This isn’t a fun post, but I think it’s a useful one. More importantly, it’s one that I needed to write for myself, and I hope other people will find it a helpful read too. It’s timely since I’ve just come back from a wonderful week with my Dominants in Canada. I thought I’d get my thoughts in order before I started to head downwards emotionally, but I didn’t quite make it. So, there is a gap between when I started this and when I finished, but hopefully everything is still fresh enough on my mind.
For those who don’t know, or haven’t experienced, sub drop, let me just describe it a bit. Most people, even if they aren’t submissive, have probably gone through something like it, but maybe under a different name. It is pretty much the same as con drop, or post-vacation depression—maybe a little more intense for submissives (but maybe not, I’ve seen some pretty severe mood drops after cons too.) because of the depth of the feelings you’re coming down from.
Basically, it’s a depression and sadness that comes after a wonderful or intense experience. It’s not just being sad because a good time ended, but also, at least for me, it’s leaving a feeling of safety, love and acceptance to face the cold hard world again. One reason for the drop is emotional; the other is a physical/chemical reason. Many times, people get hit with both at once.
When you go to a special event that you’ve looked forward to for a while, like a convention or a vacation (or special time with your Dominants) the happiness and excitement can flood your body with endorphins. Endorphins react similarly to morphine in your body. They trigger positive feelings and give you a kind of high that can have you floating—afterwards coming down can make you feel very blah.
This chemical kind of emotional drop is usually temporary—a few hours maybe a day or two, and the drop occurs fairly predictably. Most people are well-aware of exercise endorphins or the kind we get from eating chocolate or other rich, sweet foods. And people who enjoy physical pain will know only too well how the right kind can send you flying, and they expect a drop afterwards, and prepare for it usually, but it can be sneaky. People also forget that you can get that emotional rush from other things other than obvious scenes or events so then the drop can hit them out of nowhere.
For submissives just from being tucked into subspace or spending time actively doing submissive things can cause the endorphins and then you experience the same emotional swing afterwards. An endorphin drop is a relatively short one, the other kind—the emotional kind of sub drop, can last a significantly longer period of time, which means the nice aftercare scenes tend not to help with that.
During the time that you’re completely focused on being a sub it’s wonderful and overwhelming and intense—all the emotions are involved. After it ends, and you have to step back out into the real world of bills, work, and errands it can be a shock to the system. And if you haven’t experienced any flavor of this you’ll just have to take my word for it—it can be extremely hard.
Submitting means letting someone peel back all the layers of protection you’ve built up around your mind and emotions. The coping mechanisms required to get through life are stripped away until your fragile inner workings are exposed. It’s glorious and rare to find someone that you can trust enough to allow them to really get inside and many submissives aren’t actually able to open to their deepest levels very often. They want to, they need to, but the baggage and trauma of their life holds them back. It can take very deep level scenes to draw that part of them out.
So, when you do finally get to that place of letting go, the feelings are indescribable–and then afterwards your mood plummets sharply. Everything feels… sharp and cold and hard. The deeper you go into your submission, the harder the crash afterwards.
If the submissive has just had an emotional scene and then drops right after, it can be helped with the standard aftercare package. You know, cuddling, affection, and attention. You’ll probably want some water, or juice, and a snack along with that too, but really, it’s about the Dominant helping the submissive come back to real life slowly so they aren’t just thrust out the door. It’s going to be different for everyone, so you’ll have to experiment with works best after a scene.
But be aware that the drop may not occur immediately after. Sometimes it can hit the next morning or even a day or two later when the submissive may be alone. If you’re alone when subdrop hits you’ll need to take care of yourself. Here’s just a short list of things that may help if you’re by yourself:
- Take a nice hot bath or shower. Brush your teeth too. Being clean tends to make us feel better.
- Pamper yourself a bit in whatever way makes you feel good: doing your nails, putting on makeup, putting on a facial mask—whatever will relax you.
- Cuddle your pet or a stuffed animal
- Bundle up in a nice warm blanket, with a hot drink.
- Indulge in a sugary snack. Maybe something you don’t normally allow yourself, like a nice rich ice cream, or some chocolate.
- Write out your emotions and what you’re feeling.
- Listen to some upbeat music or catch up on that book you’ve been trying to find time for.
- Get out of the house and visit with friends, or do something you enjoy.
- Get some exercise—exercise endorphins are a short-term lift, like sugar, kind of like “hair of the dog that bit ya” but they do get you feeling better.
- Connect with your dominant and tell them what you’re feeling. This gives them a chance to help in whatever way they can. It also lets them know you may need more patience or care so they don’t mistake it for stubbornness or bad behavior
Now, the other kind of subdrop is harder to deal with—the longer lasting kind. This isn’t an hour or two after a scene. This is days, or even weeks afterwards. You’ll see this more if your relationship is long distance, if you have to travel away from home to scene and you can’t do it often, or if life simply doesn’t allow you the time and energy to dive deep into your submission very often.
