Hi everybody, I’m so excited for today’s podcast. We have an individual who’s on today who is a wonderful human being and has been part of the map community for 3 years. He tweets and blogs about the topic of autopedophilia. We all know — those that listen to our podcast and are in the map community and who are map advocates — understand the risk of coming onto this podcast and using one’s own voice so we have the kind generous Elliott who’s another map who’s going to be reading Bly’s answers for us today so I want to welcome you and thank you for reading Bly’s answers.
Yeah, I’m glad to be here. I have known Bly for almost a year and he really helped me out at the beginning when I joined the community, so I’m more than happy to read his answers for him.
Wonderful, and that is so important for people to hear as MAPs coming out into the community. It can be kind of scary and so to have MAPs who are willing to be a support is wonderful. So, with that, let’s go ahead and get started because this topic of autopedophilia… I know a lot of people probably don’t know what it is. So I would like to start by talking about autopedophilia and get a real clear understanding of what auto pedophilia is so tell me.
BLY (read by Elliott):
OK, so I have to start with a couple of disclaimers here. This is a subject that is still being learned about and I’m not an expert because there really aren’t any experts. Even the academics who study this are not experts yet. They’re just trying to describe what they’ve observed.
I would describe myself as an autopedophile, but the way I and many others experience that doesn’t necessarily line up with the current dictionary definitions.
So, the definition used by scientists like Kevin Hsu and J. Michael Bailey, goes like this: an autopedophile is someone who is, quote, “sexually aroused by dressing in children’s clothing or fantasizing about having a child’s body”, unquote.
So an immediate thing to say about that is that it’s not the same as pedophilia, because pedophilia is finding children sexually attractive, whereas this is finding the idea of being a child arousing.
But what I also want to say is that that scientific definition really only covers just a couple of aspects of a much bigger phenomenon, and in a way for some of us, that definition I just quoted is a bit like saying the definition of gay is a man who gets excited by the thought of a man kissing him. Like, yes, that captures an important part of it, but it doesn’t capture the whole thing, nor necessarily is that true for everyone who is gay.
So, what actually are we talking about if we need a wider definition? I would say the group I consider myself part of, is “people who are emotionally or sexually drawn to the idea of identifying with or identifying as if a minor”.
And the various related terms we could use are… let’s start with the term ageplay — which is for people who roleplay as children because they have autopedophilia.
A subset of those is ABDL or AB folk, which stands for Adult Baby / Diaper Lover, also known as infantilists — that’s people who roleplay specifically as infants or toddlers — or as adults who get treated that way. Other ageplayers might be middles — roleplaying as kids older than toddlers but younger than adults.
Those groups can (and do) include people for whom ageplay is a sexual kink. But they also include some for whom it’s a nonsexual or semi-sexual thing. Or you could even call it a proto-sexual thing — not what we think of as adult sexual activity, but a pre-adolescent form of bodily exploration and experimentation.
We could also talk about people with emotional congruence with children, who as adults see children as their peers or equals.
There’s age dysphoria, where people view it as a a negative, distressing thing that they can’t remain or be a child. This doesn’t necessarily have the roleplaying element.
There’s the word regression, too, where adults get really deeply into a kind of childlike headspace, some of whom consider it involuntary, while for others it’s just a very compulsive or rewarding thing to do voluntarily. They really don’t feel like they’re roleplaying.
And there are some rare folk who think that their true identity, in some sense, is as a child. In other words, they imagine they would feel happier if they literally were a child and not an adult at all.
So it’s a real forest of labels and terminology, and at the moment we don’t understand any of it scientifically.
Well I just absolutely love that you were able to go into each of these descriptions in nice detail, if you will, and it would be good for people to continue to get educated. Those who are listening today may say ‘I am not a pedophile but I do really have some interest in what Bly is saying about autopedophilia, ageplay, regression, age dysphoria and so on and so forth. So thank you for going into some detail about each, because, again, some of these were new to me and I think if they’re new to me they’ve got to be new to some other people and anyone listening who possibly said ‘that’s me; I fit with that — that term that he used — but I never really knew what it was’.
