Re: Infantilists: Then and now
So my 2¢ is that a big influence in the change is screwy sampling and changing self-selection, and that there’s some feedback going on here that’s driving the process along quickly.
Your early sample is only online people. Too small a sample, and biased because it’s only Internet users.
When I went to my first party in 1998, most of the people were really nice and friendly and normal. (There was, however, one person that set of my creepy detector in a big way.)
And if you look at the DPF roster from back then (which of course you can’t, because it’s lost to time) people were very lonely but striving to find people to click with. They were exhibiting a desire for socialness.
I went to the Toronto munch a few times in early 2000s (Yorkdale Pickel Barrel days), and again most attendees were “normal”.
The men in their 40s you were encountering were anonymous online individuals. Drawing on my time as a pro-domme (2003-2005), and undergrad psych classes, these guys are desperately looking to fulfill their fetish, but feel guilty about it; they’re in a dilemma that an unfulfilled sexual desire becomes critically important (and keeps getting moreso because it’s unfulfilled), but their guilt about it limits their social options. They regress more into the fetish, solo because that’s the only option, because it offers safety even if it’s unfulfilled. Posting crap online anonymously becomes their only means to share this important aspect of their life with others, yet they seem really creepy because they’re all hung up on their guilt and probably hate themselves. That would make anyone creepy. (I believe these match the “I want a mommy!!!” guys closely.)
Then, consider that the creepiness those guys probably drove off some of the more normal people.
And the only pattern for those that persisted, was to explore the AB thing and then start posting pictures online. (We don’t like to admit it, but most of our behavior is just imitating each other.)
What’s different now:
Younger people don’t suffer the same guilt. Online communities, FAQs, and Porn ubiquity make them open-minded about their own kinks and others. The “If you aren’t vanilla, you’re a goddamn pervert and if your neighbors find out you’ll lose your job and have to move away” bullshit is no longer hanging over everyone’s heads. Miss Mouse mentions some BDSM interests; back in the 1970s we’d say she needed psychotherapy for that. Now there are mainstream books on it. And all of that’s probably riding a wave of imitating the acceptance of GLBT people—since they weren’t so bad, maybe these other sexual minorities are unjustly marginalized. Society’s disapproval is diminishing, enabling more personal acceptance, and enabling us to all be more social, so we’re communicating instead of guilt tripping and living in fear.
Ages and ages of societal repression are being undone now. Reduced guilt and self-lothing, plus tools like this forum and events like NELICon or CAPCon let us meet others and not feel so isolated, and accept ourselves. As those reduce quantities of broken supremely-guilty people over time, the more normal people aren’t being driven off; meanwhile, the there’s a new model of being an AB/DL/Ageplayer/Little: a fetish as just one part of life, with families and jobs that are also important to us, and we can chat online and occasionally gather.
And to the degree these changes among younger people are effecting older generations—thanks guys, it really is better for me, and I don’t think it’s my generation what did it.