Subspace Achieved – now the problems start

Achieving Sub-Space Communication

Subspace is actually named from a mathematical term for a space that is wholly contained in another space, or whose points or elements are all in another space.

Subspace is the space that the Sub is able to reach within the scene (or main space) of the BDSM relationship and it should be remembered that attaining subspace is not a requirement of any scene, and neither Party should feel pressured to achieve subspace in the submissive nor a sense of failure if they don’t. Much depends on the level of interaction, the emotional involvement of the parties, the level of trust, the other distractions going on in vanilla life.

It is however a good practice to turn off mobile phones when in the Dungeon or BDSM location and to agree that the vanilla problems are left outside of the metaphorical (or actual) Dungeon door.

BUT COMING OUT OF SUBSPACE IS MORE IMPORTANT

Coming out of Subspace

Coming down from Subspace can happen quickly, or can take hours or even days.  Many bottoms report that, the next day they are able to function normally, but still feel a bit floaty and euphoric for several days.    Each bottom is different and it takes time to learn how you are likely to respond emotionally to play.  And of course on different days you will react according to what else is going on in your life – a stressful day at work might make it challenging to relax enough to get into the right frame of mind – or you might be someone who finds subspace a useful escape from stress.

As sub-space exists on many levels, the control of the downtime  (the exit of subspace) is something that must be considered because long-term psychological injury can occur from a sudden drop out of sub-space, or worse-still, there can be a false return to reality where the sub-space mental processes are still active and where these can re-surface hours or days later.  This incomplete return to the vanilla world of reality is called marginal space. It occurs when there is the use of a recognised trigger – a glance, a touch, a sound – a mobile phone – or a combination of such factors and the result is to drop the submissive out of subspace into apparent vanilla reality where the sub appears to be responding normally but where the subconscious is still listening and anticipating change and craving more stimulation. The change in the submissive can be very subtle, they can stop talking, they can suffer reduced motor skills, and their attention becomes focused on the Dominant waiting to see if further signals are forthcoming.Further Dominant stimulation will put the submissive back into subspace, but if no stimulus arises, the sub will stay in vanilla space but without having been properly grounded. Put them in a car and their depressed motor skills are dangerous and their mental state is such that they will continue to take risk, coupled particularly with enhanced focus caused by adrenaline. This “marginally down” space can be re-triggered by something as simply as an adrenalin rush from a near-miss when driving causing the loss of reality so that the sub has the perception that they are driving a computer game (except that they’re not and therefore there is no reset button). The IQ reduction can also restart as can the reduced risk perception. There can be an inability to process and understand what is happening to them, edges of reality and rational thought become blurred. Ask a submissive how they are feeling when in this state, and their reply is liable to be “I don’t know” just as when they are in deep subspace.

When properly taken out of subspace properly, the sub’s bodily parasympathetic nervous system will seek balance. This can be similar to the shock after a car accident. The submissive can experience exhaustion and incoherence and can even go into states of shock and can be unable to properly control body temperature, shivering uncontrollably. This is where a space blanket in the Master’s kit bag can be invaluable and the Master should be able to put the sub to bed and cuddle her. She will often have feelings of emotional emptiness. Until she has full body control she’s not even safe in the shower or bath (in the bath, she might try to see if she can breathe under water) – emotional support, cuddles, reactive foods, gentle words  and caresses all help to come out of subspace. A good Dom will praise her at this stage, being careful not to do any criticism, knowing that some cases of sub-space exist can trigger feelings of shame, self loathing or disgust and a good Dom knows that these need to be identified and dealt with to avoid the Sub-drop.

(Now read Aftercare).