Diaper fetishism, nappy fetishism or diaperism, is a type of garment fetish in which a person derives pleasure from wearing and/or using a diaper. Though separate and distinct, diaper fetishism can also be used as a component of various other kinks, such as ageplay or paraphilic infantilism, which together form a spectrum of practices colloquially referred to as "adult baby/diaper lover" or "AB/DL".
Generally speaking, people who choose to wear diapers for recreational purposes (as opposed to medical need or situational convenience) may informally classify themselves as "diaper lovers" (DLs), yet vary widely in their motivation, interest and focus of attention.
While some use diapers to achieve or enhance sexual pleasure as part of a kink or fetish, others find diapers to be a source of non-sexual positive feelings, such as comfort, relaxation, nostalgia, as well as being loved or cared for. This is not a dichotomy, however, as many DLs experience both sexual and non-sexual gratification. (Strictly speaking, the term "diaper fetishism" may only apply to those who derive at least some degree of sexual arousal from the activity.) In other words, there is no singular or archetypal behavior and a wide range of thought patterns and activities exist, but all tend to be harmless forms of self-expression and/or an efficacious release from some kind of pressure.
Whether motivated mainly by sexual pleasure or feelings of comfort, many DLs find wearing diapers to be an intense multisensory experience in which touch (the soft, bulky or squishy feeling of wearing a diaper), sight (seeing themselves or another adult in a diaper), sound (the crinkle of the material), and in some cases smell (baby powder, wet wipes, urine or feces) are all stimulated. For some people with a diaper fetish, any one of these sensations may be enough stimulus to derive some level of erotic pleasure or sexual arousal, and may or may not represent a connection or overlap with other paraphilias.
While some DLs prefer to simply wear diapers without using them at all, others may experience increased arousal from "wetting" and/or "messing" in their diapers. Others still may prefer to "simulate" the feeling of a used diaper by saturating the gel core with water, other liquids, blood, sperm, or soft solids. Additionally, some people may choose to primarily stick within their particular comfort zone, while others may feel the occasional desire to explore or experiment with various types of play.
Like many other forms of sexual expression, diaper play can be performed either solo or with one or more consenting partners. Further, while some participants only wear diapers in certain private settings or for limited amounts of time, others might endeavor to "go 24/7" by wearing diapers under their clothes during the course of their daily lives and for a longer period of time. Crucially, because most in the broader AB/DL community subscribe to the notion of "safe, sane and consensual" expression of their kink, exposing others to unwanted sights or smells is highly frowned upon and most intentionally explore their fantasies in a way that would likely not be visible to or noticed by passersby on the street.
Main article: Ageplay
See also: Paraphilic infantilism
Diaper lovers (DLs), including those with a diaper fetish, are often associated with adult babies (ABs) and referred to under the umbrella term, "AB/DL".
While both may wear diapers for sexual arousal and positive feelings, a DL is someone whose interest lies mainly in the diaper itself, while an AB will use the diaper mainly as an element of ageplay; a prop which helps the person roleplay and imagine themselves as a child. In practice, however, AB/DL represents an entire spectrum of interests and behaviors, with some who might classify themselves as DLs being open to some degree of ageplay, and some who might classify themselves as ABs (or maybe "littles" or "middles", depending on their age roleplaying preference) being only marginally interested in diapers.
Over time, as ageplay in general has become more popular, better understood, and less stigmatized, an entire industry has developed around the production of goods for the community. Today, a wide variety of adult diapers (including cloth diapers and disposables with elaborate and colorful designs), cute or childish clothing in adult sizes, and other ageplay accessories are sold to members of the AB/DL community around the world. Furthermore, AB/DL products are becoming increasingly available at sex shops and even mainstream online retailers.
Finally, though less common, diapers may also be used as a prop during ageplay scenes in which a participant is playing as an older adult.
Main article: Omorashi
See also: Urolagnia
The Japanese-language term omorashi (オモラシ / おもらし / お漏らし), which means "to wet oneself", has become a common colloquial term for the sub-genre of urolagnia involving the need to urinate, urinary desperation, and potentially wetting ones clothes or bed. While sexual interests in urine, desperation and incontinence are neither new nor exclusively Japanese, the categorization of "omorashi" as a specific fetish sub-culture in Japan has allowed the term to gain global recognition and predominance in the kink space. The word "omorashi" is also commonly shorted to just "omo" by people in the community.
