Sub drop.

Declared among submissives as a horrible affliction and the bane of play and relationships. We try to understand what is happening when it starts to bring us down and if we don't know what it is can scare us into never playing again. It's true; sub drop can be bad. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are some of the best-kept secrets to sub drop recovery.

Subspace is that light floaty feeling caused by the endorphins and adrenaline that we induce through play and intense situations. The main cause of sub drop is the physical and emotional reaction to the withdrawal of those hormones. It can make you feel depressed, sad, frustrated and bring on flu-like symptoms. The real range of symptoms is vast and personal. While most of it is physical in nature, there are emotional side effects as well. In this article, we’ll try to cover the physical as well as the emotional struggle we can put ourselves through recovering from play.

I've heard sub drop related to withdrawal from controlled substances. It can get that bad. It's also believed to be more common in long term relationships than in casual play encounters.

Read More: The Emotional Side of Sub Drop and Why It Happens More In Committed Relationships

Symptoms of Sub Drop

The real range of symptoms is vast and personal. While most of it is physical in nature, there are emotional side effects as well. In this article, we’ll try to cover the physical as well as the emotional struggle we can put ourselves through recovering from play.

Physical Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Crying
  • Aches and pains
  • Stomach aches
  • Cold hands and/or feet
  • Stiffness
  • Cravings for sweets
  • Chills
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • General malaise

Emotional Symptoms

  • Sadness or melancholy
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Fear
  • Confusion
  • Guilt
  • Shame

How to Prevent Sub Drop From Happening

There are things you can do to help you prevent some or all of the symptoms of sub drop. First, make sure you've had a decent meal before play.

Eating a light high protein, low carbohydrate meal an hour or so before the scene can help alleviate a lot of symptoms, just make sure to have enough digestive time before you play and make sure not to overeat and be stuffed Lots of vegetables will also add nutrients that can help the submissive recover from a strenuous scene and of course, plenty of water before and after the scene will help as well. ("Sub Drop" - Subs Helping Subs, captured 5/14/13)

Then, if you are fit and healthy, stretch before play. It warms the muscles and prepares your body for the stress you will be putting it under. If you are not fit and healthy, do a light bit of cardio like running in place for 5 minutes and then stretch. Yoga can also help prepare your body for the intense sensations you might experience.

Drink a glass of water an hour before. Staying hydrated will not only help you prevent sub drop but it has other health benefits for submissives too! You should strive to get at least 8 glasses a day.

Also, check your mood. Are you already feeling down, stressed, or just not right? Maybe postponing play is a better decision. If you do decide to play, these feelings can interfere and become worse during sub drop.

What else can you do? You can be aware that it may happen. "Be prepared" isn't just for the Boy Scouts. Have water on hand, fast sugars like orange juice or candy, a blanket and make sure you have someone to snuggle or talk to if it isn't the person you played with. (Not all Dominants provide aftercare for casual play.)

Read More: Caring for Yourself After a Scene: Self-Aftercare


Taking care of yourself after you play is a personal responsibility that I wish more submissives would take upon themselves. Not all Dominants give aftercare or give sufficient aftercare. If you negotiate aftercare when you negotiate the play then you might get what you need, but make sure you know what you need to feel better and do it. We are all adults here, hopefully. We can take care of our needs and don't have to rely on anyone else to do it for us. Own up to it submissives! Don't blame sub drop or lack in aftercare on someone else.

Now, for aftercare, you should treat your physical needs first. Bandages, blankets, and beverages. Replenish the fluids you lost and treat yourself carefully as if you were in a sports event. Rest.

After Aftercare

In the days after playtime, if you feel down or sad, plan some time to sleep, be on your own and recover. But not too much. Follow up with the person you played with if you can. If not, find a sympathetic friend and go have coffee or something. The key is to not close off the world. You need to get out and remind yourself that you had fun and this is just an after effect of it.

Don't be ashamed that you dropped. No matter how much experience you have, you may drop. Even if you haven't had sub drop in years, a particularly intense scene could leave you droopy. It's okay. Just take care of yourself.

A Drop Kit

Lastly, it might help you to have all your needs for sub drop together in a central location. You can put it together before you play or have a dedicated bag for sub drop recovery. What would you put in it? Well, that depends on what you need to feel better after play. Blankets, teddies, and Gatorade are common. Pain meds, journal, phone card, sentimental bits and bobs and more.

A drop kit can be helpful for Dominants and submissives that experience moderate to severe drop after play sessions. The drop can be associated with feelings of loneliness, mental and physical exhaustion, confusion, insecurity, tremors, and many other physical symptoms. It is important to take care of yourself during times of drop. This kit will put all the things necessary at your fingertips.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, please feel free to add your own personal selections.

Free Printable: Creating a Drop Kit

  • Warm blanket
  • Bath salts
  • Bubble bath
  • Scented candles
  • Incense
  • Favorite book
  • Prepaid calling card
  • Hard candy
  • Favorite beverages
  • Lotion
  • Journal
  • Relaxing music
  • Letter from your partner
  • Stuffed animals
  • Coloring books/crayons
  • Gift card to a favorite restaurant
  • Vitamin E
  • Favorite movie

I know that while you are experiencing sub drop that it can be overwhelming and scary but with the right tools and knowledge at your disposal you can help lessen and prevent some of the really strong side effects. Prepare for the potential of sub drop, even if you don’t think you’ll experience it.

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