For married couples, things often get away from them for long periods of time and when they finally get a chance to reconnect with their D/s relationship it can be uh… enthusiastic. Like in this situation:
“Oh, Eric, it’s been so long since we’ve been able to get away without the kids. I can’t wait until we get to the hotel and check in.” She sighed; it was a sound of pure happiness and contentment as she settled back in her seat, turning slightly to smile at him.
“Mhm. I can’t wait either. I can finally get my hands on that bratty ass of yours. You and I have more than a few things to ‘discuss’ don’t we Elizabeth?” he replied. His rising eyebrow demanded an answer and she squirmed nervously in her seat as her insides did some acrobatics.
“I—but Eric, I thought this was going to be a relaxing vacation. You said it was going to be fun,” she said uncertainly. Her tongue flicked out over her bottom lip wetting it as she fixed him with an expression that was equal parts worry and anticipation.
“Oh, it will be fun; for me. How much fun you have is going to depend entirely on how quickly you remember that you’re my submissive. Apparently, it’s been too long. Or did you think I hadn’t noticed you’d stopped doing your daily tasks?” he asked, pointing it out without any anger. After all, time had been short for both of them and he knew her life was just as busy as his. He also knew those small daily things were what allowed her to connect to her submission and when she dropped them her self-esteem tended to go with them.
“I—I’ve just been… you know with the kids and all the overtime I haven’t—” She stammered to a stop, flushing. Truthfully, she’d been hoping he would notice and do something. It did throw this get-away into a whole new perspective though and she wondered if he’d planned this from a start.
“Don’t worry, Babe, you’re going to have plenty of time to make up for it. It’s been a long time since I’ve had your pretty ass across my lap. This whole weekend is going to be nothing but my submissive getting her needs met,” he assured her.
“Yes E—Sir. I—I guess I’ve been needing this for a while,” she admitted. It was smart of him to let her know what she was in for just as the trip began. For the next few hours of the long drive she had nothing to do but fantasize and worry about what he had planned for their weekend away, and by the time they got there she had already started to sink into subspace.
And that kind of experience can be incredibly wonderful and so cathartic—but going back home to normal life afterwards can leave a submissive feeling shell-shocked. Submissives who live apart from their Dominants are going to be even harder hit by the drop after spending time together. They might find themselves being depressed, irritable, or having trouble obeying daily rules as they try to balance rebuilding some of their walls with pleasing their Dominants.
Dominants can become frustrated trying to figure out how to handle it, especially at a distance. Obviously there has to be some kind of care but—how to manage that for a longer period of time is an issue. This is the part where I give you advice on where to go with this, right? Yeah—welllll, like any kind of sadness or depression the way you get through it is going to be different for everyone. Being deeply submissive but not getting to submit in person often is hard and recovering after is even harder.
Some people just need to have a few low days and work their way through it on their own. Some need to be coddled and indulged a bit until they are ready to get back to normal. Others need some kind of strict response to get them back on track. I know submissives who will stay stuck until their Doms drag them out of it and demand they get back into their routine—or else.
The things I listed as helpful for the shorter drops are still really helpful, honestly those are good steps to try in any kind of low period, but in this situation there are other things that can help too. You might need some new rules or new daily tasks to get you focused again. You may need to drop most of your rules for a while and just concentrate on one or two, and then slowly add the others back in. You may need a tighter leash for a while, a little less freedom than you normally have to remind you that you’re still a submissive even at a distance.
If you’re going through a longer period of sub drop and you’re on your own because your Dominant lives far away, then some kind of distance scene might be what you need to balance yourself. I have a post on Long-distance D/s planned but I haven’t gotten to it yet—actually, I’ve been deliberately avoiding it, for reasons, but I will get to it eventually and I do intend to go over this in a lot more detail then. For now, I’ll just give you a quick idea.
There are a lot of ways to do a distance scene, but phone or skype is preferable so you have a voice to connect with. And then what you do during that scene is up to you, but it can be as simple as being ordered to kneel while the Dominant talks you through what you’re feeling—or a more detailed series of directions that have you completing tasks while the Dominant supervises by voice.
Believe me when I say that a Dom and sub can do almost everything from a distance that they can in person. It just requires adaptation, trust, and a strong connection between you. It’s usually not as good as being together. It can be excruciatingly embarrassing too depending on what the scene consists of—but it can absolutely ease the pain of separation if done right. Again, as I’ve mentioned in many other posts this is going to come down to honesty and knowing your partner(s).
The most important thing to remember about subdrop is that the submissive and the Dominant are in this together. Whether you are in the same room or in different countries, the only way to get through it is by connecting with each other (And btw Tops can get Topdrop which is exactly the same thing, so you may all be going through the same feelings at the same time anyway!)
Just remember that any emotional response is valid. What you’re feeling is not stupid or weak. You have a right to be sad when a good thing has ended, no matter what anyone says (“How can you be depressed you just had a vacation?!”) and burying things won’t help you get through them any faster.
Let yourself be sad, let your mood drop, and then rebuild as best as you can when you’re ready.