Age play vs Age Regression – What’s the Difference?

age play vs age regression thumbnail with blocks around the edges
Age play vs Age Regression

Both the terms age play and age regression call to mind similar thoughts in most people’s heads which leads many to believe that they are the same thing. I get it. At a glance they look alike, and to add to the confusion, the terms usually get used interchangeably. But, no matter how identical age play and age regression seem, they are not synonyms for each other; and the differences between the two are major. 

What is Age Play?

Age play is a form of sexual and/or non-sexual role play in which one or more consenting adults pretend to be an age different from their biological one. An example of this is the caregiver little/middle dynamic (CGL), in which one partner acts the role of a caregiver, while the other acts younger than they are as a “little”. Though it’s common to come across age players that take on younger ages, ones that take on older roles do exist. For example, I act as a tacky older cougar lady to turn my partner on (I’ll be there one day). Those who engage in age play tend to do so because they find the power exchange to be arousing, comforting, and/or just plain old fun! 

What is Age Regression? 

Age regression is when an individual psychologically returns to a mental state that is younger than they are. The age a regressor goes back to can differ from a few years younger to complete infancy. The regression can be voluntary or involuntary. When it’s voluntarily, it’s usually used as a way for the regressor to relieve stress, regulate emotions, and/or deal with past traumas, such as in age regression therapy, by returning to a safer state of mind. On the flip side, when agere (age regression) is involuntary, the mental headspace that the regressor experiences can vary from fun to traumatic, and usually these episodes are a sign of a mental health condition such as schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or borderline personality disorder, along with a list of others. 

How are they Different?  

age play vs age regression Venn diagram

Age Play and Age Regression definitely have some similarities in their definitions and even sometimes in their physical execution; nonetheless, they are not the same. Age play, for instance, is for adults due to its connections with kink; while age regression can be participated in and experienced by any age; on account of it being a form of therapy/coping mechanism (though some use age play to cope as well). With the mention of minors being able to take part in regression, it’s worth noting that age regression is not sexual at all, unlike age play. Age play can be sexual and/or non-sexual because the person/s involved is/are playing as an age; whereas age regression, even if it’s between adults, is never sexual because the individual involved is mentally regressing (usually to the age of a minor). In other words, they can not give consent.

Another significant difference between the two terms is that age play is always voluntary. Age regression, though often voluntary can be involuntary. When involuntary, it can become a hindrance to the regressor’s way of living by preventing them from doing “adult” things in life.

Lastly, one of the more minor differences between the two is that age players can roleplay any age they want. The age an ageplayer picks can range from young to old, while age regressors are regressing to a younger age always. 

Interested in Age Play? Check out The Little Space Question Sheet

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