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Understanding and Addressing Sub Drop


A partner fears the danger of sub drop.

You just had the best sexual experience of your life. Both you and your partner were so into it and settled into your dominant and submissive roles. The pain was pleasureful and the headspace was powerful. It was an intense BDSM scene! But now… now you have a feeling of dread and sorrow you can’t shake. Everything and everyone makes you feel upset and lonely. What is going on?


You’re likely experiencing sub drop for the first time! Don’t worry. It’s a totally expected experience, following an intense session, that just about every sub (and some Doms) are likely to experience after their BDSM play.


Here is a brief look at what sub drop is, and how to address it.


What Is Sub Drop?


Sub drop is an intense physical and emotional experience that mostly affects submissive partners after an intense BDSM session. It’s an entirely unpleasant feeling that can settle in moments, hours, or even a couple of days after your BDSM scene.


Some people experience years of intense play sessions and never experience sub drop. Then, out of nowhere, it happens!


Experiencing sub drop can be a terrifying feeling especially if you don’t know what’s going on or how to fix it. You may even start to avoid sex because of it – but the good news is that it’s very preventable and treatable.


With just a little effort on your part and your Dom’s part, you can understand and navigate sub drop.


Entering Subspace


The first key to understanding sub drop is to understand subspace. The reason that BDSM feels so good is the chemical reactions that take place in your brain during a scene.


During the intense emotions of a scene, your body releases tons of endorphins and adrenaline. Endorphins provide the body with an extremely euphoric feeling while experiencing pain. Adrenaline energizes you and keeps you going through the scene.


The two combine together to provide you and your body with the euphoric feeling that you crave going into a scene both during and after.


Why Does Sub Drop Happen?


If adrenaline and endorphin pump through the body to make you feel good, why does sub drop happen?


When your play session ends, those chemicals sometimes quickly leave your body. What was once a euphoric perfect experience can suddenly feel painful and embarrassing – even if it didn’t feel that way at the time. This moment where the chemicals are no longer working for you, and you’re left to your own negative emotions is when sub drop kicks in.


What Does Sub Drop Look Like?


Sub drop can look and feel different for every person who experiences it. It can manifest as physical pain, extreme depression, irritability, anxiety, and fatigue. While some of these things are to be expected after any scene (especially pain and fatigue), sub drop is these feelings at high intensity. It can feel like a drastic shift in your mental health.


How to Prevent and Treat Sub Drop


Aftercare is the best way to prevent and treat sub drop. Open communication, planning, and safe words help, but they aren’t enough. Usually, you can’t predict that sub drop will happen ahead of time, so knowing how to spot it and addressing it early when it arises are best.


Communicate and experiment with your play partner about what works for you after a scene. Some people like to be cuddled or receive a massage. Others prefer to be left alone for a while.


You can put together an aftercare kit of all the things you might need after a particularly intense scene. This can include a first aid kit for treating any wounds gotten during the scene, a stuffed animal, a blanket, your favorite tea, a good book or movie, or anything that you think will keep you cheery or even as those intense chemicals leave your body.


Pleasure From BDSM – Before, During, and After


Sub drop does not have to interfere with your BDSM play, and its effects are often not long-term. However, you can prevent the intense negative feelings and come down from the natural high of an intense scene with proper aftercare and communication.


Are you feeling conflicted or confused about your sexual experiences? We can help! Contact us for a consultation today.

Modern Intimacy is a group therapy practice, founded by renowned Psychologist and Sex Therapist, Dr. Kate Balestrieri. This inclusive blog is designed to provide a wealth of information and resources for mental health, relationships, and sexuality. Subscribe today to get the latest information from our expert contributors from all around the world.


Author Bio

Dr. Kate Balestrieri is a Licensed Psychologist (CA, FL, IL + NY), Certified Sex Therapist, Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, and PACT III trained Couples Therapist. She is the Founder of Modern Intimacy. Follow her on TikTok and IG @drkatebalestrieri and the Modern Intimacy team on IG @themodernintimacy.



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1 Comment

  1. Jade

    I had an interesting experience at the grocery store I was looking for input on. I’m not a trained sub but am pretty submissive at home with a partner. yes, I have tried a few things.

    k, so I was at a personal check out. my anxiety level was shooting through the roof for no reason and getting stressed/frustrated. I remember looking around and saw a man not too far away but at a different check out. he had such an intense stare. I made eye contact and my anxiety was apparent. He stroked his chin, stepped forward and his body was facing me. I took a deep breath, put my hands down on the scanning counter and looked up at him holing gaze. He put his hand up palm down on the rack in front of him and tilted his chin down. I looked down and started to take deep breathes. he calmed me completely. When I relaxed, he nodded at me, I smiled and carried on. He kept a sideways glare at me till I finished.

    Why did he do that? Why did I submit to a complete stranger? I appreciated him valming me down. I’m confused as to the whole situation. we never spoke and he didn’t make eye contact when I walked by leaving the store. Is this a community thing? like looking out for someone’s Sub in public?


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