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Written by Mistress Abode
There are lots of reasons you are checking out this emergency post…
Perhaps you are a sub who played real time with a Dom/me who was lousy at aftercare. Or you are a dominant or a switch who played with a sub who didn’t realize tops need aftercare as well. Perhaps you have an online Master who doesn’t think aftercare is required after online play – you on the other hand know from prior play experience that you need aftercare, and also sometimes experience subdrop. Or perhaps your normally supportive and experienced Mistress is unable to fulfill their usual “special time” due to unforseen real life commitments.
These emergency aftercare instructions are for all of you – and anyone else who finds themselves alone and depressed, lost and sad after play. They are relevant to both online and realtime situations.
IMPORTANT NOTE: These emergency aftercare instructions are to alieviate post BDSM play exhaustion and “drop” (encountered by many people in the kinky community). If you have had a really traumatic experience during play – or you find you continually sink into long periods of depression after play – you might need to take things further to a professional counsellor, doctor or healer.
DEPRESSED AFTER PLAY? LOST?
SAD AND IN TEARS FOR NO REASON?
“Everyone in this lifestyle who undertakes
any kind of exciting play, whether it be cyber
based, physical, mental, or any combination
of these can suffer from some form of sub drop”
What you are experiencing is subdrop (or if you are a Dom/me top or dom drop). You can read more about it in the first and second posts in this series (or the third post, if you are a switch). Basically, you are coming down after play, and experiencing a physical reaction linked with changes in body chemicals.
Returning to normality can be a fast and painless experience (often an extremely pleasant experience). But now and then – especially after very intense play – things can get out of sinc and the effects can last for hours, or even days. You may find that you have your worst subdrop experiences after your most intense and wonderful play: what you are experiencing now is literally the fall (“drop’) to earth after extraordinary flight. The withdrawal (or “cold turkey”) after the intoxicating endorphin + adrenalin high of subspace.
SO HOW DO WE DEAL WITH IT?
“I have tried to look for issues on subdrop from an
online perspective, but have not found anything yet. “
We deal with this in whatever way works best for YOU.
Aftercare is the recovery process at the end of a scene, a term which not only covers dealing with “drop” (if the play partners are experiencing it immediately post scene) but with post scene cleanup, treatment of injuries, and repletion of internal (physical, mental, and/or emotional) resources. Exhaustion is common, as a lot of energy is expended by both partners. But there is also often a need for reassurance, validation and comfort.
Usually aftercare – whether play has occurred real time or online – is provided by the Dom/me (however dominants also require aftercare – you can read about this in the second post in this series). In fact being with your dominant is an important aspect of aftercare because personal physical contact is commonly a part of a submissive’s aftercare requirements. However aftercare can also be provided by a third party – for example, a friend you have informed in advance that you might be needing post play aftercare support. You can read more about third party aftercare in Fetish Diva Midori’s article on aftercare.
Aftercare is still required – and can be very successful – when play partners are apart (for example if they have played online or had a scene via phone), but it does make things more difficult. Communication of each person’s needs and aftercare requirements becomes even more essential, and check ins (when a Dom/me checks in with a sub several times in the days after play) are mandatory for any responsible dominant. Despite this, even if they have received the best aftercare in the world, there is no-one as isolated and completely alone as a sub post play, after their dominant has left.
The fact you are reading this post means you haven’t received the aftercare you need, for whatever reason. So I’m going to start these emergency instructions at the point at which you have disconnected from your dominant online, or your Dom/me (for whatever reason, and possibly after having provided all the aftercare requirements you requested, possibly not) has left you alone in real time. Play (wonderful, high flying play) has finished and you are beginning to feel the first indications that you might crash hard this time. You have concluded your session with thanks and courtesy. You are alone. Its now time to begin your own aftercare rituals.
Everyone’s aftercare requirements are different.
