Brats! Are They Subs or What?

This is going to be a super quick one. Just kidding. You know it won’t be. It seems like a simple question on the surface, right? “Are brats subs?”

But in reality it’s a very super complicated process to determine if a brat is a sub … you ask them: “Do you identify as a sub?” or some variation of that. And then you have your answer. If they say yes and you don’t agree that brats are subs you can just go ahead and be quiet about it.

If they say no, they aren’t a submissive and you disagree, then you can just go ahead and be quiet about that too, because you don’t get to tell someone who they are.

We don’t gatekeep here. We don’t say “Well, if you were really a sub you would…” We don’t judge someone’s behavior to try to determine if they are submissive enough to join the club. None of that is how it works.

There are many types of submissives and a lot of crossover with people switching back and forth between types. But just because they are one thing sometimes doesn’t mean they are only that thing. Littles can be submissives. Brats can be submissives. Switches can be submissives. There is no limit.

And yet… in the past few years I’ve come across a number of online kink groups and clubs that flat out bar brats from joining, on the basis of “They aren’t submissives, so they have no place here.” And I find that absolutely ridiculous.

Look, I’m not going to lie, some brats can be exhausting, especially when they are new to the scene and they seem to be getting in trouble every other minute. They have just found out that they have an outlet for all this energy, and they rush in to break every rule they can.

I think many subs start out in the scene as brats because it’s a role that comes naturally. Act up and get punished, it’s just like childhood and in many ways, they’re repeating a cycle that they grew up with and saw in cartoons and movies. The punishments might be different but the ‘act up and get punished by an authority figure’ part of it is something most of us know well.

For some subs it’s a phase and they move through it as they explore the scene and find out more about the other choices they have when it comes to roles. Coming in the door as a newbie it’s not uncommon to start with a role that is less complicated and more surface level and then slowly sink down to deeper styles as you learn and grow.

On the other hand some people are perfectly happy as brats and they stick with it. There is a level of excitement to that role that can be exhilarating and it’s a great way to blow off steam.

At parties an out-of-control brat can annoy the whole room, but it’s not because of the brat part. It’s because they are out-of-control. Brats are a category of submissive that require work and effort. They need to be tamed and most of them eventually do settle down.

You may want to avoid them at all costs because that kind of smart ass, pranking, rule breaking behavior gets on your last nerve. And if that’s the case then you should definitely not have a brat for a sub, but what you like in a sub isn’t what everyone else likes. There are people who enjoy making a brat behave.

Brat Tamers are a kind of Top that looks for bratty submissives. They might even find a docile service sub boring because they love the struggle more than anything. And that’s okay. That’s their thing. Brats and Brat Tamers go together.

So, it’s not about gatekeeping. It’s not about deciding who gets to call themselves what, it’s just about finding players that you match with. In the end that’s all that really matters. Not what box you can fit in. Besides, most people fit in multiple boxes. We aren’t one-dimensional stereotypes; we are real people who want different things at different times.

I will say that many brats avoid the title of submissive, especially in the beginning. They prefer to be called ‘bottoms’ or just brats. I’ve even seen some brats get offended at the very idea that you consider them a submissive.

In their eyes, the categories aren’t even close. Even though at the base level you have a lot of similarities it’s easy to overlook that. Brats demand the attention. They don’t sink to their knees and beg for it.

Submission seems to be so much more intense and deeper than what they may feel they want too. If all they are interested in is having fun and getting punished, then the trappings that people imagine come with submission can seem like too much. There can be clashing between people who identify as sub and people who identify as brat because they come at D/s from very different places.

Brats need to challenge their Tops. They need to fight and be forced to obey, and some brats are proud of the fact that they are difficult to control. Brats have fight in them. They often want to be sneaky and see if they can get away with things and outright confessing rarely happens. Though, they do eventually want to be caught most of the time, so it’s not uncommon for them to hint at things and then admit to it when pressed.

The idea of kneeling, collars, and having to serve is what a lot of people picture when they think of a submissive. And for a brat that can seem pretty far from what they are interested in. In a very real way what a lot of them want is a second childhood with lots of spanking and someone to take care of them.

 Since Littles have become a more concrete role in the kink community many brats have found that they connect to one of those roles, too or maybe instead. Which makes sense because brats are often quite childlike in behavior and with the pouting, foot stomping, pranks, and sulking I would say most of them are regressing in age emotionally even if they don’t realize it or prefer not to identify as a Little.

