17 Sep

Sweet Girl  left this interesting comment on my post yesterday:

“I do have one question though; when you write “The collar goes on ~ a leather one tonight, He fastens it around me and i feel myself move deeper into subspace.” Do you mean a deeper submissive mindset? Surely you can’t go into subspace from the application of a collar (lovely as it is!),without the physical impact that’s not possible is it? (Genuine question -not criticism! It’s just that I’ve seen ppl write that before, and personally i have a hard time imagining it, after all it is a chemical reaction…Again, just wondering what you actually meant.)

And that gave me pause.  What did i mean?  And what does she mean “it’s a chemical reaction?” 

So i pondered it yesterday.

This morning, i googled it ~ BDSM subspace chemical reaction.  If you decide to google it, make sure you put BDSM or you’ll get articles on the mathematical term “subspace,” which is not so helpful.

i won’t pretend that i read every article that came up ~ there are lots of them.  i skimmed a few, glanced over a few more.  Some of them have detailed descriptions of how the process works, involving adrenaline and endorphins and enkephalins.

But the articles seemed to all be from a bdsm perspective ~ someone’s blog or an article someone wrote without any references.  One of the articles says:

Note: The author is the chairman of the POWERotics Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing reliable information to and about the BDSM community. This article is a team effort by the POWERotics team and includes input from medical professionals and psychologists. In fact, this is a “summary” of several much more in depth articles.

 But i couldn’t find the other articles, or the resources used.  No cites, no links.

You know, my mama raised me to question.  That particular article says, quite definitively, that you can’t have an orgasm while you’re in subspace.

First of all, i don’t know that anybody can say that kind of thing definitively.  But if you’re gonna say it, i want to see the actual research.  

i’m not even saying the research doesn’t exist.   Maybe there’s a sexual lab somewhere with scientists measuring degrees of subspace, then getting out the Hitachi to try to induce orgasm.  

{‘Nilla – doesn’t that sound like fun story material?  Maybe some of our subsisters and brothers would want to volunteer to participate too!}

Ok, seriously ~ and Sweet Girl, i’m not trying to make light of the question ~ but seriously, i want to see the research.

Other articles were just people’s blogs talking about what they thought ~ some of which, i bet they got from the “scientific” article ~ or other people’s blogs.   

So i’m gonna go way out on a limb here and say that the most reliable information we have about “subspace” is speculation and opinion.  And i can speculate and opine as well as anyone.

It makes sense to say subspace is a chemical reaction ~ everything we do involves chemical reactions in the brain.  It makes sense to say it involves adrenaline.

Adrenaline arouses.  It’s floods the body when we’re stressed or feel like we’re in danger, speeds up breathing, heart rate and so on as part of the fight-or-flight response.  it also works when we’re excited – think roller coasters.

When adrenaline’s pumping, you’re speeded up, everything’s focused on the trigger that aroused you.  You’re not thinking things through logically cause your body is prepared to react quickly .  All systems are alerted and aroused {not in a sexual sense, per se.}

Endorphins and enkephalins are the body’s natural pain killers.  

So, if you put the two together – heightened arousal and awareness and “feel good” chemicals ~

~ whew. 

How cool is that?

It accounts for what we tend to agree on ~ that when you’re in subspace you’re not able to think clearly and logically.   Adrenaline rushes shut down the executive functioning of the brain, the center of logical thinking and judgement.  

The pain-killer part explains why we seek it out, why we enjoy it instead of perceiving it as a panic attack.

Logically, that makes sense to me, that those chemicals would be involved in subspace.  So i’ll accept that.  

If you google these terms, you’ll find support for what i’m saying here, but more importantly, you can consult a textbook and find the same general information.  {I know, that’s not well cited, but when i googled it, i wasn’t impressed with the references i found.}

So, ok, subspace is a biochemical reaction.  Beyond that, i think we get to define what we believe about it and what our experience of it is like.

And i was going to do exactly that this morning, but i’m out of time.   i’ll come back to it either later today or tomorrow.  In the meantime ~

~~  what’s subspace like for you?  What do you mean when you use that term?  

Leave a comment describing it, or link to your blog if you need more space and want to write about it.  You can put the link in a comment over the next few days and i’ll link to your links in my posts if you like.  Or send it to me via email ~ ~ and i’ll post it.  

17 Responses to “Subspace?”

  1. K September 17, 2011 at 6:56 am #

    To me subspace is when He whomever He may be is in my head completely, I at that point do not think for myself. And, yes that has happened without physical touch. I do absolutely believe that it is chemical as far as it changing the neurotransmitters, hormones, adrenaline, endorphins, what have you. Then again, what isn’t, perhaps. Yes subspace can happen and be heightened certainly through physical pain, but it can happen without it. Connect me to the MRI right now and I’ll prove it;)

    • aisha September 17, 2011 at 8:31 pm #


      Yes. I like that description a lot. “…when He is in my head completely….” Yessss.



