Oh, the lovely diversity of sexual interests! In recent years, the popularity of age play has risen. From common relationship pet names ("Daddy"), to mentions of "babygirl" in popular rap songs, and baby-printed pacifiers and onesies found in goth stores, it's clear that age play is coming out from the dark corner it's been hiding in.

Known as AB/DL (Adult Baby and Diaper Lover), age play and diaper fetishes are ways that some people choose to express their sexuality. Despite its popularity, however, ABDL is still an often-misunderstood kink that's rarely spoken about, even in many BDSM circles. Plus, there are lots of misconceptions; not all adult diaper wearers are into age play, and not all age players want to wear diapers.

Read: Being a Daddy or Little Isn't About Children

Like many kinks out there, this one tends to present differently in different people - which is why the term "ABDL" was developed. AB (Adult Baby) refers to those who love the age play aspect of this kink. For them, wearing diapers is only part of the persona that allows them to enjoy the freedom of acting young again. DL (Diaper Lover) refers to those out there who enjoy wearing diapers for the sake of diapers. Those people may be perfectly happy acting as a regular adult and heading to work - but may just be wearing diapers while doing so.

Why do some people find diapers sexual?

Much like a lot of sexual interests and kinks, asking someone why they enjoy a particular fetish is likely to lead to a lot of different answers. Some have grown up enjoying the feeling of diapers for as long as they can remember. Others met a partner early in their lives who shared their enjoyment of diapers with them - and it has stuck with them since then. Others just read about it online and decided it might be worth a try - and then found they absolutely loved it.

If you or your partner is into this, it's worth thinking about your own journey or asking your partner to explain their journey for you. Figuring out why you or your partner enjoys it might make it easier for you to explore this kink together.

Are there non-sexual uses for adult diapers?

Many adults feel some amount of anxiety involving bathroom use. Some people have a shy bladder that renders them frustrated by using public bathrooms, or are concerned about the cleanliness of public restrooms. Other people have an overactive bladder and find themselves constantly worried about where to find a bathroom. All of these concerns can be easily solved - with no one else becoming the wiser - by wearing an adult diaper.

In kink, adult diapers may be used for an entirely different practical purpose - ensuring that someone has a way to relieve themselves without interrupting a scene. Long sessions of rope bondage or vacuum bed bondage in particular may include diaper use.

There's also a small segment of the population who are medically incontinent. Their situation has forced them into full-time diaper wearing, but instead of being upset about the process, they've found a fun, kinky way to make this inconvenience a part of their sexual lives.

Is the adult diaper fetish about kids?

When people hear about diapers, the mind instantly jumps to children. For diaper fetishists, the two things aren't related. In a diaper fetish, the diapers themselves are the fetish object - not the idea of children in them. Just like some people like to play with cuffs, feathers, or paddles, the diapers themselves are the fetish object. While some diaper wearers will enjoy wearing the diapers just for the feeling of the diaper itself, others use diapers (similar to a collar) to get into a head space for age play. None of these activities has anything to do with children. Remember, kink is about fantasy, not reality.

Think of a diaper fetish like kitten or puppy play. People who love to take on the innocent persona of a pet and enjoy the mental freedom it entails are not into bestiality or sexually interested in animals. They just want to enjoy the role playing and freedom of a simpler time that comes with a simpler mindset. (Learn more in Fluffy Bunny: My Foray Into Furry Sex.)

What do I need to diaper myself or someone else?

Diapering yourself (or someone else!) is particularly easy. Assuming all you want is the bare basics, all you really need is baby powder and a diaper. Frequent diaper wearers also will keep packaging tape and diaper rash cream on-hand.

How do I buy adult diapers?

For those with a diaper fetish, picking out diapers is a personal decision. If you can manage to purchase some online, they're usually going to provide a much-better experience than the drugstore-bought options you can find on the nearest store shelf. Shelf-purchased diapers are designed for occasional bladder leakage and are usually designed for cost effectiveness. Higher-grade, specialty-made ABDL diapers will be made of higher-quality and softer materials, will hold more liquid if you choose to use them for their intended purpose, and will be less likely to rip or tear.

Of course, most adult diaper companies know that you'll want to try out their diapers before you commit to full packages. Most will offer trial packages, usually of two or three diapers, that you can purchase. These companies ship in discreet packaging (usually a plain white bag) with a discreet shipping label, much like sex toys!

Another option is to go with medical incontinence products instead. These will be a step above most shelf-bought items as they are specially designed for those with medical incontinence issues. They will not, however, usually be available in playful prints or high capacities.

Of course, if you'd rather choose cloth diapering, there are cloth diapers available for adult-sized bodies. Some are sold at incontinence stores and others may be hand-made and sold on small business websites.

How do I pick a diaper for myself?

The biggest aspect of any diaper for most fetishists is how it looks. Diaper designs are going to vary widely: from completely plain white or black, medically-designed, baby-like prints, and different colors. Pick a disposable adult diaper that matches how you're feeling. If you'd like to get into an age play mental space, a playful print might be best.

The next thing you'll need to think about is the capacity. If you plan on actually using the diaper, you'll care about the capacity. It will change how often you'll need to replace your diaper when wearing. If the idea of staying in a wet diaper for a good portion of the day is appealing to you, choose a high-capacity option. If you're just wearing the diaper for the mental aspect and have no intention of ever wetting it, the capacity may not matter to you at all.

The final selection you'll want to think about is the tape design. Some diapers are made with four tapes - two on each side. Others are made with two tapes: just one single tape on each side. Wearers on both sides will argue why they prefer one design over the other. Pick whichever one has a design you like - but for those with a wide waist-to-hip ratio, you may find that a four-tape design allows for better snugness against your body above the hips.

How do I diaper myself?

With all of your supplies gathered, the first step to diaper yourself is to find a nice, comfortable, and clean surface you can lay down on. I'd recommend a clean floor as opposed to a bed as the firmer surface makes it easier to diaper. Once you've gotten used to diapering, you'll easily be able to do it on softer surfaces - and even while standing!

Open and lay out your diaper, then sit your butt down on the side that has the tapes. If you investigate the outer sides of the diaper, you'll be sitting on the side that doesn't have the front design. Learning the exact placement for where your butt will go on the diaper will take a bit of time, but you can always adjust the fit later, so don't worry too much about it now.

Now that you've plopped your butt down on the side of the diaper with the tapes, pull the front piece up and between your legs. Now you'll basically be diapered - all that's left to do is fasten things up tight.

Once you're diapered, you can stand up and admire yourself in the mirror or enjoy the experience however you like.

This fetish may seem unusual, but it's harmless - and it's hardly uncommon. In fact, someone you know might be diapered right now. People are unique and so are their sexual interests. Whether you're into diapers or not, you've got to admit that this is just what makes sex - and life - so fascinating.