I thought that since Littles are one group that is commonly misunderstood, I’d try to do a few posts on them. Also, since I do have one book series with a character who is exploring being a Little, I’ve had a lot of questions about it recently.
I need to start with a few disclaimers.
I’ll begin by saying stigmatizing consensual kink is detrimental to the health and well-being of kinky people. All kinky people and not just the ones you are stigmatizing.
If it’s not for you, then that’s fine. But to conflate any act between consensual adults with child abuse is wrong. Many people think that because someone is ageplaying as a child doing anything with a romantic partner is somehow pedophilia.
It’s not. Not in any way. Age regression is perfectly healthy and actually often used a therapy tool. Acting out fantasies and role playing with your partner is also perfectly healthy. I’ve read about a lot of fantasies that personally squick me and would not be a turn on, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong for other people to enjoy them.
Please remember that a Little is ‘acting’ like a child but they are not actually a child. Being a Big to someone who ageplays doesn’t meant you’re into kids either. Acting out a rape fantasy with your partner does not mean you will be encouraged to rape women.
Okay? Great! Let’s break this down.
A Little is an adult who sometimes age regresses to a childish headspace. While in that space they are often fragile, needy, and vulnerable much like a child is.
A Little might identify with a specific age, or they might just have a general feeling of being young. While in that state they tend to think and see things through a different lens. Coloring, cuddling with stuffies, playing with toys are common activities for a Little.
I do have another post where I break down all the ageplay and DDlg definitions you might need to know here: https://kessilylewel.com/2020/11/20/daddy-kink-and-ageplay-are-not-the-same/ so you can check it out for more details.
The first thing you need to know about ageplay and Littles is that it’s not necessarily a kink. You’re going to see a lot of BDSM sites that will tell you it’s BDSM roleplay. That’s because they are focusing on the people who ageplay and are into BDSM.
It doesn’t mean everyone who ageplays is also kinky. It also doesn’t mean that those who are kinky bring kink into their ageplay. For many people ageplay is an innocent expression of their younger self. However, for those people who are interested in kink or spanking there might be discipline and punishment when they act up. Many of us grew up with that in our childhoods the first time. It’s just part of the experience.
For many Littles getting spanked while in a childish headspace is not in the least bit arousing. It’s just punishment. And being turned on is a key component to whether something is a kink. If you like to be little and be taken care of because it’s a stress relief and it’s not sexy, then it’s probably not a kink per say.
However, it has basically been rolled under the BDSM umbrella now. It helps people to understand it a little better. Roleplay for kink is nothing new so for some people that makes sense. For simplicity I often refer to it as a kink even though it doesn’t quite fit.
Like those BDSM sites I will also be concentrating on people who are in the scene, because that’s my niche. But I did want to let you know that you can’t assume everyone who roleplays at a younger age is into kinky stuff. It often comes with kinks like submission, spanking, etc, but there are plenty of vanilla Littles out there who don’t want any of that.
Now, the downside of ageplay falling under the BDSM umbrella is that people automatically assume it’s about sex. They usually picture women pretending to be little kids and then having sex with their ‘parent’. So that’s where you get all those accusations that it’s pedophilia or incest, or that it encourages it.
That is absolutely not true.
As I said many people do NOT have sex while in a child headspace. Even if they call their partner Daddy during sexy times too, it’s still very much two adults who are having sex for the majority. Let me repeat: Many do not find ageplay sexual, and what they get out of it is more emotional than arousing.
Regardless, as I said above, even those who do connect sex to their ageplay are still consenting adults. Roleplay is about headspace and playing pretend. A roleplayer is no more guilty of pedophilia than an actor in a movie would be guilty of murder because their character killed another character.
I think that’s enough emphasis on that part, but honestly, you’d be surprised at how many times I see accusations like that thrown around. As a childhood sexual abuse survivor, I think it’s very important to make this distinction.
And ageplay really isn’t that weird either. I think that most adults have a younger side. You’ve probably heard it called an inner child. The difference is in how deep they are willing to go into the experience. For many it tends to be a fleeting moment here and there. Maybe they are reminiscing over their childhood and gleefully jump into an activity they remember loving back then.
But for Littles it’s more of a lifestyle. It becomes a way to decompress from the stress of the world. Coming in the door after a long day of work and de-aging is how they cope. They put all of those difficulties aside and settle down to play video games or watch cartoons.
For Littles who are in understanding relationships there is a fuller experience. They have a Caretaker or a Mommy/Daddy who steps into the fantasy and makes it more real. Brushing their hair, cutting up their dinner, tucking them in with a bedtime story – those kinds of activities are very meaningful for a Little.
If they are in a discipline relationship it can also enhance all of that. Because many of us grew up being spanked for punishment there is something very real and appropriate feeling about a caretaker using that kind of discipline. It has a way of unlocking the deepest emotions so that you can have a true catharsis.
In fact, everything about being a Little hits the strong emotions. It can be healing if you had a bad childhood the first time. It can be intense, like any kind of deep submission because of the high levels of vulnerability and trust that are required.
It can be scary too. It’s hard to open yourself up that much. The world seems very big and intimidating to children sometimes, and that echoes in the headspace for Littles too.
So, it’s definitely not for everyone, but for those who express that part of themselves it can have a lot of benefit. I really think it’s time to destigmatize ageplay and Caretaker/Little relationships when what most people want out of it is just reassurance, love, and relaxation.
Isn’t that what we all want in the end?
If you’re looking for book examples of relationships like this, ask me and I can recommend some good authors. My own book Lights, Camera, Daddy! does have this kind of relationship, but Olivia is just in the very beginnings of exploring so I don’t think you get the full picture from it yet.
I wanted their story to be really realistic for what someone new to all of this would be feeling. That means it moves a bit slow. Olivia is still learning to trust and open up to her Daddy in book one, but eventually they’ll get there in the series.
Olivia is like a lot of Littles too, in that she’s not only a Little. That’s one facet of her personality and something she needs/wants to be sometimes. But other times she’s wants to be a squirming submissive, or even a rebellious brat. People are rarely just one thing always.
Mitch takes his cues from her behavior, and you’ll see more of that in book two. When she acts like a Little he nurtures and spoils her. When she acts submissive, he puts her on her knees (sometimes figuratively but not always) and does deliciously dirty things to her.
It’s all about the headspace and needs. A good Dom is on the lookout for those hints. The Top’s behavior is often guided by the signals the sub is putting out.
So, like all BDSM relationships Caretaker/Little doesn’t need to be about sex at all. And if it is about sex sometimes, it doesn’t need to always be about sex. You can have a platonic Daddy. You can have an innocent Little side. It drives me nuts that people automatically assume sex in these kind of relationships.
Your relationship is what you define it to be. Ignore the people making gross accusations and enjoy your life. Be who you are. Some people will never understand and that’s okay.
As usual, if you have questions please drop them in comments, or email me privately if you prefer.
2 Replies to “So … What Is a Little?”
Great article, thanks! I thought you gave a pretty good introduction. I agree about the intrusion of sex – I find the “porn” market is dominated by the idea/myth of easily available sex and if, for instance, I look at spanking videos it is mostly assumed that it is a lead-in to sex. I must read the book about Olivia, I read myself in the paragraph about her, above!
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Thank you! I find it very important to keep emphasizing that BDSM isn’t always sex. I’ve had many completely nonsexual D/s relationships over the years. And as far as spanking videos goes, it used to be different. Back in the 90s you never saw spanking videos with sex. They were always discipline only, partly because of some laws at the time. Now it’s the reverse.