I’m a married man in my 40’s with two children. I’ve been hiding a fetish – infantilism - from everyone I know, since I was a teenager.
I liken it to how I’ve heard cross-dressing described by those who engage in it:
When I’m wearing a diaper, I feel extremely relaxed and at peace.
I confine my “hobby” to when my family’s away, or when I’m travelling for business.
I believe this stems from my childhood experience with a domineering stepfather.
We moved into his house when I was eight, and still a prolific bed wetter. He decreed that “babies” would have to wear diapers.
I had to put a diaper on immediately after dinner, on car trips, to movies, and on flights.
He’d make a big show in front of family about telling me to put a diaper on – he thought it was hilarious.
In the morning, I wasn’t allowed to take it off until he saw if it was wet or dry.
I begged my mother to make him stop, but she preferred to avoid conflict.
This continued until my early teens, when I stopped wetting the bed.
Later in my teens, something awoke again in me. I began buying adult diapers and secretly wearing them to bed.
My stepfather eventually found them and ridiculed me, so I backed away from it, only rediscovering the fetish years later when, as an adult, I looked it up online and realized that I was far from the only one.
However, my wife is very “straight-laced” and unadventurous, and I deeply fear her reaction if she were to know.
I worry that she’d laugh, or consider this an unhealthy deviance.
Yet, I hate shamefully sneaking around – it makes me feel exactly the way I felt when I was a kid, sent from the table to put a diaper on, in front of cousins and extended family.
Am I better off keeping this secret? Am I being selfish in thinking of imposing this weirdness on my wife?
It’s important that my response makes very clear to readers that what you’ve described as an “infantilism fetish” may be unintentionally misleading.
Your wearing of diapers for a better sleep does not in any way include involvement in a sexual act, is done alone, and does not refer to anything related to infant or child sexual abuse.
Research reveals that these are negative misinterpretations sometimes cited, regarding the overall label of infantilism fetish.
Your fetish is obviously and sadly connected to your childhood and the emotional and psychological abuse by a cruel stepfather who humiliated and harassed you publicly.
I believe the first person to whom you should reveal your “secret” is a therapist/psychologist who can help you deal with that past bullying.
You already know that your mean stepfather and passive mother were the source of your needing whatever comfort and peace you get from retreating into early childhood.
Once you can discuss this hurtful past, and get professional feedback about its effects, you can also get guidance as to any potential good or bad results if you confide in your wife.
I understand that it’s hard not to share with your life partner something that’s been of significance to you for so long.
But I believe, for now, that it’s unwise to risk a potentially negative reaction from her, until you’ve arrived at confidence that your stepfather’s past treatment doesn’t define you.
If you still have a fetish, let it be from your own current choice.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who’s being relied upon for support by an alcoholic boyfriend, who also has a brain injury and is abusive and hostile (March 29):
Reader – “Addictions and depression often happen with acquired brain injuries.
“Besides attending Al-Anon for help regarding dealing with an alcoholic, attending a caregiver group through Acquired Brain Injury services will teach her what she needs to know about alcoholics with brain injuries.
“She’ll then be able to understand what’s the correct way to respond to this man’s manipulations so she doesn’t get sucked in and enable him with her finances and taking him into her home.
“She should search for a brain injury service and more information.”
Reader #2 – “She should know that all the advice and help she can give him won’t do anything if the horse doesn’t want to go to the water to drink. There’s nothing she can do about that.”
Tip of the day:
A fetish can be understood and better accepted if its source is understood.