As much as I would love to write a post about how to avoid sub drop, in my personal opinion, that’s an unrealistic goal for submissives and Dominants alike. With great highs come great lows and the goal of this blog is rather to explain what is is, why it happens and what we can do to work through it.
Sub drop is a period of emotional lows, usually following an intense scene- especially when there is impact play involved. I have heard submissives describe drop in many different ways but common themes are irritability, intense sadness, loneliness, and physical or emotional exhaustion. I have experienced sub drop twice so far in my submission journey and both times were intensely awful and hard but temporary.
The first time I experienced drop I was on the way to visit my best friends in my hometown. I was texting B & L on the plane, teasing Him mercilessly while He was at work and He was in one of those moods where He couldn’t decide if He wanted to punish me, fuck me or both. He let it go on for a little before telling me to get my ass to the bathroom and edge myself for two minutes. This continued a few times to the point I was eternally grateful I had an aisle seat and was at the back of the plane. Eventually He worked up to having me edge for 10 minutes until I was begging to be allowed to release. Being the generous Dominant He is, He counted down from 10 and I came hard 10,000 feet above the ground in the small, ill-lit airplane bathroom. Trembling knees, I made my way back to my seat, wrapped up with a blanket and drinking water at His instruction.
And then I dropped. Hard.
The drop was insidious and feelings of self doubt and irritability began to creep into my brain. I started to feel like B & L were going to forget about me while I was on my 10 day trip across the country. I felt like they were going to have all this time together, and since I wasn’t going to be meeting His needs He would no longer want me. I was insecure, angry at Him for sins He had not yet committed and I felt like I was losing my mind, y’all. It felt like my body was throwing itself out that plane window and into the deepest, darkest places in my brain and there was nothing I can do to stop it.
To this day I am still not sure why that situation made me drop. Maybe it was the anxiety of leaving my poly dynamic for the first time, insecurities around needing to be useful to those around me that I had not yet acknowledged out loud, the public nature of the task, the confinement of the plane or a combination of factors I haven’t even thought about. But the one thing I do know is that neither B or I did anything wrong in that scenario. He was just as loving and supportive after the scene, I drank the water, did the things. And I still dropped. And that’s okay.
Subdrop is not your body failing you. Subdrop is not your Dominant failing you. Sub drop is a chemical reaction in your brain. Thats it.
The Science: To keep it simple, sub drop is a depletion of the feel good chemicals in our brain after a scene. When we experience pain, pleasure or a combination of the two, our brain is flooded with endorphins and that’s what allows us to feel that delicious subspace like high that makes BDSM so enjoyable and addicting. However, its like like taking too long of a shower on a cold morning. Eventually, no matter the size of your hot water tank, your shower is going to run out of hot water. Will it eventually be able to provide more hot water? Of course. Does that make the cold water any less uncomfortable or shocking? No. No it does not.
Your body will be able to recover and make more happy chemicals. It may take a few hours or it might take up to two weeks. But I promise you with all that I am, your drop is only temporary. You are not crazy. You are not broken. You will feel better. But unfortunately, sometimes the only way out is through.
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t thing that we can do to help ease the drop, however. So below are my recommendations to help lesson subdrop:
1. Figure out what triggers your drop. Keep a journal of sorts so both you and your Dominant can either avoid the triggers or know when you both need to be on the lookout for a drop.
2. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Let your Dominant know the moment you start to suspect you are dropping so He can help you through it.
3. Make sure that you are getting the type of aftercare you need after a scene. Whether this is cuddling, food, water, warm blankets, etc. As much as we want our Dominants to innately know our needs, it is up to us as submissives to make sure we are communicating if something is missing. They are good, but they aren’t mind readers.
4. Drink a ton of water before, during and after a scene. We are putting our body through the ringer during a scene and your body needs to be hydrated to perform and recover, just like it would during a hard workout at the gym. Something with sugar after a scene, like juice, can also help your body recover to the loss of all those feel good chemicals.
5. Although we tend to look to our Dominants to take care of us, remember that we are also responsible for our own mental wellbeing first and foremost. A lovely friend of mine recommends all submissives have a “sub drop box” ready to go with their favorite comfort items. Things like OTC pain medications, tea, snacks, a relaxing music playlist, coloring books, comfort items, a hand written note of encouragement to yourself, etc. would be great additions. Remember: put this box together before you drop when you have a clear head.
6. Remember sub drop is temporary. You will feel better soon. Be kind to yourself during the process, my darlings.