Thursday, 29 November 2012

On Subspace and Sub Drift

I've been following fur sissy's recent posts with interest - he's always very articulate, considered and wise, though he comes from the lifestyle side of Femdom. One post in particular got me thinking about subspace.

BDSM culture uses the term very loosely indeed, ranging from the in the moment stoned on brain chemicals experience, through to deep and long term mental changes. However, I am starting to think that it really covers three mutually supporting experiences: 

The Three Kink Spaces

When people talk about subspace, they are usually refering to one of three different kinds of experiences which are not actually unique to subs or bottoms, so lets lump them together as "Kink Space".

Each of the three Kink Spaces works on a different level....

Overload Space

"..stoned on brain chemicals..."
The subject is stoned on brain chemicals, compliant but disassociated. There is usually an erotic element however you can get a similar effect through a conversion experience (see W Sargant "Battle for the Mind"),  through various extreme sports and through vanilla bondage games such as Slow Masturbation.

This what people normally mean when they say "Subspace". Actually "Bottom Space" would be a more accurate term because if somebody experience this, it is usually because somebody else has carefully put them there through alternating sexual and other stimulation. This stimulation can be entirely mental - it's the brain chemicals, not how you generated them, that matter.

Overload Space lasts as long as it's continuously maintained - you can't wake up in it! People in Overload Space don't know when to stop, don't want to stop, and when they come down can feel somewhat... confused.

Usually - thankfully - only subs and bottoms experience Lost Space during pain games. However, a dom or top can experience Lost Space when being served erotically - think spa plus vibrator.

Fetish Space

"Everything is erotic by association."
Fantasy and reality merge. Everything is erotic by association. Seemingly unerotic things take on an erotic charge because they point to the rest of the experience.

So, cleaning the kitchen is normally dull. However, it implies that I am a slave, that punishment may be forthcoming, and that more erotic tasks await, and thus becomes erotic.

The intensity of Fetish Space comes and goes depending on subject's capacity for arousal. The space itself, however, can continue for as long as the subject is receptive meaning, hours, days or even a lifetime :)

Both subs and doms can experience Fetish Space. However it isn't actually necessary in order to enjoy kinky activities (sometimes it's just useful to have a slave and relaxing to be one, and sometimes Overload Space is enough).

Lost Space

"The roles become psychologically real"
The subject loses all perspective. The roles become psychologically real - it's as if the subject has "gone native" in a culture where the particular kind of role is the norm.

Lost Space is like Stockholm Syndrome or Folie à deux and not of itself erotic. However, the idea of it is erotic since it implies erotic activity...

Lost Space can last as long as you let it, and it is entirely possible to wake up and go to sleep in this space. Both subs and doms can experience it, which presents challenges for a dom who is also a sadist.

How the three Kink Spaces work together

Overload Space reinforces the Fetish Space by training the subject to associate a particular role and/or props with the prospect of an intense experience. Conversely, Fetish Space adds erotic intensity to Overload Space.

Meanwhile, Fetish Space and Lost Space reinforce each other by playing "pass the sub".  When you drop out of Lost Space, you think, "OMG I forgot I wasn't a real slave back then," and plunge into Kink Space. Conversely, Fetish Space rewards us for entering Lost Space. E.g. after a while, being a slave becomes a happy thing in its own right.

Finally, Lost Space enhances Overload Space because it makes it easier to just surrender to the experience - you give up asking yourself, "Am I enjoying this?" and let go. And, of course, Overload Space works like a conversion experience and makes Lost Space all the more real.


Mostly, I drift between Kink and Lost Space, with occasional descents into Overload. Fur Sissy - from his descriptions - seems not to visit Overload Space. A husband in a WLM possibly lives entirely in Lost Space.

Three kinds of sub drift?

This approach gives us three different kinds of "sub drift":.
  • Overload Space may tempt us to seek greater and more intense stimulation to "enjoy" a deeper experience or to counteract diminishing returns.
  • Fetish Space may "contaminate" our normal sexuality; we begin to associate getting aroused with being kinky.
  • Lost Space may leak into our vanilla relationship since the kinky relationship feels normal. It can also be so pleasant to escape into simpler D&S roles, that your emotional focus shifts in that direction.
Not only do these work together, they also work between both sides of an established couple.

Example: Me

"kink has entirely replaced the bad or perfunctory sex"
Looking back up at what I've written, I realise I've drifted a long way.

We don't usually go in for intense "play", but I do enjoy Overload Spaces in which I feel bleak, aroused, used, exploited and denied. In the quest for this, I've given up any attempt to build my own gratification into our sessions. Where practical, the chastity belt stays on even after Game Over (in my books, I call this Taking Home the Consequences).

My wife has started taking this for granted - sometimes she's very happy to get her satisfaction then fall asleep. So her Lost Space has become deeper and longer in duration.

Knowing that's coming, of course, intensifies my Overload Space and her casual act of denial has become eroticised; it triggers my Fetish Space, thus rewarding me for staying in role, and thus strengthening my Lost Space.

These days, feeling horny and frustrated easily triggers my Fetish Space. Hard on its heels comes my Lost Space in which having a free erection feels... wrong. Plus Lost Space is a comfortable place to escape into. So, whenever there's the prospect of intimacy, I'm happy to go either way. For me kink or vanilla have become equal and equally routine.

Meanwhile, my hard working wife has become used to being able to call on my services as a slave whenever she feels too lazy to engage a husband. I suspect a similar drift has happened with her but I prefer not to try to make her confess this in detail.

So, an odd and pleasant thing has happened. We have the same amount of good vanilla sex as most middle aged married couples. However, kink has entirely replaced the bad or perfunctory sex.

For how to get a slice of this life, see my Femdom self-help guides....


  1. In any of these situations, one must be able to turn off the control freak inside one's head to go into whatever-space. I have never been able to do that. She is always there with commentary.

    1. Interesting. Do I take it that your domming style is very much to play the sub like a musical instrument? Don't you ever get into the flow doing that?

  2. Nope. She is always there, thinking. I have never been able to completely get into the flow. I just do the best I can.

    1. I guess it depends on what you're doing. Do you enjoy service or do you tend to be topping?


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