You may have heard of age regression, which is when someone reverts to a younger mental / emotional state. But what does age regression feel like? This is my personal age regression story.
In this post, we’ll take a look at what age regression is, and what the experience can feel like.
Note: As I’ve just stated, this is my age regression story. Not everyone experiences it the same way, and I do not speak for nor represent all age regressors.
What Is Age Regression? – A Brief Overview
Age regression is when someone reverts to a younger mental / emotional state.
Though it may share some of the same terms (like “Little” and “littlespace”), it is a non-sexual thing and is NOT comparable to age play or any related kink.
People can regress to any age younger than their own, possibly all the way back to infancy.
When I regress, I typically go into the headspace of a toddler or preschooler.
For a more general, less personal post about age regression, check out Age Regression 101.
People of any age may age regress.
Personally, I think I started around high school, though I didn’t have the words for it back then and did my best to stifle it out of shame.
Age regression can feel different for everyone, just as living as an adult is unique to each individual.
But the overarching concept is that we feel younger than our physical age when we’re regressed.
Adult Reasoning vs Regressed Reasoning (& Expression)
For me, I still have access to my adult level of reasoning and vocabulary and so on when age regressed, but I am less likely to operate at that level.
In the case of an emergency, I could reason like an adult and handle a situation appropriately. (In fact, in an emergency, I would probably end up snapping out of my regression entirely.)
But if my adult operating system isn’t required, it is ignored when I’m age regressing.
Instead, I tend to express myself in much simpler ways. It’s like my adult brain is still functioning, but goes through a filter.
For example, where my adult brain might say, “We need to make sure that we get enough water today, so we don’t get dehydrated like yesterday,” my age-regressed self would babble, “S’time for water ’cause dat’s how I get not headaches!”
Terrible grammar, mispronunciation, and an over-simplification of the original thought.
If I were to be observed by an outsider, they might think it a performance.
But, I promise you, I am not faking it when I age regress.
My Age Regression Story: My First Age Regression Experience
Technically, I’d been age regressing for years without knowing it.
My age regression story starts back in high school.
I have a vivid memory of being a teenager, shopping with my mother, and being aware that I was acting childlike but having difficulty stopping it.
It made me self-conscious, as I fidgeted and grew quiet, only murmuring responses in a babyish tone when prompted to speak.
I worried I would be noticed, stared at, even mocked.
So I suppressed it.
I didn’t know what it was; I just thought I was being Weird, and did my best to Not Be Weird after that.
But in the late spring of 2020, I finally found the word for it. And with the word, an explanation. And with an explanation, the freedom to regress without shame.
I was reading a fanfic, of all things, when I came across the term “age regression”.
I had briefly heard of it, before, but never looked into it. Like many others, I had falsely assumed it was related to age play, and written it off as a kink.
In the fanfic I read, a character I deeply related to ended up age regressing. I recognized some of their age-regressed behavior as the experiences I had been suppressing since I was a teen.
My curiosity piqued, I opened a new tab and started reading about age regression.
I watched a few YouTube videos by age regressors, explaining their experiences with it.
And so, I let go of some of the shame I’d carried for years.
It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…
I hadn’t really meant to age regress.
Even after letting go of the self-imposed need to suppress it, I wasn’t exactly looking to become an Age Regressor.
But as I sat in bed one evening, scrolling on my phone, a particularly brutal thunderstorm startled me. I lived in a very old house at the time and worried about the windows shattering. There was a sudden whoosh of wind, rattling the windows and shaking the house so hard that my bed moved.
It was like a switch flipped in my head.
One minute I was a typical 20-something, perusing Instagram or whathaveyou, and the next I was reaching for one of my old stuffed animals and rocking back and forth, whimpering.
Perhaps it was because I’d just been reading about age regression. It was like my brain did a quick search for a coping mechanism after being startled by the strong winds and roaring thunder, and settled on the most recent one in our metaphorical Search History.
I spent the rest of that night cuddling my stuffed animal.
After that, I felt a bit silly the next day, still carrying a little bit of shame around the whole thing.
But I had finally re-opened the door to age regression, and I ended up spending quite a few days that summer regressed.
So… What Does Age Regression Feel Like?
Do you remember being a kid?
