Subspace, it’s not just for perverts.
This past year, Skyspook joined a racing team. Nice group of guys. They fixed up a car, painted it really nice, and turned it into a bona fide racecar. This past weekend, they had their first race, a 2-day endurance event. The car made it through the entire race, a victory in and of itself, and they finished overall in the middle of the pack, a huge achievement for a team with a new vehicle where half the guys had never raced before. Big deal, and I am ever so proud of them.
I wasn’t surprised though. They’re hard workers and know their shit.
What was surprising? Seeing how the act of racing affected them.
When Skyspook came back to camp after his first stint at-wheel and pulled off his helmet, he had a thousand-yard stare. The lights were on, but nobody was home, and yet there was a euphoria about his face. He spoke in a semi-scattered manner about how difficult it had been to pay attention to everything he needed to, how terrifying it was to have the other cars zip past him. He seemed… drunk off the experience.
After he had a second to sit and relax, I made him a roast beef sandwich from the cooler and got him some bottled water.
I noticed a similar effect as other teammates finished their shifts. One crashed and took a nap in his tent. A teammate handed him a beer to recover after his second stint.
And then it dawned on me. Oh fuck. We were doing aftercare.
The racecar drivers had achieved subspace.
A very commonly discussed and witnessed phenomenon in BDSM, subspace is a physiologic and psychological state that masochists commonly achieve after receiving pain play and submissives can enter after being dominated or restrained in ways that make them feel intensely vulnerable.
The paths to subspace are vastly individual – I’ve known some people where all it takes is a solid pull of their hair to put them into that state.
The first time I ever entered into subspace, it was a complete accident.
I was messing around at a kink convention. I’d received some pretty vicious thigh spanking from a Top and then a bunch of my friends pig-piled on top of me on a foof (large beanbag) because being crushed by weight is one of my things. While I was being crushed, someone stole my shoes and started tickling my feet. Another person bit my neck. I became so delirious that I started flailing and swearing in French.
When they finally let me up, amidst much laughter and general amusement, Skyspook noted that my pupils were dilated, and I was slurring my speech. My Dom had wandered off to text his wife in the bathroom, so Skyspook guided me to a couch and stayed with me since I was clearly not all there.
I kept trying to kiss him, but after a few kisses, Skyspook began to politely redirect me as the kisses were only making the subspace effect worse, and even though we had known each other for some time and had even been on our first date earlier that week, he didn’t feel comfortable taking advantage of what was a clearly compromised state (not that I would have minded, but he’s a class act).
The next day, after I’d come back down to earth, I did some research to figure out what the heck happened. And then later I set about to find ways to induce the state. Skyspook became a great partner in this.
Skyspook also put a lot of work in learning how to comfort me, how to provide the best aftercare. One of my favorite memories involves a warm bath and a plate of delicious curried eggs after a particularly brutal bout with the dressage whip.
I don’t know how it escaped me that the endorphins, adrenaline, and other stress hormones produced by challenging BDSM play could be triggered by other methods, but it did. Perhaps it’s because the stigma of it all means we tend to be siloed off from other human experience. It makes sense though. Thrill seeking gives you a thrill. Fear is a heady cocktail.