The ‘Diaper Spa’ controversy in Atkinson may soon be cleaned up.
Opponents of the local business, which caters to adults who want to dress up as babies and role-play as infants, are responding positively after changes to the business’s website clarified that diaper-clad clients would not be provided with access to town-owned playgrounds.
The original change.org petition took aim at the spa’s “advertis(ing) our town playground to their potential clientele. Thus, their sexual fetish will involve the town park where our children play.”
Resident Kayla Gallagher, who launched the petition on Sunday, added an update Wednesday morning declaring “victory.” Gallagher reported the spa website had earlier “advertised our playground and playdates with a ‘little,’” but has since been updated “and no longer reflects these.”
“There may be big feelings about this and perhaps why the website was changed,” Gallagher wrote. “However, the fact is this website was changed and no longer reflects this petition’s concerns.”
An earlier version of the website advertised “a trail practically from the backyard leading along a pond and a private walk to a fun park all year.”
Gallagher added that the furor over the Polk Road diaper spa, run by Dr. Colleen Ann Murphy, “is drawing more national attention than many of us would like.”
Reached via text message on Wednesday, Murphy acknowledged continued community “concerns about my business” and added that there “is no hidden agenda” regarding the changes she made to her DiaperSpa.com website.
“I took community feedback and input extremely seriously, recognizing the value in rectifying any misunderstood language,” Murphy told NHJournal.
The controversy over Murphy’s diaper spa, however, has attracted national attention.
“I think it is time to focus on us as a community to resolve this issue,” Gallagher wrote in her change.org update, hinting that the public stink surrounding Murphy’s diaper spa business may flare up again. “Many of us may not want this business in a residential area or have continued concerns.
“While I support this sentiment, I think the intention of this petition has been met. We voiced we were upset about the advertisement of the playground and the impact on our children. That was heard loud and clear!”
Murphy said she made updates to address “areas (that) were prone to misinterpretation or lacked clarity.”
She added, “I clarified that I have never taken a client off property, nor have I ever even offered to do so.
“It is important that my services do not include field trips.”
The spa’s website advertises the business as a “physician-run diaper salon” catering to “all diaper-wearing individuals who seek acceptance, respite, and care.” Potential clients can schedule a half-hour “discovery call” with Murphy while an hour undergoing ABDL (Adult/Baby Diaper Lover) “nursery spa care” costs $300. An hour-long virtual “play date” with Murphy costs $200, and a Diaper B&B (bed-and-breakfast) is advertised at $1,500 per 24-hour period.
Per the diaper spa website:
“In the summer, you can play with your water wings and floaties poolside, picnic under the tree with your teddy bear, play marbles on the patio, or swing on the front porch swing and serve tea to your dollies on the porch. In the winter, we can make snow angels, build snowmen, drink hot cocoa from beneath clouds of whipped cream and sprinkles, and decorate gingerbread men or sugar cookies.”
The website also features a photo gallery of “ABDL wellness and care.” The gallery shows various rooms in the business showing adult changing tables, adult-sized cribs, toys, and beds featuring a playpen-like design. Murphy also manages an extensive blog extolling the virtues of adult diaper lovers.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Boston.com, Murphy, a “board-certified integrative medicine physician and sexologist,” said the bulk of her business involves telehealth services. She told the website that for her clients, “being a part of this (ABDL) community brings comfort and solace, providing a haven from the stresses, traumas, and triggers they have faced in their history or that they face daily.”
“The most common misconception I hear about ABDL is that the community is composed of pedophiles, perverts, and sex offenders,” Murphy added. “This is blatantly not true.”
A 2020 “exploratory study” of ABDL characteristics featured on the National Institute of Health’s website states the first reported cases of ABDL behavior date back to 1964.
“In recent years, in the paraphilic field, a peculiar phenomenon has been described, called Adult Baby/Diaper Lovers (ABDL), which concerns persons who act a voluntary regression to a previous age and/or wear a diaper for psychological reasons,” the study states.
Murphy stressed her services “have always been conducted on a one-to-one basis” and added that she removed the option for “two related individuals to share the cost of a single visit.”
“I had not anticipated that this terminology would be so sadly misconstrued,” Murphy said about her website’s original language. “I had not anticipated that so many aspects of my website would be interpreted in the worst possible light due to a huge lack of understanding and fear.”
Murphy added that she decided to remove artwork from her website’s landing page “featuring a teddy bear wearing a diaper.”
“I should have been more prepared for this, but I also wish people would have spoken to me directly about their concerns, and I could have addressed them before they snowballed into this unfortunate extreme,” Murphy told NHJournal. “I would have gladly made these changes without the interventions of social and news media.
“I have made honest and sincere efforts to mitigate all concerns and work, even in this indirect manner, with the community to address all of them.”