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.