In play, the person in the s-type role, or bottom, may experience such emotional or psychological stimulation from the activities within the scene that they make experience 'subspace' and, after play, the phenomenon of 'subdrop' may also occur. Here we will look at what subspace and subdrop are, as well as how aftercare can benefit or even enhance a scene once it has completed.
Often described as a 'natural high' that the person in the submissive or bottom role of a scene may experience when being controlled. The bottom can experience a myriad of emotional or physical sensations and each occurrence is individual to the person experiencing it.
Some say subspace is caused by a neural chemical rearrangement, producing an effect that can render the bottom to giggle, cry, become motionless or non-verbal, become intolerant to pain or even to make animalistic noises and so forth.
When in subspace, it can be proposed that the person who is experiencing it may not be in such a rational state as to take care of their own well-being, and so the Dominant or top in the play session should be responsible for ensuring that the environment remains a safe one until the bottom returns to a 100% comprehending state.
When particularly intense play sessions occur, subspace may be accompanied/followed by subdrop. Subdrop can occur after either immediately after play or as a delayed reaction and is generally characterized by a physical condition, such as flu-like symptoms, or bouts of emotional imbalance extending after the scene has ended.
Subdrop can last for minutes, hours, days - even as long as a week - and is best treated with adequate aftercare provided after the play session.
The communication and interaction of those within a play session is equally as important before as it is during and after a scene. Once a session has ended, participants should take some time to discuss the emotional and/or physical feelings that might have occurred during play as well as how they consider those feelings now that play has ended.
Some types of aftercare may require more physical interaction, such as caring for areas inflicted by pain or simply engaging in physical closeness (like cuddling), while some instances of aftercare will be required on a much deeper emotional level.
The types of aftercare provided are usually discussed as part of scene pre-negotiation, though may be bought up after play itself.
Failure to engage in adequate aftercare can lead to subdrop after a session, and so it is common practice for tops to continue the communication about the scene even days after it has happened, as a form of aftercare itself.
Successful aftercare occurs when all parties involved in the play session feel comfortable and at ease with communication about the scene.