So let’s go onto the second question. Can you try to describe the subjective experience of autopedophilia, ageplay and some of these other things and give some examples.
OK, so to try and make sense of all those terms above, I’m going to invent a few different people, based off people I’ve met or read about to show how this works.
So, let’s pick a random ageplayer. Let’s call her Joanne.
Joanne is a woman of 30 or so. Normal life; likes donuts, sitcoms, gaming.
And since she was a teen Joanne has discovered she gets really sexually excited by the thought of being treated like a young girl, acting out and getting spanked by a father figure.
And Joanne isn’t sexually interested in kids at all; she’s into adult men.
But her whole fantasy is that she has the social status of a bratty little girl who is naughty, gets told off, punished and then forgiven. When she has this fantasy, she’s significantly focused on the older man, but also on the experiences and physical sensations of being little and, in this situation, powerless.
So, some people might have issues with the politics of that scenario, but it’s important to say that this fantasy came to Joanne pretty much unbidden. In real life she doesn’t put up with nonsense from men, or think that she’s in any way deserving of physical abuse. She doesn’t even believe in spanking kids.
But this fantasy has been there for her since her adolescence. And we would call that fetishistic ageplay. She gets a strong emotional and sexual kick out of it, not just from the spanking or being addressed as ‘missy’, but from the clothes she wears to do this scene. It also relieves a lot of stress for her.
So that’s an example of a specific kind of ageplay. Joanne doesn’t really believe she’s really a kid. She knows she’s an adult and is pretty much happy with it but likes to delve into this fantasy sometimes.
Now let’s take another ageplayer, and this one is an Adult Baby. So that’s Josh. He’s gay and twenty-three. He’s a gamer and a stoner, but also at college studying… biology, say. He’s generally a credit to his snowboarding club.
And he has this secret desire, which he’s had since he was a bedwetting kid of eleven or twelve. What he dreams about is being dressed and treated as a toddler aged two.
And at home in a box he has toys and a pacifier and a teddy bear, and he also has diapers and he loves putting them on just by himself and pretending he’s really that age. And he takes it pretty far, meaning he fully uses that diaper when he’s in the zone.
But for Josh, unlike Joanne, it’s not quite so much a sexual thing. Like, he actually doesn’t much want regular sex with another guy. He’s attracted to adult men of around his own age, but it’s at least as much an emotional attraction and if he got together with another AB it would definitely involve them both dressing up, and probably cuddles, and maybe even some kisses, even an orgasm in the diaper, but he’d be uncomfortable if it became just sex. Mostly he likes to hang with other littles and sometimes with a daddy and get pretty deep into the headspace of being a toddler. So I guess he’s a regressor too.
So that’s an example of a mostly nonsexual ageplayer and specifically an AB.
Now let’s take… Lewis. Lewis is thirty something, married to a woman, who he loves and finds attractive, and does a lot of running. He doesn’t have any kid clothes or anything like that, no diapers, but he’s getting to the point where he’s getting kind of hairy on his body, more than in his twenties. Up to now he shaved his chest and even sometimes his legs and armpits, just because he liked the way that looked.
He tries to keep fairly skinny too, not too built and not too chubby. He has a floppy sort of haircut, and he’s more than vaguely aware that basically he has tried to preserve a little bit a style and appearance that is younger than he is, and he’s also become aware that he finds himself attracted to quite boyish looking women too. He also a couple of years ago got braces as an adult, which he only somewhat needed.
And he basically feels pretty rotten each time he looks in the mirror and his age is staring back — not just wrinkles and stuff, which depresses most of us from time to time, but specifically his development. He basically liked his look better when he was a skinny wiry teenager, when he remembers having a lot of intense feelings and was kind of on top of the world, doing well in school and sport and before life got complicated.
He sometimes thinks about that when he has sex with his wife, almost imagining them as teenaged boyfriend and girlfriend sometimes, but he wouldn’t say that out loud or share it with her.
The idea of seriously roleplaying as a teenager doesn’t really grab him and he’d feel stupid and cringey acting stuff out like that, but he wishes he really could have that look back again, and daydreams a lot about it.
