Aftercare and attention to small signs can help identify sub drop quickly. Simply noticing different behaviour patterns or actions can make dealing with it much easier when caught in earlier stages. This is another reason why knowing your play partner is important.
Physical Sub Drop
The first form of physical sub drop is a lowering of body temperature in the extremities, stiffness, numbness, and an over all tingling sensation. This is caused by a centralization of the bodies blood supply. The body sees the scene as a form of trauma and one of the first defence mechanisms for this in the human anatomy is to suck the blood supply into the main torso to protect the vital organs and brain.
The result of this action by the body is decreased blood flow to the arms and legs. This often results in very cold limbs after a scene and lack of sensations. When a submissives limbs are inordinately cold after a scene or when they complain of tingling, numbness, lack of sensation, stiffness, aches, or muscle cramps, these are often from lack of blood flow. A vigorous rubbing of the limbs will help to restore blood flow quickly.
Often this will leave a submissive wobbly after a scene and unsure of their grasp on items. If a submissive feels this way after a scene then it is best to have them sit down, legs extended and arms at their side while you rub the limbs to restore control. Crossing the legs or folding the arms can impede the return of blood flow and should be avoided. Laying down flat is a better way for this but is hard to do at play parties and such.
When rubbing the arms and legs, apply gentle pressure and release as you rub, this helps open the passages up to allow a greater blood flow. Cramps can be dealt with by applying a point of pressure to the direct area cramping, pushing in very gently and then releasing. This causes a fast flow of blood to sweep away the built up acids causing the cramp.
Understand that these physical manifestations are completely natural and not a weakness on the submissives part. Stretching out before a scene or after can also help lessen these effects somewhat but don't push too hard, a submissive can actually damage themselves by doing too much when their limbs lack full sensation. The basics work best, better to do small repetitive stretches rather then one big one.
Important Note: If the submissive is not in shape and used to stretching, do not expect her/him to suddenly be doing intense stretching before or after a scene. Stretching can tear muscles and stress tendons very easily.
The second form physical drop can take is the result of substances and chemicals in your body; namely, sugar, adrenaline, and endorphins. These naturally occurring substances interplay with one another to bring a gambit of results much akin to the after effects of a strenuous workout.
Eating a light high protein, low carbohydrate meal an hour or so before the scene can help alleviate a lot of symptoms, just make sure to have enough digestive time before you play and make sure not to over eat and be stuffed Lots of vegetables will also add nutrients that can help the submissive recover from a strenuous scene and of course, plenty of water before and after the scene will help as well.
When a submissive is scened often their body uses a great amount of energy. After the scene is over they will feel an intense craving for sweets. This is not bad, this is their body craving sugar to replace the energy lost during the scene. Sometimes this craving is accompanied by a shaky feeling. Sugar crashes can also bring about mood swings, grumpiness, irritability, and sadness in some cases.
The best rule of thumb to follow with this is: The simpler the sugar, the faster the results. Fructose, sugar found naturally in fruits, is easy for the body to metabolize and use fast. Apple juice, grape juice, any sort of natural fruit juice will help to restore the blood sugar level fast. Soda and processed sugar take longer to produce the same results but will eventually get the job done.
Adrenaline is often released during moments of pain and stress. It creates a feeling of energy and strength, often allowing a submissive to take more in a scene or to play longer then normal. When the adrenaline rush is over though, often it will bring about a feeling of weakness, shakes, and irritability.
Adrenaline is sort of like an octane booster in our bodies. It boosts the octane there already and causes the body to burn through the sugar in the system faster. Usually adrenaline crashes and sugar crashes occur together, once the body is no longer in overdrive, it has burned up a lot of energy and needs to replace it, fast.
Endorphins are released during periods of heavy muscular exertion or pain. Not surprisingly, they are often released during a good scene and tend to bring a very euphoric feeling to the submissive. When the effect passes though, the feeling of euphoria can crash into a feeling of melancholy. Imagine feeling no pain and just as blissful as can be and suddenly that is gone. You don't feel bad, but you don't feel as good any more either. By itself this crash will not often affect the submissive much but, in conjunction with the sugar and adrenaline crashes, it can enhance their results.
It should also be noted that replacing lost hydration (drinking a lot of water), replacing salts (drinking Gatorade) can also help with these things as well. Muscular cramps can be caused also by a loss of potassium in the system during play, eating a banana or drinking Gatorade will help restore this quickly. Think of the physical aftercare like that of an athlete after a tough competition. The submissives body will often crave the same care and refuelling as an athlete's would after a great exertion of effort.
