Illustration by Cathryn Virginia
If you’ve kept abreast of pop culture recently, you might have noticed something of a shift in power dynamics. Daddies are on the out, and mommies are dominating discourse, whether that’s the rise of shows like MILF Manor, pregnant RiRi’s meteoric return, or Meghan Trainor milking the trend and declaring herself mother to, uh, let’s say, a mixed reception. Clearly, we’re all refusing to grow up – instead choosing to attach ourselves to every matriarch we can find and latching on, desperately, for dear life.
It’s not just our questionable parasocial relationships with celebs that are on the rise – we’re also keener than ever to play with mommy dynamics in the bedroom. According to Google Trends, searches for “mommy kink” have increased exponentially over the past decade, peaking in 2021 to suspiciously coincide, in my opinion, with the rise of the “Excuse me? Mommy? Sorry” TikTok meme. But what actually is a mommy kink? Is it genuinely on the rise? And why is it getting us so turned on?
The term “mommy kink” typically refers to a sexual dynamic between two people, where one roleplays as a dominant mommy or a similarly maternal figure, and the other takes on a submissive role as a younger person – sometimes called a baby or a “little”, among other things. It’s less heteronormative than other ageplay-centric kinks like DDLG (short for daddy dom/little girl), making it especially popular with queer women, though it also attracts cis het guys in need of a little care – or discipline – from a strong mommy figure (see: Roman and Gerri from Succession). For Jordyn, who is 25 and from Chicago, the kink’s primary appeal lies in its nurturing nature – something she feels was absent throughout her childhood. “I grew up desperately needing to feel like someone cared about me, loved me, would protect me and hold me when I cry, and tell me I’m a good girl who made them proud,” she explains. “I definitely don’t think fractured parental relationships are the catalyst for everyone who’s into this, but I’ve seen a lot of other gay girls with similar experiences.”
What is a mommy kink?
Mommy Miss Jean, 27, who began exploring the kink in her private life before becoming a professional dom, agrees with this, but adds that it also provides an avenue to explore other kinks like humiliation. “It carries with it a sense of safety, as well as intimidation,” she says. “I think calling someone ‘mommy’ allows them to feel small and cared for. This is particularly important for subs who do not feel that they fit society's traditional expectations of what a submissive person might be – especially if they are expected to take the lead in the bedroom because of their gender, appearance or personality.” The nurturing nature of the kink is something that filmmaker Vex Ashley highlights in her film Maman, an erotic exploration of sex and motherhood lit in soft pink and white pastels. “Female domination is often framed in the sense of pushing someone away, denying them something, or inflicting pain upon them,” Ashley tells me. “Whereas, the mommy kink, for us, is about submission through care, rather than submission through pain. It feels like it’s a deeply bonding experience that's nourishing and nurturing for both the submissive and the top.” Ashley also thinks it makes sense that our desire to be babied has coincided with such a difficult sociopolitical period in world history. “The world is really hard,” she muses, “and I think that people are maybe craving a little bit of that comfort and care.”
Although mother figures have always been sexualised (you only have to think of Stifler’s mom, Stacey’s mom and the rest of the noughties MILF movement), this relationship has remained a complex one – with hot moms seen as taboo, off-limits, or an unusual thing to be into, rather than an automatic pairing between two natural elements of womanhood.“Motherhood is only a kink because we separate it so much from sex and sexiness,” suggests women’s health advocate and author Clio Wood, whose latest book tackles the often difficult prospect of reclaiming your sexuality after becoming a mother. “The madonna/whore complex is all about how a woman can only be two things. One is super sexy and available for sex – the siren, if you will. And the other one is the mother who then becomes pure and is all about raising the family and ‘niceness’.”Ashley believes that the mommy kink is a great way to realign these two dichotomies – something Maman illustrates in its sexualisation of breast milk (the film’s performers induced lactation during filming, but have kept their top secret biohacking techniques tightly under wraps). “Society wants you to be this totally desexualised, pure, chaste person [when you become a mother],” she explains, “but you don't stop being a living, breathing person with needs and desires.”
