Sub space is one of the big topics I cover here on the site. So much of what we know about it shifts and changes with our experience that I'm always learning more about how it affects people and what draws people to reaching that sensation in play. If you don't know, part of why people engage in D/s or SM play scenes is to experience emotional and sensory highs. It's really a given. Which is probably why sub space is talked about, bantered, questioned, challenged and "taught" all over the place. Every single submissive who has experienced sub space describes it differently and you too can expect to feel something different if you ever reach that sensory high. It is after all, a personal journey, a moment of bliss, of euphoria or complete focus (or loss of focus) on what is going on. It's an end goal for many when playing with SM or power dynamics in play. In some more narrow-minded circles, if you can't reach it, or if you are a Dominant, can't get your submissive there then you aren't a real "fill in the blank".
Now, what does that mean really? Are we failing if we don't get to sub space? No. How your body responds to the endorphins and adrenaline increases in your body during play are completely unique to you and can change depending on your health at the time, the level of physical activity you engage in normally and if you are a thrill seeker. So if you don't reach sub space (or can't get your submissive there), that doesn't make your play any less fulfilling and intimate.
Just so you understand, these aren't likely the ONLY 5 levels of sub space, they just happen to be the 5 I'm talking about in this article. You are welcome to talk about other impressions and thoughts in the comments on this post.
Endorphin highs are the natural high that we get in response to pain stimuli. Endorphins occur whether it's pain for pleasure or if you fell and scrapped your knee. They help you cope with the pain and a flood of them in the body can become an intense experience. Some people look drunk when they've reached an endorphin high while others get into giggling fits. This form of sub space is the more common form seen at play parties since the idea is to have physical experiences and intense sensations.
Euphoria is the joy of submission and is a conscious desire to serve. To be euphoric does not require SM play at all and is best brought out in power exchange dynamics.
Often connected with sex and sexual arousal, sexual spin is often when you reach a stage where you'll do anything to keep the sensation coming and relax your inhibitions for sexual play. This heightened state of sexual awareness can be overwhelming for some and I know I'll even forget shortly after the play that I reached this stage. KnyghtMare says I get to a "wanton slut" stage where I'll beg to do things for him that normally are on my soft limits list just to please him. It's a fun stage to be in.
Often most associated with non-SM play, this is a very trusting, accepting and peaceful space where the submissive often has a singular focus. It can come on a submissive at any time in their service and has lasting effects. The clarity of a submissive headspace makes you feel like your submission is at its peak and can give you great joy in service at that specific time.
Nirvana is losing oneself in the moment usually culminating in a heightened sense of awareness or the loss of awareness.
What Goes Up Must Come Down
I'd like to touch on sub drop. Many submissives who have gone to sub space during play will have some level of sub drop. No matter how much aftercare you got or how secure your relationship the physical response to the drop in those feel good chemicals can make you feel depressed, sad, stressed, confused and tired. Take care of yourself and learn about self-aftercare and sub drop.
Remember if you can't or haven't reached sub space that doesn't make your play time any less fulfilling. As long as you and your partner get what you want and need from the encounter then the goal of sub space isn't required. Understanding a bit about the 5 levels mentioned here might help you realize that the out-of-body experience you've heard a few talk about isn't how you express yourself in sub space and that one of these others is more like you. And that's cool. Learning about yourself is always a positive experience. Now go out and have some fun!
Thoughts to Ponder
- 1. If you've experienced sub space, what is it like for you? How would you describe it?
- 2. Would you ever make a conscious choice to avoid sub space? Are there times where you think it would be a good idea?