Why is it so common for dominant women to dislike brats?

To be fair I don’t actually know if it’s common everywhere or just where I hang out online, but every time the subject of brats comes up in that one fetlife group I like, most of the comments from women are about their total lack of interest in brats. That group is very long term relationship oriented, which probably skews the results, but it’s pretty consistent so I think there’s something worth digging into there.

My suspicion is that women get enough shit from men on a daily basis that we just aren’t interested in getting it from men who are supposedly submitting to us. Even if you’re one of the lucky ones who only endures a little bit of disrespect on a daily basis, it’s still fucking exhausting to not be able to finish a sentence in a meeting because men keep interrupting you. I think that kind of daily bullshit makes us so sensitive to disrespect that there’s almost no level of playful poking that’s actually fun for us. Unless you’re extraordinarily perceptive, it’s incredibly easy to slip over the line from playful bratting to serious not-fun-anymore disrespect.

I even like a little smart assery in a scene (I think that’s a fun way for my play partner to encourage me to hit them harder), but I’m just not into actually having my authority tested. Either you want to submit to me or you don’t, and if you don’t, what are you even doing here?

Bratting can also be really manipulative. If you do it just right it can be a fun way to invite your partner to play with you, but if you’re even just a little bit off it turns into trying to make your partner feel obligated to play with you and that’s such a dick move. I’ll play when I fucking feel like playing, I’m not here to entertain my supposed partner on his preferred schedule. Which isn’t to say submissive men should never get a say in how often they and their partners play or that they should never try to initiate play, just that it’s easy to fuck it up and irritate the shit out of your partner so you should be careful.

I’m worried I’m making women sound like hypersensitive assholes, which is not at all what I think. What I’m trying to get at is that just existing in the world as a woman can be a huge pain in the ass and a lot of us just want a fucking break from it for five whole minutes. Imagine you had really sensitive ears and what everybody else experienced as normal everyday noises were much too loud for you. Wouldn’t you want some quiet time?

11 thoughts on “Why is it so common for dominant women to dislike brats?

  1. Exactly this. You are either MY submissive or you aren’t and I don’t want to have to “earn” whatever it is you think I need to every minute of every day. I don’t want or need a doormat but brats are just exhausting.

  2. Bratting always strikes me as very passive-aggressive, or at least it has the high chance of being so. There can be a layer of plausible deniability over an actual power struggle–“Oh, tee-hee, I’m just a little brat, you know, isn’t it cute when I fuck with you?” I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it’s so popular among female submissives when women are so strongly socialized to mute and downplay and soften any aggression or disagreement–to find the “cute” or “adorable” way to object to something.

    And I suppose if you’re used to having your word go unquestioned or your authority taken seriously, or if you’re not actually going for a power exchange (maybe just screwing around with friends or a non-power-differential partner), it might not be annoying as all fuck. But I don’t enjoy bratty behaviour when it’s an actual kid, and it would feel really undermining in a submissive partner, I think. Especially if it was a man, because of the whole men so often not respecting women generally. One of those things where the chosen kink power dynamic runs bang into the unchosen external societal power dynamic and shit gets complicated.

    But yeah. Nails on a goddamn chalkboard to me. Not cute, not fun, jesus fuck stop it already. (But yeah, of course there’s still things that are fun and friendly teasing, and it’s not like there’s no room for silliness or laughter. But I do think that guys, especially, who want to be submissive, need to be aware of the context as far as what women go through in regular life & being taken seriously.)

  3. Oh, it’s not just me then. I have not the slightest interest in fighting for control. That’s everyday life. The joy of sexual domination is that he submits. My beloved has a fetish that doesn’t turn me on directly, but I’m glad to make use of it. The key here is the same: I get joy from his submission and am happy to use his fetish to get MORE submission. I don’t get joy from verbal sparring. Give yourself to me or there is no point.

    (I do get joy from physical sparring, but unfortunately he and I are poorly matched in that area!)

  4. yep. Though I now have to share my favorite smartassery moment from play: I was leaning towards my sub shortly before doing something painful and whispered “afraid?” and they, without thinking, added: “Potter?” in the same voice like Malfoy in the HP2 movie.

  5. Brat-van-3000 reporting in! I’m such a sub that the concept of topping-from-the-bottom mentally pains me more than… well, I’ll let your imagination run there.

