I’m fifty years old and childfree; raising even an adopted baby is impossible with my numerous health problems. Despite this, I have several hobbies typically associated with childhood:
- I collect teddy bears (the bigger and cuddlier, the better) and sometimes sleep with one.
- I’m nostalgic for the TV shows I watched as a child and collect digital copies of old episodes. The US version of Sesame Street dominates this collection, but not all the shows I’ve saved are meant for toddlers.
- I’ve played about half of the Pokémon games on emulators (buying the actual machines and cartridges is well beyond my budget). I’ve also watched English dubs of the anime (as long as my cable subscription allowed it) and written original fan fiction set in that game world.
Whatever an armchair Freudian therapist would suspect, I don’t indulge in age regression fantasies (with or without a sexual component). All my friends are adults, and only a few of them are fellow hobbyists. I can still take part in intelligent, meaningful conversations about age-appropriate subjects. I don’t work because of the same health problems that keep me from raising children. And I have no spouse or sexual partner because I genuinely don’t want one; I don’t even have an ideal “type”.
If you think any of my hobbies are foolish, bizarre, or a tool of ultimate evil, we both have the right to disagree with each other; nothing I say will change your mind. If you think my asexuality is unnatural or inhuman, we still have the right to disagree (just don’t give me the “challenge accepted” treatment, please). But when you combine my retro-kiddy hobbies with my asexuality, assuming that those interests must be fetishes because (a) pedophiles use kid culture as bait and (b) there’s no adult partner in my life -- that’s outrageous. I’ve never been aroused by any fictional character, not even one created for adults -- let alone a character I loved and trusted when I was a girl. And I certainly wouldn’t turn something a different kid loved into a tool to ruin his life. Not every fandom degenerates into a glorified sex toy just because the fans stay loyal as adults; sometimes things are as innocent as they look.