Our terms for things can be a bit clumsy, and there are actually two ways you could use the term “Top Drop” or “Dom Drop”. There’s no right or wrong way, and both would work within their context.
IS THERE REALLY SUCH A THING AS TOP SPACE OR DOMSPACE?
One way to talk about Top Drop would be to see it as the mirror of subdrop. I’ve been involved in conversations where someone is surprised to hear there’s such a thing as Domspace or Top Space, but ask nearly any Dom and they will tell you they’ve been there (and hopefully go there regularly). I described my own personal space in Doms – Why We Do The Things We Do, but there’s no universal Dom or universal experience and others will have different stories.
Most Doms will say that Domspace is not the same as subspace and talk about it as something like “being in the zone”, and many would say there’s a lot in common with what Mihály Csíkszentmihályi theorizes as “flow”. Generally, the description is about being hyperaware of surroundings and finding rhythm and efficiency in what they are doing.
In a scene, subs can go through a process of releasing (mental and physical) control, and that feeds into what subspace is. Doms usually go through a process of taking control and responsibility, and that feeds into what Domspace is.
ARE ENDORPHINS PART OF TOP SPACE?
Although many people believe that endorphins play a large part in subspace, it’s common to hear opinions that they don’t play into Domspace. Usually that’s based on something like “I don’t experience any pain, so I don’t trigger endorphins”. I personally think that’s wrong. Pain is certainly a fast-track to endorphins, but it’s not the only track. Stress also causes endorphin release, and although we often use “stress” in the negative way (fear, anguish, tension etc) it also has a positive side (excitement, arousal, concentration, precision etc). Basically, the things we do as Doms do create stress, but the good kind of stress, and I suspect Doms do get an endorphin hit. But, that’s just me guessing.
So, it took me a little while to wind my way around to this, but in the same way that some people experience subdrop, Domdrop after a session can be very real. The endorphin drop is probably not going to be as bad as a subdrop, but that doesn’t negate the possibility of physical and emotional exhaustion and some amount of abrupt come-down from a very intense space.
Traditionally, Doms are tasked with aftercare of their subs, but assuming the sub isn’t going through their own debilitating drop, I think it’s much healthier to see post-session care as a shared responsibility. It doesn’t have to be evenly distributed, and it doesn’t have to be the same each time, but we should each try to be aware of our partner and their needs. The same strategies that are commonly recommended for subdrop (warm drinks, a cigarette, soothing music, a walk, a blanket, whatever brings you to your happy place) also work for Domdrop. It’s also a great time for subs to re-establish the dynamic, with small acts of service or appreciation, and that can make nearly any Dom feel a little stronger.
THE TOP DROP WHEN DOMINANCE BECOMES DIFFICULT
There’s another way you could use the term “Top Drop”, and a cup of hot chocolate isn’t going to fix this one.
There’s often an expectation in D/s relationships, in particular new ones, that the Dom will be “on” all the time. It’s not often discussed, but being a Dom can be hard work. When power shifts from one person to another to create the negotiated imbalance that we call D/s, the Dom takes on a lot of decision making, control, management and planning responsibilities. It’s not fair to say they become responsible for their sub’s pleasure, happiness and wellbeing, but it can feel like that.
Of course it’s rewarding, otherwise we wouldn’t do it, but that’s a lot to take on, and even the most domly Dom can’t be on top speed all the time. We need to pace ourselves, we need time out sometimes, and we need to be able to step back sometimes and take a look at what we’re doing and the bigger picture.
Sometimes Top Drop can just be a perception by the sub. It’s not really Top Drop, it just feels like it. That can occur when the Dom has been putting a lot of energy into the relationship and then eases back a little. It could be something as simple as being busy at work, but the sub feels it as a withdrawal of Dom energy.
But, if the rhythm of the relationship is not right, or if we push ourselves too hard, Top Drop really can happen. That could be signalling that the relationship is out of balance, or it could be something personal to the Dom, and it often feels like the energy has just been sucked away. A kind of mental and physical exhaustion.
Here’s some advice on dealing with that:
If your Dom is suffering from Top Drop then my best advice is that you need to kick into high gear in terms of going into a nurturing mode – do NOT condescend to Him, but just be there as though he is a world-class athlete back from a big game and just needs that rejuvenation that a partner can give Him. Communicate and make it clear you understand. Get Him to talk to you about how he is feeling – both mentally as well as PHYSICALLY (because Top Drop can have physiological symptoms too like serious fatigue). Take a real vacation. Get into nature. Watch some funny movies. Give Him (get Him) a massage. Run Him a hot bath. Yes these are things you might do anyway to show your adoration of your Dom / Master, but if you are dealing with Top Drop then its far more than just a good idea – it then becomes Medicine Applied. Its kind of like His battery has completely run out of its charge, and you are helping to recharge Him on the Deepest Level.
FURTHER READING (LIFESTYLE TOP DROP)
• Deviance & Desire – Long Distance Relationships: Helping your Dom When He Drops
FURTHER READING (SESSION TOP DROP)
• ChicoMUNCH – Subspace, Aftercare and Sub-drop (and sometimes Top-drop)
• Southern Sir’s Place – Dom Drop
• Submissive Guide – When Top Drop Rules Your Relationship