Remember the overwhelm of having such big, big feelings in a little body?
Because, it’s pretty much like that. Except, of course, I’m not so little anymore.
But, inside? It’s like my usual, contained bottle of emotions has burst, and I respond to stimuli with more feeling that I normally might.
Sad things make me cry, even if I wouldn’t normally cry about that particular thing.
Sometimes even happy things make me cry! I have found myself so overwhelmed with love for a pet when regressed, or even a stuffed animal or fictional character, that I’ve ended up crying about it.
It’s honestly such a beautiful thing to me. I experience things deeper.
Behaviors change, too, due to my emotional state. We’ll get to the specifics in a minute, but here’s an overview of what my age regressed time might look like.
When regressed, I might:
- play with toys or cuddle with stuffed animals
- cry or giggle more than usual
- watch cartoons or read children’s books
- suck a pacifier or my thumb
- color in coloring books or journal (w/ stickers!)
- use a limited vocabulary and “baby voice”
- have a much more simplified way of looking at the world and feel emotions much deeper
My Age Regression Story: Things I Do Differently When Age Regressed
My Writing Style Changes
I write in much bigger, round letters, put circles over my i’s, and tend to refuse to write with anything but brightly colored markers.
This isn’t a conscious decision!
I think it may have something to do with my emotional openness when regressed.
Typically, I write very quickly, sloppily, and with letters leaning all different directions.
But there are times, even when I’m not regressed, where my positive attitude leads to me being a little more expressive and bubbly with my handwriting.
I think that’s partially what’s happening with my regressed handwriting; I’m generally happier, more emotionally open and hopeful, and that’s reflected in my writing.
Arts & Crafts
When I’m not age regressed, my perfectionism tends to run the show. I have been known to crumble papers in a fit of “it’s not good enough”.
But when I’m Little?
I’m not worried about perfection; I’m just doodling.
I color outside the lines. I draw silly faces. My color palette is usually brighter, even if it’s not realistic for the subject of the drawing.
Honestly, art can be a lot more enjoyable when age regressed.
It becomes less about achieving greatness, or impressing others, and more about that creative expression I had no trouble dipping into when I was a kid.
I always enjoy a good cartoon. But when regressed, my appreciation for cartoons with a much lower target age demographic grows.
For example, if I am not age regressed, I would have a difficult time sitting through an episode of Bluey without groaning and rolling my eyes.
But Little me? Loves Bluey.
Not only do my standards for media lower when I’m regressed, but the way I enjoy the program changes, too.
I will giggle more when I find something amusing (and, truly, my age-regressed giggles sound notably different from my usual giggles).
I’ll cry if something’s sad. In fact, I was once so saddened by a scene in a movie that I was watching when I was Big, that it triggered my age regression! Little me just had to come out and say, with a puffed out lip, “That’s sad!”
I’ll also comment on the characters’ actions in a way I wouldn’t typically do when Big: “He’s being mean!” “She’s so silly!” “Wha’s dat? Wha’s he doing?”
Sometimes, I will choose to regress when watching something, because I want to experience it in a deeper way.
I Cry Differently When Age Regressed
My tears flow differently when I’m Little.
Where my typical adult crying tends to either manifest in quiet, subtle tears, or, depending on the intensity of emotion, full-on sobbing, age-regressed me cries like, well, a child.
There’s a lot of sniffling, wobbly lips, and whining/whimpering.
Age-regressed crying, for me, also tends to come with that wondrous ability children have of suddenly doing a 180 and being totally okay, maybe even giggling, before I’ve even had a chance to blow my nose.
Sexuality is a No-No!
When I’m Big, I can be, er, extremely h*rny from time to time.
As someone very involved in fandom, I read a lot of explicit fanfiction, view NSFW fanart, and so on.
But when I’m regressed?
I cannot handle an ounce of sexuality.
If I happen to see something explicit, or even merely suggestive, my knee-jerk reaction when regressed is, “Ew, icky!”
As someone who is very pro-(consensual)-sexuality and fought my way out of toxic purity culture years ago, I try to redirect Little me from making any shame-based statements about sexuality. I’ll catch myself referring to sexual content as “bad”, and then gently urge myself to say something like, “Well, not bad, but not good for being Little.”
