My thoughts on sub-space have been percolating (my word for slowly evolving thoughts in the back of my head) for quite some time, but nothing crystallised until recently, when m’Lady shared a blog post from Submissive by Choice with me. Since then my notions of sub-space - how it is for me when I’m in it; how my experience is the same or different to other peoples; how, for me, sub-space is a definitely distinct experience than rope-space, small-space, fuck-space – have finally found form. It’s been difficult for me to find the words for an experience so amorphous, but having experienced it, for the most part, with three different long-term partners over the last eight years (Dionysos, Adonis, Tethys) I feel there’s enough history there for me to grope my way to a description, whether I’m entirely satisfied with how that description comes out or not.
Sub-space has come up in previous posts (linked below) – but I’ve never really explained how it is for me, it’s just been something mentioned. So here’s my attempt.
My Personal Sub-Space Experience
For me, sub-space is very much the opposite of out-of-body. I’m more aware of my bodily sensations: pain (which is still pain, boy howdy), constriction, aches in my muscles. I feel the intensity of touch very much (in rope-space, which is similar, it’s the feel of the rope against my skin, and the constriction of it building up, that really puts me there). Cock or cunt worship is just that, worship, a condition where I soak up the aroma, taste, sensation of full mouth. Fucking is fullness and movement and muscle clenching and slickness and openness and tightness.
But it’s my emotions that really fly. I think less (and I think, on four or five or six or seven levels, all the time, except when like this). My thinking narrows down to revelling in the physical, and my emotions swell instead. There’s incredible intensity of emotion – although that doesn’t always mean happiness. Sometimes that means intense vulnerability, openness, and tears.
The burn and the glow and the safeness and the falling and the floating all at once. – my description of sub-space, from a session with Adonis in 2007
I will often cry a little, or weep, or outright sob, in sub-space. And given that I’d been riding the euphoria wave earlier, it can be a sharp change.
I started crying before I finished orgasming, bawling for about 10 seconds. And then I started to laugh – before the tears had stopped – and the laughter just kept on. It was hilarious! I gradually uncurled my hands while I was laughing and took off my glasses and hiccuped my giggles and wiped my face while m’Lady laughed with me and just kept on chuckling for the next fifteen minutes. And then managed to get up on my unsteady legs and get a glass of water. – from a cathartic session with m’Lady in 2012
What Gets Me There?
Just being spanked or flogged, called a slut or humiliated, tied up or tied down, fucked or orgasming won’t send me to sub-space. A great play session won’t necessarily do it either.
I can’t guarantee what will put me there, but these often help:
- A long-term D/s partner who knows me very well, both physically and emotionally
- Knowing we have the time for a long session, with no pressure to do or achieve anything in particular
- Me being the submissive partner (I have never had a top-space experience, although I am definitely practiced at feeling toppy glee)
- Pain. Biting or bruising or spanking or using nails or fucking hard or generally making me ache
- Using me for their pleasure
Photographed by Hylas
How my Sub-Space Looks
I’m often giggly in a play session, thanks to glorious endorphins. But that doesn’t mean I’m in sub-space.
What’s more likely to signify is when I start to look glazed and spaced out, move my body with their body (instead of pressing against to create more friction), or go limp and allow myself to be moved. I become very malleable, physically, because I’m too busy feeling everything to actually do much of anything.
I’m still present – I can answer questions, or choose to do or not do things if necessary. But I have felt safe enough to let my walls down, to become pliant and vulnerable to my partner, and I’m trusting them as I’m in that state.
And then, once it all overwhelms me (which is usually emotionally, but can be physically), the tears come.
How Long It Lasts For Me
I really have no idea. I think it’s probably between 5-30 minutes (and by the time a crying jag is done, I’d say I’m out of it again, but completely spent). But it’s very much dependent on the session, the partner, and the space we’ve carved for ourselves.
Photographed by m’Lady
I do feel drop – I often drop after a play session, whether I went to a sub-space state or not, but the drop is larger after one where I did. For me, while I certainly need and appreciate aftercare after a session, I don’t drop until two or three days later, and then I drop hard. That means I mentally and emotionally find myself feeling lower than my usual resting state, just as the endorphins took me higher than my usual resting state (pretty much for me, the higher the endorphins and/or the more intense the sub-space, the harder the eventual drop).
Because I’ve only had this intensity happen after sessions with partners, we’ve been in close touch using various communication methods and they’ve checked in on me. And I’ve self-soothed – usually by staying in bed and sleeping and reading a lot.
A Few Posts I’ve Written Where I Hit Sub-Space
These are in chronological order, from oldest to most recent.
- Cuts Like a Knife: with a play partner, not a long-term partner
- Bruised: where being in sub-space went wrong
- Fantastic Fellatio: worship from sub-space
- Staked Out II: where Hylas, who normally is the bottom in our relationship, turns the tables!
- Endorphins: self-explanatory
Other Posts Elsewhere Worth Checking Out
- A New Submissive’s Guide to Subspace by Bea Amor
- My hypotheses: Types of Head-Space, sub-space and dom-space by ChrisMarks (on FetLife)
- The Emotional Side of Sub Drop by lunaKM
- 10 Ways to Fight Subdrop by Sir Real