So Lewis would be an example of age dysphoria around appearance, with maybe a little bit of autoephebophilia thrown in — i.e. attraction to the idea of himself as a teenager.
One more example, though, could be Zac. And Zac, who is autistic, has a more pronounced age dysphoria and emotional congruence with children. He’s eighteen and basically wishes he was eight, not just in terms of how his body and face looks, but also in terms of how he’d like to live. He never got interested in girls or even too much in boys, he doesn’t like alcohol, he’s frightened to learn to drive and really doesn’t quite understand or want to understand money.
He gets a little aroused when imagining being back at elementary school, and while he doesn’t fantasise sexually about children, they’re there as a backdrop to those daydreams, but he doesn’t have sexual fantasies per se.
He sometimes does a bit of ageplay by himself, but doesn’t have the social skills really to go on the ageplay or kink scene and actually the thought terrifies him anyway because it would mean having to have adult discussions around consent and to roleplay like he was an adult, which, in his heart of hearts, he just doesn’t see himself as capable or confident doing. He just wants someone to look after him without him having to spell out what he wants.
He does dress up a little bit and enjoys the sensation of being a little boy, but… it’s far more than roleplay for him. At those moments he closes his eyes, avoids mirrors and almost believes that he’s eight. In public he sometimes comes across as excitable and uncool and not like you’d expect from an eighteen year old.
And if you were a magical genie and could offer him the chance to physically transform into an eight year old and go back to school and that would be his life, he’d say yes without having to think about it. That would be a dream come true. He’s not interested in his life as an adult, and sometimes — this is the darker side — he actually thinks about killing himself to escape it.
Finally, let’s go with Ginny, who is a regressor, and who is at High School, and Ginny — at times of stress, like today — she basically drops back to the reactions, thoughts and behaviour of a young kid, almost like it’s too much effort not to do that. She has the stuff in her room at home that allows her to do that, but like Zac, she doesn’t really think of this as playacting. She’s mentally a kid for the time she stays regressed. Maybe not even a kid of a specific age. She’s not really interested in having a caregiver or involving anyone else at all and it has zero to do with sex. It’s just a thing she does.
So there is a lot of diversity here, but one common factor. Everybody with this has the idea of another self that is developmentally younger than them, sometimes by a lot.
And this imagined kid that is with them, this might in their mind be literally the kid that they were when they were that age, or it might be some idealised alternative kid that they weren’t. There’s nothing to say that if you want to act out being a kid that kid has to be the same gender as you were, or have the same personality or talents. Just like in any roleplay or imaginative act, you can try being something different or you can try to recapitulate the familiar.
Those with age dysphoria and Zac in particular who sort of sees himself as a child — he might not think this in a totally literal way — he knows he’s eighteen, he can’t forget it — but in some sense he feels like although he might have an adult body and insurance and a job and whatever, his real authentic personality is that of a child.
So if Zac ever did do an ageplay scene, which maybe he might try when he’s older, that for him is not just about hitting the marks, and including fetish elements a, b and c, but more about just freely exploring the arena of a child’s life experience, because that’s how — if the outside world didn’t make him act like a grownup — that’s how he is inside and how he wants to identify.
We could argue all night whether those folks are indulging in an unrealistic fantasy or whether there’s something physically different about their brains that makes them have a subjective feeling of being a kid, but what I do know is that they exist, and that the term autopedophilia doesn’t really capture what this is for them.
So as I said there’s a wide variety of words for this stuff, but not a single phrase.
In an online community I’m in, because there isn’t a single word for these different kinds of feelings, we’ve started using the term Minor Identifying Person (with “identifying” meaning “identifying with” as much as it means “identifying as”). To me that’s a placeholder term. It doesn’t capture all the variations perfectly.
I kind of like the term “childlike” because that does capture it in broad strokes, but it’s also true there are adults who think of themselves or behave childlike, but wouldn’t self-identify as belonging to a specific group or category because of that. So maybe that’s too general a term.