Note: I feel obligated to mention that sexuality really isn’t appropriate for someone who is age regressed. When regressed, we cannot fully consent to sexual activity the way we can when we’re Big. It is neither appropriate nor ethical to attempt to initiate sexual interaction with someone who is age-regressed to a mental / emotional age that is a minor. Even if the regressor is experiencing impure regression and acts like they want to engage in sexual activity, it is the responsibility of the non-regressed person in that situation to redirect the regressor’s attention to more child-appropriate activities.
I Prefer Another Name
When I’m age regressed, I prefer to go by a nickname that is entirely unrelated to my actual name.
Not everyone who age regresses does this, but for some of us it’s a way to disconnect from our Big identity and step more fully into our Little selves.
Granted, I don’t really interact with other people when I’m regressed. But I do refer to myself by another name when I’m in my littlespace. I’ve written “[Nickname]’s Little Journal” on the front of my littlespace journal, and I often sign that name when I’m coloring in coloring books.
Note: While it may seem that my going by another name when I’m age regressed is suggestive of another identity, I want to make clear that I do not have dissociative identity disorder. Little me is not an alter, but rather a way for me to let go of Big me when I’m regressed. I am not an entirely different person when I’m age regressed. There are many DID systems in the agere community, whether because they have an alter who age regresses, and/or they have a Little in their system. It is important to recognize the space such people deserve to take up in the community, but I don’t want to misrepresent myself (or DID systems), so I want to make clear that I do not share those experiences.
My Age Regression Story: Partial Regression
Sometimes, I’m not fully age regressed, but not fully Big, either.
This is known as partial regression.
People might experience partial regression differently, but here’s what it’s like for me:
When partially regressed, I usually am internally thinking like an adult, but expressing myself as if regressed.
For example, I might be thinking with a more “Big” vocabulary, but the way I would speak or write those thoughts would be as if they were put through a Baby Talk filter.
Usually, I enter partial regression when I’m on my way out of being fully in littlespace.
It’s like residual regression, that I haven’t quite shaken off as I step back into the adult world.
I might be having adult conversations, even ones that would be inappropriate for a child, but still speaking in a youthful tone and with a less broad vocabulary. I might also be swaying, scrunching/wringing or otherwise fidgeting with my hands, and tilting my head back and forth more than Big me would.
I’m actually partially regressed while typing up this post. I’m capable of thinking and typing like an adult, but as I think of more things to write, I say them aloud to myself in much more simplified speech.
The Benefits of Age Regression
For me, the benefits of age regression have been many, and deeply valuable in molding my emotional health as an adult.
Clear Sense of Emotions
When I’m not regressed, I tend to be very analytical about my thoughts and feelings. In fact, I even conflate the two, and have trouble distinguishing between logic and emotion.
But Little me isn’t so prone to overthinking.
Little me will bluntly state, “I’m sad,” or, “I’m really mad about it.” I have often uttered the words, “I’m mad and sad,” while puffing out my lip and crossing my arms over my chest.
From there, I typically go on to explain (usually to no one; I just babble to myself) why I’m “mad and sad”. Maybe it’s injustice in the world, or something that makes me afraid, or lonely. Then I’ll use more specific words like that.
“I’m sad ’cause I’m really lonely sometimes an’ I jus’ wan’ hugs ‘n kisses,” I might say, through sniffles and a wobbly lip.
It’s a simple enough realization, but I actually spent years only being vaguely aware of how starved for affection I was. It wasn’t until Little me had a meltdown about it that I realized, Oh, this is actually a pretty big deal! I should seek hugs from friends more often!
Age regression has been a serious aide in my introspection, and that’s reason enough for me to make sure that Little me gets some time every week or two to let me know how we’re feeling inside.
As I stated before, I experience creativity differently when I’m regressed.
It’s a huge benefit to be able to draw, color, or finger paint just for the fun of it.
Of course, it’s possible to achieve this outlook on creative expression when not regressed, but it comes so much easier when my adult brain isn’t screaming, “We’ve gotta find a way to monetize our hobbies.”
Ease of Kindness
For me, I find that my compassion is so much stronger when I’m regressed.
