DDLG stands for “Daddy Dom, Little Girl” and it’s a BDSM dynamic where one takes the role of “daddy” (also called the caregiver) and the other takes the role of “little” who embodies childlike qualities.
The DDLG Relationship
Usually, the daddy takes on the dominant role and the little that of the submissive one. But the thought that it’s strictly like that is a misconception.
Sometimes, littles can be the doms in the relationship. Examples of dominant littles are "brats" or "princesses." But maybe the little just doesn’t identify as either dominant or submissive. That’s perfectly fine, too.
The daddy and the little can also switch roles — so, the daddy becomes the little and the little becomes the caregiver.
And then there's the sexual aspect of it. A lot of the lifestyle portrayed online is very sexual in nature, but being in a platonic DDLG relationship is also completely possible.
This is why an ultimate guide for DDLG is tricky. Because the lifestyle is very flexible.
The only sure thing about it is that it’s under the BDSM umbrella. It should also always be consensual. And whether or not sex is part of the picture, DDLG is always a kink because of the power exchange involved.
Everything else is pretty much fair play.
The DDLG Lifestyle: In a Nutshell
I’m going to be straightforward with you: The ultimate guide is that there’s no definitive guide for the DDLG lifestyle.
It’s very complex. There’s no right way of doing it because people practice it differently, and there’s no single reason for doing it because people get into the lifestyle for various reasons.
I’m a little. I’ve always been bubbly and carefree in a way that it felt like my inner child never left even as I grew up.
When I heard what DDLG was, I looked deeper into the lifestyle. But a lot of the time, I read definitions of it that claimed to be set in stone but weren’t applicable to me and how I acted.
So for a time, I thought I wasn’t part of the community after all. Even though I actually was, and that I just did things differently.
In the end, DDLG is very individualized. It’s a nuanced lifestyle that’s as complex as you.
So, this guide won’t give you a strict definition of what DDLG is (just the broad strokes) nor a step-by-step guide on how to do it. The goal is to introduce the more general aspects of the lifestyle and help you understand your own shade of DDLG so you could define it for yourself.
Let’s get to it!
DDLG Terms Explained
If you’ve just started joining forums and communities, then you’ve probably come across unfamiliar acronyms like CGL, ABDL, or MDLB. And terms like little age, middle, or age regression.
It can be overwhelming, coming across all these slangs and not knowing their meaning. So let me explain them to you.
Let’s start with what each role entails.
What Is a Daddy Dom?
In DDLG, the daddy takes on the caring parental figure. Of course, this parental figure doesn’t always have to be a guy--there are also mommies, but we’ll get to that later.
Daddies are more broadly called caregivers. And for a reason.
When you think of a dominant in a BDSM relationship, you usually think of someone who rules with a stern hand and enforces strict discipline. Daddies can be that too, but more often than not, they’re more softcore.
They’re caring, loving, and sweet. They’re the protective and authoritative half of the DDLG dynamic. But whether they’re strict or lenient with their littles, they always want the best for them.
Despite the “dom” in the name, some daddies can be the total opposite. Some don’t even identify as dominant. And that’s absolutely okay. Their job is to nurture, to be a constant in their little’s lives, and to always give them a guiding hand whenever they need it.
Because daddies take on a kind of parental role, they often set up rules their little should follow. These rules, in turn, have rewards when abided to or punishments when broken.
This is common practice but not required. Daddies can have a more relaxed dynamic with their little. Just like any other relationship, it’s important for the daddy and little to communicate what they each want their relationship to be.
What Is a Little?
Littles have never been able to get rid of their inner child. They can be in their 20s, 30s, or even 60s and still feel like they’re 8 years old (or younger; or a bit older).
This is why littles look up to their daddies or caregivers for guidance. They have a need to be looked after, cared for, and protected. And maybe it’s this innocence that urges daddies to be their caregivers.
Most littles are submissive, following daddy’s orders and abiding by the rules he’s set up. Sometimes they’re good girls and sometimes they’re bratty.
But some littles aren’t submissive, and that’s okay. Littles can be whatever they want.
