This is a guest post by Mistress Steel. It was part of her Steel’s Chamber Scrolls which is now defunct. Shared with Permission.
Subspace - This term generally is used to describe a moderate to deep trancelike condition experienced by persons in the submissive position in a D/s relationship during interaction with the person in the Dominant position in the relationship.
TOP SPACE: I will start by regarding top space or normal space. This is operational ground zero. The submissive in top space often appears quite aggressive, assertive and dominant. They will be hustling their children off to school, dominating their Dominant mate by organizing him/her off to work, cleaning and straightening the house, sending themselves off to work or to take care of business. They are the Commander of the ship, the General of the Army. Hustle, hustle, hustle. This is a submissives TOP SPACE.
MARGINALLY DOWN SPACE: This space occurs when the Dominant in the relationship directs attention at the submissive. This may be a glance, a light touch, a small sound or any combination of these triggers. This marginal appearing contact drops the submissive out of top space into a state of waiting and/or listening for command. She stops. Generally she will cease talking even in the midst of a comment. She may stop moving. She will generally attempt direct eye contact with her Dominant to see if he/she has a direction or command for her. If nothing further occurs she will most likely re-top. Or, go back to full functional top space. If the Dominant mentally presses...she will generally descend further into space.
SPRITE SPACE: Some submissives will squirm and utterly deny that this space exists. They will swear to you that they don't have it, it doesn't exist and they would never perpetrate mischief. Hmmm. Essentially just under or into down space there is a space where the submissive will test the Dominants attention, desire and will to control her. She may unclip cuffs, slide out of assigned position - all in total innocence. She didn't hear that command, the blindfold muffled her ears...etc... Note: If she notes that the Dominant doesn't catch her action she will feel he isn't paying her attention, therefore doesn't love her (mind of women at work).
BLONDE SPACE: Now, as the submissive descends into space her IQ tends to diminish in a progressive fashion. Many submissives will tell you that their up person is off to the side watching everything. They, will feel themselves getting slower mentally. I call this blonde space. In blonde space the submissive has trouble with rational thought. If you ask her if something is uncomfortable she is likely to say "I dunno". The truth is - she doesn't know. At this point she is not capable of distinguishing danger to herself, she cannot and will not utilize any safeword - it become incomprehensible to her. In her mind, she has you the Dominant, she loves and trusts you, you won't let anything happen to her.
SUB-VOCAL or PRIMAL SPACE: Sometimes the Dominant and the submissive penetrate what I call the sub-vocal barrier. The submissive in this space loses her submissive nature. If you intend to take her there have her well tied. As she drops through into this deep space she can and will get feral. Her voice becoming primal grunts and sounds, her eyes may alter, she will he hypersensitive to sound, light, movement. She will be fast and very dangerous. She can and will claw you, bite you or toss you into a wall if you are a small man. In a sense she is tapping into ancient primal body language. She becomes a predator barely submitting. If she senses any weakness in your control she will attempt to take you out. She cannot ever utilize safe words here. She cannot remember how to articulate human speech.
These are the basic levels of subspace. Prior to beginning an exploration of subspace the Dominant and submissive should have intensive conversations about what she may expect and how she may feel. The Dominant should set up a sequence of escape words. This should be a simple question that would never occur in common life. Something such as "What color is your left big toe?" Her auto-UP UP UP response might be "My left big toe is orange!"Essentially this question asked at any time is her command to fast up or come to TOP SPACE NOW!!!
This escape question should be practiced multiple times until it becomes automatic.
I included thefore a very important reason...submissives in down space seldom laugh. Their ability to laugh and giggle seems to diminish as their focus intensifies on their Dominant in space. By requiring these as well, the Dominant is assured that the submissive has returned to top space. Note: this command should only be used in a problem situation. For regular activities in subspace the submissive needs and desires to be 'caught' by the Dominant gently and allowed to return to top space in a normal way...this can take hours of after play cuddling.
Some basic information: Never ever leave your submissive alone in space unless you wish to risk severe potential problems... You are her sole connection to reality. If you leave her alone she is likely to be terrified. She will return to top space at some point and may never forgive you for leaving her.
Always keep your commands simple and direct. In space she will obey but comprehension is limited. Never impose responsibility on her for any aspect of the play. If you want interaction stay in Marginal Space or Sprite Space (sometimes known as Sammy Space). In any other down space she will not communicate well verbally. She may be unable to articulate your name at all.
Talk to her in a reassuring fashion if penetration of subspace is new - she may be frightened. The further into space she goes the higher the chemicals pump into her blood stream and generally the more intensive the play can become. For a first timer, you need to tell her that subspace exists, what it is and how it may feel to her. She will desire to please you and open to seek this space. She must feel that you know what you are doing even if you do not. She must be convinced that she is utterly safe with you.
Penetration of the different levels will vary for many reasons. Some people can only go so far. They have inhibitors. Often the penetration may occur over many months as the level of trust increases and the submissive relaxes into new experiences. You should not expect full flight from the beginning.
Written by F.R.R. Mallory – also known as Mistress Steel. This article may be excerpted from Extreme Space, The Domination and Submission Handbook, Safe, Sane and Consensual, Dangerous Choices or other books by F.R.R. Mallory and shared here with her permission. Please click on the book title for information on how you can order a copy of these books and others by F.R.R. Mallory.