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In the BDSM-ridden innards of the internet, subspace (a near-hypnotized mental state that can be reached by the submissive partner during or after BDSM scenes) is a common topic. People talk about it like a drug or a mystical rite of passage– “Have you ever been in subspace? What was it like?”

My own experience with subspace is pretty subtle. Granted, J and I do not engage in exceptionally strenuous or intense BDSM, so there may be lots of territory left to explore.

In vanilla life (or “topspace”), J and I don’t relate to each other like most couples do. Instead of being lovey-dovey or even just nice, we opt for a more playful and tomboyish routine of harmless teasing. With anybody else, I’d be a little offended, but we’re so connected that we have the ability to roll with anything the other can dish out. I’ve always been somebody to offer a noogie instead of a hug. But after I’ve been subjugated into subspace, I start feeling really needy and sensitive. After some D/s sex, I can’t handle the playful jabs at all, and I’ve cried more than once over things that would otherwise just make me roll my eyes.

This sensitivity also comes up in relation to the actual sex itself. I don’t usually orgasm from intercourse. J will attempt to gain further control of me by ordering me to cum, but often I can’t and my primary emotion becomes despair from disappointing him. I have cried in that situation, too, which really kills the mood sometimes.

Despite this, subspace is a really great feeling. All the crying is really the result of being stripped bare psychologically before another human being, which is scary but also extremely gratifying. Handing all trust and control over to another person is the only way I can relax, so after some really good sex I will literally curl up in a ball and forget how to speak English. Seriously. I will even forget I’m a feminist and get some irrational impulses to clean his room or make him a margarita without being asked. It’s that powerful.

Subspace feels like a high you might get from a drug (the closest approximation I can make is cannabis mixed with caffeine), but since subspace requires work and intimacy, it is so much more rewarding.