You may have a pretty good idea of what you need in terms of aftercare requirements. But on the other hand you may not – you only really get to know what your body requires after you’ve played for a few times. You can read in the first post in this series about how you work out those requirements, and how best to communicate them to your play partner. For now, for those of you reading this for emergency help, here are some general aftercare ideas. You will know best which of these will help:
THE FIRST HALF HOUR…
* If you have played online – or if your real time dominant has not already helped with this – you might like to clean up a little. Wash your hands and face. Visit the loo. Change into spare, comfortable clothes (especially good idea if your injuries are bleeding). Tidy your hair. Don’t forget to take any regular medications.
* Treat your injuries. Clean any open wounds and keep an eye on them re infection. Do you want your marks to show, or not? Remember, how you treat your bruises, cuts etc will influence how you “mark”.
Need to make bruises disappear before heading home? Vitamin E and K cream or arnica gel rubbed on already existing bruises will help. If you see another one starting hop to it quickly and get some ice on it ASAP. For real emergencies find yourself some Heparinoid (LASONIL is one brand name). It improves the blood supply to the skin when applied as an ointment to reduce bruising and inflammation. If marks need to be avoided, a tube of this is worth keeping in your aftercare kit.
* Make sure during this initial recovery period you drink lots of water. Leave food for about 15 minutes but then eat something from your aftercare kit. No aftercare kit? Okay. Here are some of the food items listed as being helpful in the first post in this series:
1. cold fruit juice or high energy sports drink (as well as lots of water)
3. dried fruit and nuts
5. energy bar
6. fresh fruit
7. herbal tea / hot chocolate
* Usually one of the most common aspects of aftercare is TLC. Close contact between Dom/me and sub after play is very important. Subdrop issues apart, many subs want to be cuddled – touched gently after the extremes of play – and reassured as they come back down to reality. Aware that important touch is missing, online dominants will put extra effort into staying online afterwards, talking their sub down, or watching them carefully on cam.
For whatever reason, you are now alone and so you don’t have this support. Don’t worry, there are other things you can do. The most important of these is to make sure you are in a familiar environment where you can relax and heal. So:
* Are you home (if you have been playing online or via phone) or do you have to travel home? If the latter, how are you getting there? Are you okay to leave the premises? Have you come out of subspace properly? Try checking the size of your pupils in a bathroom mirror. Allow a good half hour or so – drink lots and have something to eat before you leave. Consider taking a taxi (or ringing a friend to pick you up and drive you home) if you still feel spaced out.
THE NEXT FEW HOURS…
Let’s assume you are now home. And you are not feeling too brilliant. Your emotions are all over the place, you can’t get warm, you feel dreadfully alone. What to do??
Get comfortable. Head for your most comfortable couch, change into your pyjamas and furry socks … relax, its time to put yourself first for a while and listen to what your body needs:
* Feeling freezing cold? You might have felt the same way after donating blood to the Red Cross, or having a body piercing. Or are you feeling way too hot? Endorphins and adrenalin are confusing your internal “thermostat”. So wrap up warmly. Or have a warm bath or shower – these will provide both warmth and comfort. Its definitely bubble bath time. If you are too hot, keep your fluid intake up (LOTS of water), move to a cooler part of the house, or perhaps outside if there is a breeze.
* Mostly “drop” is caused by your endorphin levels dropping too low after being raised during play (via application of pain). However some people experience too many rather than too few endorphins – if you feel your system needs to purge endorphins try stretching, a few minutes of yoga, or grab some bondage rope from your toy box and make a skipping rope. What you are trying to do is increase lymphatic flow. You’ll know the endorphins are decreasing when you become more aware of aches & pains throughout the body. Once your blood chemistry returns to a ‘normal’ level you will feel better
* Dommes and female subs: if your drop is unexpectedly severe, check where you are on your menstrual cycle. Subdrop symptoms are sometimes described by female subs as being similar to how they feel before a period (no concentration, irritable, weepy etc) while Dommes experience more “top drop” the week before their period (Miss Bonnie: “I drop at rapid speed, become all emotional and I’m the one that needs support after the scene ends”). If you are feeling especially lousy you may have accidentally hit yourself with a double dose of the hormonal blues – so do keep this in mind next time you plan a play date
* Keep drinking lots of water. Food is also important. You probably need more now than that snack you had from your aftercare kit. The goal is to stabilize your blood sugar levels, which might have spiked with sweet snack foods like chocolate and biscuits etc (and any other items you’ve “grazed” from your fridge since returning home. You now need meat, vegetables, etc but if cooking is completely beyond you, Sir Real suggests you prepare something like a cheese sandwich on whole grain bread.
