“I want to be a good boy for my mommy,” said the man. He was in his 40s, and he was naked in bed with me. I guess this wasn’t your typical second date.
It wasn’t the first time the “m” word had been mentioned in our dirty talk, either. But when it came up on the phone, I could just laugh it off or pretend I hadn’t heard him. Not this time. Now, it was real. He wanted me to pretend to be his mommy — his naughty, flirtatious, sexy mommy. Even for a professional sex writer like me, with 19 years of adventures behind her, “age play” was out there.
A subset of the catch-all term BDSM, age play is defined by the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health as “sexual role-playing where one partner pretends to be older and in control while the other pretends to be much younger.” This could mean fantasizing about being siblings, or teacher and student. According to “The Toybag Guide to Age Play” by Lee Harrington, the most popular form is parent-child. People like it for all sorts of reasons: to be silly, the taboo factor, to give up control, to explore an inner identity, to enjoy “never having to grow up.” I’d heard of it, but it definitely didn’t sound like my thing.
It’s not that I don’t love dirty words and role play. I can get off on being called a “bad girl,” “slut” and “whore” (consensually) by a dominant partner. I’ve spanked and been spanked by men and women. But this was new to me. Pretending to be someone’s mommy? I was on the steep end of that sexual learning curve. How could I do this without sounding idiotic, even if only to myself? It was like entering an entirely new world, a sci-fi universe being made up on the spot.
Still, there is a critical moment in bed when a partner shares his deepest fantasy, and you can either tell him you’re not into it — or you can go with it. I chose the latter.
Why did I say yes? I was flattered that he felt comfortable enough to share that side of his psyche with me. I don’t know how often he goes there with lovers, but it’s obviously riskier than admitting you’re into light bondage. I also liked the idea of having the power to control exactly what would happen between us; I could tell him he was, indeed, being a good boy for me, or that he wasn’t, and would need correcting. The roles set clear boundaries: I was in charge, and even though I’m more inclined to be on the receiving end of orders given in bed, I can get off on being in command, perhaps because I know what being on the other side is like.
He’d already told me that his mom had passed away when he was a child, and you don’t have to be Freud to figure that one out. My heart went out to him for losing his mom so early in life. I was also relieved that whatever happened between him and me, I’d never have to meet the woman I was “playing.” I couldn’t help but feel a tug at my heartstrings for this big “baby.”
By submitting to me in this way, he was the opposite of the macho, selfish guys I’d dated who wanted everything their way or never dared show me their most private selves. One of the things I enjoy most about sex is the sense of connection where nothing is held back. If agreeing to be his “mommy” would get me to that place, I was game. I had long been a champion of people baring their deepest fantasies. You can’t do that in a half-assed way.
Still, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t like it. How wrong I was. As he lay on top of me, he sucked on my nipples in a manner no lover ever has. He wasn’t sucking on them to give me pleasure; his tongue never brushed against my nipple to find out if it was hard. He sucked in a fast, loud way, like a baby would to get milk, cheeks moving with exaggerated motions in and out. He wanted attention as much as TLC. It was fascinating, because it felt entirely different than the usual sensual act. Here was a man over 6 feet tall who probably weighed close to 200 pounds, yet he seemed to have shrunk as he curled himself up against me (I’m around 5-foot-3 and 150 pounds). He felt smaller as he “nursed.” He was showing me his vulnerability, transforming into someone else, which made me want to offer up a different side of myself in return. And that was hot.
But the real surprise — which may be the most disturbing part, or the most honest, depending on your perspective — is what the age play stirred up in me. At 36, I don’t have any children, but I want them badly. “Baby fever” hardly begins to describe it. If I could pick up a baby at the supermarket along with my groceries, I would. And this unlikely sexual dynamic, the big baby literally calling me “mommy,” called forth powerful caretaking feelings. It was nice, for a short period of time, to be a mother, even a mock one.
Let me be clear: My maternal yearnings in and of themselves are not sexual. But my desire to comfort others does play a role in my sex life. Nurturing has been one of the ways I pride myself on providing to lovers. That might mean surprising them with dessert, sending them a list of the broken links on their website, giving an intense massage, mailing a package for them, or washing their dishes. Even when I’m in a dominant sexual role, there’s an element of caretaking involved. If I’m slapping or spanking or biting or pinching someone who gets off on me delivering pain, I am fulfilling a sexual need. It may not be the same as feeding them chicken soup, but it is still a form of taking care of them.
So while overt mommy play was new to me, combining kink and nurturing wasn’t. But this scenario brought my previous experience to a whole new level of intensity. We spun a fantasy in which I was sitting in a hotel bathtub, warm and full of bubbles, while he waited to towel me off, then gave me a foot massage. The stories we shared were far from depraved; they were gentle, tender, loving. I could see myself soaking in that tub, him washing my hair, stroking my feet, fetching food for me, sleeping at the foot of the bed. The sweetness offset the weirdness for me.
But it was a lot to process on a second date, or even a 70th. This wasn’t the kind of sex you enjoy and then forget about. Going to such a deeply psychological head space was overwhelming, especially because we didn’t stop to talk about it before or after.
We engaged in role-playing sex two more times over the course of that night and the next morning. I suspected that might be the only way he could get off. I began to wonder how long I could keep this up: I could do it for another date or two, but what would happen after that? What would happen if we really did have kids?
I never had to face that question, however, because after our date, I stopped hearing from him. Save for one brief email check-in, he was gone. I’m too stubborn and proud to beg someone to contact me, so I waited to hear from him. Maybe he felt ashamed about what we’d done, or regretted how much he’d revealed; it was impossible to know. All I knew was the comfort I could take in this: No matter how old I get, sex always has new things to teach me.