I’ve got another Ask Me Anything again! Today, I’m picking up on a topic I started in the ‘Ask Me Anything’ discussion from two weeks ago about subspace, over here. Curious what the #AskMeAnything is? Check out the official AMA page on my site over here. Enjoy!
Q: What is sub drop?
A: Well, as I started to discuss in the original AMA on subspace, sub drop can happen to anyone who experiences an intense scene/session/whatever you want to call it. It can appear in a lot of different ways, and you may be someone who consistently gets it, or you may be someone who never does – but then spontaneously your body reacts oddly and you’re going to want to have an idea of what you might be feeling and why. It could happen anywhere from an hour or two after the session, to 48 hours, and the feelings can last up to two weeks (depending on your body’s reboot needs).
So, what the hell is sub drop?
Technically, sub drop is what happens to your body after you’ve drained your brain of all the hormones and chemicals that it releases during the scene or session. Just to remind you, this is a direct quote from that other post: “During the scene, the intense experiences of both pain and pleasure trigger a sympathetic nervous system response, which causes a release of epinephrine from the suprarenal glands, as well as a dump of endorphins and enkephalins. These natural chemicals, part of the fight or flight response, produce the same effect as a morphine-like drug, increasing the pain tolerance of the submissive as the scene becomes more intense.” That super sciencey language boils down to the idea that your body releases a bunch of happy chemicals from your brain during a scene, and it can put you into subspace, which as I described before is glorious.
But, that sounds awesome!
It is! All of those happy chemicals are why we submissives / masochists / painsluts do all the fun BDSM things we do. We get a high from the interaction, the intense intimacy, the flood of fun all-natural drugs… but there’s a teensy eensy problem with it. See, on a normal day your body is dripping those chemicals out at a super low rate, and you may get small dumps during exercise (yay!), but during a scene it can flood you with them and your body/brain can only replace them at the normal rate. There’s no magical way to speed up the creation of all those happy chemicals, and it takes time to rebuild your store of them. If you’ve used a LOT of those chemicals, that’s when sub drop can come in. It’s kind of like all-natural withdrawal from drugs, with all the nasty consequences.
What does sub drop feel like?
There are a lot of different ways it can show up. Let’s talk about the physical things first. It can show up as feeling like a hangover, or like you stayed up too late (even if you got more than enough sleep), or you could wake up feeling just off. Drop can be associated with feelings of loneliness, mental and physical exhaustion, confusion, insecurity, tremors and many other physical symptoms. Obviously, if you’ve had a pain session then there’s going to be the bruises, the soreness, the general pain from post-session fun. Not so random fact: pain can make you tired. It’s one reason why pain disorders are such a fucking nightmare, because just existing is exhausting when you’re in pain. Now, despite what many books will tell you, you’re not going to feel a normal spanking the next day. Seriously. You will be able to sit down just fine (if you can’t tell, this is one of my pet peeves when reading our genre). But a caning? A whip? An intense rope tie or suspension? You’re going to feel it and it’s going to wear your energy down, and your body is going to be short on chemicals to give you a boost. This can make you crash and suddenly become exhausted, and being tired can make you emotional.
Honestly, the emotional side is the more dangerous half. Emotions can wreak havoc on our logic, and then suddenly (even though we’re normally all okay with our play partner/Dom/Daddy/etc) we can suddenly feel abandoned, depressed, or unloved. It can hit you like a surprise too. I don’t often get sub drop, but the times I have it can show up while I’m in the middle of something innocuous like my day job, or ordering coffee, and the next moment you can feel like you might cry, or you’re upset at your Dom for a reason that can feel totally logical at the moment.
Whatever happens… stop, evaluate, and communicate.
Text or call your Dom as soon as possible. A good Dom will know what sub drop is, and they’ll be there to talk to you about what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it. But if you can’t get a hold of them, you need to stop and evaluate. Remind yourself that sub drop is normal, remind yourself of what happened during and after the session. There should have been aftercare, and sometimes that is helpful to hold on to. Even if it happened quickly on-site at the club, or if it was a whole night of cuddling in bed together – think about how much your Dom cares for you and appreciates the time you spend together in a scene.
What else can I do?
Put together an aftercare kit for yourself. A lot of BDSM sites recommend these, and while I don’t have a formal kit in a bag, I know what makes me feel better. If I’m tired, caffeine helps. Specifically, a 5-hour energy or a sweet latte with an obscene number of espresso shots. It helps to provide some artificial chemical substitute to what my brain might actually provide if I hadn’t binged on the ones my body normally has.
