I have previously blogged about being cautious with BDSM from a service providers point of view. One thing I touched on and didn’t explain is subspace, subdrop, and aftercare. There are many articles out there that explain the theory of subspace, subdrop and aftercare usually involving BDSM play, but I have noticed with myself, my clients, and my play partners BDSM is not actually necessary for the hormonal releases; these can happen in normal bookings so I apply my BDSM knowledge in other bookings. When I ask random questions like ‘how’s your head?’ or ‘did you feel that orgasm everywhere?’ it’s to gain an understanding on the hormones released inside my clients head so I am aware if I need to take additional measures and provide aftercare to try to stop a ‘drop’ occurring or if it’s a slow one.
There are a lot of articles that can provide information about subspace, subdrop and aftercare but ill touch base on them as I reference them a lot:
Subspace – subspace is a phycological state where a heap of hormones are released into your brain, these include endorphin's alpha, beta, gamma, and sigma, and neurochemicals enkephalins, dopamine, prolactin, cortisol, and oxytocin. These hormones are released when your brain gets pushed passed its normal homeostasis state. This could be as simple as an intense orgasm, the infliction of pain, experiencing humiliation, or something as simple as receiving affection and rewards when you rarely receive them. An example I use when someone asks about S&M, not understanding how people can enjoy pain is look a hypothetical car accident:
Victim 1 – Broken arm, walking around in shock, not crying nor even realising they should be in intense pain. This is because of the hormones their brain naturally releases to help them deal with the pain.
Victim 2 - Nothing physically wrong but they are also in shock not understanding what has just happened. This is again the hormonal reaction to help them psychologically deal with what has just happened.
A masochist or someone who seeks humiliation play are less about putting themselves through anguish and more about the hormonal release, usually as they would like an escape from reality, or they need help dealing with life’s stresses. A lot of the time the more they experience it over time without playing too much, the more susceptible their brain is to release these hormones. I once played with a WL who couldn’t be marked but I managed to get her heavily into subspace by teasing her with painful tools so her body prepared for the pain before even experiencing it.
There’s different levels of subspace depending on what hormones are released and how intense they are. Some of the most extreme releases can cause blackouts and passing out. I have been on the verge of passing out once, everything went black, but luckily my top grabbed me, sat me down and bought me back down. The usual type of feeling for intense play is a happy, floaty, drunk like feeling. A natural high. I have been in this state quite a few times, and a few of my clients too where communications is an issue, you can barely talk or walk. Then there’s the lesser states where you just feel happy and content, I experience this regularly in all types of bookings.
Subdrop – What goes up must come down! As these hormones are not normally floating around your brain they will drop at some stage, sometimes very suddenly, sometimes over a period of days. I again have experienced both. Sudden drops are not nice, especially if its during play! I have had a drop triggered while playing after being asked if I am ok, which bought me back into my own head suddenly, causing an intense drop while still in hard restraints with a lot of painful things going on, so now I instruct my play partners not to do that, but instead slowly bring me down first.
Then there’s the bi-polar effect, sometimes the hormones can drop below normal causing a temporary depression. Have you ever seen someone come out of shock, how emotional they can get, the same context applies. The higher the high, the lower the potential low, which brings me to aftercare.
Aftercare – First, some people don’t need nor want aftercare, sometimes it can disrupt their natural process and figuring this out can be hit and miss, this is a rarity but there are some that bask in the afterglow of a session and they naturally bring themselves down, and receiving aftercare can disrupt that process. Aftercare is slowly bringing the hormones back to a safe, functional level, trying to stop them dropping below normal levels. Dropping below normal levels happens quite easily and some people are more susceptible than others especially if they have depression and anxiety.
When you’re playing, you should ease into it, same as when you finish play, suddenly finishing can cause intense drops. Look at these hormones like a drug, when your on a high you don’t want to just stop, you want to back down slowly so you don’t have a massive come down.
Immediate aftercare: Attention and affection is a good way to help ease the drop down. When you show someone attention and affection it naturally releases some of these hormones but a lesser amount, so the high drops down slowly. I like talking about random stuff to my clients, not making them think too hard, just random conversations to get them talking and over a while they are slowly bought back into their own head, I usually do this while cuddling.
Extended aftercare: It is hard to control what happens after a session is over and the drop that can happen a day or two after so I encourage my clients to seek a healthy lifestyle for the few days after, naturally releasing good hormones. This include a healthy nutritious diet, exercise, and some more attention and affection.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter how cautious you are drops can occur, in all different types of bookings. I have had a few clients who have dropped after GFE bookings as the attention and affection the received during the booking released a heap of happy hormones, and once again, what goes up, must come down. A client told me just last week ‘sometimes the best escorts, are the worst’ because I did my job too well, I gave him exactly what he needed, so when he went back to his isolated job he felt the drop pretty bad. I am always aware of this and encourage my clients to contact me if the drop is bad. Unfortunately, I have a busy life and sometimes have a small drop myself so I cannot always get back to my client immediately but I do what I can to help ease the drop.
I also have highs and lows, I get a hormonal release during bookings too! Its why I don’t like back to back bookings, or taking on more than a couple a day, I want to get back into my own head before commencing another booking. Sometimes I can only handle a couple PSE bookings per week as they are more intense, so I have a responsibility to look after myself too!