white/young/blond/cis/straight
Actually most of us aren’t! We’re queers from all ethnic backgrounds, body types, genders, and sexual orientations! There is so little coverage or representation of littles out in the work, and what does exist tends to conform to a particular privileged/normative narrative. In reality, the little community is so much more diverse than that !
8. Bigs: Who are they and why do they love us?
If we have Big identified partners they aren’t stuck with us and being dragged along into our kinks (an accusation we often hear). Big/little dynamics are sometimes referred to as Caregiver/little which I think is a really beautiful way to talk about the structure of how my Daddy and I have built our relationship. There are also Bigs who might fall into a more Sadist role.
9. Not all littles have Bigs/Caretakers
Just like not all littles are submissive, not all littles have Bigs! Littles are littles regardless of what relationship(s) they may or may not be involved in. It’s like that old feminist bumper sticker “A Woman Without a Man Is Like a Fish Without a Bicycle” littles are individuals unto themselves. We shouldn’t be defined by being in relationship to anyone else.
10. It isn’t just about sex
There are other littles for whom being little has sexual components, but I identify as being on the asexual spectrum and so for me leather and littleness isn’t about sex at all. Many lifestyle littles who live these dynamics outside of negotiated scenes/play don’t experience littleness as having a sexual component. For lots of us being little is a core identity, and Big/little is a core kink/attraction and how we want to structure our most intimate relationship, but it’s not actually about getting off.