Where the dynamic stems from
She also feels that the mommy kink is powerful because anyone, regardless of gender, sexuality or life circumstances, can use it to experience being a mother. This applies not only to queer people wishing to replicate the nurturing roles they take on within their own communities – something she says is quite common for those exploring a mommy kink – but also anyone who, for whatever reason, can’t or has chosen not to be a mom IRL and is grieving this. “I'm at an age where I have to make the decision in the next ten years or whatever, whether or not I want to have children,” Ashley says. “I think for me, being mommy is a way to take that space for myself, rather than wait for it to be bestowed on me by society.” As for those adopting the role of baby rather than mommy? They also get to escape from reality, and even, in many cases, the confines of gender. “There's a real euphoria gender-wise for both mommy and baby sometimes, because babies are essentially kind of genderless,” Ashley says. While ageplay has long been maligned and misunderstood in the media, it’s a lot more than adult diapers (though no kinkshaming, OFC, if that’s your thing), and is in no way related to paedophilia. “It is still a power exchange between two consenting adults and it's important to remember that. It does not imply an attraction to children, any more than pet play implies an attraction to dogs,” Miss Jean explains. She agrees that it can be a powerful form of escapism for her subs. “I've had people book ageplay sessions with me in which all we do is online shop together and I choose things for them. They list the things they want and I'll make them select just one, or I'll choose for them.”
But for every pop girlie stan telling their fave to “step on me, mommy”, how many people are telling their partner the same? Is our parasocial behaviour really impacting our desires? Wood doesn’t believe the kink is new at all, but perhaps our willingness to discuss it is. “It's interesting that people are talking about it now because I don't really think it's that new,” she explains. She does, however, feel this could have both positive and negative implications: “If it is the tip of a wave it could be helpful, because allowing mothers to be sexy in general can only be a good thing. But I think if it remains a taboo, then that almost reinforces the kind of negative sides of it.” Jordyn agrees that the kink isn’t new, but our openness to receive it is what has changed. “I think the overarching societal shift toward the acceptance of different lifestyles has influenced people’s willingness to discuss more taboo subjects out loud,” she says.“There’s a lot of vitriol and violence in the world, but on the whole, I believe people to be relatively more understanding and open about things that happen behind closed doors, even if they wouldn’t necessarily engage in it themselves.” It is, of course, crucial to mention that a wider shift towards the mainstream acceptance of BDSM is due, at least in part, to queer people, sex workers and predominantly queer spaces that have historically created room for others to explore and experiment.
“I think it is the natural progression that comes with our openness about sexuality, the normalisation of kink in general, and… changes in our perception of femininity, masculinity, and what people are allowing themselves to be attracted to,” Miss Jean says, though she does emphasise that “not everyone who comments ‘mommy’ under a picture of a hot woman necessarily has a mommy kink”.
If you want to explore this kink with someone you’re dating, it's important to talk about how scenes will play out beforehand and establish safewords. “Just as with any other kink, it is important to acquire your partner's consent before engaging in the kink with them,” Miss Jean explains. “For some reason, online, this rule seems to fall out the window when it comes to calling someone mommy or daddy.”As long as it’s practised safely and with consent, the mommy kink can be a fun way to explore power dynamics. And TBH, it’s a breath of fresh air from the influx of “looking for girls who love to be choked” fake doms who prompt us to collectively uninstall Feeld every few days. “I think it’s appealing because as humans, we have a natural desire to feel safe and secure, especially in relationships,” Jordyn says. “We’re hardwired for human connection, and I think anyone who needs to feel that connection by way of caretaking or being taken care of would find a mommy kink appealing.” And she’s right. At the end of the day, who among us wouldn’t want to spend our precious time swaddled in the arms – or breasts – of someone who loves us, protects us, and holds us while we cry?