Note: It’s possible that doms can experience a form of drop, but this is really about sub drop.
I’ve read, time and time again, about sub drop. Which is great that we talk about it. But also— we kinda talk about it like it’s something we indulge in simply because we feel like it.
“I had a great scene yesterday. And then today I dropped— because why not?”
Like sub drop is some silly choice one makes. A choice for which we have to playfully apologize.
Nope. Drop IS real.
Not just a “valid feeling,” either, though nothing wrong with other things being valid feelings. But sub drop? Is a physical reality. It’s in our minds, yes, but it isn’t something we created from nothing. Let me attempt to explain.
Sometimes drop is emotional.
The sort of drop that we talk about “preventing” with “proper” aftercare. That’s the feeling that we get from our partner(s). The feeling that we are loved and wanted, especially after a degrading and humiliating scene. Or one that involves a high level of physical pain. It’s nice, and absolutely not too much to ask for, for your partner to tell you that you are, in fact, loved and cherished. That those words and actions were for your pleasure, not a reflection of what you are and “deserve” (though you could argue you do deserve to have your needs met, even base and socially unacceptable ones!, but I hope you understand my point.)
This sort of drop is mitigated by what happens, well, afterwards.
But sometimes drop is a specific, chemical reaction.
I’m going to speak of a drop that isn’t always talked about. The kind that hits, not immediately afterwards, but somewhere around 24-48 hours later. I have found 48 to be very typical, but this depends on your body. Literally. It’s how your body and brain function, and of course this is individual (at least to a a degree).
You cannot “prevent” this drop, regardless of how amazing your partner is at aftercare. No matter how “strong” of a submissive you are. It can only be mitigated, and properly cared for when it happens.
Allow me to illustrate with a substance that simulates this feeling:
MDMA causes greater release of serotonin and norepinephrine than of dopamine.91 Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in the regulation of mood, sleep, pain, appetite, and other behaviors. The excess release of serotonin by MDMA likely causes the mood-elevating effects people experience.
By releasing large amounts of serotonin, MDMA causes the brain to become significantly depleted of this important neurotransmitter, contributing to the negative psychological aftereffects that people may experience for several days after taking MDMA.
Basically, the drug artificially forces your brain to produce happy chemicals. But because it produces so much, it gets burned out. So— a day or so later— it’s still not where it would be naturally. And it’s fucking difficult to feel happy. Heaven forbid something bad happen, and you spin into a negative cycle and THEN try to make yourself feel happy with your brain screaming at you that IT CAN’T DO ANYTHING AND WHY ARE YOU BEING SO MEAN TO IT???
Orgasms produce the same happy chemicals. My partner wrote this which gets more into a description of those chemicals. If you push and push your body and brain past what it can handle (like in a really amazing scene), you’re going to end up depleting those resources.
So, yes, aftercare is great. But it won’t stop a chemical drop, unless your Dom(me) can rewire your brain.
Replenishing water and salt from all the sweat loss helps you feel better. Being held afterwards to soothe hurt bodies and feelings— yeah, we might love to be degraded and abused, but a lot of us need sweet words after that to make us feel like we’re okay— helps a lot (skin to skin touch produces oxytocin, but that might be burnt out, too, I’m not entirely sure how oxytocin works).
No amount of aftercare is going to change the fact that you’re worn out your mind and body— and you WILL feel a drop if you’ve pushed yourself that far. It isn’t a silly choice or a flaw. It’s physiology. Unless you have a brain that works differently than every other humans.
The first time I depleted my brain completely of those chemicals, I didn’t know what was happening.
I felt absurdly happy as I shot a load of chemicals through my brain. It’s like floating. And I experienced slight ups and downs, afterward, as my body adjusted.
Then about 48 hours later, I felt something weird. I thought whatever I would feel would happen maybe a day after, the crash people warned me about. But it took me two days. Seemingly out of nowhere, the “drop” happened.
I felt empty.
I felt like nothing mattered. That the world was empty, too. Logically, I knew things weren’t that bad. I could recite the good things in my life, no problem. But I had no serotonin. None. I couldn’t even feel bad, I didn’t feel at all. I felt…cold? Lukewarm.
Sub “drop” doesn’t happen after every scene. Sure, most (cough, all) times I play with my master, or anyone, I need a little comfort afterwards. It’s not really comfort, though, but more that I need that feeling of someone’s body against mine. And I like the reassure, after I’ve been humiliated and degraded (something I absolutely love) of being told that I am sweet and loved and beautiful and all the mean words were just said in fun, because of how my body responds.
Sometimes it truly is a literal drop.
It happened to me, again, after this amazing, fantastic weekend with a former lover of mine and my master’s. We had a beautiful time, but of course it couldn’t last forever. She had to leave. I didn’t feel good, after she left. For a couple of days. It wasn’t because I didn’t like having her with us or because I missed her. I just felt…bad. I didn’t even want physical intimacy and I couldn’t figure out why.
Until, I don’t know if we talked it through or I remembered, or my master did. At any rate, we figured out that after the extreme pleasure I’d put my body through, I needed a break. That my brain needed time to replenish. That I got so much from both of them, but now, having only one person beside me somehow felt lacking. Of course, I felt fine later and the one on one time became just as intense as ever. Still, I needed to remember what drop felt like and give myself time to recover.
Don’t forget, that unlike a pill, sub drop involves a heightened (and relaxed) emotional experience.
Whatever I felt with the pill, it was intensified with the experience with my unicorn. Because feelings were involved. Not only are you feeling a lack of love and happiness— there are also a million different emotional aspects.
Maybe the person who used you— I’m assuming in a good way here— isn’t really there for you enough. Not through any negligence, but they just aren’t that available. Maybe you pushed yourself too quickly with someone you didn’t trust. Maybe you know they are going to travel for a long time.
Whatever the reason, it is very likely that it will exacerbate the strain that you’re already feeling from the lack of the chemicals that you need to even be able to feel good.
So, in conclusion,
YES we experience all sorts of drop (whether you are the dominant or submissive; whether it is emotional or chemical). YES, it’s real. And NO, we can’t do anything about it, except to nurture ourselves through it until our bodies heal.
And what to do about it? While we can’t choose when it happens, that doesn’t mean we’re helpless. We can know our bodies. We can try to have someone around to hold or or at least talk to us, while we feel cold and frustrated and unable to do anything about it.
But can we please stop feeling bad about feeling bad? Kthxbye!
If you’d like to read more:
My friend, @White_Asian2, wrote a piece about happy chemicals and drop!