Incorporating child-like attitude and behavior, a little will often identify as a specific age—anything ranging from infant to teen (also referred to as “middles”). Some littles adopt physical mannerisms and activities of children, including changing their voices, playing with toys and dolls, and wearing clothes in the style of the age they’re portraying.
Anyone of any age can be a little and the role is not limited to gender or sexuality. The complementary role in an age play relationship is a Big, someone who plays the Daddy, Mommy, or Caregiver, depending on the “relationship” to their little.
One of the appeals of being a little is the sense of escape from being an adult and the issues and concerns that adults deal with every day. A little can leave their real-world issues behind and enter little space as part of their age play with their Big. For some, being a little also involves a sexual component and for others, it doesn’t.
In a sexual context, age play is often tied to BDSM and power exchange, with littles being submissive to the dominant Big. Punishment for childish misdeeds, such as spilling food, leaving toys out, or disrespect can be met with over-the-knee spanking. Although it is less common, little/Big roles can be reversed and the little can be the Dominant and the Big submissive.
Age play is often mistakenly confused as being pedophilia or incest. Instead, it is fantasy and role-play between consenting adults. Even for those who do not include a sexual or BDSM context to their age play, littles find comfort and care in their role. They enjoy the protection and attention of the Big, and the positive influences the Big role offers. Littles seek to be nurtured and guided by Bigs.