When you play and it gets really intense, you feel great. You don’t want it to end and that feeling carries on for a while after play. We all love that feeling, but what happens when that feeling starts to go away? What if instead of good or even normal you feel sad, blue, depressed and troubled? You’ve encountered Sub Drop.
Sub Drop can come in many different forms. Sub Drop is the body’s response to the drop of endorphins in the body after a play session. Most of what you read online are the physical aspects; the fatigue, sadness, aches and pains and recovery from marks. There is a more intense side of Sub Drop that gets very little attention because for each person it is different and describing how to recover can take many forms.
If not cared for, you could go into depression just from one play session. The endorphins and other hormones like adrenaline and oxytocin, released during play leave your body in such a way that it takes the time to rebuild the balance of hormones in your system. You could feel like you have a hangover or partied too hard the night before, you could feel lost and depressed for hours or days. You may just want to sleep it off. These are the more extreme forms of Drop. Some people recover in a matter of hours, but others could exhibit signs of Sub Drop for weeks after an intense session.
In a previous post, I helped you make an Aftercare kit for yourself when you are alone and need to care for yourself, but I never explained why some of those items were in the kit. The purpose of many of the items was to aid in the emotional recovery after a scene. You may not have a need for an Aftercare kit, but it is helpful to know why such a thing is recommended.
Many of the items in the kit are meant to help you normalize your mood and to apply some self-care. Focusing on yourself and your mental health is a huge part of keeping those down moods from swirling in and overtaking you. Others remind you that your partner or a friend can be your support. You don’t have to go through it alone.
Two Reasons It Happens More Often in Committed Relationships
Those that are in casual play relationships tend to not have as many drop issues as those in committed relationships. The reason for this is two-fold. First, casual relationships don't have the same element of intimacy that exists in long-term relationships. That's not to say that all casual relationships lack intimacy, but if you've been in a committed relationship for any amount of time you will know the intimacy of a committed relationship is different than in a casual one. This intimacy can cause issues with boundaries and love that when the play is over the submissive can question the validity of those feelings. On several occasions, I thought how could he love me if he did that to me. Of course, it was consensual and boy did I love it at the time, but once the headspace is over, the questions can bring emotions of sadness, questioning, and disbelief. These are all normal.
The second reason that Sub Drop occurs more in committed relationships is that limits are tested more frequently and the play could be edgier. Casual relationships tend to not be able to develop the trust and history necessary to test boundaries as easily. No matter how strong the trust is with partners, you can still have feelings of disbelief or even feelings that you can't believe you like something so perverted, kinky or dirty. Your own doubts can bring about fear, sadness, and loneliness. You could even question why you are into BDSM, to begin with. Again, very normal.
Address the Emotions
The emotions that can surface during and after play are necessary to address. Don't keep them bottled up. Write them down, talk about them and keep open communication with your partner. They can help you get through your feelings. Your feelings do not have to be rational, or accurate as long are able to express them somehow they are valid. Several of the things in the Aftercare kit are meant to help you establish that connection. A notebook to write your feelings down, a phone card to call your partner (if they are long distance), a letter from your partner telling you how they feel about you and perhaps even a voice recording. Call up some friends and get out, if you have lifestyle friends they too can help you recover from Sub Drop.
My Best Piece of Advice
Sub Drop is hard. The many times that it’s hit me the hardest have been the biggest opportunity for me to learn about my reactions, my feelings and what I’m thinking. The best piece of advice I can give you is that should embrace the experience and prepare for the next time. I know we are sad, stressed, lonely, depressed and a variety of other low impact emotions when in Sub Drop, but once you are aware of what’s going on you can learn from it and how to make the next drop less severe.
You can learn to lessen the effects that Sub Drop has on your body and mind. If you feel sad, find things to do that make you happy. Are you experiencing physical exhaustion or a sense of illness? Get rest, take your vitamins and take care of yourself. Are you lonely? Then make a date with friends to catch up. You can feel better, you just have to make it happen and doing a bit of preparation will go a long way to making that happen.
Sub Drop doesn’t have to have such a huge impact on your after playtime moments. With a bit of preparation and awareness, you can not only reduce some of it but use it to help you communicate with your partners and express yourself. Before you let your emotions spiral out of control, take the steps talked about above and see if you can reclaim your mood.