And just for clarification I’m using Littles as a catch-all label for a category that covers a lot of different smaller groupings. Many people just say ‘Littles’ but it’s actually divided up by the ages people regress to emotionally and in behavior. Littles are usually 4-7, but you also have Babies, Middles, Tweeners, et. al.

Brats who recognize a Little connection often identify with tweeners or middles since those are prime trouble making years (8-14). Though like I said many may not think of themselves as anything but a brat.  If you are bratting people at the level of a 14-year-old you aren’t really thinking of yourself as age-playing, or regressing. You are just having fun and getting in trouble.

If many brats don’t even consider themselves submissives than why is it wrong to say they aren’t and try to keep them out of BDSM groups and events?

Well, there are a couple of things here. While it’s their right to self-identify as whatever role they choose, they do fit the definition of a BDSM submissive. even if they don’t like to use the word to describe themselves. That means they are part of this community whether you like it or not.

In my opinion, a submissive is someone who wants to submit whether they can openly admit it or not. It’s someone who feels a compelling yearning to live under someone else’s authority and everything else is irrelevant.

So yes, in that context brats are submitting, which makes them submissives. They may not be the type of submissive that you prefer in your life, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are voluntarily putting themselves under someone’s authority and accepting rules and consequences from them.

It’s also handy to note here that not all people who submit in the kink world or during a scene, have submissive personalities otherwise, and that might be where some of the conflict and misunderstanding occurs. A brat, who outside of the scene is a fairly dominant person, may not feel comfortable being called a submissive or pushed into the role. I also know feminists who feel awkward about that labeling.

A scene role doesn’t always define your whole life.

And that’s not just brats. There are also alpha subs who may submit to one person only, or may submit in the bedroom, but aside from that are not at all submissive. They may not use the word sub to describe themselves, or consider themselves submissives either, because that’s just one small piece of who they are.

Aside from that, brats are still members of the BDSM community. They still have kinks that align very well with a large part of that community. And as I said earlier, many people who eventually end up as service subs, or slaves (etc) do start out as brats when they enter this world. If you bar them at the door then they will never have a chance to grow into other roles and I think that’s wrong.

This community is supposed to be about inclusion. It’s made up of weirdos and outsiders who have at times been judged for their interests and desires. I hate seeing anyone excluded from what should be a welcoming place to explore and learn.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t have rules about behavior. As I said before the problem a lot of people have with brats is not that they are brats … it’s that some of them, especially the new ones, can get out of control. Brat energy, in my opinion, is not unlike party energy. Excitement can ramp things up until they are acting out in ways they normally wouldn’t.

If you want to set up rules of behavior there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, you probably already have rules, they just need to be applied. General courtesy rules can include reminders that you can’t just go up to people you don’t know and start being a brat to get attention. So, help them learn limits and acclimatize, instead of locking the door in their faces.

Brats deserve a place in this community just as much as anyone else does, and there is no test to see if you’re submissive enough to be called a submissive. This isn’t the first group I’ve seen people try to exclude either. I’ve seen groups exclude slaves because they are ‘too subservient’. I’ve seen groups exclude DDlg dynamics because “That kind of relationship creeps me out,”.

Oh, and don’t even get me started on play groups and events that try to bar LGBTQ+ members because they are trying to put together ‘An old-fashioned domestic discipline kind of vibe,’ which is usually code for hetero and also mostly male Dom. Apparently, they are under the impression that only straight men like to spank, I guess.

So, if brats bother you then walk away from them. If they try to brat you directly or pull you into play then you remind them about consent and let them know you aren’t consenting. That’s no different than you would deal with any other person coming up and trying to pull you into a scene.

The only difference is that sometimes brats don’t understand that what they are doing is crossing a line. If they aren’t grabbing you or hitting you, it may not come across to them that they are being inappropriate. So much of bratting is about attitude and being a smart ass. They may not even see smirking and being sassy in casual conversation as a tool to encourage a scene.

With communication and discussion, you might even find out that they weren’t trying to brat you and didn’t want to bring you into a scene. Some people are just naturally feisty. I have a strong submissive side, but I can also be a smart-ass and I’m not doing it to get spanked. That’s just who I am.

You may think they are bratting you, when in fact they are just being themselves. It’s just one of many misunderstandings that can happen in the scene if you don’t talk to people. If that’s who they are and it rubs you the wrong way then you should avoid each other, but that’s not a reason to ban them from the group.

