What Is a Little?
BDSM is made up of a broad and vast spectrum of roles, identities and dynamics. No where is this more visible than when discussing a “little”. A little is a person who most often submits, either through their actions in a BDSM scene or within their personal mindset by means of a power exchange. Littles can range from child-like to childish in their appearance and their behavior, both in and out of the context of BDSM. Littles come in every shape, size, race, ethnicity, sex, gender and mindset. The mere thought of trying to categorize us all has been daunting…and it has taken some dedicated time to write out here…but after getting some more insight from others within the community, I think I am beginning to understand the differences among all of the various types of littles, even the differences with which I do not agree nor endorse for myself.
Just a quick note…
When we are discussing any aspect of BDSM, and that includes littles, I am ONLY talking about consensual adults of legal age, whatever that may be for your area. Personally, I don’t discuss BDSM with anyone under 18 years old and Daddy and I won’t play together with anyone who is under 21 years old, but that’s just O/our personal morality on the subject.
Recently, there has been an explosion on social media of adolescent girls and boys, from 11 to 17 years old, who are attracted to what they think it means to be a little and they claim to identify as such. I assure you, they do not. They cannot. They are children, children who are playing at a very dangerous game, within a reality filled with adult scum who are more than happy to take advantage of all that pre-teen and teenage angst and melancholy, pretending to love and care for the adolescent, online and by phone, so they can take advantage of someone who they perceive to be “weaker” as they easy to manipulate and control.
SUCH A RELATIONSHIP IS NOT BDSM, IT IS NOT AGE PLAY, IT IS NOT ROLE PLAY NOR IS IT AN EXAMPLE OF ANY TYPE OF A BDSM CAREGIVER RELATIONSHIP DYNAMIC.
PRACTICING BDSM OR PARTICIPATING ANY SEXUAL ACTIVITIES WITH MINORS IS IMMORAL AND ILLEGAL.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s move on to the categorization of those amazing creature called “littles”.
Age Players vs Lifestylers
As I’ve previously stated, there are many variations of littles and the first method of categorization is to distinguish between those littles who are age players and those littles who are lifestylers. While some littles may identity as a mixture between the two, almost all littles gravitate towards one or the other. Being a little is either something you pretend to be during certain times or something you are all of the time.
Age Playing littles are the role players. These people are only ‘little’ during certain times, with certain people and/or for specific purposes. A person may choose to emotionally regress and exhibit their age playing ‘little side’ during a scene or for an evening and then they have the capability to turn it “off” and resume their normal day to day life as a mature adult when the specified time period is over.
Lifestyler littles are ‘little’ all of the time, even in their daily lives, to one degree or another. For a lifestyler little, being ‘little’ is a mindset and part of their core personality, rather than a role that they slip in and out of at their discretion or upon command. Lifestyle littles may or may not emotionally regress as their constant state of mind can potentially make regressing obsolete.
Types of Littles
- Adult Babies
Adult Babies (AB) are the “youngest” type of little, usually exhibiting the behaviors of a newborn to 2 years old. They can either role play as an adult acting as an infant or they can emotionally regress back to their “baby space”, the desired state of mind where they are inhibiting the headspace of an infant. This desire to behave, dress and be treated as an infant is called infantilism. Infantilists are driven by the need to feel safe and secure at the most primary level, having their most basic needs of food, shelter, cleanliness, warmth and love met by their Caregiver. Adult Babies are the “submissive” partner in a Caregiver relationship dynamic because they receive that sensation of well being but the power exchange is much more driven by meeting the needs of the Adult Baby (or the “bottom”) rather than satisfying the desires of the Caregiver (or the “Top”). The Caregiver counterpart to the AB can take whatever name the participants desire for the dynamic within a “parent/child”, “student/teacher” or other such caregiver paradigm. While some ABs enjoy sexualized scenes when they are in “baby space”, the majority of them do not engage in any sexualized kinks athe all while in this headspace. Adult Babies are not interested in nor do they condone any acts of pedophilia. The appeal of the Caregiver relationship paradigm for many people is the express consent which is required in order to participate in such a bonded dynamic. ABs may seek to reclaim their personal power after a history of sexual abuse during edge play scenarios with their Caregiver, if the trauma occurred very early on in life and the mindset is similarly applied, but this type of exploration is at the sole discretion of each dynamic and should only be attempted in a safe and loving environment after completing thorough research and discussions.
