Sunday, June 20, 2010


Someone asked me about subspace. After I gave my answer, I decided to ask some of my submissive friends whether I got it "right." They liked my answer, so here it is. I'm curious what others would add or change.

Subspace. It's a topic both complex and ill-structured. It's something we could talk about for a very long time. Plenty is written about it. The short version, for me... Subspace is an altered state. It may be accompanied by an external, physical, altered state, like restraints, and/or an internal, physical, altered state, like changes in breathing, pulse and blood pressure (e.g., a rush of blood to the head), muscle tension, and arousal. But the more important dimension of subspace is the mental altered state. Subspace is a place of acceptance and willingness, in which the sub lets go of control, fear, hesitation, and some self-awareness. For different subs with different doms on different days in different scenes, subspace may be easier or harder to enter. Subspace should be an act of trust, although aggressive nonconsensual methods may achieve it (like torture or brainwashing).

A particularly important point to remember is aftercare. When a scene ends and a sub is leaving subspace, the return of control and self-awareness can be disorienting. A dom must be ready to care for the disoriented sub. It can dangerous to leave a sub in subspace or not properly bring her back, both for the experience to sub herself, and because she's vulnerable (e.g., someone else could compel her to break one of her limits, while she's still in subspace).

My choice of pronouns is arbitrary, in this post and throughout this blog. Men, women, or other can be put in subspace by men, women, or other.

I'm happy to talk more about these things.


  1. I would add that the altered state goes well beyond the letting go of various restrictions. There is also a need, an eagerness to please the dominant in every way. Even the words 'need' and 'eagerness' do not capture the feeling - but the right word lies in that direction.


  2. Did you mean 'inner, physiological, altered state"? And clearly psychological too. And the 'sub' doesn't mean that it is restricted to subs. I have reports of several Dommes that they experience the same, or similar.
    I can feel there is something there myself, at times.