At any rate, it’s diverse and we can’t just reduce it to a sexual kink, because even for those for whom it’s a sexual kink it could be very much more. Certainly true of me.
That was very detailed, and I love the different examples. I think the global community will really appreciate hearing about these fictitious but with reality or some real element, if you will, such as Lewis, where we talked about age dysphoria or Zach, similar, or Ginny, about the age regression; Joanne the fetishistic age play… and Josh who likes the adult baby fantasy.
And one of the things that you said (and I have had the privilege of looking at your answers [earlier] because Elliott is reading for you today) — one thing that stood out is when you said that this imagined kid that is with them might in their mind be literally the kid that they were when they were that age or it might be some idealized alternative kid that they weren’t. There’s nothing to say that if you want to act out being a kid that that kid has to be the same gender as you were or have the same personality or talents.”
And so I agree that ‘autopedophilia’ I don’t think captures what we’re talking about at all. It may purely be because people take the word pedophile and pedophilia and go all sorts of ways with it in a downward direction, but I do think this was really beautifully laid out to give specific examples. And so with that: are you specifically interested in ageplay or what we are calling autopedophilia?
Yes. I’ve always been into ageplay, even before I had sexual feelings. Even when I was a four year old kid I had a sense of wanting to be treated infantile in quite literal ways, with nappies and dummies etc.
And these feelings stuck around as I grew, so as an adolescent and an adult I’ve experienced a lot of the different types of minor identification or childlikeness that I just listed before. I was probably quite a bit like Josh, with maybe a slightly greater interest in sexual acts (in those days, anyhow).
I had a lot of AB and autopedophile fantasies when I was an adolescent and very young adult, and because I had no way of reaching other people into that, all my activities, like dressing up or fantasising I was a kid, peeing my pants etc. were all done alone by myself, never with any partner.
My body was slow to change but by the age of seventeen or so I remember getting the first painful waves of age dysphoria, really hating my body and the way it was growing hair and my skin was getting rougher. That feeling worsened through my twenties.
Then later in my twenties I joined ABDL communities and ageplay communities and at first I took those fantasies online and just shared those fantasies with others, then gradually met up in real life with other adults who felt this way. And being able to share those experiences was a huge relief to the age dysphoria. It didn’t solve the problem that most of the time I had to be an adult, but it made that reality more palatable knowing I had this escape from it available.
I remember the hardest times were when I’d come to the end of a weekend with other ageplayers and we’d gotten totally immersed in this fantasy of being kids.
I hit some big depressions sometimes when I had to come back to reality from that, but still, the release was good while it lasted. And during those weekends, sometimes, in the middle of it all, I could just close my eyes and almost believe that the feeling of the toys in my hands, and the smells of food and the texture of the clothes I was wearing and so on — so long as I didn’t look closely in the mirror — I was feeling and acting just as I did when I was a kid, and I was inhabiting again a tiny slice of that moment of my life.
And as I got older I got to meet more people in real life who had different takes on minor identification or childlikeness. And I could see fairly up close how people give expression to this side of their personality. Because I’m gay most of that experience was of gay or bi men and not so much of women. Nor did I meet any trans folk, knowingly, although I have become more aware of them in the community in recent years.
Again, I think that example of going through depression and being able to close your eyes and really believe that you are feeling the toys in your hands, the sounds and the textures, really gives this element of having a sense of joy and peace and the innocence of the time. And so again I think people might listen to this podcast and want to pathologise or judge or criticise what we’re talking about here… but there really is an element of being able to go back in your mind to a time and place when you were younger and find that, especially when you’re depressed, so it makes a lot of sense to me.
Let’s look at the question of autopedophilia and legality because I think a lot of people… there’s so much ignorance out there when you hear of someone who has an attraction to children for instance and the automatic assumption is that they are a child molester which is a bunch of bunk, but is auto pedophilia illegal, for those that are wondering?
Really short and simple answer: no. It’s not illegal to have these feelings, nor is it wrong.
