Sub Drop – a Guide

Woman and man playing domination games in bed together

Sub Drop can come in many different forms. Sub Drop is an emotional or physical state that a sub can experience after a BDSM scene. The symptoms and intensity vary from person to person, but can include fatigue, feeling emotionally raw, aches and pains, and depression. Of course, you don’t have to be hog-tied and whipped to feel sad after sex. One 2015 study found that nearly 46% of the 230 women surveyed felt feelings of tearfulness and anxiety after sex — which is known as “postcoital dysphoria” — at least once in their lives.

If not cared for, a sub could go into depression just from one play session. The endorphins and other hormones released during play leave the body in such a way that it takes time to rebuild the balance of hormones. Some people recover in a matter of hours, but others could exhibit signs of Sub Drop for weeks after an intense session.

Concluding a scene with aftercare and understanding how to deal with sup drop are both important parts of practicing BDSM. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach – some need time to reflect while others may need extra affection and attention – so talk to your partner and figure out what will help you both return to an everyday state of mental, emotional, and physical steadiness.

What is Aftercare?

Aftercare is, simply, the time you and your partner take after play time to recover and tend to each other’s emotional and physical needs. There’s a wide range of thoughts, feeling and emotions that are linked with kink, especially as many of the scenes performed test one’s limits, boundaries, power, and control. The time following the end of the scene is an important time to strengthen the emotional connection and the feeling of well-being for both of you.

It’s also a time to show each other how much you enjoyed the scene, and to debrief. Remember, kink can be an intense experience that leaves you feeling exhausted, mentally and physically drained, and in need of some tenderness, and therefore aftercare is an expected standard of post-kink scenes and experiences.

Check in with Your Partner

Aftercare can be a slow and gentle departure from the psychological head space that BDSM often creates. This experience can be expressed with laughter, silence, yelling, tears, mood swings and so on, and can take a day or more to wear off. Therefore, it’s important to keep in touch during that time and talk through any shift in emotion you may be feeling.

Dropping your partner a text or giving them a call a few days afterwards gives you both enough time/space to process emotions, while also ensuring that you have an opportunity to ‘debrief’ and discuss feelings. Checking that there are no lingering negative emotions and that you’re both in a good headspace is crucial.

Practice Self-Care

Self-care is a whole topic in itself and is an important aspect of BDSM. Your relationship with yourself is the foundation for your relationships with other people. Reading a book, taking a bath, eating, exercising, masturbating; they can give you a chance to reflect on how you’re feeling, perk you up a bit, or even take you out of your own head. It’s handy to find things that work for you when you’re not physically able to be with your partner during drop.

Be Prepared

This ties into the point above. Putting together a ‘drop kit’ or a dedicated bag for sub drop recovery will put all the aftercare essentials at your fingertips. What would you put in it? Well, that depends on what you need to feel better after play. Some of the common items include:

Warm blankets

Scented candles

Chocolate

A sugary drink (Coke, juice, energy drink e.t.c)

Body lotion

Colouring books/crayons

Understand That the Feeling Will Pass

We are constantly told that we need to be happy all the time, and if we aren’t happy then something’s wrong. The highs in life aren’t possible without the lows, and the highs we get from BDSM don’t come for free. Part of BDSM play is opening yourself up to new experiences, which has the potential to activate feeling all kinds of emotions, even painful ones. Spending some time thinking about this and reflecting can help put the drop into perspective. It will pass.

These points don’t necessarily apply to everyone; some people will want to be left alone and others will need to remain close. Aftercare should be discussed before every session as you and your partner may require a different form of aftercare depending on their emotional state. There is no one way to provide or receive aftercare, the only real guideline is to be open, accepting, and attentive to the emotional and physical needs of your partner, while also making sure that your own needs are met as well.

If you’re feeling the opposite way to your partner, find a compromise. You’ll both need some form of aftercare that’ll help maintain the connection you’ve just experience, and provide you with closure.

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