    There might be a distinction in time-frame here that might be helpful. “In a scene” (any slotted time for play) it’s much more difficult/awkward, and more importantly, rare, to act the brat. Especially if your partner isn’t in to it; anyone with human perception and relationship skills(*) can read their partner, but sometimes these’ll be one-off hookups or otherwise people you don’t know that well, so maybe it can get harder that way.

    Most brats I know aren’t so much interested in the scene itself; It’s about the banter at the pub, the walk on the beach, the negotiation before a hookup, or the long term pair dynamic. It’s meant to be playful and fun, and if your partner isn’t into it we definitely refrain. Reasoning is different from person-to-person, but in my case: it is difficult to dominate me physically. The mental game is my kink.

    That said: I’m speaking from my own brat-club-experience. Maybe we all self-selected for compatible partners; maybe we self-selected to hang out with each other, so maybe we’re the oddities. Not sure there’s any research papers I can cite on this. 😉

    I am confident that any brat that does *not* read social queues well will stick out in everyone’s memory so there might be selection bias at play here. If you aren’t (or never have been) in the mood for a bratty partner, a good pairing wouldn’t have shown you that side and you might hesitate to include them in your data set.

    *: I mean if they don’t have baseline human skills that’s probably a whole other conversation.

  6. I’m a man and a switch, and to be totally honest, I do not understand the appeal of brats or bratty play at all. Regardless of which side of the slash I am on, my kink is like dance, and I need to know my partner(s) will play their role safely, competently, and beautifully. I won’t play the brat for others because I just can’t make that kind of disruption, and I can’t cope with a brat because I can’t feel like I trust them. I also don’t want to “put down” a brat because I don’t want the responsibility of knowing where the line between good and bad play is at that point. Stepping into the D-type role requires too much care and responsibility for me to feel okay with a brat pushing things. It’s something I’ve ended relationships over before. I realize others’ mileage may vary, but I just can’t fathom the appeal of brats.

  7. I think the brat dynamic is more about submitting to *the rules of the game* rather than to the dominant, a bit like taking part in a wrestling match against a bigger and stronger player.

    I’m sure it’s great fun for those who like doing it, but it’s on the play end of BDSM. So I am not surprised that female dominants aren’t enthusiastic about it.

  8. It’s interesting to see the other side. I’m a submissive-ish woman and my (male) partner loves it when I brat at him. (He’d like it if I did it more than I actually do–I’m only rarely in that mood.) We play only very gently, so it’s basically a way of giving him permission to be more aggressive than normal. I think one thing that makes a difference is that his response to bratting is physical, and if I resist, he can overpower me and pin me down, which is fun for everyone.

    But women are much less likely to be able to physically overpower a man or to physically force him to do what they want. So if he’s being a brat you have to, what, talk him into doing the thing? That does sound really unappealing.

    • >So if he’s being a brat you have to, what, talk him into doing the thing? That does sound really unappealing.

      Yes, yes, yes. I think your imagining of the situation has led you to explain my own perspective more clearly than I did. 🙂 At work I use a lot of explanation, persuasion, empathy, and so forth to find mutually advantageous situations. I’m reasonably good at that, and I value it, but it does not turn me on. It is not what I do dominance for.

  9. I sometimes like brats in the sense that it can be fun, in scene, to play with someone who gives a little bit of pushback and challenge–like you said, it’s fun to have a partner egg you on while you’re in control and hurting them. And that kind of brattiness can be really fun and inventive, and I tend to like kinky play that *feels* like play.

    But I’ve also had some partners who disguised real boundary-pushing and inconsiderateness as “just brattiness.” Like, if I’ve put a lot of effort into doing something nice for a partner (a gift, a home-cooked meal, planning a trip), I don’t want bratty tips on how I could do better. I don’t want a dude who is twice my size to snottily insinuate that he’s “letting me win” in a scene where we negotiated and I’m being very careful to take him down without, you know, actually hurting him. Et cetera. And, really, I think that some of this stuff is basically people deliberately fucking with you in ways that they know are difficult to confront or object to, which is incredibly manipulative. It stops being a game you’re both playing and becomes a genuine power struggle.

  10. I actually like a little (little being the operative word) bit of bratty banter with men in my non-kink life… but I don’t eroticize these at all and HATE bratty dynamics in sex.

    But I think it’s for reasons similar to the ones listed in this post: it’s just too close to “real life”, not so much the interactions I have with men but because it reminds me too much of the aspects of the parent/child dynamic I hate (I’m a parent) — plus family play/age play are my hard limits and very strong squicks.

    Also: I don’t like “funishment” or discipline-as-play (probably for similar reasons).

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