Inside the world of grown men who identify as children and look for ‘Mommies’ online

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Inside the world of grown men who identify as children and look for ‘Mommies’ online

We only ever talk about ‘daddy issues’

If you've found yourself scrolling through the soft-porn recesses of tumblr on a Friday night, you've probably clicked on one of the conglomerates of letters at the bottom of a post: What does "CGL" mean? Will it take me somewhere better than here?

Like Twitter, tumblr has blocked countless NSFW search terms so users have had to improvise, but they've done so brilliantly. Because even if you know what you're looking for, it's almost impossible to find.

"There are 73 mommies awaiting your message," one of the acronyms will offer.

What are Caregiver/Little relationships?

In such arrangements one person will act as a "Caregiver," and the other as a child or "Little," involving things such as stuffed animals, bed-time stories and spankings.

They're almost always people who are dating, engaging in age-play as a means of adding kink to their relationship. Many Littles act out their alternative lifestyle in online spaces until finding someone they're sure can handle it.

The mother role will feel empowered and protective and the little boy will feel like he can be released of responsibility. The mother might also make rules her Little has to follow, and resort to punishments when he don't.

John, 24, has been a 'Little Boy' for two years

The financial accountant who moved from Connecticut to New York in the spring of this year told babe his community usually welcomes people with "relatively open arms."

John says he's just one part of a much bigger BDSM "family" engaging in Caregiver/Little relationships, known in adult chatrooms as CG/L.

While he and other Littles are quick to assert these relationships are never actually a relationship between a mother and her own son, they have all the necessary makings of one.

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Where does the desire to have a Caregiver come from?

"It's scary telling a partner you want a mommy," John says, "it's like nothing they've come across before." But mother/son relationships are something we've "come across," at least in a philosophical sense.

If you asked Sigmund Freud 118 years ago, he could have predicted this growing trend in CG/L relationships, particularly if he'd known there'd be online spaces where curious adults could navigate their verboten fantasies in secret — think adult diapers, cribs and hand-picked regressive ages. John tells us despite being 24, when with a partner, he usually regresses to an age somewhere between the years of 0 and 5.

The whole phenomenon only lends credence to the previously crafted Oedipal idea that parents play a leading part in the infantile psychology of all later "neurotics." As Freud theorized, "sexual preference becomes active at an early period," leading boys to be competitive with their fathers over the attention of their mothers, and similarly with girls — which we've previously mainstreamed as "daddy issues."

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What is your relationship like with your biological mother?

John says he came across Caregiver/Little relationships when he read a comment on a porn site, and it fascinated him because he'd always had a "quiet, shy and reserved attitude," and "loved the idea of being cared for by someone."

He's never told any of his family or friends, for fear they'd find him a creep "or worst of all, pedophile," but explains his mother has not been a part of the picture since a "very early age."

A caregiver, or mommy, babe spoke to, Kelsey 23, had a similar situation, saying her mom "lived with me but she was never really present because she was often under the influence."

Where can someone find their own Caregiver?

After a short time, John began looking into online forums to cater to his new, more specific needs, mentioning Littlespace online, a chatroom which boasts itself as providing everything from platonic online friendship, to kink relationships in real life.

He says finding a partner in one of these chatrooms is your best bet, because in real life "You literally have no idea how someone is going to react when you tell them." If you do tell someone outside of the community, he suggests doing so by dropping hints and gauging their reaction based off that. "If they seem weirded out at all," he says, "they definitely aren't the right partner for you."

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A message board on date CG/L

Some hints he describes are being super clingy, like never wanting to leave partner's side, or slurring speech like that of a young child.

What's the best thing about being a Little?

John says his, and most Littles', favorite thing about being a Little is the "security and safety you feel having a genuine caregiver for once — one that isn't fake."

He says most of his friends are Littles he's met over the years, explaining that I, and everyone else, probably have "a number of friends who are also littles in secret."

What would surprise someone most about it?

The most surprising thing about the CG/L community, John says, is the reason people retain that childlike state of mind to begin with, noting that for someone else, joining the community would involve an "intense learning curve."

He likens the CG/L fetish to the desire one might have to read books, saying the regressive side of infantile roleplaying allows a Little to momentarily escape his own reality — "Like how others have books," he says, "they read to avoid the things happening in their lives."

The community, John says, can be quite intimidating, but even though it has its "share of bad people," so does any other community. He says if you're capable of ignoring the bad bits, you'll find "a lot of people" with similar interests who are willing to help you feel comfortable.

What gets you into your 'Little Space'?

"Stopping me in the middle of what I’m doing and do it for me, start a surprise bubble bath for me or bringing me a full sippy or bottle of juice when it’s fresh out of the dishwasher," says John, adding that things like offering to bandage his cuts, or asking him if he wants to go to his "Little space" are huge turn-ons.

Kelsey, the Caregiver babe spoke to, says she usually suggests coloring to her Littles and sometimes even "grounds them by sending them to a corner" to help them get there.

What kind of clothing do you wear?

John says there are entire shops and websites dedicated to Little space, like littleforbig, adding that there are other shops who specialize in creating adult pacifiers, too. "Some people want to wear diapers, some want to wear onesies and others just have the mindset of a chid," he says.

While it's "not for him," John says diaper fetishism, or being a Diaper Lover, often involves wearing diapers for sexual or erotic reasons, and Littles will often "urinate or defecate in them."

He says because he's 6'2", dressing can sometimes be hard "but it doesn't matter how tall you are, just as long as you are teeny-tiny at heart."

Are there any specific punishments?

"Of course there are groundings and also sexual punishments," he says. However, he's usually just forced to take a cold shower when he's "super bad." "Nothing extreme," he says, "just like 5 minutes in the cold shower while she watches making sure I don't switch it to heat or hop out."

For John, at its very core, being Little is really just an escape from reality or "being big."

"You can stop worrying about how much you hate everything else going on in your life," he says, "You can just enjoy being little again for a while."

Names have been changed for the sake of anonymity.

@carolinephinney

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