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Alpha Sub and Brat - Real BDSM Terms or Buzz Words?


If you have explored the world of BDSM, you may have come across many different terms, titles and categories to describe #Tops and #bottoms of the power exchange or power dynamic of relationships. In the last few years, a couple of terms have been utilised much more frequently than previously, namely “Alpha Sub” and “Brat”.


While “#Brat” has been around much longer than “#AlphaSub”, I will admit I do not agree with either term. I think that the very meaning of Brat goes against what it means to be submissive, as does the term Alpha.


If you consider the meaning of Alpha, it is defined as the leader, the dominant one, the head of the group. This is as opposed to the term #Submissive which is defined as ready to conform to the will of others, compliant and obedient. If words and titles hold meaning for you, how can you use such an oxymoron? How is it possible to be a #Dominant Leader that obeys the will of others? Am I taking their meanings too literally? Maybe. But to me and many other BDSM scholars, it just doesn’t make sense.


After researching the term Alpha Submissive, I found only a few references in some obscure articles prior to 2009. It seems that from 2009 forward, many people have picked up that term and started using it in various forms and meanings. The most used description is that of a woman that is dominant in every part of her life except for sexually. In my opinion, this is a Sexual Submissive or a Bedroom Submissive. But are we just talking semantics? Probably.

How and where did the term Alpha Sub come about? I haven’t been able to find that out. But Sexual Submissive and Bedroom Submissive have been used as terms to describe certain types of subs for at least 30 years and probably longer. They are not politically incorrect and they are not offensive. So why use such a contradictory term instead of the standard ones? I have come to the conclusion that perhaps it’s the fashionable thing to do. It’s a buzz word that many new people read somewhere in a fiction book or online and they think it describes them. Others that don’t like the word submissive may put Alpha in front of it to take away some of the meaning to justify their feelings to themselves. I am not a psychologist, nor am I a mind reader. But, this is the conclusion I have derived from the people I’ve talked with about this as well as my own observations throughout the Lifestyle over many years.


Brats are defined as a spoiled, annoying or ill mannered people. “Brat” is a descriptor usually used in a negative or contemptuous way. In #BDSM, it tends to refer to a submissive with a reputation for talking back, being disrespectful or being mildly disobedient. Again, it may just be wording or semantics, but this would be used to describe a SAM or Smart Ass Masochist. SAMs normally exhibit the above behavior with the end goal of being punished to satisfy their masochistic side.


In the world of BDSM, a submissive is a person who is respectful and wants to please. Yes, they might have a playful streak, but it is one that is never disrespectful, never crosses that line and never seen as bratty behavior. In fact, a submissive would generally be mortified to learn that their Dominant considered them a brat. In my opinion, people who label themselves as Brats do not understand the true meaning of being a submissive; they don’t have the drive or the need to be truly submissive to a Dominant. These people think they are submissive because they like the kinky sex or the idea of it from what they have read in books or have seen in movies.


If you are interested in this subject, I suggest that you do your own research by reading books and blogs and talking to community leaders. Take all the information you get and form your own opinion. The one thing I do tell everyone is to keep your mind open to new possibilities and ways of thinking. Even if you disagree, at least try to see a different point of view with an open mind.

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Jessica Wortman
Jessica Wortman
Nov 18, 2022

Alpha sub is a poly term for when one sub is entrusted to help the D type, typically when they're busy such as at work. The description above is what the monogamous people have been attempting to claim it as.


And you are incorrect about brats. You can be a brat in either role, and typically they go together best. Done right, it's playful, not disrespectful. And when our D types are seeking bratty behavior, we are pleasing them. Stop trying to gate keep with false information.

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"If you consider the meaning of Alpha, it is defined as the leader, the dominant one, the head of the group." It is because of the origin of the word "alpha" and what it means. The word derives from wolf pack behavior. It is a common misconception for people to think that the alpha is one male top wolf. In reality, there are 2 alphas in the pack: male and female. They are mated together. The alpha female wolf IS truly only submissive to her alpha mate, but she WILL exert her authority over other pack members. I've always viewed the term "alpha submissive" in that way because it perfectly emulates pack structure. Wolves are my favorite animals though. Also, I…

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Kathy Sub
Kathy Sub
Nov 09, 2021

You're incorrect about brats. Not all brats are masochists and one can be a brat without being disrespectful. There are several primary reasons why brats brat. It is not just to be punished. And it does not mean we are not truly submissive. This gatekeeping in the community needs to stop.

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Thank you for an explaination. I follow your Instagram and had to check your site out. You have views that I respect and like the education you bring to us. I had to make a comment on this particular blog. I call myself an alpha sub for a couple reasons. I am bi so I have various "desires". I am a sub to my Master who is also my husband. We live it 24/7. I will Dom anyone else, m/f. But Master would out-rank any of my commands to them. I figured alpha sub was a great descriptive term for my standing in the lifestyle. Please let me know if there may be a better term that I may not…

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