Can’t even cope with making a sandwich? Try a glass of milk – being rich in calcium, potassium, and magnesium it’s particularly useful in fighting depression. No milk in the fridge? Try orange juice or an energy drink – anything with B vitamins will help lift your mood. Avoid soda!
* Many people recommend taking nutritional supplements in the days after play to reduce “drop” and promote healing. Sir Real suggests:
“B-Complex vitamins … folic acid … B6 and B12 to manufacture neurotransmitters, chemicals that control alertness and mood by speeding nerve signals through the brain. Vitamin C and the minerals magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, manganese, and potassium all play a role in healing the body and fighting depression and moodiness”.
* What about natural remedies for lifting drop induced depression? Sir Real recommends adding:
“St John’s Wort to your regimen. This is a well known mild anti-depressant supplement that you can buy in any drugstore on the vitamin isle. Although it’s not as effective as prescription drugs for treating clinical depression, it can be effective for mild depression”.
* Not everyone wants to curl up in bed when dealing with “drop”. If exercise if what your body craves then go for it. Take a walk. Swim. A workout at the gym will quickly increase your endorphin levels.
* If you feel like being social, then absolutely follow your aftercare requirements and go out with friends, see a movie, have fun – but don’t overdo it. Immediately post scene it would be a good idea to avoid alcohol and recreational drugs as these deplete vitamins and stuff your blood sugar levels around. The amount of body chemicals your system is dealing with post play, I promise you will achieve a natural social interaction high on fruit juice and energy drinks alone lol.
* Prefer your aftercare alone, and still feeling down? You might like to head for bed – apart from the fact many of us associate bed with comfort, security and warmth, sleep will help alleviate feelings of depression. Or try meditating. No experience? Not a problem – try this 30 minute step by step guide to practicing stress management meditation.
* Of course many of these ideas revolve around the concept that you have the option to be alone. But what if you have to cope with “drop” and a real life that involves everything but peace and quiet. Its impossible to put yourself first when you have a family to feed, and real life commitments that can’t be put off.
The lesson to learn from this is that now you know you may experience drop, you need to make allowances for it in real life. Make sure you get home BEFORE the after school hordes, so that you can take time to relax and refocus, to re-centre yourself. If thats impossible this time, then there’s nothing for it but to turn on your autopilot and get through your day – try these practical tension reducing ideas for a little relief. Your own time for aftercare comes when your household is asleep.
* An important part of any aftercare ritual is mutual reassurance and validation . Don’t ignore this side of things because you are on your own. Affirm gratitude to your body for its submission / tolerance for pain. Admire your marks (take some photos). Remind yourself how well you did during play, of the kind words your dominant had for you, how pleased they were with you, how proud. Speaking of your Dom/me….
“i long for my Master’s physical
presence more than ever”
“I wish I was able to please and serve my Dom
in real time. There are many times I ache to
touch him, feel his arms around me…”
Being apart from your Dom/me after play / during “drop” is truly one of the worst things you will ever feel. You are on your own, so either they have left, or you played online. But you desperately want contact with them renewed, right?
The first question that needs to be addressed here is: have made the decision not to contact them because you don’t want to bother them / worry them / disturb them at home etc? If this is the case, RETHINK THIS. NOW.
If you are experiencing “drop”, you really should let them know so they can help you with this. A responsible Dom/me will feel dreadful if you go through “drop” alone. Never feel bad about contacting your dominant later, if you are experiencing “drop” or even if you simply need reassurance / aftercare. Even if they can’t actually visit you, the sound of their voice on the phone, their words on your computer screen – their reassurance, their concern for you – will help tremendously.