- Diaper Lovers
Diaper Lovers (DL) are often categorized with Adult Babies because they can share some of the same memtal/emotional/behavioral traits, but that’s where the similarities stop with Diaper Lovers. DLs may or may not emotionally regress but for the Diaper Lovers, the desire is linked to the aspect control involved in the power exchange. DL scenes can become highly sexualized and include other aspects of BDSM, such as bondage and discipline. The participants in the dynamic may be scene only, 24/7 or anything in between. They may subscribe to an M/s, D/s, switch power exchange and/or Caregiver dynamic. They may share a diaper fetish which can increase the appeal to delve further in other aspects of control and sexuality in other BDSM edge play scenario, such as water sports and scat play.
Littles are next in line along the age regression, mental and emotional functionality and fetish chart. Littles can range from 2 to 11 years old and can be further divided into “young littles” (2- 6) and “older littles” (7-11). Both young and older littles can be both age playing role players as well as lifestyler mindset. “Little space” can range from an exaggerated…and greatly extended…role play scenario to a quiet calm within while participating in childlike activities. Some littles are into pacifiers and bottles but many leave that to the ABDLs. Littles almost universally enjoy coloring, we find it therapeutic, although our choices in coloring pages and artistic mediums will vary greatly. Scenes in “littles space” are almost entirely non-sexual among younger littles but sexualized scenes are common among older littles, whether they are role playing age players or maintain the lifestyler mindset.
Middles are the ‘teenagers’ of the littles. Middles range from 12 to 17 years old, in various combinations of mental, emotional, behavioraland spiritual presentation. Middles are usually always lifestyler mindset orientated but there are some who role play as a middle for specific periods of time and under certain conditions. Middles are usually extremely sexual, to the point of being overt, in their scenes with their “Top”, “Big” and/or Caregiver, usually a (wo)man who is older than (s)he and facilitates the power exchange, be it D/s, switch or symbiotic Caregiver. Middles may also be more prone to enjoy sadomasochistic activities within their dynamics more than some other types of littles.
- Baby Girls/Baby Boys
Baby Girls and Baby Boys are a product of the Internet age. Baby Girls and Baby Boys are most often found on online, on BDSM/kink/fetish pages and groups, using terrible grammar and outrageous spelling to convey their bratty, and often outright disrespectful, sentiments in chat conversations. These are the littles who subscribe to a power exchange only if they are in fact the ones in charge. The Daddies, Mommies or other such counterparts are driven near mad with the Baby Girl’s/Boy’s neediness and constant need for absolute attention, attention that can very well entail listening to baby talk for hours at a time. These are the types who thrive on brattiness and lack any desire to submit, for whatever the motivating factor, and their “Big” Caregivers have to follow tow or quickly move along, sometimes after being accused of abuse due to “sniffling the exploration of (the female’s) baby girl side”. There are always exceptions to every rule but this type of little does not see brattiness as a character flaw. The Baby Girl/Boy is in complete control of this dynamic. The relationship is driven by sexuality, exploration and debauchery and may very well include a ‘Daddy kink’ in addition to whatever power exchange and/or Caregiver paradigm they primarily pratice…or the Daddy Kink could be the entire motivating factor behind the relationship. This dynamic can be based on an absolute lie or the god’s honest truth…but the chances of it ever coming to successful fruition are slim because of the physical and emotional boundaries contained within the foundation of the relationship itself. Rarely are both parties actually seeking long term commitments, despite decrying otherwise. The Baby Girl/Boy is seeking control and the counterpart is happy to oblige, turning the dynamic compleyely bottom-driven.
The Babygirl/Lolita type of little is perhaps the most sexually explicit of all the little submissive archetype described here. The Babygirl/Lolita is the maiden, the sacred whore, the priestess, the ritual font from which all carnal knowledge is drawn, the Acolyte and even the Goddess Herself. A Babygirl/Lolita is also about a display of submissive power, however this power is submitted to the Caregiver counterpart who takes the form of the priest, the sacred masculine and even God Himself. These archetypes of Dominance and submission are ancient and sacred, repeating thru history to deepen the spiritual connection attained through the flesh.
Pets can be classified as littles too! A pet is a “bottom” who assumes a submissive role when behaving like an animal, usually an adorable kind of animal, like a kitten or puppy. Pets can be of a role play mindset or a lifestyler mindset and it’s not uncommon for both types to overlap within one person or dynamic. Pets may retain human qualities or give themselves over completely to their Owner/Caregiver, again, depending on the situation and/or dynamic.
The exact name that a little is given or takes for themselves can vary greatly from the ones listed above but each archetype description of the behavior and characteristics of a little stands firm. Littles may submit, they may play at submitting, they may role play sexual submission or they may not submit at all, preferring the dominant role in their dynamics, or preferring none whatsoever. For every type of little, there is a Big counterpart, no matter which type of dynamic they enjoy.