So if it suits them and their daddies for them to be bratty and bossy 24/7, then more power to them! As long as everything’s consensual and both parties are happy and satisfied.
Now, ageplay is very common in DDLG. That’s why littles tend to have little ages and it can range from newborn to 12 years old.
If you think your little age falls into the teenage category, from 13 to 17, then you’re called a middle.
Even so, you’re still definitely a little because you’re playing an age that’s younger than your actual age, and you do it to embrace your inner younger self. But in the community, you’re specifically called a middle, which is just a little, really--if only a bit older.
Your little age doesn’t have to be fixed either. A lot of littles change ages all the time. Sometimes they’re newborns and sometimes they’re eight years old. It really just depends on your mood.
Some littles don’t even have a little age. And that’s okay, too! I personally don’t. I’ve been bubbly and childish (and adorable) for as long as I can remember. I don’t need a little age to feel or be little. I just know in my heart that I am.
In BDSM, a headspace is an altered state of mind that comes with taking on a submissive or dominant role. The brain secretes chemicals that often make practitioners lose themselves in a scene.
Sometimes, the effect is compared to intoxication or the high of being drugged. It’s just this intense feeling that’s hard to describe. It varies from person to person, and they love it--otherwise, they won’t be coming back for more.
In DDLG, falling into little space is a huge part of becoming a little. Some littles use triggers to get there, such as sucking on their thumb or a pacifier, doodling on a coloring book, or just curling up with their stuffies.
Some littles sink into little space after a long day of work and some do it once a week or once a month when they meet with their daddies for playtime. Maybe you’re in little space almost all of the time.
However often you get to experience little space, it’s that warm, fuzzy feeling you have every time you feel safe in your environment. When you can just be tiny, carefree, and protected.
Little space doesn’t always mean you have to have a daddy around either. You can be alone in your room, reading Harry Potter and surrounded by soft pillows and a dozen stuffies. Or you can be around friends, finger painting sculptures.
And when there’s little space, there’s also daddy space. Yes, it exists. And it’s more misunderstood.
Often, daddies are assumed to always be in that headspace. Littles probably don’t think their daddies shift into headspaces at all, that their daddiness is somewhat always turned on. But that’s only because their little’s presence is most likely the only requirement for them to get into daddy space.
This headspace can cause daddies to feel an intense need to protect, nurture, and care for their littles. Or maybe a drive to discipline them.
Now, I may just be putting nonsensical labels on things. But let me be clear: A daddy doesn’t need to be in daddy space to be a daddy for a little, and a little doesn’t need to be in little space to be a little for their daddy.
Headspaces are just a way to explain the shift in your mindset and the intense feelings that flood through your body whenever you embody a little or daddy’s role.
They explain why a little can be a strong and respected CEO yet so mushy and sensitive when they come home after work. They explain how a daddy can be so disconnected with the DDLG lifestyle whenever he’s hanging out with his friends, yet when he comes home to his little, his caring, parental side shows up.
A switch is simply someone who takes on both the role of the little and the caregiver, depending on what they’re feeling in the moment. Suffice to say, they’re familiar with both the little and caregiver’s headspaces.
If dominance and submission is a huge part of their lifestyle, then a switch can be submissive in one scene and then dominant the next.
Switching in DDLG is so awesome because it expands the possibilities that could happen in the relationship.
You don’t have to be a switch if you’re not into it though, just because it sounds cool. The lifestyle is filled with dozens of fun things to do already.
The Variations and Specifications
Now, let’s talk about the variations. I made a handy diagram for you to understand them better.
Think of DDLG as a dynamic that falls under the BDSM umbrella. BDSM is all about power exchange, and the power exchange within DDLG is just more particular--that of which exists between a daddy and a little.
But under BDSM is a smaller umbrella--ageplay--and another umbrella called CGL which means Caregiver/Little.
CGL is simply the broader term to describe DDLG. It encompasses DDLG and its variations. Whereas ageplay is a kink where you roleplay a certain age either to enhance sexual experiences or to merely relax.
Ageplay and CGL are best represented in a Venn diagram because not everyone who roleplays age necessarily acts younger and not everyone who’s into CGL is into ageplay.
