After sharing some intense and memorable moments together, for any number of reasons people wake up the next day in their own beds, no longer sharing space. For most of us, this fact would hardly be worthy of notice. However, things shift when someone finds themselves experiencing the effects of sub drop.
Sub drop is a “low” feeling some people experience after a BDSM session. It is generally caused by a sharp decrease in endorphins, cortisol, epinephrine, and adrenalin—which is similar to coming down from a high. Some people never experience it, or only have mild symptoms. Others can experience a severe drop, or drop inconsistently. Helping someone through sub drop becomes more complex when the two of you are no longer in the same physical space. What is one to do? A reader writes in wondering what is proper protocol for long-distance drop and the Dirty Talk Advice Column has some suggestions.
“Would you want to hear from someone you scened with if they were going through sub drop, even if you couldn’t physically be there with them to do anything about it? I am unsure what the proper protocol to do is in situations like that when we are not in the same place the day after.”–Dropping And Not Around
Would I “want” to hear? Yes, I would. In this case, however, it is less about our wants and more about holding space for what the other person is experiencing. Play can be pretty potent stuff, that is why we do it, sometimes there are side effects. Nobody looks forward to sub drop, but it does happen. I always hope the people I play with feel comfortable in communicating with me about their experiences, including drop.
The Best Way To Deal With Sub Drop Is To Address It Before Any Play
Like with everything we do with others, communication is key. Different people are going to have different needs when it comes to aftercare. These needs should be understood by all parties involved before any play happens. Clearly communicated aftercare needs and expectations don’t always happen. Unfortunately, skipping that important step is one you will find yourself regretting.
It is important to note that nobody is a mind-reader, no matter how skilled they may be at play. It is a bottom’s responsibility to clearly state their needs and expectations. Even if they themselves don’t know exactly what their needs might be, something as simple as: “Hey, I might drop and if I do, being able to reach you via text/phone call/email/video chat in a timely manner is something I will need. Are you capable of committing to that?” is a critical part of the negotiation process and one that many people forget to do in a rush to get to the fun parts.
It Is Your Responsibility To Be Available In Whatever Way Is Best For Your Bottom
Communication is the lube that prevents chafing. We should always aim to be well-lubed. If communication about sub drop gets skipped and someone finds themselves suddenly dropping things can go off the rails quite quickly. Nobody wants that. It is your responsibility to be available in whatever way is best for your bottom. It is your bottom’s responsibility to clearly state what they are going to need from you.
Individual needs for aftercare are going to vary from person to person. Some bottoms do not need particularly extensive aftercare, some are going to need more. Sometimes people just need to be heard, to know that you are on the other end of the email, phone call, or video chat. They may feel the need to talk about and process what happened. Sometimes people want suggestions of what they could do to comfort themselves such as an instruction to eat comforting food and wear soothing, relaxing clothing. The bottom needs to be able to tell you what they need and you need to decide if you are capable of giving them that.
Some People Have Incompatible Play Styles
If you are not capable of meeting someone’s aftercare needs, that is valid. You are not a bad person if you find yourself unable to provide the specific requirements of an individual person. The two of you have incompatible play styles and that is ok. Incompatible play styles happen all of the time. I have run into bottoms that needed more extensive aftercare than I was capable of providing. We decided to no longer play together and they found others more suited for their wiring. It is a case-by-case basis and only the two of you are going to know what is the right fit for you.
The more effectively you communicate, the better things get and the less chafing there is. Like with riding a bike or anal, it gets easier the more you do it. May your days be full of much play and minimal chafe.
Keep it Kinky My Friends,
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