If you’re feeling a little emotional, think of what makes you feel better when you’re sick (because you kind of are). A warm blanket, a bubble bath, candy, a favorite drink, music, etc. If you are someone who likes to journal, keep a notebook with you to write out how you feel to get the words out and down, this might also help you clear your head before you talk to your Dom.
Most of all, don’t blame yourself.
Sub drop is totally normal, and while it can really suck, the benefits of kink and subspace and the powerful relationship you can form in the BDSM lifestyle is totally worth it. Right, lovelies?
What can I do to avoid sub drop?
Drink water before, during, and after play. A glass of something high in simple sugars like orange juice right after can help as well, because it will give your body a boost as it’s adjusting to the loss of happy chemicals. Mostly? Aftercare, aftercare, aftercare. Get wrapped up in a blanket to stay warm, get cuddled and snuggled and doted on. Let your Dom take care of any marks you might have. Eat something. Indulge in lots of warm and fuzzy physical touch to balance out all the kinky touching. Basically, give yourself a huge bank of good stuff to remember and think of if sub drop happens.
Make sure you and your Dom have talked about follow-up. Will they call you? Text you? Will you be able to reach them if drop happens? Communicate about the possibility and know what the expectations are on both sides (because if you don’t have this set out before hand then that drop might make you spontaneously upset/angry with them if they are unreachable).
The most important thing to remember is that while sub drop may happen, it’s no one’s fault. It’s just the natural reaction of your body to the loss of all those happy and fun chemicals. You’ll be back to normal and ready for more kinky fun in no time.
Hope this was helpful, lovelies!
Thank you so much for this post, I spent my first time with my master two nights ago and yesterday experienced subdrop. Reading your post today was very helpful x
I am SO HAPPY that this helped you, lovely! Subdrop can be really confusing without a context for it, and that’s all these posts are supposed to do. <3 <3 <3 I hope you enjoyed your night!!
I am the same. Thank you. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me and Mister was hurt I couldn’t talk to him
I hope this helps to open up a good conversations between the two of you so you’re more prepared next time, lovely! Wishing you luck!
I can’t thank you enough for this! I was an emotional reck last night after having such an intense session with my daddy dom. I was so angry and I took it out on my dom. He had instructed me to read up on sub drop and I ended up here. You’ve helped me understand why I felt the way did and how I can look after myself next time. So, again, thank you!
Awww, I’m so glad this helped, lovely!! But definitely ALSO have a convo with your daddy dom on how he may be able to help you avoid a hard drop in the future. It takes two! <3
An excellent and much-needed article. Regarding recovery from sub drop, some people also benefit not only from intake of sugars and caffeine but also from foods rich in acetylcholine, a key neurotransmitter that is likewise depleted during extreme activities. So eating a small quantity of eggs, meat, or fish can be helpful if your stomach will cooperate. And plenty of gentle stroking will also help with recovery unless the sub drop is extreme, in which case wrapping the sub in a warm blanket and minimizing sensation is actually a faster route to recovery because it minimizes additional stimulation and thus enables the brain to re-establish homeostasis more quickly through replenishment of key neurotransmitters.
GREAT points! There are so many different ways to help in subdrop and I love this addition! Thank you so much for coming by to comment, lovely! <3
The first time I was with my Dom I had NO idea about subdrop. We scenes and I went driving home shortly afterwards (I live and hour and a half from where we met). About an hour back I was freezing and exhausted. I didn’t realize how badly I was tired until I started hitting the rumble strips continuously. I pulled off and slept in a parking lot for 4 HOURS. Now I’m much more cautious since I know it’s a thing,up to and including staying in the hotel for the night…. Although a day or two after I tend to be a bit more emotional too so I watch how I react and interact with others.
I am so glad you made it home safely! It’s definitely important for dominants and submissives to be aware of subdrop!
Great information. I had a massive sub drop Saturday night, had to take a short nap to get myself right. Still felt “off” all Sunday. New experience, good to know it’s not just my body not being able to handle things. My Daddy is being very caring and helping me through.
I’m so glad you found this article and I really hope it helped you!! Sometimes (even if we normally don’t get it) subdrop can just happen! <3 So glad your Daddy is helping you get back to 100%, lovely!
