Sub drop: What It Is and How To Manage It

You’ve recently finished an exciting scene with your Dom (or “Dominant” in BDSM culture) and you’re feeling fantastic. But gradually your mood begins to shift. You aren’t feeling the same, or even as usual, but out of sorts, low energy, disconnected, doubtful, or even angry or depressed. This is likely sub drop, and it’s a very real occurrence that can range from mild to severe and present in a number of ways. Sub (or “submissive” in BDSM culture) drop is common, but can differ for each individual, each time it happens. It can last several hours or even weeks if not properly addressed.

Sub drop is the body’s response to endorphin levels dropping, typically post-scene. In essence, it’s similar to withdrawal symptoms from a drug, as the body takes its time to re-regulate hormone levels and return to normal. It’s important to remember that sub drop affects you mentally and physically, and should be cared for accordingly. Ideally, a focus on getting good after care at the conclusion of each scene from your Dom or a surrogate; a third party skilled in after care, is key. This can help prevent or lessen the effects of sub drop, although it can still occur whether or not you’ve had after care, hours or even days later.

Sub drop should definitely be addressed and not ignored. There are many things you can do for yourself to manage & get through a sub drop episode. First, embrace whichever emotions you are feeling. Let yourself feel them fully. Try to identify them. Try talking to a trusted friend, perhaps another sub about how you’re feeling. Journal about it. Journaling can be particularly helpful—for you and your Dom, both in the present, for insight & catharsis, and in the future to better prepare for sub drop and how to handle it effectively. Another thing you can do is have a “kit” ready for when you experience sub drop that contains items such as:

  • Hydrating drinks like water, orange juice or sports drinks to replace electrolytes 
  • Journal
  • Coloring book & colored pens or markers
  • Bubble bath or bath bomb
  • Cozy blanket
  • Playlists of relaxing or uplifting music
  • Nice body lotion
  • Comedy videos or favorite movies
  • Scented candles or incense
  • Sentimental item such as a stuffed animal, piece of clothing or note from your partner 
  • Some comfort food that you enjoy

This list is not exhaustive. It should simply contain things that make you feel good and can lift your spirits. It’s important to think of giving yourself the kind of care your Dom would during these times. It is also important, when you’re ready, to engage in some healthy activities as well, like going on a walk; getting some fresh air and sunshine, spending time with pets, and/or spending time with loved ones.

Because sub drop affects a person, body and mind, can be lasting, and can sometimes be severe, it’s crucial to be aware of it, what it looks like for you, and how to manage it. What other items or tips would you add to the ones mentioned above? Sub drop can be managed if addressed promptly and properly, and should be. Of course, if you’re experiencing deep depression or feeling unwell for an extended period of time, it is always a good idea to check in with your medical and mental health professionals.

Originally posted in Free The Kink Facebook group

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