In a previous blog I examined paraphilic infantilism (i.e., individuals who get sexually aroused from being an adult baby). Of those who enjoy being adult babies, it appears that many of them fetishize particular aspects such as lactophiles who are sexually aroused by being wet-nursed. Others may be sexually aroused by urinating themselves, defecating themselves, being spanked, and/or just getting very messy (and therefore may have other sexually paraphilic interests such as urophilia, coprophilia, masochism, and/or salirophilia). Another aspect that may be fetishized by the paraphilic infantilist is the wearing of diapers (or nappies as we prefer to call them here in the UK). It could also be argued that diaper fetishism is a sub-type of garment fetishism. For instance, Dr. Aggrawal in his 2009 book Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices noted that:
“Garment fetishes revolve around, or fixate on, a particular type of garment. Common examples are shoes, stockings, diapers, gloves, underwear and bras. The affected person is fixated on the specific garment to such an extent that it exists as an exclusive or recurrent stimulus for sexual gratification”.
In a previous blog on fetishism more generally, I wrote at length about a study led by Dr G. Scorolli (University of Bologna, Italy) on the relative prevalence of different fetishes using online fetish forum data. It was estimated (very conservatively in the authors’ opinion), that their sample size comprised at least 5000 fetishists (but was likely to be a lot more). Their results showed that there were 483 diaper fetishists (less than 1% of all fetishists). This suggests that while not the most popular type of fetishistic behaviour, it certainly exists. Again in Dr. Aggrawal’s book he reported a case study that had been published in a 2005 Turkish psychiatric journal:
“Oguz and Uygurdescribe a case of diaper fetishism in a 22-year old man. His mother was psychologically distant from him. The fetish object (the diaper) was recognized during childhood at around the age of four. The patient exhibited his first perverted behavior when he was six. At twelve the perverted behavior became sexually arousing. During puberty, the fetish object became sexually attractive. Later, the patient could control this behavior”.
However, prior to this case study, there were a number of published papers concerning males with diaper fetishes. In an early (1964) issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, Tuchman and Lachman reported the case of a man who continually wore rubber pants over his diaper and enjoyed urinating and masturbating while wearing it. In another case reported in the same journal a couple of years later, Malitz reported the case of a 20-year-old college student who had a compulsion to wear diapers underneath rubber pants and defecate in them. While defecating he would typically reach orgasm even if he didn’t masturbate (and suggests that he also had coprophilic tendencies). In 1967, Dinello (again in the American Journal of Psychiatry) reported the case of a 17-year-old male who in his mid-teens started wearing diapers under his clothing, and masturbated while wearing the diaper. He eventually, gave up wearing nappies and began dressing in women’s clothing. In a 1980 issue of the Medical Journal of Australia, Pettit and Barr published the case of 24-year-old man who began dressing in female clothes at the age of 10 years and by the age of 15 years began to dress as a baby and developed a fetish for nappies.
More recently (2003) in the American Journal of Psychiatry, Dr Jennifer Pate and Dr Glenn Gabbard reported the case of a 35-year-old single man who began wearing diapers for sexual pleasure from the age of 17 years. It was reported that the wearing of diapers had begun to compromise his personal relationships. He admitted that the wearing of diapers was “a kind of a sexual thing” and like the aforementioned cases, he enjoyed masturbating while wearing the diapers (in fact, the only time he masturbated was when he was wearing the diaper). He wore and used up to five nappies a day as he would always urinate and/or defecate in them. Pate and Gabbard concluded that the object of sexual arousal was the diapers and that the behaviour was a paraphilia.
In 2004, Croarkin and colleagues reported a case (yet again) in the American Journal of Psychiatry of a 32-year-old male who gained his sexual arousal from wearing diapers. In a 2003 paper by Dr. Gregory Lehne and Professor John Money, they described the case of a man who showed “multiplex paraphilia” over a lifetime including paraphilic infantilism and diaper fetish. They reported that:.
“At age 7 [years] the subject was dressed in public as a girl wearing a diaper as a humiliation for bed-wetting. This experience had 3 paraphilic components that were separately manifested at different times in his life: fetishistic transvestism, pedophilic incest, and infantilism…At age 45 [years] he reported a sudden recurrence of paraphilic preoccupation. He did not engage in cross-dressing, but he had become involved in sexual fantasies and more frequent and adventuresome sexual relations with his wife. The main fantasy that was emerging was being an ‘adult baby’. He described the main fantasy and associated activity: I enjoy ‘living as a baby whenever I have an opportunity. I love to lie in a diaper, powder myself and pin myself in tightly. I then slip on my rubber pants and prepare for bed’. The experience of wearing and wetting in a diaper is the focus of this fantasy and behavior. He would use a nursing bottle to drink infant formula, and then wet in his diapers, change the diapers and later fall asleep. He engages in this activity about once or twice a week, sleeping in a baby bedroom apart from his wife on these nights. He described the experience as sexual, with a feeling of tremendous calm and satisfaction during these activities, but no genital arousal or ejaculation. He read and wrote fantasy stories about infantilism, in the course of which he would become aroused and masturbate. This practice of infantilism has continued as his paraphilic activity for 20 years”.
Unfortunately, nothing is known about the incidence or prevalence of diaper fetishes, and there is no consensus on the etiology but has been linked to maladaptive learning in childhood, faulty childhood imprinting, and erotic targeting errors. The case studies, while similar, are relatively rarely reported in the clinical literature and there is no way of knowing how representative these case study examples are.
Aggrawal A. (2009). Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
Croarkin, P., Nam, T., & Waldrep, D. (2004). Comment on adult baby syndrome. American Journal of Psychiatry, 161, 2141.
Dinello, F.A. (1967). Stages of treatment in the case of a diaper-wearing seventeen-year-old male. American Journal of Psychiatry, 124, 94-96.
Lehne, G. K. & Money, J. (2003). Multiplex versus multiple taxonomy of paraphilia: Case example. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 15, 61-72.
Malitz, S (1966). Another report on the wearing of diapers and rubber pants by an adult male. American Journal of Psychiatry, 122, 1435-1437.
Oguz N, Uygur N. (2005). [A case of diaper fetishism]. Turk Psikiyatri Derg, 16,133-138.
Pate, J. & Gabbard, J.O. (2003). Adult baby syndrome. American Journal of Psychiatry, 160, 1932-1936.
Scorolli, C., Ghirlanda, S., Enquist, M., Zattoni, S. & Jannini, E.A. (2007). Relative prevalence of different fetishes. International Journal of Impotence Research, 19, 432-437.
Tuchman, W.W. & Lachman, J.H. (1964). An unusual perversion: the wearing of diapers and rubber pants in a 29-year-old male. American Journal of Psychiatry, 120, 1198-1199