Thank you for this article & all your others, they have helped me understand myself more. I was directed to your website by my wonderful Dom, who has done His research in order to help me. Our first play date was magical and intense and He was so loving and gently helped me come back from sub space and in that moment I felt truly special and loved. He is helping me understand that it’s normal to have sub drops and that I shouldn’t blame myself for being too emotional, etc…..as I was told in previous dynamics. I feel like I have hit the jackpot with my Sir ❤️ thank you again for your informative articles…..it’s so appreciated x
That makes me so happy! Please tell your Dom thank you from me for using my articles, I hope you have many amazing kinky sessions in the future!
This was really great to read. I’m pretty new to BDSM, and I’ve had trauma in the past, and when me and my Dom did my first rather intense play I’m pretty sure I had a sub drop. It happened during the play (there was a slight break in between what we were doing) and I’ve been wondering about that night since it happened. I’m not sure if my Dom knows what a sub drop is but he did help me through the entire thing. It’s nice to know, though, that I’m not the only one to experience something like this because even though my Dom assures me that nothing was wrong with how I reacted and that I didn’t do anything wrong. I still have felt like I did something wrong that night. But, I’m slowly getting over that. Anyways, great article!
It can be really scary to have subdrop and have no idea what it is / why it’s happening! It’s why I’m so glad people seem to stumble on this article as they’re researching “why did I feel so weird / crappy / emotional / etc during this bdsm scene?” I’m sorry you’ve had trauma in the past, lovely, but it sounds like you have a wonderfully supportive Dom! Definitely share the article with him and have a conversation so you can both be prepared if it happens again. <3 <3 Wishing you all the luck!
can you expierience this long distance? sometimes me and my daddy will have playtime over the phone and sometimes afterwards ill feel off and distant if that makes sense.
Of course that’s possible! Subdrop can happen in a variety of situations. It doesn’t just have to be a sadomasochistic scene, it can happen from intense feelings of submission (which could obviously happen over the phone). If you’re feeling this way frequently, please make sure you’re talking about it with your Daddy and have a plan for some solo self-care post phone calls, and a plan for how you can get some support from him! Good luck, lovely!
I have been into bdsm for a while now and have only had a few minor subdrops but I recently had a bad one. My daddy and I both knew what was going on after our scene and I wanted to do more research to figure out what else would help beside him holding me or being close and just talking me through it (I start to cry when he leaves and feels very alone). This website helped me understand a lot more, thank you for posting this!
I am really sorry I didn’t reply to this sooner (last year was really hard) but I am super happy that this helped you to understand more about subdrop! Knowledge is power and communication within the dynamic is so important! Yay for you guys having such an amazing connection!
I’m so glad I found this post. I think I’m experiencing sub drop now, but I am not sure.
My husband and I have been in a D/s relationship for over 20 years. We have built an amazing relationship that has evolved over time and I feel so lucky to have such an amazing Daddy. We have always been able to ebb and flow beautifully between D/s and husband/wife.
Recently, we have been trying a new direction with our D/s dynamic that I very much have wanted. We have both been enjoying this journey, however last week something happened and I don’t know how to recover now. I thought if I shared here, it may help me feel better.
Last weekend, we had the most amazing weekend with this new dynamic we are trying. We were both on fire all weekend and there was a lot of intense play. Well, my Daddy punished me in a way that he has many times over the years and this punishment includes orgasm denial as a part of it. Typically, it lasts from several days to over a week, during which he will keep bringing me to the edge. Eventually, it will end with an intense play session. Well, during this week, I had a business trip and was away for a couple of days. During this time, I felt like I was losing my grip on reality with respect to who we were in our dynamic. I don’t know how to describe it or how to explain what was going through my mind, but I can say that I couldn’t get myself out of thoughts that had no basis of reality. When I got back from my trip, I did not feel like myself at all and I felt broken and confused. When he took me to the bedroom later, I ended up using my safe word (which is very rare). I no longer felt aroused by our play and, after several days of being back home, I still don’t feel aroused by it. This hasn’t happened in 20 years!
The following day, after some distance, I realized that not being able to see my Daddy during the week and have him help ground me was what sent my thoughts in this unwelcome direction. I really need to see and touch him every day, as it helps keep my thoughts in check. I talked with him about it all yesterday and he was very caring and understanding and we talked about how to approach things before future trips.