Second question: are you feeling at the moment like your dominant doesn’t really care about you – that the last time you spoke they seemed aloof, that perhaps you have done something wrong? Keep in mind this kind of anxiety, this feeling alone and abandoned, is often linked to the emotional fluctuations of “drop”. Mistress Steel writes that some subs:
“may view the Dominant’s absence as a reflection of that Dominants ‘true’ opinion of them, their sinful actions, their real worth or value. It is common for many submissives to mentally and physically punish themselves during this bottoming out period. They sometimes convince themselves that it is ‘better’ for their Dominant if they aren’t around. They may take actions which they know will disappoint, inflame or anger their Dominant”.
If you have been feeling this way, why not have a read of Mistress Steel’s article on Sub Rebound? Then rethink that decision not to contact your dominant! Communication is terribly important. Especially if something went wrong with the scene. They need to know, and you are not going to feel better until you’ve discussed things with them.
Finally: what can you do if you simply can’t reach your Dom/me, for whatever reason?
* Try and work out practically when you WILL be able to reach them. Things like anxiety become more bearable when there is a finite waiting period. Once you remind yourself you will definitely be in touch with your dominant tomorrow at 4pm when they contact you via IM as previously planned, or when they get back from that business trip on Tuesday, the waiting is not as bad.
If they are inexplicably out of contact, DON’T PANIC. You might like to read another post in the BDSM For Beginners series, on coping with online disappearances. If you find yourself in this position, then I’m giving you a direct order as a Domme: I want you to repeat these words to yourself every morning and night. Reassuring yourself is important:
1. You have NOT failed as a sub because your dominant has vanished
2. You have NOT let your Dom/me down
3. Your Dom/me is NOT upset with you
4. YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG
5. This is your dominant’s issue, NOT yours
* Try writing to your Dom/me while you are waiting. You can use this as a positive time to focus on all the great things you’ve share together. Or you can share with them why you are anxious. Give them your feedback on the scene. If something went wrong during it you can use this letter as a means to inform them – its very important not to hold in negative feelings and resent them in silence.
* On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with a good private rant for getting out frustration and stress, so why not write a long letter you WON”T send them. It will actually be quite useful later to read again, when you want to look back and see what issues were really causing angst. Perhaps your limits were pushed too far? Any mental wounds need healing? Once you’ve identified any issues, try communicating them to your dominant in a less aggressive format lol.
* Are there any items of your Dom/me’s around your house? If you are feeling seriously miserable why not wrap yourself in that jumper they left behind last week, or in the lovely blanket they use to keep you warm during aftercare (that you were still snuggled in when they finally went home yesterday). Or sneak into bed with those frilly panties or sex toys they sent you (you can always confess the orgasms to them when they return).
Don’t have anything of theirs at all? Head to the nearest department store and find their favourite perfume or cologne. Take some home with you to spray on your bedlinen – if its too expensive simply spray a sample on a handkerchief and wear it up your sleeve or place it inside your pillow case, where the scent will both comfort and arouse you
* Still hurting, alone? Any family with you? Go find them. Watch TV with your children, or crawl into bed with them if its late. Listen to their breathing, take comfort from their familiar smells…
No kids? How about a cat or dog? Go grab them. Take them back to your couch or to bed with you. Hold them close. Got a pet that REFUSES to relax? LOL. Take that dog for a walk! Or brush their fur til it gleams. Cut their nails. Maintain that body contact, ignore any protest! Seriously, their closeness and unconditional love will bring comfort, while focusing on their care will distract you from feeling down.
* No pet? Try a trick I often use with the subs I provide emergency aftercare for: visualize your Dom/me is with you. Get comfortable on your couch. Close your eyes. Build up the image in your mind that they are sitting close to you, shoulder to shoulder, that you can see and FEEL them (the rough texture of their favourite clothes, the smell of their perfume and the coffee you are both drinking, etc)…
Talk out loud to them, just as if you were with them. Tell them what a great time you had when you played, go over the scene with them, raise any concerns. Imagine them repeating statements they have said in the past that brought you comfort and reassurance. This type of visualization also works when you are talking to your dominant via IM but need to feel them closer to you – it will bring their words on the screen more alive. It may sound silly but it can provide real comfort in an emergency: try it now.
* Still feeling dreadful? Okay, its time for you to not be alone. Read on…
DON’T WANT TO BE ALONE?