Most of what we call autopedophilia is totally legal because it’s a feeling, and you can’t make feelings illegal. People with autopedophilia who do ageplay in private with other consenting adults are doing nothing illegal at all, and I think in most people’s eyes they feel like, even if you’re doing stuff like using diapers or things that wider society considers a bit weird, so long as that doesn’t impact anyone else and everyone consents, well, that’s totally fine.
The only things which are beginning to be criminalised are certain kinds of materials associated with ageplay. So for instance in the UK, adults who are dressed up to appear as if they’re kids is counted as CSEM or child pornography as it’s described in the law. I think the intent of this law was to try and stop people being able to defend actual CSEM by claiming the model is of age, but just looks younger because of the clothes, but this also seems to catch some genuine ageplay material which is purely by and about adults doing roleplay.
If you have ageplay material that depicts or describes actual minors and is very obviously fetishistic or describes sexual arousal, you can be on the edge of the law in certain countries, depending how the law is interpreted and how you read the test cases. I won’t go through all the different countries’ laws as it’s a mixed picture, and the laws are applied in far from a consistent way, but I know that one should be more careful in, for example, Canada than in the US. That said, recently there was a case in the US involving just written fiction — not images — which has made me less sure of that.
Mostly, though, those are edge cases. The vast majority of fiction and fantasy that people share is not prosecuted.
Now of course I have a specific angle on this area, because after spending a lot of my adulthood exploring my minor identification, most recently I’ve joined the MAP community which of course is an entirely different category because autopedophilia is not pedophilia and most of these minor identifying folks are not MAPs.
Actually, I think we need to say that again because it really bears repeating. Having age dysphoria or being AB or an ageplayer doesn’t mean you’re a pedophile. As best I can see the vast majority of folks in those communities aren’t pedophiles and in fact MAPs and pedophiles when known about aren’t made to feel welcome in those communities because of this stigma.
There’s a sequel to this, but we’ll come on to that at the end.
That definitely was such an important section. You repeat it, but I think it’s important to say that one more time: having age dysphoria or being AB or being an ageplayer does not mean you’re a pedophile, so that’s really important. Some other things to think about is that fantasies and feelings are not illegal but in Canada and in places in the US they might be more… there’s a lot of discussion and a lot of controversy about images, if it’s cartoon images or certain materials that’s not considered child exploitation material might be considered as csem. So just to be very aware of that. But you do want to make sure that if you’re engaging in age play, it is with a consenting adult and to be really mindful of what methods you have for getting things online. So if someone’s listening today and has autopedophillia, age dysphoria, age regression… what support is out there that’s actually safe for them?
So this is an interesting question because I think a lot of people assume that if you have autopedophilia, it’s not, like, seen as a mental health condition that even merits support or help. Most people think it’s a kink or a fetish. And some people think that if it’s a kink, saying a person might need help is kink-shaming as if their kink was a problem in itself.
But I don’t really see it that way. There’s so much stigma and shame around kinks. Sometimes they’re about stigma and shame. We can’t expect people not to need a little help around making sense of if if they find they have a stigmatised sexual or lifestyle interest.
For some people a kink is all it is and good for them. The support those people mostly need is to understand that though they have this very very minority interest, that doesn’t make them bad people, that they didn’t choose it (it doesn’t matter if they were born with it or not — probably not, but they still didn’t choose it).
There are some people who are ABs or ageplayers and fetishists and they go through binge and purge cycles with this.
So they collect clothes and paraphernalia, and maybe go online in secret to roleplay, and as well as being a great source of satisfaction in their lives it also becomes a bit of an addiction, like porn or gambling can be for some people.
They love everything about it when they’re in the zone and turned on — it’s like an addiction, almost. They’ll put aside things in their life to try and experience it. It’s like they have a huge loyalty to this child alter ego, and that child inside has needs that really must be taken care of.
But once they hit that orgasm they sort of step back and wonder why they do this so much. And at that point they experience terrible shame that they’re into something so weird and humiliating that they never want anyone to find out about.
Maybe after a while they decide ‘I’m not doing this any more’ and they throw out all their ageplay stuff and delete all their secret logins to ageplay sites and decide to just be normal.