Well, now I don’t know what to do to get myself back. I am still feeling unaroused by D/s and not sure if I just need a break, but vanilla doesn’t turn me on at all. I miss my Daddy and want to feel like myself again. I’m not sure how to do that. I feel disconnected and sad and confused. I don’t know who I am anymore.
I hope this wasn’t too confusing! I really appreciate being able to share this here. Thank you.
I’m very sorry I didn’t reply to this earlier, lovely! It sounds like you had some subdrop while you were away on your business trip, and not having him there to help you impacted your connection. I hope it’s resolved by now (since it took me forever to see this because I had a rough year) but communication is always the most important part. Always discuss these things RIGHT when you’re feeling them, even if that means you delay a play session, or ask for something that isn’t normally allowed in your dynamic (like a dozen orgasms to rebuild your connection)! Never be afraid to speak up for what matters to you, lovely. You deserve it, no matter how long the dynamic has been going on!
Thanks a million for this precise, yet concise, explanation of subdrop! Was looking for a way to explain all of this to a newbie and you’ve done an excellent job of explaining what subdrop does both mentally and physically.
I’m very sorry I didn’t reply to this earlier, lovely, and thank you SO much for the compliments! I am very grateful to everyone who finds this article and benefits from it, and you’re awesome for sharing the information with others! It really does help to just know / understand what’s going on inside us. :)
Can a sub drop make you physically sick? I had my first session last night and today I’ve been off all day, throwing up and feeling weird. Is that normal?
That doesn’t seem like something connected to subdrop, I’d recommend seeing a doctor, lovely!
Wow, now I actually know why my body and brain aren’t connecting after a session! To have professional information like this is SO very valuable. Thank you for taking time to break it down both on the medical side and emotional side. Now I I know what I need to do before, during and after a session to allow my body to level out.
I’m very sorry I didn’t reply to this earlier, lovely, and I’m very glad this helped you! Knowledge is power, especially in BDSM, and sometimes just knowing wtf is happening inside us is enough to make it all better and more enjoyable! Thank you for commenting!
This happened to me recently after my first time being completely submissive.. my guy ignored me and I had no idea why I was lashing out/depressed/moody/severe anxiety (on top of normal anxiety). There was no aftercare. I feel better knowing I am not alone but the intense withdrawals and sadness was shocking. What a great read! I will be more careful trusting.
I am so sorry for the very delayed response, lovely! And I’m sorry you experienced this and that the dominant didn’t provide aftercare or support. That’s a terrible reality to playing in this community, because not everyone is a great person (just like dating in the vanilla world)! But knowledge is power, and now that you know what to look for, and are aware that you might have subdrop, just make sure it’s part of your conversations before play so you get taken care of — because you deserve it! <3
Hello! I’m new to this site of yours, I’m actually a Dominatrix and I plan on sending this to my boy (he’s a bit newer to the scene, I was able to explain this to him a bit but I think this in depth explanation is wonderful) I’m hoping that this will help him feel safer and more confident not only in our relationship but in himself as well ????
I apologize for replying so late! It’s been a crazy year, but I am so glad you found this article and shared it with your sub. Knowledge is power and helps so much with communication! You rock!
This was extremely helpful!! Thank you so much for articulating all these irrational emotions i was feeling! This saved me!
For context, i am a male slave to my Pro Domme Queen. As a bit of a masochist, i have never felt the emotional side of drop; only physical. Recently, after two intense sessions with chastity sandwiched in between, i was unexpectedly flooded with drop. No plan was really ever discussed for this, nor did i really understand why i felt the way I did. i too felt if i reached out, it would be considered a form of topping. i wouldn’t have known about this side of drop had i not stumbled across this…
Once i reached out describing what i was in drop, my Queen was very understanding and nurturing. We are now putting together a an after-aftercare plan to address this, particularly for more intense weeks. But wanted to acknowledge your writing. i hope it helps others as it has helped me!
Oh, lovely, I am so glad you found this! It’s absolutely something that happens to many people and I’m so glad your Domme was supportive and caring through your drop. I wish you both the best!
Thank you so much for posting this, I experienced sub drop after an intense session and had no clue why I felt depressed, tired and angry at my Daddy for no reason + super sad when he left the house. It’s so reassuring to get a detailed explanation of whats happening and how to avoid / deal with that! ??
I’m so glad this helped you! That’s the whole reason I have it up here because I never want anyone to experience this without understanding what’s happening in their body and how they (and their dom/daddy/top/etc) can help with it. <3 Hope you’re feeling better!
