Alpha sub…

An “alpha sub” is the #1 or head sub in a multi s-type with one D-type in an ethical non-monogamy dynamic. That person helps train, enforce the rules and sometimes helps in a scene. To be an alpha sub, you must first be a sub (by submitting), and then be the alpha in the dynamic. You are alpha to the other subs, NOT the D-type.

Who you are in your vanilla life does not matter in the BDSM lifestyle. It doesn’t matter if you are the boss, have a strong personality, or if you “wear the pants’ ‘ in your vanilla relationships. You are not an alpha sub. There is absolutely no such thing, except the definition above.

The term comes from a few places. One being TNG not understanding the strength of being a submissive. Needing to separate themselves from the actual submissive role bc they view submissives as weak and under them. On many TNG websites/blogs there will be explanations of alpha subs being strong minded, not submitting to just anyone, the D-type must be strong enough to handle them etc etc. News flash…THAT is what a submissive is. We are strong, we need a D-type that can handle us at our worst, AND you should not just submit to anyone. There must be vetting and then negotiations to not only make sure you are safe, but to also make sure there is compatibility.

Another place this comes from is a BDSM author that pushed various hierarchies of s-types. The “warrior” princess was one of those types, that is the origin of the alpha sub. This author abused his platform, groomed young girls and tricked women to fill his “house” and his ego. He and his #1 sub was arrested, and found guilty. So consider the source.

Here is his explanation:
[Ever get the feeling, when you read about all the “classic” categories of submissive, that there must be one missing? You know which one we’re talking about. The missing submissive is the one that is the wicked-smart, strong-willed, uber-competent, ultra-competitive, synergistic, switchy, crusader. She’s no one’s doormat, never a victim. She is a kick-ass submissive for the 21st century. Think: Xena, the Warrior Princess, kneeling at the feet of Hercules. This definitely isn’t a woman in a precarious predicament waiting helplessly for her White Knight to arrive and slay a dragon for her.]

By his logic, and others that think alpha sub is a thing, all other s-types are doormats, weak, victims, stupid, no will power or self esteem. You do not need to point out characteristics of something unless they differ from the others. It’s redundant to do so. So pointing out how this “alpha” is, means the others are not these things.

You can have a dominant personality and be a s-type, you aren’t special, you’re a sub.

You can have a submissive personality and also be a s-type, still not special, and still just a sub.

You can be a switch (meaning you are the sub in one dynamic, and the Dom in another.) that’s still not an “alpha sub”. The dynamic where you are the sub has nothing to do with the dynamic you are the Dom. You are expected to be submissive, do tasks, follow rules and be respectful. So being the Dom in the other dynamic doesn’t make you special or alpha of anything.

Traditional BDSM doesn’t recognize “alpha” sub as a s-type. There is no need to add adjectives to your identity, especially when the adjectives dont describe something within BDSM. You wouldn’t say “i’m a goth sub”, goth is a vanilla style/personality and being goth doesn’t have anything to do with you being a sub. Those that are part of the Leather or Primal communities will claim Leather Master or *Primal Top. Leather & Primal are parts of BDSM, and do show a difference in the type of Master or Top.

*A Primal Top can be a Dominant, but does not have to. Primal is a kink/scene related to a Top, which has nothing to do with your position in your dynamic.

Topping from the Bottom

“Topping from the bottom” (TFTB) is when the person in the s-type position takes control of the power exchange by manipulation & disobedience. TFTB can be intentional with the “sub” purposely breaking the rules, doing a task incorrectly, and acting disrespectful. The s-type will do this to gain control, get out of doing a task or to get “punished”. This is not submissive behavior, and depending on how it is done, I personally look at it as predator behavior. If a D-type manipulates a s-type to get what they want, regardless of the rules that were negotiated, we would label that as a huge red flag. The s-type should be held accountable for their actions, just as any D-type would. 

TFTB can happen unintentionally as well, especially with newbies. A new Dom might enter a dynamic with a more experienced submissive. It would only make sense for the s-type to help their D-type, except the s-type is manipulating the D-type to be *their* D-type not *a* D-type. It’s ok to show them articles, suggest websites/books/groups, or introduce them to other D-types. They must learn on their own, forming their own thoughts and opinions. If you influence that, you are manipulating the dynamic to go your way, which puts you in control. 

Another way someone can unintentionally TFTB is when they lack vetting & negotiations, but submit anyway.  The s-type submits without negotiating and now they have rules/tasks they know they dont want to do, or even can’t do. The s-type will TFTB to get out of those rules or tasks, again manipulating the dynamic to go their way. For some reason a lot of newbies think there is this set of rules we all follow, we all have the same tasks, and the same punishments. This is not true. Rules, tasks & punishments are personal to that dynamic. 

When you are vetting for a D-type, you are equal, there are no rules or punishments. Those happen AFTER negotiations are completed, submission is offered and then accepted. The D-type does have to earn the s-types submission, don’t forget, the s-type has to earn the D-types dominance as well. 