That’s why a portion of ageplay in the Venn diagram has gray lines. Think of that as an area excluded from the CGL tree because it’s the part of ageplay where practitioners roleplay older roles. It’s pretty rare, but it exists.
As you already learned, DDLG is very fluid. There are elements common to littles and daddies such as dominance, submission, and little ages, but they’re not always a fixed rule.
And this rings true when it comes to gender. If there’s DDLG, then there’s its opposite: MDLB or Mommy Dom/Little Boy. There’s also DDLB (Daddy Dom/Little Boy) and MDLG (Mommy Dom/Little Girl).
If you’re gender-fluid, you don’t have to stick to one camp either. Sometimes you might be in the mood for some MDLB or sometimes you might want to try DDLB.
If both you and your partner are switches, sometimes you might try DDLG, and sometimes you might try MDLB.
Really, anything is possible.
But because you’re here specifically for DDLG (hence the title), I’ll be using that term mainly from here onward. But keep in mind that what I say can also be applied to the other CGL variants.
In the diagram, I segmented the little ages into 4: ABDL (which stands for Adult Baby/Diaper Lover), little ages of toddler age to 12 years old, middle ages or teenage to young adult years, and no little age.
You’d notice that ABDL spans all age groups. That’s because age here is optional. Sure, the subcommunity loves wearing diapers--it’s the whole point of it. So, it’d only make sense that their little ages should probably be from newborn to toddler age, right?
But you don’t have to ageplay to enjoy wearing diapers. As with any other aspect of CGL, how you practice ABDL depends on you and what you’re most comfortable with. Whether it’s for erotic reasons, a mere stress reliever, a hobby, or a lifestyle, it’s all up to you.
Can you still be a little or adult baby even though you have no daddy or mommy? Absolutely!
Sure, DDLG is a dynamic between two (or more) people, but you really don’t need a daddy to get into little space. Whatever activities get you feeling safe and happy… do them. Paint, color, cuddle with your stuffie, or grab your pacifier.
Plus, the DDLG community is vibrant and filled with the sweetest people. Join Facebook groups or forum discussions. You don’t need a daddy to feel little and cared for at all. The ABDL lifestyle also doesn’t require you to be in any kind of relationship.
Ageplay vs Age Regression
These 2 terms often get interchanged. But here’s the gist:
Ageplay is a kink. Age regression isn’t. Ageplayers act. Age regressors feel.
Ageplay is simple roleplay. You just act a certain age and play the role of that age. You can do it for sexual reasons or simply just for fun.
Age regression, on the other hand, is more biological. It’s when someone mentally regresses to a certain age and actually feels like they’re that age. Sometimes, this is a result of a traumatic experience. Age regression is also used in therapy. Although some littles might experience age regression, it’s not inherently sexual.
DDLG and Sex (and Other Kinks)
So, the truth is, the CGL graph above is only the base. You can add so many more branches to it.
As I said, DDLG doesn’t always involve sex. But when it does, some members of the community get into other kinks to further add flavor to their CGL dynamic.
Take me, for example:
I’m a little who also heavily leans into the M/s or Master/slave dynamic. I also enjoy pet play, so sometimes I’m daddy’s puppy who’ll bite all of his enemies (pet play intermingling with DDLG is actually pretty common).
Really, there’s no shortage of areas to explore and things to add variety to your dynamic. You can try doing all sorts of roleplay and even polyamory. You can try all sorts of things!
As long as everyone involved is a responsible, consenting adult and that no one is getting physically or mentally harmed, you can enjoy DDLG however you like.
Busting the Myths
When I first got into DDLG, I came across numerous misconceptions about the lifestyle. And if you’re someone who’s just familiarizing yourself with the community, I hope you don’t encounter such misleading content, especially hateful rhetoric.
It’s understandable for people who aren’t into the lifestyle to think it weird, bizarre, or sometimes even gross, unethical, and downright disgusting.
Although some people try their best to keep an open mind even if they don’t understand at all, some people stick to their conclusions without even asking a single question about DDLG.
