I started a forum thread about middles which you can find here. It seemed that being a middle was something that lots of people weren’t sure about as middles are so much lesser known than littles. I thought for this reason that I would write a post in the hope that I could offer some clarification about what a middle is and what you need to know about middles.
What is a middle
Like littles, middles are roles which fall under the category of age play. That said, not all middles would see themselves as roleplaying as many are just letting a more carefree, more youthful side of themselves take the lead for a while. Although it is sometimes termed as age regression I prefer to think of it as embracing a younger age or a younger side of you. That said, the way you identify, and the way you adopt a little or middle side, will be down to you and will clearly vary from person to person and relationship to relationship, as will the way that you think about it or explain it to others.
Where a little will identify with aspects of being a child (usually from about age 2 to about age 10) a middle is an older child, usually a teen, although there is no set or specific age. While there may be some crossover with littles in terms of the things they like to do, activities for middles tend to be ones for older children or ones which focus specifically on their own interests and hobbies. Clearly this will vary from person to person but common to all middles is the desire not to adult or to be a big.
Age Play versus Middle Space
Often confusion comes as there is a difference between age play (adopting a role where you play a character of a younger age) and middlespace, which is a headspace you can slip into where you are not playing but rather have embraced a younger version of yourself. Age play is a kink activity like any other – bondage or impact play for example. It is a type of roleplay where you will agree to take on a specific role which involves being someone who is not adult. This could be a naughty schoolgirl, a bratty teenager or a slutty babysitter. You would usually adopt that role for the duration of the scene or play. The role can be sexual or non-sexual.
This is different to identifying as a middle, even though as a middle you may play some of these roles. A middle embraces the part of themselves that is more youthful, more carefree and more innocent than they can be in every day life. They are able to enter a headspace where they forget adult responsibilities and can leave them behind. It doesn’t need to be something that is planned or even that relies on another person, more it is a mindset that they slip into and out of as opportunity affords. Again, middles can be sexual or non-sexual but because it is a mindset, there will likely be times which are just about engaging in the fun activities that are often off limits as their adult persona.
What do middles like and do
Really this is like asking what people like and do and there is no definitive answer to the question. Anything that someone teen or pre-teen might enjoy would be a fair guess. The following is a list of some of the things that may reveal your middle side:
- Watching, reading or listening to media intended for a teen audience
- Showing a sassy or bratty side where there isn’t one usually (while some middles may be brats, a brat is a submissive identity of its own- see Brats – The Wild Submissives for more)
- Dressing in a particular way or having a certain style which is different to your adult one
- Becoming absorbed in activities that you wouldn’t allow yourself to fall so deeply into usually – doing makeup or nails, crafting, baking, singing, dancing or listening to music, gaming, gossiping, colouring or journaling
- Surrounding yourself with things that allow you to escape to a younger you – soft things, cuddly things, special collections, sparkly things
- Snuggling with a caregiver, being taken out for treats, getting up to mischief or playing tricks and jokes
- Using silly words and using alternative expressions/voices.
Middles and the power exchange
Sometimes there is confusion because people expect a power exchange dynamic to be about sex but it doesn’t have to be. Usually a Caregiver/middle dynamic will be a power exchange one. This is because the caregiver will take the lead, setting certain rules and being the adult in charge. This doesn’t mean that they have to take on a parenting or Daddy role, more that they are the responsible person who is still in the adult world. This will likely lead to a power exchange which will revolve around certain rules or expectations. Setting time limits or boundaries would be one key area.
While most middles would identify as submissives or bottoms and most caregivers would identify as Doms or tops, this doesn’t have to be the case. Roles can include an older sibling who takes the lead, a bratty little who bosses others around etc. Really things are flexible so don’t feel that if you are only ticking some of the boxes or your boxes are sort of the same but different that you are not a middle. We come in all shapes and sizes, so any list or definition should just be taken as a general idea of what might be included.
Why has my middle suddenly shown up
Quite often it seems that someone who hasn’t previously identified as a middle suddenly has a middle who shows up once they are settled in a D/s relationship. There is a reason for this. Being a submissive can feel safe and secure. It also allows us to show vulnerabilities that we may not have been able to show before. If we are with someone who seems to care for us differently than we have been cared for before, this may mean that a middle side we kept pushed down suddenly appears. Even if you are with a partner who you have been with previously, the level of the connection between you can cause a shift where you can embrace parts of you which were hidden or off limits before.
This happens with other forms of exploration, and where it is a form of kink we don’t seen to question it the same way. Letting go and being able to access a submissive headspace during play can often provide the same sort of escape from every day life that embracing a middle headspace can do during times which are not based around sexual play. Often submissives enjoy escaping the pressures and responsibilities of adult life and all that it brings. With a Dominant partner who facilitates this in a nurturing way, it can lead naturally to feeling a freedom from being ‘big’.
- Being a middle – post about what being a middle means
- Calling all Middles – forum topic where middles explain how it works for them
- Age Play – The truth about bigs, littles and middles – a post which deals with some of the common misconceptions
- The Middleground – post which deals with the difficulties of accessing middlespace
- Little Missy Middle – post exploring my own middle side
- Little Me – what it means to be a little
- Puppy Play – an insight into puppy play
- Finding an Alternative Headspace – how to access an alternative headspace