If you TFTB on purpose, stop calling yourself a s-type, there is nothing submissive about TFTB. An s-type’s job in this lifestyle is to serve their D-type, not manipulate their D-type to serve them. If it’s unintentional, stop what you are doing and communicate what you are feeling, and then educate yourself better. The dynamic does not have to end, but I suggest renegotiating the terms of the dynamic.  

For those of you that are thinking “well my D-type lets me TFTB”, that is totally ok, you can do what you want. You are NOT a sub, you do not have a BDSM dynamic and are role playing a s-type to a D-type that has no clue what a BDSM dynamic should look like.


In 1969 BDSM was given its name. Usually looked at as B,D, & SM. This covered all areas of BDSM back then. You were into some form or combo of bondage, a disciplinary/power exchange type dynamic, and/or give/receive pain. If you were not into the D aspect, you were there for the sex and kink (SM). In the 90s, the internet changed a few things in this lifestyle. One being that BDSM became B/D, D/s & S/m. The D-type/s-type dynamic was unnecessarily added to the acronym. The D in BDSM stands for discipline, and that is where the power exchange is. We give our D-type the power to discipline us. Discipline is when the D-type trains the s-type to act or behave in a specified agreed upon way. This is often enforced with reward/punishment to encourage certain behavior to continue, or changes that need to be made. You do not have to have a reward system or have punishments as part of your dynamic. How you handle your s-type when discipline has failed is up to you as the D-type, and what the s-type has consented to. 

This small change really doesn’t matter, it doesn’t change what BDSM is. Just unnecessary, and redundant. Had someone actually done research on what the D meant, D/s would not have been added.

Power submissive is NOT a thing.

Learned a new BDSM term today. Well not an actual term, a term made up by someone that has no clue about BDSM, the symbolism in BDSM, or the understanding of basic definitions.

Power Submissive.

Yes you read that correctly. This isn’t even a brat thing. Which I could see them claiming, goes with the whole alpha sub. This is when a powerful person (basically a person in control in their vanilla life) submits in the bedroom only. Vanilla relationship outside of the bedroom/scene. 

I tried helping the one that commented using this word as their identity in the lifestyle, but they insisted I was telling them how to do their dynamic and was wrong because that’s what they agreed to. 🤦🏻‍♀️The “sub” claims that bc they have a busy career, and they are in power, that submitting in bed is the same as being a sub, bc there is power exchange going on. <breathe Jen, breathe>

Here is why this word is not a BDSM term, it’s a pointless word anyways, since we have a term for what is being described already, a bottom.

In the scenes there is a temporary power exchange between the Top and bottom. Being dominated by your Top can be part of the scene, being submissive to your Top can be part of a scene. You are role playing, you’re not really a Dom or sub bc of those actions in a scene. The small amount of temporary power exchange that you experienced in that scene is not the same as a power exchange in a dynamic. 

If you personally only scene with your D-type, your D-type IS your Top, and your Top IS your D-type. Same with bottom and s-type. Pretty easy to remember and understand. We separate the dynamic from the scene when explaining certain things in the BDSM lifestyle because you can scene with other people than your D-type/s-type and you can take on the other side of the slash / in a scene from your dynamic position. Simply put, being a Top does not mean you’re a Dom, and being a bottom does not mean you are a sub.

You must do the actions defined by the words to be considered a D-type, s-type, Top or bottom. 

You can only want kink which is a Top or bottom, that does not take away from who you are in this lifestyle. Anyone that is involved in a scene is a Top/bottom, which is most of us. So many think it’s an insult, or you are “less BDSM” if you are *only* into the kink part. The B, S & M part of BDSM is strictly kink related. If you want a dynamic and no kink, that’s ok too. There will be some level of power exchange, and a somewhat vanilla sex life, with no kink activities (or no sex at all). You can have both dynamic & kink, or neither/vanilla. 

I can be the Top in a scene with my Dom, my rules and guidelines are still in play, I must respect my Dom’s limits and consent. I’m still the sub, He is still the Dom. It’s role playing. We could role play “M/s”, that does not mean i am a slave or He is my Master, it was a temporary power exchange during a scene, once the scene is over you go back to the previous negotiated terms. If you have a vanilla relationship in everyday life, that is power neutral, or no power exchange. You can have kink in your relationship, all the kinks you want, if there is NO power exchange in the dyanmic (which is everything outside of the scene, kink, sex, and “bedroom” activities.) you do not have a BDSM dynamic. 

The dynamic is the D-type/s-type BDSM relationship.

Top/bottom is the scene, kink, sex etc…”bedroom only” activities. One has nothing to do with the other. BOTH are valid, and respected within Traditional BDSM, as it should be. Educate yourself on what words mean. This lifestyle is already set up, and working just fine without some new generation “words mean nothing” thinking. 

*i just want to clear up a definition that was put in the comments (by the person that claims the term could of been “power bottom” and not power sub.) Power bottom is a term used in the gay community. its for the gay man that receives, but instead of being passive or submissive like they are aggressive and dominant in their own way. That has nothing to do with the BDSM lifestyle, even if that couple was a D/s the term doesn’t translate over into BDSM. The only thing that comes close to that is topping from the bottom, where the bottom is trying to take control. the difference is TFTB is disrespectful and being a power bottom in the gay community is not.