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Paraphila is an umbrella term used to cover the family of philias. In sexology, it is sometimes more widely used to cover atypical sexual interests or deviances. While the word paraphilia may seem alien, the philias it encompasses may seem slightly familiar. Think fetishes and unusual desires and you're on the right track!

Sunday, 11 March 2007

Get Pampered

Last night, a friend brought over some dvds she had purchased on Ebay. So, there I was sat, popcorn a-popping in the microwave as she set up the dvd. I love a good comedy, particularly of the black variety, however, nothing quite prepared me for what was about to be shown. The title, The Babysitter, really should have been a dead giveaway - oh and the plain brown wrapper she pulled the dvd out of too! Bless, nothing says friendship like porn on a Saturday night.

As she skipped scenes in the film, I saw the expected sights - forty-something daddy showing a twenty-something dressed up as a babysitter the ways of lurve. I probed for what was so interesting in the last scene but my friend remained tight lipped.

As the scene came on, I was in a bit of a state of shock. Let me set it up for you. As the babysitter sits watching a horror film, she hears a noise coming from the babies' bedroom. She heads up and discovers they're missing and proceeds to search the house for them. Upon reaching the living room, she is greeted by two full-grown men gurgling dressed as babies. Yes, babies - we're talking nappies, bonnets and bottles. Oh, and erections...must not forget them. They proceed to attack her but I think that's about as detailed as you need.

I like to think of myself as open-minded, but I have to say I was left a bit shocked by the scene. It wasn't the sex - it was your standard run-of-the-mill hard-core in that department. However, the nappies just left me feeling a bit, erm, confused.

Apparently, when it comes to paraphilas and fetishes, diaper fetishes and infantilism are quite common. Confessions of a Phone Actress writes in her blog: "One of the most common fetishes I get a request for besides the usual stocking, shoes and domination is the infantile fetish. I can’t pretend to understand it, but I’m going to try. In one night I had two clients request this fantasy. My first client wanted to be changed and breastfed. The other wanted to be changed also, but wanted his ba-ba and binky."

Understanding Infantilism was set up in 1995 to support adult babies (ABs) and diaper lovers (DLs) and to help the public comprehend and accept this behaviour. They explain infantilism as: "a deep and lasting urge with a specific focus. Generally, it is a drive to wear diapers, and may include dressing and acting as a baby as well. Infantilism isn't a fetish, but may coexist with diaper fetishes."

To the onlooker, the dividing line between infantilism and diaper fetishism is a blurry one, which makes their codependence understandable. Sex is a primal need for man - after all, we are but animals who have been designed to reproduce our genetic code. Infantilism appears to neglect the sexual function - rather it relies on the satisfaction of the ego and the whole self. Diaper fetishism is purely about the view of the diaper as a sexualized object. It does not require the nurture and roleplay of fetishism.

The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders classifies infantilism as masochism. However, while there is a desire by the AB to be controlled and be dominated by the carer, there is normally no desire for harm - only for nurture. They long to return to the days of childhood when our needs were tended to completely by another - including toiletting and feeding.

Sites, like Infantilism.Org, allow ABs and DLs the chance to speak openly about their desires, activities and products, such as Big Baby Binky pacifiers.

So, why do people become fixated in this way? The jury is out on that one but some believe it may be due to stress, environmental factors, learned behaviours or even genetics. Infantilist Tommy has developed a theory that infantilism may be due to childhood stress. While he is not a professional, he does have practical experience with infantilism as well as contact with other ABs and DLs through parties he promotes on his website.

Yes, parties. Forget the champagne and dancing, bottles of warm milk and children's balloon games are the way it's done. For more information about them, check out Tristan Taormino's 2002 article on the Village Voice website.

Even "nurseries" are available for the baby who finds himself without care. Although I'm not sure Nanny Popins will be going on my list of babysitters any time soon. Her specialty is "progressive therapy to transform her Lickle Adult Babies into Lickle Prissy Sissy Girls."

While a man in a nappy - or myself in one - just doesn't appeal, I can relate to their yearning for nurture. It is a basic human need - for many of us there is nothing better than feeling looked after. Although, it must be said that many are satisfied with a much less extreme dose of it.

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