Subspace can manifest itself in many ways. the most common is a feeling of extreme highs, not unlike marihuana, where there is a sense of mental separation or detachment from reality, a trance-light state, and many of the subs report a feeling of floating or flying and may even become unresponsive to the Dominant or may display a different substituted emotional response such as giggling. It is the inability to reach because of the feeling of being high, the lack of unresponsiveness and the substituted emotions (giggling rather than pain) that make it so important that a Dominant can recognise and react appropriately to the sub entering subspace.
If the play involves strong physical activity, or infliction of pain, the sub can display an increased pain tolerance due to the release of endorphins and other neurochemicals and hormones and their brain chemical balance can make them entirely unaware of the pain and associated risk. They will be unable to determine whether they are still safe, and therefore unlikely to use their safeword or safe signal simply because they no longer recognise the need to use it. The Dominant must therefore be very vigilant and ensure that the sub remains safe and must also decide whether it is safe for them to continue flying in subspace or whether to time-out the play and bring them down again. Whilst not fully understanding the psychology, and in particular the long-term psychological damage that uncontrolled sub-space flight can do, many abusive Dominants recognise the altered control of the sub in subspace and will simply use it as a measure of control and an aid to abuse.
Clinically, subspace can be defined as a sympathetic nervous system response to the intense pain / pleasure experienced during a scene caused by a release of epinephrine, endorphins and enkephalins. These in turn have a morphine-like effect on the metabolism. Anyone who has seen morphine used, knows that it both increases the pain tolerance of the submissive while inducing a highly-suggestible trance-like condition – an almost out-of-body experience, detached from reality. Many submissives in deep sub-space report that they have a near-out of body experience where they feel as it they are observing what is happening to them, rather than being involved in the participation if the experience
In the deeper levels of sub-space where the sub has lost the sensation of pain, there is particular danger because any further stimulus causes further chemical release and the trance-like detachment can be prolonged significantly. It is only the Dominant who can keep the submissive from experiencing harm at this stage because the sub no longer has the mental capability to understand their body and surroundings. It is also at this stage that the sub becomes suggestible to long-term mental reprogramming. (This is also the reason why you can’t hypnotise someone who has been drinking or taking recreational or pain-killing drugs), because you can no longer access the conscious mind, the confusion of which is essential to hypnosis.
Other reactions that are commonly associated with subspace are an apparent drop in IQ and the use of cruder language because language centres are released from conscious control barriers and social inhibitions and this drop in IQ can create a feedback loop i within the submissive that draws them deeper into subspace.
In a handful of cases, subs can show a truly primal state with hypersensitivity to sound and light and movement and can become dangerous. Their inability to perceive danger or risk can result in them severely scratching, biting or kicking and if medical instruments or weapons are around they will not perceive the danger of their use.
In other cases the submissive becomes excessively wilful, undoing restraints and will deliberately test the Dominant. An experienced Dominant will immediately channel this properly but inexperienced Dominants may not. If channelled properly, the Dominant can channel it into further constructive play taking the sub into deeper subspace still, but if channelled improperly by an unskilled Dominant, it can result in sub-anger, but sub-anger without the normal control principles, making the sub equivalent of a class 3 or class 4 sadist with uncontrollable anger and desire to lash out.
In subspace, the submissive needs constant attention, both to enhance their experience and to ensure their safety and ability to use a safeword to show distress. A good Dominant will use subspace to test soft boundaries, but they will be very careful not accept changes in consents for hard limits during deep subspace.