Then after x months, they come back again because you can’t just shut off this part of you. Getting out of those cycles and getting to a place of self-acceptance is something where I think counselling and talking therapy really can help, because if you’re constantly embracing then rejecting an important — even a fundamental — part of yourself. So its almost like not treating yourself well. It can be quite dangerous for your wellbeing.
The other thing to say about using ageplay is that not everyone wants the same things from it or takes it as seriously as others do. Ageplayers seeking partners or playmates might not realise what the other people involved needs from it.
And if you have a circumstance where one person is there with a fixed fantasy they just want to get off to and go, like a hookup, and the other person has an emotionally-centred need for taking it slow and making it feel meaningful with lots of aftercare, for instance, then you have the risk of something that feels unpleasant and uncomfortable for one or both of those folk if those motivations are not understood, it could even be a bit abusive.
You’ll notice that’s also true of regular dating and sex, of course, but I think with ageplay and kink — because we all grow up in a culture that doesn’t talk about those things — we don’t get to absorb the rules about how it can be done safely and sanely and with clear consent.
Dating is not easy for straight, vanilla women, but at least a woman going on her first few dates might have read the problem page in a magazine for years and talked to her mom about bad experiences, or she’s seen movies and so on. She has at least a little bit of forewarning about the types of guys she’s going to meet on the journey.
But with ageplay we just don’t have that background information floating in the culture around us. We tend to learn about the pitfalls by experiencing them, and that can be very damaging if we get unlucky. So to make ageplay a supportive instead of destructive and traumatic thing, it’s really necessary to get help or information from those with experience, and I think ageplay communities have gotten better over time at facilitating that, although there’s still some way to go.
And this is really important to a particular group: some people might have a particularly strong need to respond to autopedophilia through ageplay or similar activities because it’s therapeutic or healing for them. People who are survivors of abuse or of trauma are well-represented among autopedophiles and among ageplayers, and some of them really don’t just see it as a mere trigger for orgasms.
They see it as fulfilling a very very deep emotional need that they’ve had most of their life — maybe a profound need for care or unconditional love, or for protection from the things they fear, or for having someone that can take adult responsibilities from their shoulders and make decisions for them.
And people in that circumstance, really, they are sort of taking on responsibility for their healing from their traumas and abuses, it’s almost like their ageplay is therapeutic in itself, if it leads them to a place where they feel better, ultimately.
Sometimes ageplay is like a fixation — an obsessive rehearsing and replaying of some traumatic experience like peeing your pants, or being bullied, or being abused by an adult, and playing out that scene is a way of bringing something frightening under conscious control, because you can stop or pause the scene, or switch roles or explore it. But at other times the compulsive need to return and return to the trauma can become a bit of a trap too. An addiction, not a cure.
So I think ageplay can be healing in itself, but for me I found it really started to illuminate my life when I was in therapy, figuring out what it meant to me. And the goal of therapy wasn’t to stop ageplaying or stop experiencing autopedophilia, which I suspect is impossible anyway, but just to help give it its proper place in the whole picture of my life.
Going back to age dysphoria, for some there’s this strong sense of distress that goes with it. They are tortured that they can never fully live out this deeply felt desire to be a kid. The reality they would prefer just isn’t achievable in the same way that, for some trans people for example, it might be possible to resolve through a physical transition.
And a really bad age dysphoria is a very dark place to be in, because (a) nobody’s heard of it, (b) there is no operation or cure and (c) ageplay here is only ever a consolation prize. Some people really get to very depressed, suicidal states about this impossible gap between who they are externally and who they feel they are internally.
For me, because I have had times when I was in that dark place, I’ve learned that looking for an answer — in the sense of finding a fix that makes everything feel OK -— that’s too much to ask for. But a combination of introspection and writing and time and therapy, perhaps especially time — has allowed me to sit with the discomfort of knowing I can’t be, say, eleven years old again — and to understand that that’s not the end of all possible positive experiences I could have as a human.
And at the same time I know that wanting to be a kid is something my brain is always gonna do to some extent, and I will always devote a lot of thought to it. I don’t think I could train my brain to just forget it and focus on other more practical achievements in life.
