I first published this in Society of Janus' Bi-monthly newsletter, I thought I'd share it with you as well. From the Submissive Guide Newsletter 4/6/13

Exploring kink is full of exciting experiences and hormonal roller coasters. We manipulate adrenaline and endorphins to give us a pleasurable experience during play. Often without knowing how these hormones will impact us after the play is over.

It is the “high” we are after aren’t we? So what if I told you the impaired judgment, the slow verbal responses, the sweats or shakes and the sluggish behavior can be dangerous to your health and others if you don’t know how to deal with it? Those warning labels aren’t just for alcohol and prescription drugs.

We are Junkies

Adrenaline and endorphins are our bodies “natural” uppers. They make us feel good and we can crave them, get hooked and addicted to the feeling. Adrenaline junkies are not a myth. Just because your drug of choice is a flogger and willing bottom doesn’t mean you are immune. Bottoms are worse offenders since we often are on the receiving end of an endorphin high that can bring us to a state where we can not communicate, can not function well and oftentimes are at the hands of a Top while this all happens.

Bottoms aren’t the only ones affected. Tops also experience a high where they zone out those around them and have a hyper awareness of the bottom and the activity they are engaged in. A “high” top may not hear safewords or see the early responses of a bottom that a play is getting too intense and back off. They just want more, feed off of the play and forget their inner dungeon monitor.

It’s scary that we sometimes walk into these situations without knowing how our bodies are going to react not only during but after the scene has ended.

Read the Label and Then Read Yourself

Back to those pesky labels again, almost anyone can quote what you know is there, “don’t operate heavy machinery until you know how this drug will affect you.” Play is the same way and should be treated the same. Some play is more intense than others and could have a stronger effect. Read the signs that you are in an altered state.

  • Did you have increased pain tolerance above and beyond what you normally have?
  • Do you feel slow or sluggish in your movements?
  • Are you feeling hyper aware of yourself but the rest of the room fades away?
  • Are you extra cold or hot? Is your body trembling?
  • Do you feel excessively tired?
  • Heart racing?
  • Crying or laughing for no reason?
  • Feeling needy, sad or confused?
  • Experience euphoria?

You could be experiencing a hormone high.

Take a Break

Immediately after play is not the time to climb into your car and drive home. You need to come down. You need to normalize the hormones and emotions going on. For your safety and for those around you, make time in your schedule just to be. Sit and relax somewhere, get a nap if you need it and rehydrate before you consider heading home.

If you are at a public play party, the dungeon monitors are very likely going to ask you to stay awhile after play if they see you packing up to leave. They watch your safety during play and want to take care of you after as well. Listen to them. Five to ten minutes is not too much of a sacrifice for a safe trip home.

Learn your body’s responses to adrenaline and endorphins so that you can tell your play partner also. Aftercare is one of the ways you can help come down after play. It’s not just for bottoms either. Negotiate it before play and if the play partner doesn’t want to give it but you need it - then find a surrogate that will.

Staying safe is knowing how you will react to all that BDSM offers and then protecting yourself as much as possible from the risks. Know yourself and please, stay out of the driver’s seat if you are “high.”