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Trope · Genre
Synonyms: directedverse, BDSM verse, D/s AU
Related: BDSM, Alternate Universe
See Also: Knotting, Alpha/Beta/Omega, Dominance Hierarchy
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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BDSM AU is a type of alternate universe setting in fanfiction where D/s relationships are the norm, and sexual identity is understood in terms of BDSM power dynamics (e.g., top, sub) rather than sexual object choice (e.g. gay, straight). These stories normalize the BDSM desires of the characters and usually portray a 24/7-style relationship between the pairing. Not to be confused with slavefic, these stories are nearly always about fully consensual and societally supported kinky lifestyles.

The current popularity of BDSM AUs was inspired by two Stargate Atlantis stories written in 2006 — Coming Home by Xanthe and Helen's responsefic, Take Clothes Off As Directed.

In both stories, bisexuality is the norm and sexuality is classified according to dynamic; to illustrate how normalized BDSM sexuality is, Coming Home has Radek Zelenka come out as the only "monosexual" and "non-dynamic" character in the story (i.e. a vanilla heterosexual).[1] Xanthe's story is also the origin of pairing the terms "top" and "sub" (in ordinary English usage, "top" goes with "bottom" and "sub" goes with "dom").[citation needed]

Xanthe's story also features a soulbond trope: Married couples can choose to become permanently "life-bonded." This trope doesn't appear in Helen's remix, but there have been a few stories in kink memes recently that combine soulbonding and bdsm aus with imprinting.[citation needed]

Xanthe's universe is a very utopian society and Helen's reinterpretation is very cynical, so BDSM AUs can be found anywhere on the continuum between these two points.

Non-Western Fandoms

BDSM AU-themed yaoi manga Zettai, Fukujuu Meirei (絶対、服従命令) by Tsushiko (つし子) was published in Japan in 2020.[2]

Example Fanworks

Some stories explicitly set in Xanthe's 'verse:
Some stories that credit inspiration to this story:

Several stories added a soulbond element:

other stories, without clear inspiration and in other fandoms, soulbond examples, formatting

The Avengers Movieverse


  1. ^ John Sheppard's response: "Mono *and* non-dynamic? Man, you're pervy!" John laughed. "Where the hell do you go to *meet* people, Radek?"[1]
  2. ^