Sex, in its simplest form, is a playspace.
This playspace is desperately needed by adults who typically don’t have a lot of ways in which to find the kind of playfulness we used to know. Our grown up days are filled with responsibility. Taking care of others, paying bills, cleaning up messes we’ve made, and showing up for things we don’t want to show up for.
Sex lives in the opposite realm – the place where we get to do exactly what we want to do.
Perhaps this is why we often play dress up in the bedroom. Certainly in costume, but what I’m referring to is dressing up in personality. Think of all the archetypes surrounding sex: Mommy, Daddy, Virgin, Whore, Queen, King, Dominant, Submissive. But don’t forget one of my personal favorites, the only one that can throw all of these a curveball: Brat.
Who Are You Calling a Brat?
To save you from falling into a Google rabbithole, a brat is a submissive who fights back against a dominant. This is one who runs their mouth or runs head first into the aggression of one who is attempting to control them. Their play is a game of NO, one that allows them to exercise choice in a world that doesn’t give much permission to let that word fall from our lips. Especially not with a cheeky “let’s see what you’re going to do about it” kind of grin.
It seems like fun, but, like all things that happen in the sexual playspace, there’s a great deal of depth here worth exploring.
If resistance, in its highest expression, is the tension that holds up two poles, the brat is one who walks the line. One pole is a desire to release fully into a dominant’s authority. The other, the desire to protect something that is terribly important to the brat – their own will and personal agency.
The game between a submissive and dominant is that of power and control. The brat is still playing that game, but they are simply asking the dominant to work a little harder. Because they’re worth the fight.
Anyone who engages mindfully in role play will tell you that these interactions are exorcisms (sexorcisms?). These games allow us to step fully into our hidden desires, the ones we may not ever feel safe enough to share outside of this sandbox. In this kind of play, we get to make something that we often have to minimize into a really big deal.
For the brat, it’s about trust.
The brat knows that it’s no small thing to hand over one’s will to another, which is why they don’t submit without a fight. They want to be sure that the dominant isn’t just acting the part, but instead can create the kind of walls that don’t collapse at the slightest nudge. It’s how they know they are safe enough to release their well-guarded will.
Fawns Need Not Apply
A brat’s behavior takes courage, cleverness, and a deep well of self-worth. It is the opposite of the people pleasing response that is, in my experience, can often be behind a sub’s immediate desire for releasing into a dominant.
People pleasing is also known as fawning, a nervous system response that stems from trauma. The hallmark of this is the avoidance of conflict through acts of appeasement directed to anyone in a position of authority. While it can be life saving in abusive situations, as a lifestyle, fawning requires us to give up our individual expression for the concession prize of fitting in.
To brat is to summon up the electric courage in the spine and demand that authority be earned, not expected. It’s to show a dominant that there is something worth fighting for. It’s to show that to the brat themselves.
When it’s done well, the brat archetype plays with a gift of self-love packaged in a spiny box of resistance.
All Fun and Games
Archetypes are loads of fun, but they exist in a one-dimensional frame. They aren’t meant to encompass all of who we are. In fact, if we live too firmly in one expression we begin to lose sight of our multifaceted selves. To be a brat forever is to live in constant rebellion, one that means you’ll miss out on the sweetness of devoting yourself to an authority figure who has truly earned their crown.
Even the most self-reverent among us can find value in kneeling before someone or something that sees our value. It’s a spiritual experience for both sides.
This is why the submission that a brat gives, if they finally give it, is exquisite. Here is a state of surrender that is truly a precious gift to the dominant, a sign that they have earned the brat’s trust. All walls come down, leaving only the deepest levels of care and honor, as full of kinks as it may be.
If there’s one takeaway from this tutorial on the brat it’s this: not every archetype suits every person. You may not be a brat. You may not even be that kinky. All of your yeses and nos are welcome in this playspace.
But notice if you’ve ever felt drawn to talking back to those in charge, taking action against unjust rules, or standing up for someone less powerful who is getting trampled in the mud. You might just be accessing your inner brat, but one who plays outside of the bedroom.
If the brat speaks to you, I invite you to turn up the volume. If you have a willing partner, let this brat get some exercise. Set the limits and desires, then try on a posture, a gaze, a tone of voice, a snarky comment. Push back for the sake of pushing back. Let the resistance show you how worthy you find yourself.
And when you’ve located that soft spot you value, stand up for it until you’re sure it will be well taken care of.