Remember: aftercare doesn’t have to be with the person you played with:
* Contact your third party friend – keep in tune with your aftercare requirements: if you feel the need for a human voice, don’t IM them, ring them. If you need to be held, arrange to meet them as soon as possible. If meeting is impossible then keep in touch with them any way you can
* Haven’t organized a third part friend? Still concerned about how you feel and can’t contact your dominant? Then contact other kinky friends. Everyone understands about aftercare and will do their best to reassure you and provide company until you feel less vulnerable
* No friends? I don’t believe you, lol, but log on to your favourite chatroom / online kinky community and talk to people. Ask a Dom/me in the chatroom for advice (make it clear what the problem is so they don’t think you have an especially inventive chat up line). If you are really stuck, contact me
You had a decent sleep and you’ve done all the right things but you still feel miserable the next day. Don’t panic – it will pass. Endorphins can hang around for a few days. Contact your third party friend again. Nuture yourself. Its still hot chocolate and your favourite biscuits time. Listen to music. Writing is always good:
* Write about the scene, your feelings about it. If something bothers you, track down in your mind exactly what went wrong. Midori suggests exploring the following: when did you first start feeling something was wrong? Did you assess your needs and mood accurately before play? Did you communicate your limits and needs (including aftercare) clearly to your dominant? Will this negative experience impact on future play / your relationship with your dominant? What further care do you need to feel whole again?
* If you didn’t write to your Dom/me last night, try writing now. Why not use this letter to tell them about thoughts you have on future BDSM ideas?
* Bring your blog up to date – don’t forget to include all the evil things you “endured” from your dominant during play. Don’t have a blog? Time to start! Try blogger or livejournal.
* Write to yourself: a love letter to remind yourself of whats most precious: you. Sounds soppy, sure, but it will definately improve your mood
DAY 2 AND STILL NOT 100%?
Time to move:
* Keep occupied: Go out. Do real world things. Have lunch with a friend. Book a massage. Treat yourself to a little shopping. Go see a movie. Two movies. At home, don’t sit staring into space: watch a DVD. Read. Listen to more music. Cook a sumptuous meal for family or friends (read Sir Real for further advice on what’s good to eat during recovery)
* Exercise: walk that dog again. Fast. Leave your car at home and ride your bike. Go to the gym. Swim laps. Can’t go out? Sir Real suggests working out with a set of light barbells: “spend a few minutes doing bicep curls. As simple as that is, the endorphins released from the exercise can have a positive effect on your mood”. Don’t have barbells? Try lifting medium / large bottles of water, depending on your size. Or take some bondage rope out of your toy bag and make a skipping rope. MOVE!!
* If it all possible: contact your Dom/me
Online sub / dom drop should really not last beyond a few days. Real time drop may last a little longer. If it does: listen to what your body – your heart – tell you they need. For example, sensualips writes:
“I keep busy, keep to my routine, continue with life, try to relax. I also will use any excuse to indulge in a comfort-vice like lazy time, avoiding chores, or sinfully delicious foods”
So not only keep taking care of yourself but INDULGE yourself, lol.
Repeat after me: it’s a physical condition – it WILL pass.
WORDS FROM OTHERS THAT MIGHT HELP:
RisiaSkye (posted on Literotica Forum):
“There’s nothing I’ve found that makes that bottom-falling-out-of-the-world feeling any easier except time, faith in yourself, and the mutual devotion of a strong and trusting bond with your O/other. But, at the least, know that you aren’t alone. You are among friends, who have no desire to judge you, and who will (if we can) support you through this, until you can make peace with your new (for cellis) path.
For what it’s worth, know that your feelings are shared by others, and that there’s nothing “wrong” with you that’s causing this reaction. It’s an enormously emotional and spiritual journey, this way of living and loving–and some of the waystations are dark. The light returns in the end”
Private Label (posted on Literotica Forum):
“I hadn’t realized [subdrop] was a normal thing to happen in play. I thought I was just acting like a fruitcake afterwards because of my own history with chronic depression. Now I have someothing I can take to my D and say… hey! look what I discovered…
“Now that I know this will happen and it is somethig to expect rather than have it be something to get *more anxious* about I can tell myself that it will be OK and not to get twisted the wrong way because it”
Snarkly71 (on Alt.com):
“[the] first time this happened to me i thought there was something wrong with me, i felt so ashamed, unworthy, useless and couldn’t understand why my Owner would want to be near me or with me.
