To answer the qustion of the "bratty submissive", I want to share with you some of my initial data is in from my surveys on submissives, slaves, masochists, bottoms.
And this will come as a surprise to few - the "brats" or "bratty submissives" turn on the data to be very much masochists, or as I intend to rename them - thews.
What is a thew? It's a very old term I've taken from Middle English thewen (þēowan, þȳwan ) and want to bring back into popular use - and thewen means:
to press, impress, force, press on, urge on, drive, press with a weapon, thrust, pierce, stab, threaten, rebuke, subjugate, crush, push, oppress, check.
A "thew" was a slave, servant, bondsman - approximately translated - in a term derived from "thewen" and proposng they were pressed / impressed / forced / pierced / rebuked / subjugated / crushed / oppressed into it.
And that in my argument is what the BDSM thew seeks - they seek the thewing. (They seek the pressing, the impressing, the forcing, the urging on, the pressing with weapon, the thrusting, the piercing, stabbing, rebuking, crushing, pushing, oppressing and so forth - often in specific preferred form. Whether that be facestting, or asphyxiation, or needle play, or impact play / punishment, or trampling, or "forced" penetration or pegging or rough play, overpowering by wrestling down, strong-arming, and so on.)
Hence being bratty is but one technique to potentially try and get a reaction and draw some of the thewing from the Dom.
Common reasons that brats reported for being bratty was to:
- test the reaction from the Dom
- push the Dom's buttons
- to make the Dominant work to earn the brat's respect and prove they can manage them
- get a rise from the Dom
- get the Dom angry / frustrated and get retaliation
- add fuel to the fire
- to give the Dom a reason to punish
- feel good to act out in an unrestrained and uninhibited way
- to speed things up (getting a spanking / speed up the session)
- to make the session or punishment tougher
- challenge the Dominant to make the Dominant muscle them / strong-arm them / force them (in a consensual non-consent dynamic)
Such as for example getting a reaction of the Dom who says "Right now I'm really going to give it to you!"
Yes! This is exactly what the brat wanted. This is the specific dynamic the bratty sub (masochist / thew) seeks, is to be put in their place and receive punishment / funishment / be beaten down and subjugated by the Dominant and driven into a state of submission (or rather surrender).
However they also often want it - the thewing - done in a particular way or even highly idealised way that exists in their fantasy. Such as they want to be Dominated with finesse, with great competence and understanding. The idealised expectations or fantasy hopes make it arguably even harder for them to find satisfaction oftentimes.
Why brattiness may not always be such a good idea for their dynamic with their Dom?
Depending on the Dominant and the dynamic, being bratty risks in some cases the behaviour not being well-received or appreciated by the Dominant. Everyone's different of course, and some Doms enjoy brattiness as a playful dynamic and for others don't like the behaviour and have coined the "PITA brat".
Just what is a PITA brat you may be asking? It's short for Pain-In-The-Arse Brat.
This is where to some Dominants, the bratty behaviour is potentially perceived by some Dominants negatively as:
- Pain in the arse behaviour (hence the "PITA brat" phrase)
- Annoying behaviour
- Childish / immature behaviour (without the Dom having consented to or wanted a "little" dynamic)
- Attention-seeking behaviour
- Passive aggressive behaviour
- Manipulative behaviour
- A form of topping from the bottom
- Disrespectful to the Dom
- Damages the relationship (for those Doms who don't take fondly to bratty behaviour)
- Not submissive behaviour (by perception of some Doms)
- Not being a "true submissive" (by perception of some Doms)
- Undermining of the D/s dynamic
And to a degree I have sympathy for the perspective of undermining the D/s dynamic because bratty behaviour is arguably turning it into a Dominant/masochist dynamic (or Sadist/masochist dynamic); and not strictly what I would think of as a Dominant/submissive dynamic.
We're now in the realm of brat-taming, or "thewing" strong-arming them into submission or surrender - which is of course exactly what the brat wanted and sought, but may not be what the Dominant enjoys in terms of the dynamic. Or for some - particularly those inexperienced or unconfident - may throw them off their game as they don't know how to deal with that or don't understand the behaviour and take it as disrespectful behaviour.
Some Doms like brats / bratty behaviour
Yes! Some Doms do like brats and bratty behaviour. Some take it as playful and enjoy it in that light. Some enjoy the rise in their sadistic streak. Some Doms enjoy the rise in sexual arousal that provocative bratty behaviour stimulates in them - particularly noted by some male Doms / Daddy identities in relation to female brats.
Some enjoy the Big / little dynamic that can be activated by bratty behaviour. Oftentimes those who are also parents are very familiar with the dynamic of bratty behaviour.
Some love being given an easy excuse narratively to punish, such as in corporal punishment roleplay scenarios. To force their brat over the knee and spanked. To be given the go-ahead to increase the planned Domination intensity. And the list goes on.
Differences between brats and subs?