After a scene and aftercare, it is common for submissives to feel hungry. Eating nothing but junk food can cause a very tired and weighty feeling. Remember, the body has used a lot of nutrients in the scene and needs those replaced. Proteins (meats, cheeses, nuts) will help the body recover but may be too heavy for immediately after a scene.
There is nothing wrong with craving sugary treats after a scene as long as you balance it out with a good meal as well later on. The results of eating only junk food can be a very bloated feeling later that night or the next day which can trigger aspects of mental sub drop (feeling unattractive, bloated, depressed). Eating a good light meal of proteins and lots of veggies will replenish the body of the nutrients lost during a scene. It is
If the submissive does eat treats directly after, balance that with intake of water to help flush the system as well to avoid a tired feeling. Fresh fruit is always a good thing to have on hand after a scene as it can satisfy the sweet craving, provide simple sugars, and will not leave the system bogged down with junk food.
Several factors may affect mental sub drop and should be discussed before play begins. Things such as mood altering medications, mental conditions, ongoing therapy, or recent events in the submissives life. It is the responsibility of both parties to share this information before a scene to avoid surprise results. That is not saying that sub drop is caused by mental instability...mental sub drop happens with or without these factors, they just may contribute and thus should be known beforehand.
While there are mental aspects which coincide with the physical sub drop, the term Mental Sub Drop is most often used with a period after a scene when the submissive is overwhelmed with feelings of guilt, isolation, and/or depression. This can happen days afterwards and can happen with a new play partner or someone you have played with a dozen or more times. It is not indicative of a bad scene and should not be taken as regret. It is quite simply the last effect of the intensity of a scene . . . the final burn out on the emotions.
Submissives often will have a carefree feeling after a good scene, a lessening of stress and worries. When this feeling fades it can be replaced by other, less then desirable emotions. The gambit of negative emotions is so wide as to be nearly impossible to list here but the root cause is the same. It is coming down off an emotional high. It's that simple.
Imagine riding a roller coaster, all the dips and spins and drops and climbing higher and higher. It's a very exciting ride. Now imagine going from that directly into a 12 hour wait in a doctors office, with no magazines or TV. Imagine going from that much stimulation to nothing so quick and then imagine the effect of that on your mind. This is a very crude example but it can help you understand where some of the mental sub drop comes from.
Sub drop can also be brought about by a feeling of disconnection. During the scene a feeling of intense intimacy can be created for the submissive (and dominant too BTW) and if that contact is not maintained in some way, a feeling of loss can set in. A feeling of isolation and disconnection is created in the void left behind. During a scene a submissive looks to the dominant for a feeling of safety, allowing themselves to feel vulnerable and exposed. That feeling of vulnerability can lead to a feeling of desertion if
Guilt and shame are also very common feelings experienced during sub drop. Sometimes these feelings are brought about by social stigmas given to BDSM play and sexual activity, sometimes they are from social stigmas about gender roles (this is especially prevalent with male submissives), sometimes they are the result of the feelings of loneliness and isolation, but most often they are a combination of all of these factors.
Many times, especially for new submissives, social perceptions of sexual roles and acceptable practices can cause confusion in the days following a scene. Society tends to look upon "kink" in a very unfavourable light and drums that into people's heads through the media, religion, and social arch types we are encouraged to look up to. It can be traumatic when you first venture outside what is considered the normal sexual activities and left alone, some people will have a deep seated feeling of guilt or shame set in based upon these social ideals.
Mental sub drop can have long lasting effects as well. A very bad occurrence with no care given can damage or destroy a relationship, the bond of trust being severed between the two. As with all emotional things, sub drop can influence future reactions to scenes as well. It is important that every effort is made to make sure that a scening experience ends as a positive thing and not a bad experience.
The best way to deal with mental sub drop is simple, ACE:
A after care directly after the scene. C contact in the days following the scene E expression of positive reinforcement to the submissive
Aftercare should be more then just making sure the submissive is OK physically. It should also be a period of positive reinforcement, reassurance, and connection. The submissive is especially vulnerable in the period directly after a scene before they have regained their wits, they need to feel safe, valued, and cared for during this period so that the whole scene experience is a positive one.
Contact is essential to making sure the experience remains positive for the submissive. Not just casual contact either, be prepared to really listen and allow the submissive to express what they are feeling. Many times deep emotions come up during this period and providing a receptive outlet for them, you can help the submissive explore all the things conjured up by the scene.
Positive reinforcement is one of the most crucial aspects of aftercare. With a few kind words you can allow the submissive to feel pride in themselves. Don't butter them up or blow sunshine up their ass . . . express honest thoughts and emotions to them. Compliment them on how they did and what they did well. This single aspect of after care will have the greatest affect on avoiding severe mental sub drop. Making it a positive experience can help dispel any guilt or shame felt later.
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