We all experiences anxiety, stress and the butterflies start fluttering in our stomach at different times in our life. Because what we do is transgressive and sometimes edgy, there’s a chance that it does happen more frequently or with higher intensity in our BDSM exploration. It might be when we hook up with people we don’t know very well, or when a scene takes us into new territory.
It’s natural, but what is it that these feelings do to us and how do we take a breath and tame the crazy butterflies, so that they flap their wings calmly?
“When your body detects stress, the hypothalamus—an area of the brain important to the nervous and endocrine systems— reacts by stimulating the body to produce adrenaline and cortisol. These two hormones increase your heart rate, raise your blood pressure and temporarily increase energy to help you ‘fight’ or ‘take flight’. With these chemicals running through your brain, you’ll probably feel as though your thinking is cloudy, and consequently it’s no wonder that your judgement might be in some way compromised. When your body recognises it’s no longer in danger, your hormone levels fall and your heart rate and blood pressure return to normal. But, more often than not, stress can leave you feeling angry, anxious and scared.” – Elizabeth King
Before we get into some ways to help us calm down, I would like to throw it out there that perhaps these overwhelming sensations are part of what makes the BDSM experience awesome and significant. Yes, that anticipation, that fear of the unknown and what is going to happen before meeting other kinksters or before the session, is a feeling of anxiety. However, these kind of feelings are what many of us are actually craving for. Uncertainty is part of the adventure. If we knew everything that was coming ahead, we might not feel so overwhelmed, but it might also take away the thrill of going into the path not taken and peering behind the mysterious curtain.
Like many other things in life, moderation is the golden rule. A moderate sensation of anticipation and anxiety can make the rollercoaster ride amazing — too much of it and you might shut down and decide to quit, missing out on the great adventure that is about to happen.
For that reason, you need to aware of your anxiety – this little creature – and monitor whether it is still a good puppy or whether it has become a big wolf damaging your inner world.
Maybe you can ask yourself: “Has your anxiety stopped you functioning in life?” Today is Monday and you have a date coming up on Friday, are you pacing around your room choosing what you should wear (mild), or finding that you can’t go to work because you feel overwhelmed (severe)? If anxiety has a significant impact on your life, perhaps it is an unhealthy anxiety that needs to be dealt with. The little anxiety monster can be rebellious, but sometimes you just need to tame him down a little.
Here’s a great infographic that helps illustrate anxiety better than words and might help you take control of where you are on the calm => anxious scale.
• Deviance & Desire – A Dom’s Guide to Panic Attacks and BDSM (by a humble hungry sub)
• Deviance & Desire – What is Social Anxiety?
• Science of Us – Can Bondage Play Reduce Anxiety?
• Psychology Today – BDSM, Personality and Mental Health
• Psych Forums – D/s and Anxiety
• In Daddy’s Arms (for littles) – Anxiety and BDSM
• Broken Toys – Panic Attacks in Scene
• lucidsyn – BDSM and Anxiety
• Elite Daily – Science Says Bondage May Be Perfect For Relieving All Your Stress
• Medical Daily – S&M May Be The New Yoga: BDSM Causes Blood Flow in Brain to Alter State of Consciousness
• Is This BDSM? – Am I Doing This Right? Self Confidence, Anxiety and Care in a D/s Context