Thank you so much. I dabbled in BDSM years ago and suffered sub-drop to the extreme immediately after. Unfortunately, my Dom was a friend of a friend and not someone I truly trusted and didn’t get the after care I needed. I did have friends in the community who were able to help me understand what I was feeling. I’m not, by nature, a sub, but have now found myself in that position again and really enjoy it. But it’s his desires that drive him, without knowledge of what can come of his actions. Last night was our first “scene” for lack of a better term, and today I am definitely feeling the drop I felt years ago, but because he’s never been introduced to the lifestyle, he wouldn’t have considered this a possibility. I found your post when trying to reassure myself that my feelings are valid, scientifically justified, and can be avoided, if not at least minimized, in the future. Thank you for your wisdom!
I am so glad it helped you! Please share it with your current play partner so he can learn more about the aftereffects of a scene. :)
I’m not sexually active but I am a writer and I had a question, if no one minds. Do you only get subdrop after kinky sex, or can you get it after vanilla sex? Is it basically just a drop in endorphins?
I’d never say that anything is impossible, but generally subdrop is caused by the chemicals the brain produces when experiencing pain. However, I’ve seen people report that they’ve felt subdrop after intense service submission, so who knows! I wouldn’t recommend putting it in a book unless you’ve experienced it yourself, because those are things readers can be aggressive about in reviews, but if you have the experience to back it up – go for it! Good luck!
Thank you for this article. I have only been with my Daddy fir a short time and last nights session was long and very intense at the end. I could not even use my safe words! But when I told him he need to stop now it did immediately.
But then did not know what happened or how to help. I cried and her held me. We cuddle late into the night. I read this and late last night and this morning make 100% sents now. So in the future now I know how to have my aftercare tailored to me.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
I am so glad it helped you, lovely! Stay safe and have fun! <3
I’m so thankful for this article! I’ve recently began this dom /sub kinda master like relationship with my boyfriend. And while I know that we’re in love and I trust him, after last play I’ve felt abandoned and insecure. I had no idea why but I just felt really awful, especially since we haven’t done anything too extreme and I felt like I don’t have the right to feel the way I do. But thanks to this article, I guess I finally feel normal and valid
You are absolutely normal and I’m so glad that having a name for what you felt has helped! Now you can prepare and be ready the next time you play. Stay safe, lovely!
When a dom has a telepathic connection with the sub, the subdrop can be exhausting for the dom too. Aftercare vital to minimize this! Question is, how to tell the difference between a succubus and a good sub going through subdrop.
Haven’t encountered any succubi at the clubs myself, but I’ll keep an eye out!
i have experienced an absolute wretched and terrifying episode of sub drop following my first really intense ERP, which was a truly transcendent experience during which I was gently but firmly pushed past my limits, in retrospect I was clearly trying too hard. he is very perceptive and used a probe word and realized i’d taken myself too far.
unfortunately, he was at work and unavailable when I crashed into a sobbing mess of exhaustion and anguish. I released a flood of emotion, likely much was trauma related yet had only my stuffie to hold as I lay in bed screaming and wailing. I guess i cried myself to sleep because when I woke I was more thirsty than I can ever remember being in my life and totally physically drained.
I hope you got some care eventually, lovely!
Hello Jennifer! this might be a bit late but I have a question, after reading this I’ve realized more about sub drop and I am wondering if You can have sub drop if you don’t do Sexual activities? I’m a beginner dom in all this and my ex-submissive told me that if we didn’t do scenes or engage in sexual activities that they’d have sub drops. and it happened multiple times. Can you have sub drops from lack of play? Or lack of romance or something along those lines? please get back to me if you can!
I’m not an expert, and there’s little research on subdrop in the medical community, so I don’t think it’s possible to say what is and isn’t subdrop. If someone is feeling the symptoms, it’s better to comfort and console than anything else, however this article very specifically refers to the chemical effects of submission/pain play and how that can cause a chemical imbalance in the following hours and days. Sorry if this wasn’t more helpful!
Is it normal to experience a lack of sex drive after an intense scene or would this symptom fall in line with sub-drop? I turned up empty after a Google search.
Everyone responds to intense sexual activity differently, and if that happens to you it’s totally normal. Just communicate with your partner about it and be sure to put self-care first and not push yourself into anything you’re not comfortable with.