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!