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Baby love needs to be shared and expressed

By Dan Savage · April 21st, 2004 · Savage Love
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Ever since I started attending university and had full access to the Internet, I have developed a new fetish: I want to be treated like a baby. I have a girlfriend, and we've been together for over three years now -- almost as long as I've been reading your column. I want to tell her about my thing for infantilism, but I don't know how. She took my experimentation with wearing women's underwear pretty well, but somehow I think this is a bit more extreme.

-- Befuddled About Being Young

And so it is, BABY, so it is. But why is it?

A man who wears women's underwear is transgressing against what it means to be an adult, fully sexual male by wearing the panties of an adult, fully sexual female. While most women experience a short "my-boyfriend/husband-must-be-gay!" freakout when they learn the guy they're dating/married to likes to wear panties, most calm down after they've been reassured that men who wear women's undies are, almost without exception, straight guys. (The ones to watch out for, ladies, are guys who wear jock straps when they're not at the gym -- particularly brightly colored jocks. They're the ones smokin' pole behind your backs.)

But a man who wants to wear diapers and be treated like a baby? That's a different basket of diapers, BABY. He's perceived as transgressing against what it means to be an adult, period, by sexualizing infants. Most people are going to be uncomfortable with that, and rightly so. Eroticizing infants is not something any responsible adult should casually sign off on.

But out adult babies will cry that infantilism doesn't eroticize infants. And they're correct: Infantilism eroticizes the way infants are treated -- the intimacy, the diapers, the powder, the plastic pants. And, of course, the powerlessness of infants. As with most fetishes, infantilism is about domination and control. Baby babies are helpless, totally dependent on their parents; they can't even control their own bladders.

Adult babies are turned on by that extreme-yet-cozy degree of helplessness. The humiliation of being treated like an infant is the turn-on; there's nothing erotic for adult babies about actual infants. People who find infants erotic rape babies, BABY, they don't dress up like them.

On to your girlfriend: If she signed off on the women's underwear thing without freaking out, odds are good that she'll come around on the baby thing after you spill the beans. Her willingness to play mommy to your baby depends on just how madly in love with you she is.

This is often the case with extreme fetishes: If a vanilla partner can't picture her life without her kinky mate, BABY, she might be willing to indulge him. If she can, however, you're toast.

Finally, I want to reassure everyone out there reading this -- particularly parents about to send their kids off to college -- that there's nothing about Internet access or my column that turns men into infantilists. BABY might not have heard the term "infantilism" until going to college, but he was a huge perv before he logged on. Many pervs will say that they "developed a fetish" after stumbling over a Web site devoted to a particular kink. What they mean, however, is that they found a kink that allowed them to express desires that they already had -- usually a desire to dominate or be dominated, desires that were without a doubt already playing out in their sex lives.

Learning about a bizarre fetish doesn't make you into a bizarre fetishist. (Case in point: I didn't become an infantilist after reading BABY's letter. Did you?) It already has to be in you.

My roommate is a total stud. He's always scoring hot bitches. A few months ago, he had an idea about how to make sure they go away and stay away after he's done with them: He calls me on his cell before he heads home from the clubs with his latest conquest and I hide in his room. After he's done fucking a girl, I reach out from under the bed, grab her leg/ass/tits/whatever, and freak the shit out of her. She bolts, never to be heard from again, and we both die laughing as these mortified chicks take off screaming. Is there anything legally problematic about this? Will my roommate and I end up in jail? Thanks, bro.

-- Depraved Eager Peeping and Reaching Tom

Anything legally problematic? Besides the whole sexual assault aspect of what you're doing? Or the possibility that you're breaking a "peeping tom" law? Or the chance that, sooner or later, one of these mortified chicks is going to run into a wall or fall down the stairs and seriously hurt herself?

Before I finish blowing up at you, let me say this: I understand why straight men hold straight women in contempt. I also understand why straight women hold straight men in contempt. And I understand why gay men hold gay men in contempt, lesbians hold lesbians in contempt and bisexuals hold everybody in contempt. We all have to make ourselves vulnerable to people we find attractive. Straight men make themselves vulnerable to straight women; straight women make themselves vulnerable to straight men; gay men to other gay men; lesbians to other lesbians; bisexuals to anything that moves. And making ourselves vulnerable means getting hurt.

A cruel sexual putdown, a toxic boyfriend/girlfriend, an abusive spouse, a devastatingly bad breakup or divorce, contracting an STD, a total asshole hiding under the bed -- those experiences can be terribly scarring. Even people who haven't had bad romantic experiences develop a sort of anticipatory contempt for the people they find attractive. Allowing ourselves to feel and express a little contempt makes us feel a little less vulnerable. So straight men call straight women bitches, straight women call straight men assholes, gay men call other gay men whores, etc. Everybody does it.

But the mark of all healthy adults -- all adults worthy of sex and human intimacy -- is that their expressions of contempt are designed to blow off steam, manage their fears, exorcise their demons and get it all out of their systems before they have to interact with anyone sexually. Someone who expresses understandable feelings of contempt by actually hurting or terrifying or abusing a sex partner, DEPART, is a foot-wide, shit-smeared asshole.

What you and your roommate are doing isn't cute, it isn't funny, it's definitely illegal and the next time you do it I hope to God the woman you sent screaming returns with the police. Or, better yet, I hope she pulls a gun out of her purse and does all the other women out there the courtesy of blowing both your dicks off. Bro.

When your readers came up with a term for a woman fucking a straight guy with a strap-on, I never thought that I would see "pegging" anywhere outside of your column. I just read an excerpt from the short story "Guts" by Chuck Palahniuk in Playboy and the word appears in the proper context. I guess your column gets around.

-- Pegging Enters "Guts"

In addition to Palahniuk's use of "pegging," PEG, a recent episode of The Shield featured a female cop complaining that a john she busted wanted to be "pegged" with a strap-on. Pegging a guy can, of course, create santorum -- another term my readers not only defined but are busy popularizing. (As always, santorum news, sightings and debate can be found at www.spreadingsantorum.com.)

 
 
 
 

 

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