In this section, I’ll cover the most common myths the DDLG community has to deal with time and time again. Here goes:
1. It’s Pedophilia
This is the most common (and most annoying) myth there is. Because littles like to pretend that they’re children, people conclude that the DDLG community celebrates the sexualization of kids.
Look, I know this is an easy mistake to make. But it’s a hasty conclusion and not at all what DDLG is.
Far from it.
First of all, DDLG doesn’t always include sex, and even if it does, some littles aren’t even in little space when they have sex with their daddies or mommies. Meaning the DDLG aspect of their relationships is separate from their sex lives.
Second, pedophilia involves children, not adults pretending to be children. There are NO children involved in DDLG. Nada. If someone tries to involve children, the entire community will unleash hell on them.
So, by that second reason alone, the myth should be officially busted. But I’ll say more.
It’s easy to think that when littles play the age of little girls or teenagers, they’re sexualizing children. But that’s not at all the case. It’s important to understand that littles love being little because they just want to revert back to child-like qualities, embodying a part of their lives back in time when they were cared for. Maybe they’re trying to hold on to a more innocent time or maybe they enjoy being vulnerable.
Whatever their reasons, it’s not because they’re sexualizing children.
Apart from this, despite the child-like qualities of littles, daddies aren’t really attracted to the child-likeness but the authority that they hold over their little.
It’s simple BDSM. It’s just a power exchange and absolutely nothing to do with actual children. I hope we’re clear on that.
2. It’s Incest
I really don’t want to go on a rant about this one. No, it’s not incest. “Daddy” and “Mommy” are simply terms that signify authority which, in turn, creates a power gap between the little and caregiver.
Again, it’s the power exchange the DDLG community is attracted to. Not because they’re pretending that their daddies are their actual father.
Besides, unless you’re involved with your actual father, it’s not incest. If you’re not related, it’s not incest.
Like, come on.
One can say, “maybe it’s just a means to fantasize about your actual dad because you can’t do it in real life.”
Yes, a person can do that. It’s very possible for someone to do exactly that.
But don’t you be generalizing, okay? That’s a fallacy. I call my boyfriend “daddy” with barely a thought about my father. My little girlfriends call their boyfriends “daddy” without ever thinking about their dads. Just deal with it. It’s not incest.
3. It’s a Product of Daddy or Mommy Issues
So, did someone with a psychology degree examine each and every member of the DDLG community, collected innumerable data about our lives from childhood to adulthood, and analyze their findings to end up with this ridiculous conclusion?
I’m not saying that no one in the community has daddy/mommy issues; I’m saying you can’t generalize an entire group of people based on claims with no evidence whatsoever.
I know a lot of littles who are even more into DDLG than I am but have no issues with any of their parents. They grew up in ordinary, loving families. Granted, I also know some littles who’ve had shitty fathers.
The point is, whatever kind of relationship a little has with her parents, it doesn’t matter. That’s a separate issue and not directly involved in DDLG.
4. They Must Have a Mental Illness
I can’t even.
Again, a daddy or little might or might not have a mental illness. Whatever the case, it’s outside DDLG.
Stop pointing out that a little likes being little because of her depression or anxiety or whatever shit is going on in her life. A lot of littles are perfectly mentally stable.
5. It’s an Excuse to Avoid Responsibility
If this is true, then I wouldn’t have a full-time job and be starting an e-commerce shop on the side. I’d just have my daddy take care of everything, do all the work, pay all the bills, and buy all the necessities.
There are plenty of littles who are badass men and women in their respective fields. So don’t be saying that DDLG is just a means for littles to run away from their responsibilities.
And even if DDLG folks want to avoid responsibility, who doesn’t? Who wants to be an adult?
I’d love to be able to quit my job and all and just relax. I’m sure a lot of people will be able to relate to that sentiment. But even though you don’t want adult responsibilities, it doesn’t mean that you can just quit them.
There are a few psychological reasons why daddies and littles get into DDLG.
Before I enumerate them, though, I’ll start with a disclaimer. These are all based on what I’ve read from learning about the lifestyle. I’m not an expert, so don’t take these as professional scientific explanations.
