I was talking about the difference between "ABs" and "DLs" in another thread and it seems that the distinction I'd always made -- that ABs are fulfilling an emotional need and DLs are fulfilling a sexual one -- isn't universally agreed upon.
LazyAB thought that the distinction is defined according to what a person focuses on -- an AB focuses on multiple aspects of childhood, while a DL is interested solely in the diaper. Here's a snippet of our conversation:
Obviously we're talking about labels here. No one is saying that someone is either an AB or a DL, or that two people will always agree whether someone is more AB or DL, even if they agree on the definition. But real-life problems aside, how do you define the terms? What do you mean when you say "AB" or "DL"?
Here's a full description of the poll options:
FOCUS/OBJECT DRIVEN: (DIAPERS vs. CHILDHOOD):
AB: Attracted to childish objects or the idea of behaving and being treated as a baby or young child.
DL: Enjoys wearing (or seeing others wear) diapers.
NEED DRIVEN (EMOTIONAL vs. SEXUAL):
AB: One who regresses, role-plays or fantasises about childhood to fulfil an emotional need or desire.
DL: One who enjoys diapers to fulfil a sexual need or desire.
The two definitions are complementary. Both are more-or-less accurate and represent different ways of looking at things. There may be exceptions and times when the two definitions don't overlap completely, but despite the vagueness neither definition is "better" than the other. When I use either term, I usually have both definitions in mind.
The blurred distinction between ABs and DLs is so varied and complex that it makes no sense to use the terms "AB" and "DL" to separate different behaviours/personalities. The broader term "AB/DL" is probably best applied to everyone with no attempt made to say whether any aspect of their behaviour/personality is more or less AB-like than DL-like.
Neither definition is correct. I would propose significantly different definitions for the terms "AB" and "DL".
No definition could be correct. In reality there is no such thing as an "AB" or a "DL" or even an "AB/DL". The mentioned behaviours and personality types exist, but trying to categorise people in such arbitrary groups as a way of understanding them is pointless because of such great diversity. The labels "AB", "DL" and "AB/DL" are unhelpful and meaningless. You are what you are and everyone is different. I avoid using the terms wherever possible.