“Subspace” and how we view it is subjective. I know what it feels like to me. And I do not care what others think of that. Anyone who wants to, can go ahead and argue that I am not in “true or real” subspace. But how silly is that?
Does a hot dog taste the same to them as it does to me? They take their coffee with cream and no sugar – I take mine with sugar and no cream. They may have 50 names for differing shades of green – to me, it is still green. Maybe they don’t like to be whipped with ropes – I do.
Some have associated it with sexual feelings. That is something I cannot agree with. Yes, It has nothing to do with sex – not in my mind. It must be different for each person. See? Just like hot dogs and green.
“Subspace” is an altered state.
To me, it is “a certain kind of warped clarity” that I feel when I have been pushed passed a limit that my mind and body cannot process. To me it is about PAIN. It is also about trusting the person you are with, among many other things, but this will be too long a post if I get into all that.
Neither will I go into the workings of hormones (adrenalin, endorphins, enkephalins, etc. Neurochemistry is NOT my strong suit!) I don’t care how or why it happened… I just want more!
Personally, I have not experienced “different levels of depth and intensity”. Or perhaps it might be better to say that I did not recognize them as such. I was in that place on many occasions but I did not have a name for it and I did not know what to think about it. It was several years before I even decided I NEEDED to think about it. Before I ever heard of “Subspace”, I have described that feeling as “fatigue” or “trauma”. I was “sluggish and sleepy”. I understand it better now.
To me it is a deep “reversion”; almost like I have been reduced to a basic level of consciousness. I am not “me” anymore. It is more like I am a less aware form of life. A being that experiences only certain and limited stimuli.
There are only a few things that I am capable of perceiving and processing when in that state.
There is the Pain. That is pervasive and insidious. It is “Being”. It is the all-encompassing and all-important focus of my physical existence. The Pain has substance, color, sound, life.
There is also the Voice of the Mistress. That is the link which grounds me in this strange “reality”. Without her, there would be no direction, no purpose, no reason to be. I think I might even rebel against the pain (my world of reality) if not for her “guidance” – her Voice.
There is little else. Time and space, for instance, mean absolutely nothing. I have passed what I thought were relatively short lengths of time in this state only to gape with astonishment at her or the clock and understand that I have “lost” HOURS.
Physical surroundings are rendered meaningless and in fact, pointless. Why should I care what is beyond that door? Or outside the curtains? Or behind me even? Why bother with such nonsense? IT DOES NOT REALLY EXIST! So why waste thought on it?
There is also Fear. I had no way to defend against that, so I pushed it away. I realized, in my muddled way, that I could not escape from my position. So why do I have Fear? After a while, not even that bothered me. It was not real. (But perhaps that was Trust in the Mistress.)
There is only the Pain and the Mistress. Why would I need more?
The Mistress would often ask me to count the strokes. After a certain point, it was no longer possible… I simply could not remember what number was supposed to come next! On at least five occasions, she counted the numbers and required me to repeat them. But they were little more than meaningless noises, blurred sounds, muted mutterings to me. Existence comes down into a small, intense focus… the words “two-hundred and twelve” don’t have much meaning there.
(By the way, my speech was usually badly slurred. Two-hundred and twelve might become “doo ongerd on tell.” One time while in this state I asked the Mistress, “If dah ow doo goff?” I was lucky she did not understand me. “Is that all you got” was not a wise thing to say to her!)
Another article was quite eloquent in describing “forbidden territory” and “the eye of the hurricane”. I agree with it to a point… and there is no need to expound upon it except to REPEAT that it is probably different for each person. I may experience some things more or less deeply.
But I remember crying jags, the feelings of complete trust, the total surrender of my will.
I have seen another phrase used in relation to subspace. It is “Ego Reduction”. It seems self-explanatory to a point. “Ego Reduction” is a necessary technique for various forms of “play” – “Humiliation” for instance. I will have to do more research on that concept.
Does it mean to “exit the control tower of my ego and slowly walk down the spiral staircase to the basement that is my body”?
It is a slow walk for me. It is not a swift transition at all. The Mistress had a strong arm and She NEEDED it.
Here is something I wrote to another Domme:
“I found out some very interesting things about pain. First: it is amazing how much a person can take. I can take a lot! Second: there is a certain kind of warped clarity that envelopes one at around 150 strokes…”
“a certain kind of warped clarity”… I was describing “subspace” and I didn’t know it. Yes, I believe that.
150 strokes. 150 lashes. That is how I got there… to “subspace”.
Geez. Whoa. Who can do that? Why would anyone want to? (I have seen worse days than 150 lashes. But that is a story for another time.)
That is how I got to subspace. Severe punishment. Extreme pain. (“Extreme” for me, that is.)
To me, it never had anything to do with sex as the other author said. There was little chance of me functioning successfully as a sex partner while in that state. I was not aroused in any sexual way. It was quite a while after punishment ceased before I could be teased into a state of mind where sex might be an option. It was a while before I could be roused to even stand and walk!
In case anyone cares, I was having sex with my Mistress… but NOT after the kind of beatings she approved of. It was just simply not possible. (We were also boyfriend/girlfriend for three years during the time all of this was happening.)
The Mistress was an insatiable hedonist. Her appetites were enormous. She was energetic, vital, imaginative… but unpredictable. She was brutal, savage, and sometimes reckless. She scared the hell out of me! ~L~ But that has nothing to do with “Subspace”.
Except that is, that she drove me into subspace with those vicious, irresponsible beatings.
In her defense I will say that her “Aftercare” techniques were wonderful. She would release me and allow me a few moments in the fetal position. Then she would pull me into her arms and cuddle me. She would croon and coo, telling me I was alright; telling me what a good slave I am. She would pet me and hug me and kiss me and REASSURE me. OH my GOD, I NEEDED THAT!!!
Here are a few comments concerning Aftercare that I have found on various sites. I do not know who to attribute them to:
• Often after a successful scene, bottoms will be deep in subspace. That can make them very vulnerable mentally and emotionally. They will very likely need aftercare – which involves someone giving them their full attention. The top and bottom will need to negotiate this prior to a scene. If the top is unwilling or unable to provide aftercare then they will need to make arrangements with someone else to look after the bottom.
• Do not approach a bottom immediately after a scene – especially if the bottom is still in subspace. Approaching a bottom in subspace for the purpose of playing with the bottom is predatory behavior. Depending on the depth of subspace, the bottom might not be in a state of mind to consent. Keeping the wolves at bay is another reason for tops to provide aftercare to the bottom.
(Wow, “predatory behavior”… that is SO true. The sub is often completely vulnerable and unable either to consent or protect themselves. Very probably not even competent to recognize “predatory behavior”. That is extremely unfair to the sub.)
Well, I guess I could say more about it, but I will sum up briefly.
Yes, I believe in “Subspace”. I also believe I have been there many times. I was beaten, whipped, and flogged into it’s embrace.
“Floating”, yes. “Sensory deprivation”, yes, in a way. It reduces the submissive to a state where there are only a very few points of reference – “Reality” is a limited place, a small place, where there are few recognizable landmarks.
“a certain kind of warped clarity”.
I remember it. I miss it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Several years ago he had three years of intense experience with a sadistic Mistress and he is now easing his way back into the “Lifestyle”.
We could write more, but it is probably easier if you look him up on FetLife, where you can find more of his writing.
You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.