Well you do such a beautiful job of giving so many examples, so thank you so much for your thorough answers to my questions and really to allow folks that are listening who are having these experiences to know that there can be so many different reasons why you might be interested in ageplay or age regression and so on and so forth. I just really appreciate your thoughtfulness and taking the time to answer these questions. We are wrapping it up with our final question, and it has to do with ABDL… and so you mentioned earlier in our discussions prior to coming on our podcast that there are a lot of confused ABDLs so what I’d like you to do is to define that for us, but also now that there is confusion around other ageplay things, because people won’t admit to having minor attraction — so if you could tell us more about that, that would be great.
OK, so let’s just say it one last time, just so nobody can accuse the podcast of mixing the terms up: ageplay and ABDL and autopedophilia are not pedophilia.
Like I said earlier, AB and ageplay communities are keen to establish that important fact, because a lot of regular folk — especially those who only get their information about kink from The National Enquirer or wherever — just see it in a lurid way. They see that it can involve childlike things and they see that it can be a sexual thing and they put those together and say, oh, hey, so it’s like pedophilia.
And this is worrying for community leaders in ageplay because they don’t want safe spaces for ageplay getting called out and policed and stigmatised more than they already are. Nor do they want those spaces shut down. Imagine how reluctant some venues must already be to host AB munches and social nights, and imagine how much worse that would get if they couldn’t explain it’s not pedophilia.
So these communities really come down hard on any sign of pedophilia. You see it among babyfurs and ABs and ageplayers. People are ridden out on a rail if they’re suspected, and artists get cancelled and denounced and lots of moral panic goes on.
Sometimes that’s very legitimate because those communities do contain some very vulnerable people — not kids, but people like Zac who I described earlier who are in the headspace of kids and who really need a safe space where those boundaries are really respected.
However, because I am in both the ageplay and MAP categories I also need to tell my truth about this too, as awkward as it is. The reality is that although they won’t admit to it at all, there are MAPs in ageplay communities who are doing no harm and who have nowhere else to go.
So, it’s been known for a while — thanks in particular to Ray Blanchard — that among MAPs there are quite a lot who as well as being MAP are also autopedophilic or age dysphoric or ageplayers or emotionally congruent with kids in some way.
Almost nobody has measured this yet, but there was a recent self-selecting survey aimed at MAPs in which around half of them described some kind of autopedophilia or child-identification, so although I’d want that to be measured again to get a more reliable figure, it seems like a lot of MAPs aren’t just attracted to kids but have some ideas about being or acting as them, or being treated that way.
And so naturally there is an overlap in the Venn diagram, meaning a subset of minor identifying people are also minor attracted people and vice versa.
Now that population is not really studied, and I haven’t studied it scientifically, but I’ve spoken informally to, I’d say several dozen over the years, and here’s a thing I learned. The relationship between their minor attraction and their minor identification isn’t always obvious.
Earlier we talked about Josh who is attracted to adults but turned on by roleplaying as a 2 year old, and we established that Josh isn’t turned on by 2 year olds, just by quote — being — unquote two years old. You could say that his “age of identification” is 2 years old. But his age of attraction, which is a term MAPs use to describe the ages of people they find attractive — is, let’s say, 17 plus.
So he’s not minor attracted, but he is minor identifying. I don’t think for most people their age of identification is usually as precise as an age of attraction can be, but this mismatch between the two can even apply when a person is a MAP and also minor identifying.
So you might have someone who is attracted just to boys 11-14, but who roleplays as a toddler, Age of attraction: 11-14; age of identification 1-4, say.
You might have someone who was born male who is only attracted to young boys but whose autopedophilia sees them roleplaying as a pubescent girl. So, age of attraction: 5-13, age of identification 12-16, gender of attraction: male, gender of identification: female.
So my point is that ages of attraction and ages of identification don’t marry up in an obvious way. They sort of are independent.
And that is really significant in terms of how MAPs exist in ageplay communities.
A MAP and a non-MAP could share a pattern of autopedophilia that is identical to one another — the same age of identification — but still have completely different ages of attraction.
