Recently we had a Topic Chat about sub drop and Dom drop which was quite interesting so I thought that I would follow it up with a post about it. Drop (sometimes called sub drop or Dom drop) is an experience with characteristics which can be similar to depression or withdrawal. It occurs after an intense scene and is usually caused by adrenaline and endorphin crashes following the scene. The feelings associated with drop can be physical such as tiredness, a headache or even flu-like symptoms, but can also be more emotional such as feeling needy, low in mood or tearful. Drop affects different people in different ways and can depend on a number of factors, such as what sort of play has taken place, what aftercare there has been, and what the level of contact between the two of you is in the days to come.
I think that there are differences between Dom drop and sub drop and certainly I have always found much more documented about sub drop and much less about Dom drop, but it is a condition that occurs for pretty much the same reasons. The discussion we had highlighted a number of things that could cause a drop for Doms or tops but as a sub, I can clearly only speak about what I have experienced myself, so I will focus on that and hopefully one of the Dominants will write about drop from the perspective of a top. When you scene, particularly if there is impact used, your body will flood with chemicals which then lead you to experience a high or rush which is commonly referred to as subspace. Even if subspace isn’t achieved then your body will still have additional chemicals to process as you ‘come down’ and return to a normal state.
I think that this can hit people quite hard, especially when you are new to D/s play and are not sure what to expect. I suppose it is a little like the way chemicals can affect your body if you have really exerted yourself through extreme sport or exercise, or if you have experienced something where you have felt real fear which has elicited a fight or flight reaction. There will be a physical reaction in your body and, as with the one that can be caused from certain drugs, there will be a response as you return to your usual state. Good aftercare following a scene will really help to counter the effects of sub drop. Having something to eat or drink may help on a physical level and things which promote intimacy will help with the emotional side. For some, drop takes a couple of days to pass or even to manifest itself so trying to find ways of keeping close to each other and communicating well in the days following an intense scene should really help.
Because submissives often experience highs which are due to a rush of endorphins in their system, this is more likely to produce an emotional response for them, whereas Dominants may experience a more energy based adrenaline high. For this reason the Dom may feel more physically tired following a scene, rather than feeling an emotional imbalance like we often do. When researching for the chat, I also read that chocolate can really help with sub drop because ‘Eating chocolate during aftercare helps mirror Oxytocin and allows greater long term intimacy bonding potential during aftercare. Oxytocin release can greatly mitigate and ward off the effects of drop’. So yippee – more chocolate over here please!!! (I wonder if ice-cream works too?)
There is quite a lot written about the existence of drop as a result of play, but not so much written about drop as a result of a dip in the dynamic and this is something that I believe can be a real issue for those in a 24/7 D/s relationship. When things are going well between you there is such a high level of intimacy and such a close connection created that it can be hard when something happens to challenge this. It may be that one of you is ill, one of you is taken away for work or is having a stressful time, or that you are simply dealing with a difficult situation. Whatever it is, this change may create a shift in how you are feeling and how you are responding to each other, and when this happens you may feel a real drop in terms of your mood.
When things happen to put a bit of distance between us, I can feel more anxious, more irritable and more clingy, depending on what is happening. I think that I feel vulnerable and this will sometimes lead me to doubt myself or my submission. I wonder if I am cut out for this after all and may veer away from the usual things I do in order to keep my submissive mindset, rather than falling back on them to help me. I have found that being aware that this may happen, as with the physical sort of drop, has helped me to prepare and to manage it. What I need to do, is to recognise that it might be a problem and ask for support with it. Sometimes, however, my natural reaction can be to try to take control for myself so often what I need is for HisLordship to be even more controlling of me.
This happened recently when I returned to work after having seven weeks off together. Not only was I returning from full-time submissive to someone who was back to juggling a full-time working position with a lot of responsibility and decision making, but I was also not able to have the same close contact with Sir that I had been doing. This sort of thing can be hard to manage and I felt tired, emotional and bit lost as I made the adjustment back. We had been through this before so we were able to anticipate it and put additional rules and rituals in place to try to manage the feelings and reduce the impact that it had on me, and on us. Of course I still craved that close connection with him throughout the day (I was suffering withdrawal after all) but he made sure that I knew that he was close and we made the most of the time we had after work so it was much better than it could have been.
I actually think that the drop from loss of the emotional connection is more tricky to manage that the one that comes from the chemical crash, but that is because it can be less predictable and it can sneak up on you. Being aware that sub drop and Dom drop are real, and that they can hit even the most experienced of couples, means that you will hopefully have an explanation for your feelings, even if you can’t alter them immediately. We all feel the ups and downs and the highs and lows and I always think that with D/s the ups can be uppier but the downs can be a real downer. So you can’t stop it from happening but you can use what you have at your disposal and fall back on your dynamic. Try to think of things that you can do to meet your needs, and then try adding lots of cuddles, some chocolate, a bath with bubbles and a chat to friends and hopefully things will soon seem to pass.