But... I’m planning on interviewing experts soon to write a more comprehensive and authoritative piece on the psychology of DDLG, but that’ll take time.
Until then, here’s what I got.
1. We Crave Variety
Maybe you’re into DDLG simply for flavor. That’s pretty natural.
People crave variety. We constantly seek new things to spice up our lives. Without variety, things will grow stagnant and just plain boring.
This is why couples’ sex lives eventually grow stale if they’re just always doing missionary.
If you’re doing the same things over and over, you’re only setting yourself up to be stuck in a dull routine. Day in and day out.
2. Holding On to Innocence
Before you found out that you were a little, you probably had something from your childhood that up to now is still an inherent part of your life -- something you’ve never been able to truly let go.
It can be a favorite stuffed animal, video games or TV shows from when you were a kid, lolita dresses, drinking from a baby bottle, or just a bubbly and carefree personality.
Whatever it is, it’s something that tethers you to your inner child. It might remind you of safety, comfort, or innocence. A time when things were simpler.
For some, it’s a way to separate the stressful and the stress-free aspects of their lives. It’s a way to lay off the responsibilities of work for a tad bit and just sink into little space and feel...little.
It’s just a huge relief to be rid of all your normal life burdens and just shrink back into a carefree version of you. It can reduce a lot of stress. Even if only temporarily.
How to Get Started
The truth is, I can’t really tell you how. Because as I’ve said, every little is different and each dynamic is unique. But I can give you options to explore so that you can experiment, mix and match, and see what suits your littleness and DDLG relationship best.
Rules, Rewards, & Punishments
These are pretty standard for DDLG dynamics although it’s not required.
Setting up rules is something daddies usually do. It can be written down for a more authoritative feel, or it can be casual where you just agree on some things and treat it as law.
I’ll give you an example. My daddy and I don’t have them written down, but it’s pretty much a rule for me to always be naked when we sleep. I should also always be waxed down there.
Other rule examples from my little friends are:
- Daddy chooses the panties you wear that day
- Doing chores
- Lights out at 10 pm
- You can only eat candies if you do a certain thing
- Your creativity is the limit
Hand-in-hand with rules are rewards and punishments. If you follow the rules, you get rewarded for being a good girl. If you break the rules, you’re punished for being a brat.
Your rewards and punishments are entirely up to daddy. He could reward you with toys, books, a new dress, a date night, or a trip somewhere fun. For punishments, he might spank you, have you write lines, or maybe even control orgasms (if sex is something you do).
Maybe you can even try behavior tracking by keeping a score chart for doing chores or something. Whenever you do your duties as a little, you gain a star. And when you earn enough stars, you gain a super extra reward.
It’s all up to you and your daddy.
Just remember that even though your daddy decides the rules, rewards, and punishments, your comfort should always be taken into account. Everything in your relationship should always be consensual and you shouldn’t do anything that you don’t want to do.
Safety & Abuse
Again, consent is key.
I’m just going to assume that you’re a smart adult who’s perfectly capable of taking care of your own wellbeing. As soon as you start feeling that something’s off, trust your instincts.
Don’t let anyone abuse you physically or verbally. Have safe words, goddamnit. Be responsible for your own health.
And if it’s something that spiraled down to toxic real fast, get help immediately. Contact family and friends -- anyone you can trust to get you out.
This is serious. DDLG comes with its own risks. Because there’s power play involved, make sure you’re doing everything responsibly.
If you’re just starting out, I recommend joining communities and being active within them. It’s a great way to learn what it’s like for practitioners other than you.
It’s also very interesting. Because DDLG is different for each of us, joining communities will help you find out what flavor of DDLG fellow littles or caregivers have.
The community is also very welcoming. Everyone (especially littles) is filled with rainbows and butterflies and baby pink cupcakes!
You’ll fit right in!
Here are a few places you can explore:
- Facebook groups (search “DDLG”, “CGL”, or “ABDL”)
- Kinkd (mobile app)
Some of these sites are used for dating. If you ever use them, always be cautious of everyone you meet online.
A Note to Minors
If you're a minor who got curious about DDLG and ended up finding this blog post, please know that minors are strongly discouraged from participating in kink.