“It suprised me as it happened a day or two after just out of the blue when the high disappeared, when I so didn’t expect it and I thought it was just me being depressed and why should someone so wonderful as her want to be round someone as miserable as me. She wouldn’t let me run though and just patiently comforted me through it [and] show[ed] me an article like yours after I had experienced it [a] few times”
Slavejamie2 (on Alt.com):
“As a slave who is being trained remotely, subdrop presents distinct problems for me, as my aftercare with my Master is all about communication via phone. i do not have the comfort of His physical presence during aftercare, although (as i detailed in a recent blog entry) He very carefully takes me through a lengthy “de-briefing”, asking detailed questions about my emotional and physical state post-scene. i must admit, however, an emotional and physical “emptiness” when i come down off that endorphin high of slavespace, and i long for my Master’s physical presence more than ever”
HOW DO YOU AVOID THIS FEELING IN FUTURE?
Being a physical condition, you may unfortunately experience “drop” again after intense play. But there are things you can do to prepare for it, that will significantly help:
* Eat healthy. Exercise (Sorry. Boring but true). You might like to try Omega3 supplements, plus vitamin C, and K and E supplements to aid injuries like bruises.
* Read some of the articles in the Reference list at the bottom of the post (especially Chris M and Midori) which include articles on subspace, subdrop, domdrop, switches, etc, as well as with other posts in this series (on ‘drop’ and aftercare for submissives, dominants and switches). I also highly recommend acquiring a copy of Midori’s book “Wild Side Sex: the Book of Kink” which contains a longer version of the essay linked above, and an excellent “Quick Guide: After Care Suggestions” section
* Familiarize yourself with aftercare issues (including the “Aftercare Practicalities” section in the first post which covers working out your aftercare needs, ways to inform your play partner of them, and how to assemble an aftercare kit, etc). Everyone’s aftercare needs and requirements are different. Your level of play experience will obviously influence how well you know your needs and how you work out what your aftercare requirements are. But even if you don’t have much play experience you will still have some ideas about how your body reacts to stress / shock. The first post in this series also lists suggested items for your aftercare kit.
* If you plan to play online read up on Virtual Aftercare in the first post in this series. In some cases, it’s really not needed. If you meet someone casually in a chatroom and enjoy some light play – perhaps a little erotic humiliation, a few pain tasks and some edging – you probably won’t need more at the end of the scene than some reassurance from your play partner that you did well, and that they really had fun.
However in committed D/s online relationships, online play becomes more serious. Tasks (including application of pain) become intense. Subspace – and thus subdrop – become possible factors and virtual aftercare becomes important.
THE DAY BEFORE YOU PLAY
Get plenty of sleep before the day you play. Relax via whatever method you prefer. Eat lightly. Drink lots of water. Take any supplements / your usual medications. Clarify your focus: become quiet and centered.
Before real time play: read the first post in this series.
Before online play:
* Make sure you have your aftercare kit, and list, to hand – literally. They should be next to the pile of toys your Dom/me has told you to have ready (the first post in this series outlines how to assemble an aftercare kit and work out your aftercare requirements list)
* Tell a real time or online kinky friend – what Fetish Diva Midori calls your “third party friend” – you will be playing that evening and ask if you may contact them if you are feeling down afterwards (the first post in this series and Midori’s article on aftercare provide details of Third Party Aftercare)
* When your Dom/me comes online, make sure a moment of the conversation includes mention of your aftercare needs (a good way to bring the subject up is when your Dom/me asks whether you have the toys and other items they requested ready, confirm this and add “and my aftercare kit is there too”)
* Make sure your Dom/me understand those needs (for example, “thank you for agreeing to spend 20 minutes [or however long you feel you might need] with me after the session. I have my blanket here and a bottle of water” or “Ma’am, may I leave the computer for a moment to remove the ice packs for my aftercare kit from the freezer? Thank you Ma’am.”)