If they are irritating you then explain it to them. You can let them know it makes you uncomfortable because you don’t enjoy brat play. You don’t need to be mean, and you aren’t allowed to ask them to change who they are, but you can tell them that you aren’t into it and you don’t want them to do that with you.

However, there is a flip side of this. There are a number of Doms and Tops in the scene who feel like they are owed instant respect. They have a tendency to label anything less than overt respect as ‘being a brat’ and some submissives (not just brats) don’t give instant respect like that, so it will grate on the Doms nerves.

That doesn’t mean they are bratting you. It just means they aren’t treating you how you think you should be treated, and sometimes, depending on the treatment, that’s not something you get to decide.

You are allowed to set up whatever rules you like for your group or event and if that includes treating Doms with deference that’s up to you.  You can enforce those rules without banning brats, by simply having the rule of behavior. The brat can decide whether or not they want to be part of this situation.

And if they stay, and they don’t follow the rules then you are evicting them because they broke rules, not because of their scene role which is a very different thing.

What it all comes down to is inclusion. Let’s put aside the gatekeeping. Stop trying to enforce your ideas of what you think a role should be and just let people enjoy themselves. When it comes to the scene the only thing you should concern yourself with is whether people are consenting adults. In most circumstances anything else is not going to be your business.

Do you have an opinion on brats? Questions? Feel free to comment or email me privately about it.

That’s all for this week! I’ll see you soon and in the meantime: Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, and Stay Home if you can!

4 Replies to “Brats! Are They Subs or What?”

  1. It has been a long time since I’ve been in the community and I enjoyed this article. However for me and the experiences that I’ve had with Brats, I would say “No.” I am also painting with a very broad brush here and I know that.

    Everyone submission and journey is different, but being “bratty” is basically a attention seeking behavior. It just so happens that the attention being sought after is a spanking or whipping. Being strong will and opinionated is one thing but I feel that is totally different from “being a brat.”

    We have all seen people slide into “sub” mode in various ways. Brats however seem to thrive on, for lack of a better word, “Negative” behaviors.

    While I agree that “being bratty” can be fun sometimes for both the Dom and sub, if it just feeds that Negative Behavior then it becomes more annoying and disruptive. For lack of a better example, if you discipline a child, they quickly learn to not repeat the behavior. At least not while Mom and Dad are around.

    Brats will repeat that behavior because it gets them what they want.

    The best BDSM relationships seem to reach a balance between the parties involved where every one is happy with their role. So if your happy with a brat that’s fine…I just would not call it a Dom/sub relationship.

    That’s my two cents anyway.

    Like

    1. Okay since my earlier reply went astray I’m going to try this again. It’s clear you’re not into brats, and that’s fine, lots of people aren’t. But some Doms enjoy being challenge and they love to punish so someone that gives them lots of excuses to spank is ideal.

      Brats clearly do fit the definition of a submissive. And a brat in a relationship with a Dom is absolutely in a Dom/sub relationship. They are adults accepting the authority of another adult, willingly. They accept punishment for their actions, are given rules, and supervised by an authority figure, in a consensual relationship. So really the only thing you find off is the fact they act up to get punishment on a regular basis. More of a quantity, versus quality thing, I guess. Because almost all subs act up to get punished sometimes, but brats do it consistently.

      I would suggest that you check out my posts on punishment and discipline because I’ve covered this topic very specifically. If a sub is acting up because they want to be spanked, than spanking is not the proper punishment to use. Brats can and do learn limits of behavior. They can and do learn the difference between punishment for bratty things, and punishment for real things. The biggest problem tends to be the Dom not understanding the dynamic.

      If the Dom spanks a brat expecting that to stop the bratting than they don’t know how to handle that kind of sub. And honestly that’s the issue. Brats are doing what brats do and it’s up to the Dom to know how to handle that properly.

      But many Doms with brats enjoy the play, and they quickly learn to differentiate between bratty behavior and real issues. If real issues are handled with (for instance) having to scrub the house all day, and write 1000 page essay on why a rule is broke, then the brat does not have the incentive to act up like that again. It’s very easy to set up those limits so there is spanking punishment for little misbehaviors like being sassy or cursing, while still maintaining your structure.

      In other words a brat can enjoy being a brat, and still be held accountable in a productive way which allows them to have a multi-faceted relationship that includes both bratting and a more traditional type of submission.

      Liked by 1 person

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