[understanding what ‘makes’ a submissive & more] new research on the relationship between BDSM interest, trauma and attachment style

As a self identified kitten and submissive who does have an anxious avoidance attachment style, I found this quite educational. As with any research, please take this with a grain of salt and apply it to yourself as is relevant, but still, I wanted to share this with you!

Yours truly,



Reposted with permission from guest blogger: Research_CAPRISee original post here!

A new scientific paper was published by our group on the relationship between BDSM interest on one hand and experienced trauma and attachment style on the other.

It has been speculated that a substantial percentage of BDSM practitioners have experienced (sexual) trauma in the past. Attachment style is an additional factor resulting from early life dynamics that has been suggested to potentially influence BDSM interests. This study will investigate to what extent BDSM interests are related to trauma and attachment style, while differentiating between BDSM community practitioners and private practitioners.

Methods: A group of 771 BDSM-practitioners and 518 non-practitioners from the general population completed a survey in 2017 assessing BDSM interests as well as the Brief Trauma Questionnaire to gauge traumatic events and the Relationships Questionnaire to assess attachment style.

Results: Community BDSM-practitioners and private practitioners reported higher levels of physical abuse in adulthood but no significant differences emerged for other traumatic experiences including childhood physical abuse or unwanted sexual trauma. Surprisingly, BDSM-practitioners had more secure and at the same time more anxious-preoccupied attachment styles compared to non-practitioners. Besides, secure attachment style was associated with dominance, whereas the anxious-avoidant attachment style was associated with submissiveness. Intensity of BDSM interest was predicted by secure attachment style, gender, sexual orientation and living area.

Conclusion: Thus, our findings do not support the hypothesis of BDSM being a maladaptive coping mechanism in response to early life dynamics.

link to the full paper

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

we’re our choices, not our destinies

Are some of us superbeings?  

Stronger, faster, able to leap tall buildings?  More capable of empathy, love, devotion, honesty?  Are some of us more perfectly suited to succeed and be happy?  Some would say that those of us that fall into a terrible place did so because it couldn’t be helped.  They pity these people, or despise them.  At worst, the racists and elitists think they are better than the idiot poor folk who are no good for anything.

Sometimes I would agree.  Sometimes the circumstances are beyond anyone’s strength.  Other times, I’m not so sure (certainly I don’t believe that some races or cultures are superior to others, unless your culture involves treating people like dirt).

Sometimes I’ve done better in life, comparatively speaking.  Sometimes I have done worse.  I didn’t know if it was me, if I just wasn’t good enough at something, or I was particularly good at something.  I just hoped I was doing the best I could.

I may sound corny, but I sincerely believe all humans are created equally.  

I was not predestined to succeed, while others destinies were to fail. It is what happens afterwards that changes us, and some of us overcome and some of us become broken.  I hold no anger or judgment or superiority toward anyone, unless the person truly deserves it.  

Because you see, I happen to have a doppleganger of sorts. Someone whose life very closely mirrors mine. Only we both made slightly different choices. And, now, ten years later, we are in very, very different positions in life. In every single respect.

I swam, where she- and others- sank, for three reasons. A bit of luck. The choices I made. And the support I chose to keep around me.

Do you think you’d be happier if you stuck your hand in a fire, or kept it out of harm’s way? 

Why would our emotional choices be any different?  

Why would we think we could be happy, while making destructive choices? We may think we’re superhumans, and some days, we are, indeed.  But mostly, I’ve observed, we’re just human.  We can only do so much to overcome our own self sabotage.  

I’ll readily admit some of us, myself included, have superficial advantages— and they aren’t meaningless, either.  Some of us are born wealthier.  Some of us are “prettier,” in the sense of being blessed (or cursed?) with Hollywood beauty.  (I suppose, with males, one would say “handsomer.”  I’ll call anyone pretty, though.)  Some of us are “smarter,” again, in the sense of being, perhaps, genetically inclined to be good at math and science and all the “traditional smarts.”

But it isn’t the smartest, richest, or prettiest among us that are always the happiest.

And none of us are born more inherently able to be happy.

Perhaps some of us are stronger or even “better” than others. I have no interest in making a judgment call one way or the other. It doesn’t matter.  One person isn’t capable of changing and shedding our worst selves, while another is just “not able to handle it.”  

I’ve changed.  I could have resisted, hell, at times I have resisted!  But I gave in, because it was move forward– or stop dead in my tracks.  Letting everyone else pass me by.  I’ve seen other people change, too, as they overcame personal challenges.  Even so-called impossible challenges.  

If SOME of us are “good” enough or “strong” enough to do it, we ALL are good enough.  Whatever that means.  Some of us might not have the support system or resources to be able to do so confidently or safely.  But we’re all capable, with a bit of help.

Oh, and for what it’s worth, yes, some of us have done worse things than others or feel more negative qualities. It’s okay. Our toxic qualities don’t define us.  I still haven’t gotten rid of all of mine, but I’m working on the pieces of myself I love least.  Social toxicity is something toxic that society teaches us is healthy but hurts ourselves and others. All of us have to work our way through that, at some point.

None of that matters. Because we are still in charge of what happens next.

I don’t believe that any of us cannot choose our own paths.    

We are all given the same chance to make ourselves whatever we want— although some of our paths may be harder to walk along than others.  We all have our own curious mix of what we like, love, and hate. If you are not on the path you want, and you are doing all you can, maybe you need some help. Everyone needs help, but–

I have learned, whether it is true or not, that we are our choices, not our destinies.

I hope that is a comforting thought.

Photo by Rodolfo Clix from Pexels

[sub] drop IS an actual thing, thanks

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. It’s a drop in the happy chemicals that actually make us FEEL happy.  By in our minds, I mean, how our brains function.

I’ll use a drug that interferes with how our brain feels happiness to help illustrate.  Ecstasy.

Here’s how it works:

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 your 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. I knew things weren’t that bad, logically. I hadn’t lost all sense of everything. 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 humilated 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.

But sometimes it truly is a drop.

It happened to me, again, after this amazing, fantastic weekend with a former lover of mine and M’s.  I didn’t feel good, after she left, and 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 he 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 drop (especially as the sub who experiences the orgasm, although I won’t say that a dom COULDN’T do the same thing). 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? We can’t choose when it happens or where. We shouldn’t feel bad that it hits us “too late” or at at an inconvenient time. We can learn our bodies and estimate when it might hit us— but that’s probably not a realistic goal. 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!