And that means the non-MAP might enjoy sharing an autopedophilic fantasy with the MAP, but nothing would indicate to them, necessarily, that the MAP is a MAP.
So we have quite a difficult situation here, which is analogous to the situation in society at large, where non-offending MAPs and those who are doing no harm exist in this kind of “don’t ask don’t tell” space where nobody needs or wants to tell anyone else that they’re minor attracted.
If you ask the admins of the ageplay spaces, MAPs shouldn’t be there, but there is nowhere else. And if someone started an explcitly MAP ageplay space, I don’t know if that would be allowed to last, either.
If we’re in those communities we can only express the autopedophile side of ourselves and frame our fantasies in every which way that can’t cause someone else to say “This is pedophilia!” We can make friends, do scenes and go to munches so long as nobody ever talks about whether they’re minor attracted or not. I think the same is true in the wider category of kink too, actually, but I think that it has a lot of very difficult implications in this community especially.
I feel uneasy about it, but I also see it from both sides because I know from personal experience that being gay, being AB, being age dysphoric and being minor attracted are all morally neutral things because none of them are chosen, and we should judge people on their actions, not their attractions or their fantasies, however rare those might be and however much stigma attaches to them in society at large.
In theory age dysphoric folk and strongly minor identifying folk and MAPs do have something in common because the nature of their fantasies are such that there aren’t ways of playing them out in the real world. In the case of MAPs that’s for moral reasons rather than purely logistical ones, but still.
It’s also true to say that the early AB culture in the 90s was more accommodating of stories with minor characters and so on. There was an infamous website called deeker.com which had a lot of AB stories featuring minors, and the most popular story that used to be sold by DPF (the Diaper Pail Friends) featured two adolescent minors. It’s always been there, but in an implicit way.
Nowadays the current generation of ABs and ageplayers really reject those early manifestations of age-based fantasy, but even while they say that, we see it recur somewhere else — like in fiction spaces such as ao3, for instance, or in somewhere like the age regression archive.
So I don’t know what the answer is, but as with society at large I hope we can eventually get to a place where there are safe spaces for everyone according to their different needs, and I also hope that as the science progresses we get closer to the common neurological roots of all the paraphilias and attractions and identities, so that our efforts are informed by facts instead of prejudices.
In the meantime, I can only be what I am, and if that means I break the categories, then I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do other than go on being the way I am and saying what is true from my perspective, and talking to other MAPs and other autopedophiles until we all feel a little more comfortable with who we are. That’s the hope, anyway. It’s a really interesting time in history, and for me, there is reason for hope.
Well Elliot thank you for reading this for the last hour! That is challenging. It’s challenging to read someone’s answers, really, truly and so thank you so much for reading Bly’s answers. And, Bly, thank you so much. I know you’re listening out there. Thank you so much for giving us such thoughtful answers today.
I do want to say in the last points that you made that you said that it’s been known for a while, thanks to Ray Blanchard, for MAPs there are quite a lot who as well as being minor attracted persons are also autopedophilic, age dysphoric, ageplayers or emotionally congruent with kids in some way. That I think is a really pointful statement and something that needs to be discussed further, again, not to create more stigma or judgement or pathologise, but really to open up another conversation.
I think there’s a lot of researchers in the field of pedophilia and minor attracted persons who would actually find that quite fascinating, so thank you so much for pointing that out, and I just really loved what you said at the end that — and I would agree — I really hope eventually we can get to a place as a global community where there are safe places for everyone according to their different needs. Because we’re not talking about harming anyone; we’re not talking about harm. We’re talking about things that go on in people’s minds that from what you’ve described and a lot of the examples that you gave: other people work through challenging times in their lives but also bring them positive experience. So, thank you so much, Elliott, for taking the time to read for Bly and Bly, thank you for For having the courage to be on our podcast
I just want to say like thank you for having me back on and Bly, I apologise for stumbling over some of your words; I hope the message still got out there OK.
Well, I will say that I think the message got out there. I know I was captivated by your reading, and so I really believe the message is going to get out there just fine. So thank you again to both of you and until next time… we’ll see you soon.