MASOCHIST & BRAT DATA ROWS
Here's a small screenshot of a section of my masochist data, with 20 masochists at the top, and then 5 self-identified "brats" below the horizontal grey bar.
At the top is the set-up of the columns:
Doing whatever it is that my Dom wants to do | Completing duties set | Serving my Dominant | Being trained | Being shaped | Feeling owned | Authentic real control given over - not only kinky time control
The options to pick from for answers were Crucially important, Very important, Moderately important, Slightly important, or Not important.
I've colour coded them manually for easy reference.
SUB DATA ROWS
Now here's a small section of my 26 submissives' data for the same columns.
Say what! Ooooh! Do you see the difference? We're now swimming in more of an overall blue appearing tapestry mosaic.
The subs tended to rate "Doing whatever it is that my Dom wants to do" as Crucially important (coloured dark blue) or Very important (mid blue).
The masochists and brats tended to rate "Doing whatever it is that my Dom wants to do" as Moderately important (coloured yellow), Slightly important (coloured orange), or Not important (coloured red)!
There is much much more data and at this stage I am just illustrating but one small section to show how these differences are appearing from my survey data.
The data is significantly larger, more complex and individual and I can say much, much more about my findings, and from my experience of 12 years. And there are exceptions to the general rule which I don't have time to go into here in this blog. Some subs are a little bit bratty playful, but overall quite "well-behaved", etc.
Every individual is ultimately an individual, and there's no one quality in of itself that I can nail down a masochist from a sub, but the overall pattern colour tapestry mosaic is different.
(Also - not all masochists are bratty, by the way. It's but one approach or tool in the toolkit to get the "thewing" I describe above that they seek. Some develop a relationship with someone sympatico who understands them for example, and goes straight to work thewing them, and they don't need to be bratty to amp up the intensity or provoke to get the dynamic and play they seek.)
Lastly I want to leave you with some answers to another survey question on brats.
Some individual answers on whether they used provocative behaviour such as being bratty, cheeky, deliberately naughty to provoke reaction / play / punishment / funishment.
Here are a small selection of answers and perceptions of those who filled out my survey on the topic, who include subs, slaves, masochists and brats. (I'll let you guess which each person might self-identify as; wink).
Answered VERY MUCH THE CASE: "I explore how the dominate is reacts and find ways to please her but also push her buttons at time. I enjoy the sadistic dominatrix more and I can tell you that they are easy to make the sessions even tougher at times . To me not being a brat would mean a boring session. I have to be able to please the dominatrix but also push boy tries to seek a reaction."
Answered MODERATELY: "Being defiant in a subtle way. My favorite provocation is to insinuate, with words, gesture or attitude, that the Domme doesn't have and is not capable of have power over me. It's about timing and subtlelty, never being offensive or disrespectful."
Answered ONLY VERY OCCASIONALLY: "I do it more as a flirtation. Do X… “No” get that little reaction of a look or a what did you just say… it’s nothing more than a quick reaction to get a small rise and not a constant on going push."
Answered ONLY VERY OCCASIONALLY: "For me, I tend to avoid it until things are well established. Communication is often so fraught anymore that communicating in the shades of gray where "brat" and sarcasm operate adds complications. Once other things are more "solid" such come into play more."
Answered VERY MUCH THE CASE: "As the Top/Bottom relationship grows and time together expands I'm of the belief such antics/behavior have a greater effect."
Answered ONLY VERY OCCASIONALLY: "I don't really think it is a part of submission / being a good sub :P "
Answered ONLY VERY OCCASIONALLY: "I am stoical and serve. Therefore I am not bratty during more intense femdom."
Answered NOT AT ALL: I don't do it because I fear showing disrespect to my Female Master, whom I feel compelled to submit to at all times. I would only misbehave if it was something I thought She wanted me to do.
Answered NOT AT ALL: "It doesn't feel natural to me. I want to be the best submissive and playing-up to provoke a response is the antithesis of that."
Answered VERY MUCH THE CASE: "the simplest case is merely to give the Top a reason ( cause and effect) to do as desired. Such as investing them into a greater intensity in their response. There is nothing more primal than anger or frustration to motivate a harsh retaliatory reaction. Such stimuli are -belittling their skills ( aw you hit like a girl.. oh i forgot you ARE a girl) -feeding their insecurities -sarcasms and /or giving inaccurate replies ( mostly a way to keep them unbalanced so out of frustration there creates a bit of extra fueling of the fire (like cooking with gasoline- in needs of a spark of excitement or rush) "
Answered NOT AT ALL: "My Domme sees being a brat as incredibly disrespectful."
Answered MODERATELY: "Poking my tongue out Standing when asked to kneel Ignoring an instruction Seeing what reaction I get."
