SUBSPACE – The Often Elusive And Hard To Define Experience + Ways To Get ‘There’ (BDSM)

When you ask various submissive what subspace is, it’s likely you will get different answers.  And that’s because subspace is truly an individual experience and quite hard to define. One thing everyone can agree on is that subspace is where the submissive ‘goes’ when in scene.  

I’ve experienced a wide variety of reactions from submissives regarding this topic. Some go into subspace by the mere feeling of rope on their skin or the first strike of a flogger. For others, it’s when the collar is secured around their neck and their hair is gripped at the start of a play experience. While others have needed quite a substantial amount of impact play and/or bondage to find their happy place and float through it. Some feel they never experience it at all.

What Is It?

Some people believe it’s a physical response, others think that it’s an emotional and/or psychological state change, while others think its a combination of the two. In any case, sometimes having such a definitive definition can cause more problems with achieving this, often elusive and coveted state. One of the main concerns with subspace is that because the definition is so vague, it’s hard to tell when and if it actually occurs. 

Subspace is a collection of things, depending on who you ask. For some, it’s the sensation of being out of the body and somewhat detached from the play. This detachment from the body may allow the submissive to ‘take’ more pain and generally ‘more’ everything from a Dominant, often also resulting in the submissive complying with every wish without hesitation or without any resistance. The submissive hits a brilliant ‘zone’ at this point – able to do everything that their Dominant wishes of them.

It doesn’t happen to everyone, nor does it happen every single time you play. Sometimes it can happen if you are in an erotic exchange but not actually engaging in any form of BDSM play. 

Adrenaline and Endorphins

Another idea is that subspace is the point at which the body begins to produce endorphins in order to fend off physical pain. There is some science to this phenomenon – The sympathetic nervous system responds to BDSM because of the typical inclusion of pain and pleasure. A release of the natural chemicals epinephrine, endorphins, and enkephalins contribute to a drug-like induced emotional state. These chemicals are a part of the fight or flight response which stimulates a morphine-like result.

This rush of chemicals in the body makes the submissive feel good and allows them to forget about anything that might be uncomfortable. Their brains are telling them that all is right with the world. For many, a subspace creates a drunk, floating or high feeling – pain is gone, problems disappear, and your current state of mind is whirling with joyful thoughts and feelings.  This feeling can continue from the scene into the moments and hours after the scene is over.

Adrenaline and endorphins cause the body to act differently. Adrenaline is the excited feeling you get. It causes your heart to accelerate, make you feel energised, or it can make you feel shaky, weak or sick to your stomach. Sometimes all of these feelings come at the same time, which can be confusing. Results of an adrenaline surge might also include:

• feeling as though time has slowed down.

• tunnel vision, where you only see what is in front of you and not what is around you.

• a sensation of your mind wandering or floating, making it hard to concentrate.

• decreased coordination.

Endorphins act differently. When released, endorphins can increase your body’s threshold for pain and affect the way you feel emotionally and psychologically. Endorphins are chemically very much like morphine. Your muscles relax and your mood calms.

What Do I As A Dominant Experience During Play?

Personally, I experience euphoria as such, but obviously it’s very different from the subspace discussed in this post. I’m in control while they are free to let go and go wherever the experience takes them – I can’t just lose myself and shut my eyes. I experience a deep sense of connection, my concentration is razor-sharp, my senses are extremely heightened and my intuition is in the pilot seat. While my submissive is enjoying their experience, I am considerably zoned in on their needs and desires – I’m thinking without thinking. It’s a very different high, but still pleasurable all the same. I personally enjoy receiving massages from my play partner after the play has ended as I’m able to shut my brain off and lush out. I also enjoy the affection that flows back from the submissive from the playing out of such a deep connection.

How To Get ‘There’

Whether subspace is purely an emotional reaction to a scene due to its intensity or a physical one, the obvious question is how it can be used it in play situations intended to deepen the submissive’s capabilities.  Not only does this mindset allow the submissive to endure more from the Dominant, but it also feels good, so it’s clear that once you ‘give’ this to a submissive during a scene, especially for the first time, they will want to recreate that feeling.

This might mean that they need the Dominant to continuously build the intensity of their play together or that they need to focus more on overcoming sensations that might not be pleasant at first in order to move into that subspace realm. 

Subspace is something that is worth trying to create in a scene. This can be done by preparations by both the Dominant and the submissive. The Dominant can increase the chance of this situation by watching the reactions of the submissive during a scene to see how much more they can take and when they are entering a different state and/or mindset. Once they have begun to enter subspace, they can then begin to push the scene further to deepen the experience. The submissive that wants to achieve subspace should be ready to work through any initial resistance to the play in order to move into this other space.  This might mean mentally preparing themselves or simply breathing through the pain that they might feel. 

Breathing helps a lot. I cover how to lead a submissive in her breathing in my coaching sessions and I also advise submissives on this. Contact me to find out more about the coaching I offer.


Subspace is a form of natural high. Blissful feelings of connection create intense uppers and unfortunately, those feelings eventually come down. This is where emotional and mental safety is important, therefore, aftercare is pertinent in order to make sure all parties involved don’t become unbalanced.

What goes up must come down. 

This ‘drop’ can create exhaustion, incoherence, and a lack of coordination. My goal with aftercare is to bring them ‘back to earth’ so to speak. The all-important first step is to ensure that there is a clear and defined end to the play and that the submissive is aware that the play portion of our exchange has ended, and the aftercare is beginning. I achieve this from communicating (comforting, praising and if needed, listening to what she has to say), physical touch and lots of hugging, providing water and something with carbohydrates to give her some much needed immediate energy and if needed, a blanket. 

After play sex doesn’t automatically follow after play as it depends on the situation and the connection I have with the submissive, but, if/when it happens, it can be pretty mind-blowing.

Subspace is something that may not be achieved by everyone, but since it is such an often spoken about topic in BDSM, it’s obvious that it’s something that might be possible. 

For anyone reading this who is a Top/Dominant – you don’t have to have the submissive experiencing full-blown subspace in order for a Dominant to have done a good job as what’s involved in achieving this elusive space is more than your skill and technique alone. If it happens, brilliant! If it doesn’t, don’t beat yourself up about it (pun intended!). Ensure everyone involved is having a great time, communicate, constantly look to improve your skills/dominance , negotiate/maintain informed consent and act ethically – this is your job.

Ready to explore subspace? Contact me and let’s make it happen.