Mind, I’m a pretty loving and kind person as it is, but sometimes the hatred and increasing polarization in the world makes it difficult to maintain that purity of heart.
But Little me? Such a sweetheart.
I’m not worried about whether someone deserves my kindness; I think kindly of others because that innocent childlike heart knows that’s the Right Thing to Do.
Granted, this may be specific to my personal age regression story. It’s a bit philosophical, and not everyone shares my view of Kindness For All.
But for me? I love the inspiration and hope for humanity that Little me brings.
Which leads me to my next point…
One night, I had been dealing with a lot of uncertainty and stress about the direction of my life, and Little me saved my evening.
After a good long cry in the fetal position, I sniffled my way through telling myself, “It’s okay. It’s gonna be okay because I can do stuff! An’ I can figure it out!”
I wrote in my Little journal, reassuring myself further. Reminding myself that I have always found a way to get through times of uncertainty (though this was scribbled down much less eloquently).
That youthful optimism–the childlike spirit that tells us to get back on the bicycle no matter how many times we crash–that can be a real life-saver sometimes.
All that said, age regression isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
The Downsides of Age Regression
Age regression, for me, isn’t inherently expensive. The only regular purchases I make are baby shampoo, special flavored milk for my bottles, and sometimes diapers.
But when Little me has access to my credit card?
I’ve been known to impulse-buy toys and things because Little me saw it and wanted it.
Granted, as someone with ADHD, even Big me makes spontaneous unnecessary purchases.
But I definitely have to keep Little me away from the opportunity to buy things.
I avoid going shopping if I’m age regressed, not because I can’t pretend to be Big when in public (I generally can), but because the temptation to splurge on shiny things is often too strong when regressed.
Not having a carer has been rough sometimes. Little me is very shy and not nearly as outgoing as Big me, but is also very clingy. Now, I do have stuffies, and a very cuddly cat, but they can only get me so far.
I think my ideal situation would be to have a committed relationship someone who understands age regression, and is willing and able to support Little me from time to time.
However, it takes a lot of trust to be that vulnerable with someone, and I worry sometimes that I’ll never get there.
When I’m curled up in bed, squeezing a stuffie and crying about how much I want someone to tuck me in and kiss my forehead, my age regression story isn’t as bright as other times.
It’s important for me to ensure that I’m not becoming dependent on age regression as the only coping mechanism for my problems.
I do think that allowing myself to age regress in order to process my emotions more fully is a largely helpful and, I would even argue, a healthy thing for me to do.
But I don’t want to get to a point where I feel the need to regress at the first sign of stress or sadness.
So far so good, but it’s something I do have to be mindful of.
As with any other thing that stands out from what society accepts as “Normal”, age regression can often be the subject of cruel mockery.
I may have worked through most of my unnecessary shame surrounding age regression, and the fear of being seen as Weird, but that doesn’t mean that negative comments don’t hurt me.
Being an age regressor means I have to protect myself from people, particularly anonymous trolls online, who are quick to mock what they don’t understand.
All that said, I still consider the benefits of age regression to far outweigh the negatives.
Age Regression is Different for Everyone
Before ending this post, I just want to reiterate that this has been my age regression story, of my personal experiences.
Not everyone experiences age regression the same way!
The best way to understand what it feels like to age regress, would be to do it yourself. (Easier said than done, particularly if you’ve never done it before.)
But if that doesn’t sound like your sorta thing, there are plenty of blogs and YouTube videos where age regressors talk about their own age regression story.
Please be kind and respectful if you choose to engage with an age regressor. Curiosity is understandable, but please avoid asking invasive questions unprompted.
Many age regressors cannot help their age regression. We harm no one by age regressing, and deserve the same kindness, patience, and understanding one would give to a child.
Thank you for reading my post!
Do you age regress? If so, what does it feel like for you?
If you’d like, share your age regression story in the comments below! ⬇️
Always remember to be kind to one another. ❤️
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor/psychologist/etc., nor do I speak for all age regressors. This post is largely influenced by my own experiences, and was made in effort to raise awareness and dispel misconceptions about age regression and encourage people not to shame or mock it. We aren’t hurting anyone by regressing and deserve to regress in peace and without shame. Please be kind to age regressors, and keep an open mind and heart as you read about experiences that are different from yours.