Answered VERY MUCH THE CASE: "Sometimes you need to move things in the direction you wish them to get to, that can be through guidance or perhaps if you know you will be spanked for a specific reason - you do that specific thing to draw the spanking you wish for. - It is a funny pattern because you seek punishment and discipline, and learn that certain behavior can accomplish that so you seek that. I don't often share, but if my "Dominant Partner" were to use punishment/discipline as a reward and ignore me/not play as a punishment - I would behave and never be bratty, or deliberate!"
Answered VERY MUCH THE CASE: "I will talk back, argue, not carry out the task, not respond correctly."
Answered ONLY VERY OCCASIONALLY: "it seems passive aggressive and annoying"
Answered NOT AT ALL: ""Brattting" is manipulative behavior - and just not good manners."
Answered NOT AT ALL: "This would be considered manipulative and disrespectful. i would be punished. Usually by having all interactions stop. A real punishment. - If this is the kink that both parties agree to. Awesome have fun and be ready for a good thrashing, depending on how bratty you are. my relationship is different than this. i would be quickly dismissed."
Answered MODERATELY: "To speed things up sometimes. - I try do to as told. But if time is brief then I may be extra naughty/sarcastic or “today I wanted to this” kind of stuff to try and speed a session along or point it in a certain direction."
Answered MODERATELY: "I prefer confessions of naughtiness, rather than actually doing anything. - Recurring themes: 1) Thinking about something sexy (like what the woman is wearing under her skirt); or, looking at her bottom. "Please, Miss, I was looking at your bottom while I was following you upstairs to get spanked." Or, getting caught doing this "Were you looking at my bottom, boy, while I was bending over to fetch my cane?" 2) Confessing to being naughty on purpose in order to be punished, because I enjoy it. "Please, Miss, I was naughty because I've always fantasised about being punished by you - and I enjoy it when you do punish me."
Answered ONLY VERY OCCASIONALLY: "Just before a scene, I might occasionally stand my own ground, be more pedantic, or less open. "
Answered ONLY VERY OCCASIONALLY: "I feel it is disrespectful and it annoys the mistress. So I avoid this."
Answered ONLY VERY OCCASIONALLY: "This is highly dependent on the personality of the domme I’m playing with. Some are very playful in their nature. Those that are might find me joking/provoking a little because I sense they’d enjoy it. I mostly don’t do this on a serious level because it strikes me as a passive-aggressive trait. I hate passive-aggressive."
NOT AT ALL: "I very rarely be bratty I find it goes against my want to serve and provide for the dom."
And this Twitter comment: "I've never really understood bratting, except as a mutual game which (if played properly) allows the bottom some degree of influence over the actions (punishments etc.) meted out by the top ... ... too often it 'gets silly', and the balance of control/submission is lost."
So there we go - very mixed reports on brattiness and people's views on it in a BDSM context. And hopefully you have a better understanding now of why brats act up as they do.
And my own view on brats and brattiness?
Sometimes someone is deliberately bratty and I'm in the mood for playing that game and it can enliven my energy and is good for my students also to enjoy watching for their amusement and the interaction and dynamic. I can chuckle along with light hearted spirit or try and stay deadly serious and play the game of punishment / funishment with a mock stern expression. And gives me opportunity often for stronger or higher intensity play, if I'm in the mood for it, and knowing the masochist brat thew is seeking that.
Other times it can be plain annoying and poorly timed, and come across as childish and inappropriate, and ultimately insensitive and inconsiderate of everyone else in the room. (eg super noisy, interrupting, bumping into people, me-me-me, give me attention, etc)
And still other times, I don't play along but actually evidence I know exactly what they're up to and am not going to play into their game, and the real punishment is no play and ignoring them entirely. (Ooooh - ouch Anne! Yep that's right.) So that if they want to engage me they need to change their approach and behaviour.
And as a teacher of Dominatrices, I am of the opinion that bratty behaviour is often not a good idea with newbie Mistresses as it can really throw them off their game and confidence as they're just getting started. And received potentially as disrespectful, as that think you don't take them seriously or their Dominance seriously, and undermining them, etc. So perhaps consider whether it may be strategically better to help raise their confidence in Dominance with positive reinforcement encouragement and delighting in play with them first - just my five cents.
The sub-title to the masochist / brat's game is:
Do your worst! Thew me! (Preferably the way the masochist / brat had in mind / in fetish fantasy).
Brat-taming and Domination classes
For those interested, I am teaching a later this year on the topic of "brat taming" and masochist management as a Domination class. (With options of both Online streamed class, and "in person" class taught in Melbourne Australia.)
You can join my Mistressery Muse and news letter to stay updated, by clicking here. (In which I try to get around to letting people know of my classes, talks and new book news, and don't send it out too often - just to manage your expectations. I'm more focused on my work than on marketing myself.)
I am also teaching another 8 week Dominatrix Seven Realm Arts certificate course again in September, for which I keep getting requests, and the information and dates for this is via Passionfruit shop here.
Over and out for now.
x Anne O Nomis
(Any queries you can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org )