  2. Lady Jane September 17, 2011 at 7:36 am #

    Dear Aisha
    I have been pondering the nature of Subspace myself. I tried to research it a bit, and came off with the same inconclusiveness as you. Being a mental health professional myself, I know about the chemistry behind bodily reactions. But thats not all there is to it.
    I’m thinking more in terms of transcendence – being in a totally calm mental state, where nothing exist except the here-and-now. Maybe there are different layers of Subspace – mental subspace and total subspace, encompassing both mind and body?
    Then there are the Pavlovian reactions (forgive the pun) when collared. I don’t think you can induce subspace by putting a collar on a person, that have not have previous BDSm experience. But I do think that positive emotional and physical experiences while collared will help induce mental subspace when collared again. After all – why else do the symbolic and ritual moves that are so much part of BDSm?
    Looking forward to the next blog posts – as always.
    Lady Jane

    • ximenawrites September 17, 2011 at 8:20 am #

      I’m thinking more in terms of transcendence – being in a totally calm mental state, where nothing exist except the here-and-now.

      This, and a lot of what you said after is what I think as well, Lady Jane.

      As a writer, I also can’t help but to play around with concepts and ideas about the lifestyle, and I believe Sweet Girl was speaking about the physical reality of things.

      It’s a pity that the powers that be will throw millions of dollars at researchers to figure out that ‘smoking is bad’ or that ‘too much watching television can be detrimental to the intellect’, but they don’t dedicate a great deal more time and money on researching *all* facets of the human sexual response.

    • aisha September 17, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

      @Lady Jane,

      Isn’t it interesting how something thinking about particular things seems to go in waves? Very cool.

      And yes, I definitely agree there is an element of mindfulness, of being present in the moment to subspace. Makes sense that there might be layers too… although I always like to try to remember that everything is actually in our heads.

      Pun forgiven ~ lol, in fact! Again, total agree, the rituals and symbolic aspects of TTWD do set up a Pavolovian response. Absolutely. When I feel the collar around my neck now, there a whole combination of things I expect to happen, and a certain amount of uncertainty about what else might happen, and O, yes…


      Thank you for your thoughtful response!


  3. Lady Jane September 17, 2011 at 8:14 am #

    Found this blogspot:

    which supports my thoughts on Mental Subspace

    Lady Jane

    • aisha September 17, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

      Interesting blog post!!! Lots to think about there… I’ll really have to think about that ~ how I distinguish dissociation from subspace.

      Thanks for sharing that!!


  4. Bill September 17, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    The mind is still a large blank space with small insights and we still can’t fathom its potential. We as a species like to be safe and I feel that a collar could send you into sub space and that safe place. The question will be pondered by many and maybe a group think will find an answer!

    • aisha September 17, 2011 at 8:42 pm #


      Yes, certainly that feeling of safety is part of it. Yes, safe on a really deep level. Good point!

      It is fun to think about, isn’t it?



  5. Donna September 17, 2011 at 11:43 am #

    Okay, I’ll agree with whatever Bill said, and then…***waving my hands, arms, entire body*** I volunteer for that study. Break out the Hitachi. OK???


    • aisha September 17, 2011 at 8:43 pm #


      LOL ~ I know! I want to be in it too!!

      Still laughing…


  6. Sky September 17, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

    From my very limited experience, I would say that it is possible to feel (at least some sort of) subspace without physical contact.

    I have felt very spacey, lightheaded,and floaty after doing a task for my Master. It was like a meditative state, but I did know what I was doing. I was just sooooo “light!”

    Thanks for such an informative, thought provoking article, Aisha.

    Take care,


    • aisha September 17, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

      Dear Sky,

      Spacy – check; lightheaded and floaty – check. Yes definitely “light.” It’s almost magical, isn’t it?

      Thanks for your response!


  7. perfectlips September 17, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    Cool post and discussion. Bravo to Sweet Girl for the question.

    • aisha September 17, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

      Thanks, PL ~ glad you like it! And yes, I appreciate Sweet Girl getting us started down this path too! aisha

  8. thesubmissivebf September 17, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    I don’t know about any of the scientific data, but I do know when it starts to happen. I have felt it at different times with different D’s that have come into my life. I have felt it over the phone, just from reading and in person. Its like a blanket is pulled around you, slowly wrapping me in this blissful feeling. Each time the level is different but it definately starts out the same each time, like a cascade effect on my brain and body.
    Wonderful topic Aisha, glad you are having fun! 🙂

    • aisha September 17, 2011 at 8:52 pm #


      Ooooh, I like that, about it being like a blanket pulled around you. Yes. THat’s got that element of feeling safe that Bill was talking about and it sort of shuts out the rest of the world.

      Funny how we all describe it a little differently, but, at least for me, I can see it the way each person talks about it.

      Thank you for commenting, Butterfly!


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