Before you gasp and click away, wondering why on earth an article like this is doing on a blog for and from teens, let me clear some things up. Age regression is NOT a k!nk; it is completely safe for work, and is a healthy coping mechanism often used by people with mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc.
Here is a short list of terms I will be using in the article:
“Little” — a person who age regresses
“Little space” — a term used to describe the headspace that a person is in when they’re little
“Caregiver” — a person who takes care of a little while they are in little space
“Agere” / “CGLRE” — abbreviations for age regression
And here are a couple other terms that are widely used in the agere community
“Stuffie” / “Plushie” — stuffed animal
“Paci” — pacifier
“Diaps” / “Dips” — diapers
Sinking into little space means that littles are regressing to a certain age where they feel comfortable and happy and safe; this can be anywhere on the scale of childhood, though most littles I’ve come in contact with are between 0 and 8. Little space — also baby space, toddler space, and kid space, depending on the age of the little — can be brought on when a little comes in contact with something, hears or sees something, or really anything else that reminds them of being little. This might be playing with their toes, drinking from a sippy cup, sucking their thumb, or cuddling a stuffie while watching a cartoon.
There are two types of age regression, voluntary and involuntary (also called pure and impure). Voluntary age regression is when someone chooses to regress, either to cope with grown-up problems such as mental illness or just for fun; involuntary is when they regress against their will, often due to being highly stressed or trauma, past or present.
Littles can be extremely sensitive, since they are literally in the mindset of a child. There are lots of things that can cause a little to abruptly and involuntarily resurface from little space, or cause their grown-up self to not feel comfortable sinking into little space for a while. The topmost comments that can trigger this are:
“This is sexualising children.” — no, it’s not. Age regression is often mixed up with CGL (caregiver/little), which is a dynamic of BDSM in which two consenting adults play as a caregiver and a child. CGL is a k!nk, and is not to be confused with CGLRE despite the similarity in abbreviations.
“You call your [significant other] ______? Gross.” — I haven’t explained this yet in the article, so I’ll do it now. A lot of littles prefer to call their caregivers things like “Dada” or “Mommy.” If their partners decide to take on the role of caregiver, the familial names are almost always only used while the little is in little space. To people outside the community, it sounds like CGL and therefore ‘weird.’ It’s not; remember that a little in little space is completely regressed to a certain age, and children refer to their parents in this fashion. When the little grows back up, things go back to an adult standpoint and partners use their names again.
“I could be your caregiver.” (from a stranger or distant friend) — caregivers have to be close to the little so they’re able to understand and interpret. To hear this from someone a little barely knows? Creepy and terrifying. This one isn’t so much upsetting as it is just plain weird.
Littles can be surprisingly different from their grown up selves. Some people may dislike Disney princesses or colouring, but then scribble furiously in their multiple Disney princess colouring books when they’re in little space. It’s honestly kind of amazing how people grow up and change, even when it can seem so natural.
There are a lot of littles out there who keep their regressing hush-hush and don’t buy things to play with. On the other hand, there are a lot of other littles who buy all the supplies they could ever want while in little space. These include everything from sippy cups or bottles, to adult pacifiers studded with rhinestones (there are shops dedicated to this), to sensory toys like rattles or plush cubes. By the way, diapers aren’t always used in the fashion that physical babies and children use them; instead, a lot of regressors slip into them in order to feel littler.
That concludes this post! I think it’s always interesting to hear about communities such as CGLRE. :) Remember to stay safe and stay healthy!