Subspace: The Natural High of BDSM

Describing subspace is a lot like describing a color or an orgasm: you can use as many flowery descriptors as you like, but none of them are really going to do a good job of capturing the feeling you’re trying to articulate unless the other person already knows about it firsthand. In its simplest form, subspace is the physical sensation often experienced during kinky sex.

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Photo by Dainis Graveris on Unsplash

For me, subspace is the holy grail of fucking. The prize after an arduous journey that almost got the best of you. It’s that Pavlovian itch you keep scratching. When trippers talk about chasing their high, looking for one more hit of acid to feel that sensory nirvana once more, I think about subspace.

For those readers out there who aren’t totally familiar, here’s a quick road map to the world of kink: BDSM is an overlapping abbreviation for Bondage & Discipline (BD), Dominance & Submission (DS), and Sadism & Masochism (SM).

BDSM describes sex that has a heavy focus on power play, pain & pleasure, and forms of binding. It is broad and encompasses many different fetishes, sexualities, and preferences. In general, there are dominants (doms/dommes) who are in control, and there are submissives (subs) who are relinquishing control. Switches like both roles. Subspace is usually experienced by subs. It has a sister-experience called domspace.

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Photo by Dainis Graveris on Unsplash

So, what the heck is subspace?

In a literal sense, it is your brain being flooded with drugs. BDSM usually involves a balance between pleasure and pain; think whips, flogs, and hot wax. As your body is subjected to the more painful aspects of BDSM, your brain releases epenephrine, endorphins, and enkephalins. These are the fight or flight chemicals, and as you are flooded with them, they produce a natural high.

As your pain tolerance increases over time, the physical pain recedes into the background and you are left with an often overwhelming euphoria. It is very much like being drunk or high; your body feels as if it is floating, problems disappear, and all that’s left is that fuzzy good-feeling.

That sounds great, right? So, how do you achieve this perfect head space (get it now?)? The answer: *shrug*. The longer answer: it depends.

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Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

Most subs achieve subspace during an intense scene with their dom(s). The body high occurs once your brain has released its hormonal cocktail, and when that happens depends entirely on your body. It could take a long time, and utilize a number of gadgets and kinks, or it could happen after one slap to the bum.

Here, I am going to include a few safety notes:

  1. Subspace can make people ask for more pain than their threshold can normally tolerate, since it is very similar to being drunk or high. It’s important for your partner(s) to monitor and take care of you.

As with most relationships, the solution to the above issues is communication beforehand. Have a plan. Set clear guidelines, and follow them.

Just remember: communication is key, consent is necessary 100% of the time, know your (and your partner’s) boundaries, and have fun chasing that high again and again!

Queerdo. Writer. Gamer. Witchy. She/They. https://linktr.ee/eewchristman

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