It was the day after that night. I was happy, I was smiling, I was walking on clouds. I felt good. I felt loved. I belonged. That evening – before we went to bed – we had a similar ‘routine’ than the night before. When I came back into the bedroom after I have gotten myself ready for bed, there was nothing on the bed. Okay, I thought. No problem. The previous night he had also only gotten my collar out after he got into bed next to me. But not this time. I lay next to him, feeling my mood go down. The happiness I felt all day and up to that moment, was starting to disappear. I told myself that he was just taking into account that I am healing. I tried to be reasonable. I could not. By the time I decided to go to sleep, I was fighting tears. I did mention that my neck felt so empty, but it felt as if he deliberately misunderstood me.
When I woke up the next morning, I still felt the same. My mood was not entirely negative, but tears were always very close. All through the day. I just did not feel it, the happiness of the day before. Seeing Hubby after work brought some of the happiness back. However, the dark shadow was still lurking somewhere inside there. I could feel it. I told myself to expect absolutely nothing when I entered our bedroom. And indeed, nothing was there. Still, I felt the disappointment.
When he got into bed beside me I was still hoping that he would get my collar out. He did not. I pushed away the darker feelings that started rising again. I tried hard. I did not succeed. But a rush of intense happiness instantly filled my body when he put his hand on my breast and lazily fondled my nipple. A blanket of peace covered me. I fell asleep and woke up the next morning, feeling the same happiness I felt two days earlier.
I did not understand these feelings. Where did it come from? I have had these negative feelings before, after we had a night of ‘play’. Whether circumstances were the same as above, I don’t remember. I used to attribute those feelings to the stress I went through with my study. But this time I realized it had nothing to do with that. I decided to search the internet for a bit. I found something and wondered: is this what I went through? There are many things in the quote that I recognize, but I don’t like to just grab labels to put on feelings I had.
This is what I found:
D/s is all encompassing in the sense that its not just about scenes, and highs, and fun, and pain, and control, and all the exciting things we do. Its about real people, and their needs, and wants. The intense activities that are part of a D/s or BDSM relationship do sometimes have their downsides as well. This article will deal with one of those downsides. Sub Drop.
After all the emotional highs of the elevation of a submissive into subspace, the return to normality can have a profound effect on both Dominant and submissive. Each in their own way has reached a level rarely achieved in daily life, and which, very often, neither is prepared for.
Sub drop; the coming down, the return to normality, can happen quickly, or slowly. It can be a nice experience, or a bad one. And the effects, good or bad, can last almost no time at all, or they can go on for hours, even days.
As a Dominant, the care of my submissive is paramount, and I am a great believer that I should never lose control of myself at any time, else I am unable to care for my sub. The effects of subdrop ( and its usually referred to as subdrop when they are bad effects) are manifestly similar to a kind of depressive state. Each person will react differently, and I tend to say this a lot, when basing my experience upon those with my sub: she may be different from others in her reaction, but through many conversations and discussions it would seem there are also many similarities too, in the way submissives react. So perhaps this article can be a guide?
Although the sub has rested, and very often slept, even after several hours there can be spontaneous outbursts of emotion: which might be tears, irrationality, fear, or any number of things. What the Dominant must do here is recognise these for what they are; a need to be comforted, and looked after, to be held, told how much she is needed, and how important she is. Subs are, in many ways like children. They crave attention, and often the sub psyche feels that they have lost the massive attention which they had before (during the scene) from their Dom/me, and this can cause the unease, and charged emotions that we see in a sub drop situation. Allied to this of course, are the hugely elevated amounts of naturally produced drugs (endorphins, adrenaline etc) that are likely still flowing around the subs body: these may take some time to return to normal levels, and there may well be a withdrawal effect caused by these too. So sub is going through a mental and physical “cold turkey”.
The total effect of all this can seem to create a totally irrational person; she cries for no reason, you hold her and she pushes you away, you leave her alone and she wants to be held. Well, such is the lot of the Dom/me who is in at least part responsible for getting the sub to this state anyway. We must persevere, and accept that irrationality, and look past it. After care is vital, making the sub feel wanted, safe, secure, and comfortable.
These are several of the reasons why I personally do not hold with the idea of public play. In places where there may be little time, or a suitable place to give good aftercare to a sub if subdrop is experienced, it can become far worse than when at home, or in a secure environment, where she feels “safe”, and need not worry about other people, and how she may be seen by others. Of course that is my opinion only, and although I do not condone it, many find great pleasure in public play. Of course there are those for whom family life (perhaps those with young children at home, or those who are not in 24/7 relationships) whose circumstances conspire against scening at home, find that public play parties, offering a safe play environment are their only way to enjoy physical aspects of BDSM, and D/s. Then so be it. What works for them is fine. Don’t knock it.
Everyone in this lifestyle who undertakes any kind of exciting play, whether it be cyber based, physical, mental, or any combination of these can suffer from some form of sub drop. Each participant ought to be aware of this possibility, and ideally, should have talked about it first: its all very well discussing the good stuff, but the bad things need thinking about too, which is why safety issues, and safe words, worst case scenarios for a scene, and all manner of other things should be discussed at length, before and after play by the Dom/me and their sub. Sure, luxuriate in the good things, but be aware of the bad too.
Back to sub drop. How do we deal with it?
In whatever way works best is the answer; with great patience, and a demonstration of affection and care that not only fulfils the submissives need for attention, but which shows that their well being is important to the Dom; Not just while they are our play partner, but our life partner. Very often the bonding created in aftercare is much stronger than that made out of purely physical attraction and during a scene, or play. To sleep with sub comfortable in ones arms is just as fulfilling in many ways, as the act of taking her to subspace itself. Many Dominants don’t see this need, and neglect aftercare. I know of one submissive who was in an hotel room with a Dom, and almost straight after play was sent home, while still in subspace. She drove several miles in a state that was dangerous to both her, and others. Then she had to deal with massive subdrop all alone. Luckily she phoned someone, who understood and they were able to be with her for several hours, to ensure she was ok.
What on earth was the so-called Dominant thinking of; only Himself. When that is the case I fail to see how anyone like this can be described as a Dominant. (User may be a better term). A caring Dom/me will always have the best interests of the submissive uppermost in their minds: by all means take pleasure, that’s what D/s is about, but don’t take and give nothing back.
Maybe subdrop can be thought of along similar lines to the effects of shock: treat the sub in similar ways perhaps. Keep them comfortable, watch them for signs of distress, try and understand what they need from you, and provide that. The answers will not always be the same for everyone, but with some practice and a consistent approach, the sub will come to understand that their Dom/me understands what is happening, and is intent on doing all they can to alleviate the situation.
Quite often, a sub that has had several bad experiences of subdrop will begin to ask themselves if the highs achieved during subspace are worth the lows of subdrop set against them. If they know that their Dom/me will do all in their power to provide this aftercare then there will rarely be a question about going to subspace.
It’s all about mutual trust and understanding, and while both parties are charged with trying to understand each other, in this case much of the responsibility lies with the Dom/me to provide the lead, and the consistency which the submissive craves so badly in their life.
As said, there are many things in this quote that I recognize. Will I be able to handle those negative feelings if I have them the next time after being on such a high? How do other subs handle these feelings? Do other subs recognize these feelings? If your Dom does not see your feeling low, do you tell him? Do you turn his attention to you? Or do you wait for him to see it? If you tell him, how do you do it? Lots of questions running through my mind now and I’m interested to hear from other subs out there…
© Rebel’s Notes