When your body overloads on adrenaline or endorphins you can reach a high that many call subspace. 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 playing. You need to know what you should and shouldn't do when subspace is imminent. As with everything I say, this isn't the one and only way to do anything. Learning about yourself is the best way to know the right way to do something.

Adrenaline and endorphins cause your body to act differently. Adrenaline is that excited feeling you get. It causes your heart to accelerate, make you feel energized, 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.
  • difficulty in thinking clearly.

Endorphins act differently. When released, endorphins can increase your body's threshold for pain and affect the way you feel emotionally. Endorphins are chemically very much like morphine. Your muscles relax and your mood calms. It can also have similar results to an adrenaline surge.

What I have learned from my processing pain series is that when you breathe rapidly you are more likely to release adrenaline, but if you breathe slower, more methodically you are more likely to release endorphins. Frequently a well-aware Top will know to direct their bottom to breathe slower more focused breaths when they are experiencing pain in order to release endorphins and possibly increase the pain threshold.

So, now that you have some understanding of what happens to reach subspace here are a few do's and dont's that should be taken into account.


Do let your Top know how you typically reach subspace and what your personal signs are that you are nearing subspace.

Do trust your Top to know when to stop when/if you reach subspace.

Do learn and share how your body will respond in subspace.

Do learn how to get out of subspace and communicate that with your Top.


Don't try to reach subspace the first time you play with someone.

Don't forget to negotiate what the Top is to do if/when you reach subspace.

Don't expect to reach subspace every single time you play or at all. Not everyone has the same effects from endorphins, and some people have no reactions at all.

Reader Questions:

What other do's and don'ts can you think of to add to these lists?

What do you think is the likely cause of physical sub drop - adrenaline or endorphins?