What is a sub? And what types of sub exist?

what is a sub

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What is a sub? It’s short for submissive and describes a person (male or female) who exhibits submissive personality traits in a BDSM scene or relationship, such as empathy, agreeableness, openness and a desire to relinquish control.

A sub chooses to act as the bottom, allowing the dominant to lead the interaction and does so in a consensual way. A sub is not powerless, as can be depicted in books and movies.

A sub might have a submissive nature in everyday life as well as in a dom sub encounters, or they may only wish to display their submissive tendencies during consensual sex.

What is a sub’s role?

The role of a submissive is to submit to the dominant partner. Some submissives enjoy serving their dominant – they take pride and pleasure from being able to help another person. Other submissives are only interested in being a sub in the bedroom, and the thrill is purely sexual.

What types of submissive are there?

The question of what is a sub is a difficult one to answer because there are so many nuances and variances. Each submissive is their own person and submits in their own unique way.

That said, it’s useful to use broad labels to categorise submisisves in order to answer what a sub is.

The submissive categories are by no means definitive and are not mutually exclusive. You can be a little at some moments, a sex slave at others, and service orientated at all times!

It’s up to you to find your own path and form of submission which works for you. Completing a sex menu will help with that.

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What is a Service orientated sub?

A submissive who takes enjoyment from serving others.

These subs tend to have naturally submissive personality types in all aspects of their life (although this isn’t a rule).

An example of a service orientated sub would be the character Lee Holloway in the movie Secretary.

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service submissive in secretary movie

She enjoys menial, dull tasks, and being corrected when a mistake is made.

Ultimately this form of submission helps her grow as a person and overcome destructive self-harm behaviours which would previously have been an outlet for her inner pain.

What is a Slave sub?

what is a sub that enjoys being treated as a slave called?

The extreme end of a service orientated sub.

A slave enjoys engaging in a Master/slave dynamic, which might entail service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Submissive slaves would generally be taught commands and positions to adopt (such as sit, stand, etc.) and be held to a high standard.

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Any breach of the rules would result in punishment. Slaves would undergo some element of submissive slave training by their master to learn his routines.

What is a Pain slut sub?

Leather spanking paddle

A pain slut enjoys the S&M (sadism and masochism) element of BDSM.

She thrives on her dominant inflicting pain on her. This could be a way of helping her become present in the moment and forget her day to day troubles, or because it is a turn on, or because of the highs of adrenaline and endorphins which the body produces to counteract pain.

A pain slut’s mirror would be a sadist dom. Pain sluts enjoy more aggressive impact play, such as whipping, canning, and being restrained.

What is a Little sub?

A ‘little’ enjoys feeling nurtured and cared for, often regressing to a younger age.

A little girl thrives under the guidance of a Daddy Dom or Caregiver Dom.

Some littles want to regress to being babies, toddlers, young children or teenagers, and their BDSM scenes would involve playing with stuffed animals, colouring-in, reading books, enjoying crafts. Basically all the activities which children would enjoy!

As with other forms of submissive, it’s a break from the stresses and strains of reality. As a little, you can forget on that and just have fun in play mode, knowing that your Daddy is watching over you.

What is a bratty sub?

what is a bratty sub

A brat is a submissive that answers back, play fights with her dominant, and generally needs a firmer hand to keep in line. She enjoys riling her dom up and seeing him rise to the challenge of keeping her on the straight and narrow.

A brat will continually challenge the dominant’s authority and try to playfully take back some of his control.

As an example, I used to know a bratty sub who would always kick out everytime I went to grab her ankle to try and restrain it with under bed restrains. She wanted to wriggle and fight her way out of the restrains, forcing me to become more aggressively dominant with her, pinning her down and using my strength to stop her escaping. She’d also tease me for tying her up incorrectly or not tight enough.

If you find yourself with a batty sub, be prepared for a little more work than the other types of sub! Patience and not rising to her angsty remarks are key.

What is a rope bunny sub?

Shibari rope bondage. Submissive tied by legs

A rope bunny is someone who enjoys being restraint with rope! They likely engage in Shibari (Japanese rope bondage) with their dominant.

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What is a sex sub?

what is a sub called that is interested only in submission to dominant in bed and during sex

Sexual subs are submissive who only enjoy the dynamic in the bedroom.

These submissives may have dominant personalities outside the bedroom, but during sexual encounters want to experience the thrill of being overpowered, ravish, and generally bossed around.

Sex may include light bondage, spanking with a hand, dominant sexual positions such as doggy, lazy doggy, spooning and standing or lifting moves.

The sex sub would also enjoy pleasuring her dominant sexually, even more so if done from a submissive position.

As an example, giving her dominant a blowjob whilst on her knees with her hands tied behind her back.


There’s no right or wrong way to be a sub. Ultimately the major differentiating factor between a dominant and a submissive is the desire to be in control. A dominant wants control, and the submissive is happy to relinquish control.

What’s important for you as a submissive is to know yourself, and be comfortable in your own skin.

Once you have an idea of the type of submissive you want to be, you can start experimenting in a safe, sane and consensual way. Find a dom who mirrors your submissive style (easier said than done) and start playing.

The Art of Submission. A course for beginner submissives
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I am a female master I have a sub slave which is male. An that he haven’t learn my way of life because he live with a bottom female.


I am relatively new to the kinkier side of life, and I’m curious to know if a man can be a sexual sub as described or if the categories can be broken down even further.


Thank you very much for answering my previous questions, the next question I have is how would I go about finding a dominatrix?


This may sound strange but I am an 80 year old woman who has fantasized about being a sub all my adult life. I am so ready but have no thought as to how to go about it. Can you help.


I’m 45 and am in the same boat as you. No clue where to start and isolated in the high desert snow of northern Nevada, USA


I’ve been reading books on D/s relationships since I am a teenager and I’ve always been curious if the lifestyle would be for me. I’m a female and I think I might be a submissive I’m not sure. Do you recommend any chat rooms or something like that to have a conversation with some subs to talk about the lifestyle?


I am 70 and was in a M/s relationship with my Master/husband from 2013 to 2021 when he died of COVID. I now have a new Master/life partner. One of the things I learned from being a submissive was that each Master or Dom has their own vision as to how they wish to live and it is the sub/slave who learns to adapt to their life.

My first Master had me read several books about being a sub/slave before he collared me in 2014 but said that each of the authors had their own vision. Learn to read your Master and life as his slave can be the best years you ever lived.


Which books did he have you read, Layla?


What is your thoughts on Stag/Vixen dynamics. Is this type of relationship a one where it is very much just the 2 or is it usual for others to be brought in to the mix.

Thanks C