For some people with an omorashi fetish, sexual climax may coincide with the moment of intense relief and embarrassment experienced when the desperate individual eventually loses bladder control.
Certain subsets of omorashi fandom utilize diapers, in which case it is referred to as "omutsu omorashi (おむつお漏らし)", or less commonly, "oshime omorashi (襁褓お漏らし)", both of which translate as "to wet oneself in a diaper."
Main article: BDSM
Diapers can also play a part in a variety of BDSM scenes, whether as a passive convenience during long bondage sessions where the bound participant may not be able to express or act upon their need to visit a toilet, or as an active element and focal point during a scene involving power dynamics like movement modification, bathroom restriction, diaper punishment, or humiliation.
Another dynamic that blends BDSM with ageplay is called "caregiver/little" (CG/L), in which one participant takes on the role of a caregiver (CG) or parental figure (often called "daddy", "mommy", etc.), and another participants takes on the childlike role of a "little". In some variations of this dynamic, CG/L can overlap significantly with AB/DL play, and diapers may be used.
Main article: Latex and PVC fetishism
See also: Garment fetishism
Some rubber and plastic fetishists have an affinity for diapers and rubber pants. In the case of disposable diapers, this attraction would be to their crinkly plastic backing. In the case of cloth diapers, it would be towards the latex or PVC of the pants worn over them.
Over time, a number of companies that make and sell adult diapers have begun to take notice of the fetish audience, creating new diapers and other products that are designed to appeal to kink community.
Also commonly called "ABDL diapers", adult diapers that primarily target the kink community often have increased absorbancy as well as vibrant, cute or playful designs. While diapers marketed towards people with incontinence increasingly opt for "pull-up" designs and materials that prioritize discretion and mimicking the look and feel of briefs, diapers made for the fetish community are typically "tape/tab" style and prioritize absorbancy, aesthetics, feel, sound, eroticism and nostalgia. ABDL diapers may also have features like plastic backing material (popular for its distinctive crinkling sound), hook-and-loop tapes (allowing for improved fit and multiple adjustments), external wetness indicators, added scents, etc.
Though less popular than tabbed disposable diapers, adult cloth diapers, diaper covers and training pants designed and marketed towards the ABDL community also exist.
Finally, while medical diapers can be found at many supermarkets and drug stores, fetish diapers are typically only found online, at kink lifestyle conventions and specialty stores, or in some sex shops.
Like all kinks, diaper fetishism can be considered an atypical sexual interest, but that alone is neither problematic nor indicative of poor mental health.
In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) published the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) which, among other things, draws a clear distinction between "atypical sexual interests" (otherwise known as kinks, fetishes, or paraphilias) and "paraphilic disorders". The APA states that "most people with atypical sexual interests do not have a mental disorder" and as such, in the vast majority of cases, kinks like diaper fetishism can simply be considered valid and harmless forms of human sexual expression.
However, it is possible for any fetish to become associated with a "paraphilic disorder", in which the behavior or underlying desire causes someone to "feel personal distress about their interest, [and] not merely distress resulting from society’s disapproval".
While being forced to wear diapers as a form of humiliation was previously mentioned in the DSM-IV as an expression of sexual masochism, any reference to diaper fetishism has since been removed in the DSM-5 due to the declassification and depathologization of paraphilias (fetishes) in general.
As of September 2015, Huffington Post Arts & Culture published an interview on diaper fetishes. While this clothing fetish is obscure, diaper fetishists engage in the behavior privately or with a partner who shares a mutual interest in the fetish (sexual acts).
The South Korean public often views diaper fetishism in a negative light. A Naver cafe (similar to the Yahoo! Groups service) that is devoted to diaper fetishism was closed around September 2010 as the South Korean media outlets portrayed it negatively to the general public. Another incident occurred when a South Korean girl group, Girl's Day, were accused of wearing costumes that looked like oversized diapers, dubbed diaper fashion.