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Sub Drop: Fact or Fiction?

March 4th, 2010

The first time I heard the concept of sub drop (and, eventually, top drop), I sort of scoffed at it.  I mean, it sounds like a bunch of hooey.  How could having your masochistic itch scratched possibly make you feel bad? But being an ex-junkie, an occasional smoker, and a serious adrenaline addict to boot, I should have known the answer to that right away.

Let’s take a look at what sub drop is, first, shall we? This was an interesting hunt because the symptoms of sub drop manifest themselves differently in different people.  Which makes sense.  Withdrawl affects people differently.

Basically, sub drop is endorphin withdrawal.  What does that mean, exactly?

That means, first, that sub drop probably doesn’t illicit the need for its own special name, and second, in the most basic of explanations, I’m sure you’ve all seen movies or television shows that have shown a junkie going through detox.  Endorphins bind with the opioid receptors in your central nervous system and gastrointestinal tract, which makes your body react to these chemicals produced in your brain similarly to the way it would react to heroin or opium.  First you fly high, happy and maybe a little dopey.  Sometimes a little sleepy, but a euphoric sleepiness.  And then the effect starts to wear off and you crash.  And suddenly, you’re weepy, or crampy, or cranky, or downright mean.

While endorphin withdrawal isn’t quite as extreme (So long as you’re not jumping out of planes five times a day, or being beaten noon to night 24/7.)(And to be honest, when I detoxed, while I was constantly nauseous, I didn’t go through most of what junkies on television do.  Maybe I was just lucky.) as a street drug detox, it can cause many of the same symptoms, or, at the very least, leave you a little off kilter.  

In the beginning, now that I’m thinking about it, I used to drop hard.  And I didn’t wait the thirty-six hours most people say it takes to happen.  I started almost immediately.  I think my body was replacing my cocaine addiction with an adrenaline addiction, and going mere hours without some form of pain would make me crazy, until the chemicals flooding my blood stream and nervous system regulated themselves, and all became right with the world once again.  And we attributed it to the crazy we already knew I had.

I remember M saying, all the time, “You beg me to beat you, and then when I do, you’re a bitch.  If you hate it so much, why do you ask me to do it?”

And the only answer I could give Him was, “But I don’t hate it.”  I was just as confused as He was.

I didn’t hate it.  But I did bitch.  Always at Him with “You’re doin’ it wrong.” or “You always want it when I don’t.” or… something.  Or even if I didn’t bitch, I was a bitch.  Snipping His head off for asking me to get Him a drink, and begrudgingly sucking His cock, and stomping around in a huff for an hour.

Some would say this meant I needed aftercare.  But even when M gave aftercare a shot, I would get pissy.  Sometimes worse than without the aftercare.

There were all sorts of different things going on in my head and body.  My heart and head were reeling from the sensory overload and subsequent full stop.  Every part of my body was throbbing in rhythm with my pulse.  I was soaring on a rush that I can only compare to a manic high (which some equate with “sub space”).  Then, when M was finished playing with me, my brain would catch on to the sudden denial of any and all sensation, and I would crash, much like a bipolar drop.

While riding on the high, all of my insecurities vanish and nothing can bring me down.  But when I start to come down, the “what ifs” creep in.

Can you see why we attributed it to my crazy?

Oh wait… I forgot.  I was gonna call it “eccentricities” from now on.

Ever gone on the scariest roller coaster of all time and felt awesome when the ride stopped, but after an hour or so, you’re tired, and maybe a little cranky? Gotten into a fight and felt like king of the world after, but suddenly were a little depressed later on with no obvious trigger? Stepped into some shit you weren’t prepared to handle, got through it, and felt bigger than The Beatles, then later, fell apart?

That’s all sub drop.  Your brain (or, to be more exact, the pituitary gland) reacts to pain, dangerous situations, excitement, spicy food, a piece of chocolate and orgasms by increasing your endorphin levels, until your brain realizes you’re no longer processing the stimulant, to either increase pleasure or decrease pain accordingly.  Because the body reacts similarly to endorphins as it does to opiates, when endorphin levels drop, the body begins to go through withdrawal.

I recognize my drops for what they are now.  Sometimes it’s a little bit of a pain to tell if they’re bipolar drops or endorphin drops.  The only sure fire way is for M to hit me.  If I’m still a bitch, it’s my “eccentricities” getting out of control.  But if hitting me betters my mood, it was almost definitely endorphin drop.

Generally speaking, these days, when I’m being snotty, I just ask Him to hit me.  One way or another, it adjusts my attitude.

There are all sorts of suggestions for getting through sub drop.  Some say it’s as easy as talking to an afflicted submissive, or eating a piece of chocolate.  Some cuddling or having sex.

But me? I usually need to be hurt.  Not a long session or serious pain.  A couple jabs to the thigh or slaps to the face usually do the trick.

I read an article somewhere about how curing sub drop with pain was like feeding a junkie.  Feed me, Seymour! Or… Master, rather.  =D

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  1. March 4th, 2010 at 21:03 | #1

    I bet I read the same article about the cure for sub drop was more pain. I liked that idea, that just a small release of endorphins helped soften the impact and drop of a huge play session. Lovely idea I think 🙂
    .-= lunaKM´s last blog ..Question 1: Pain Conflict =-.

  2. March 5th, 2010 at 11:07 | #2

    @lunaKM Me too!

  3. alwaysHistora
    March 5th, 2010 at 15:34 | #3

    i dunno. i think the concept of sub drop has been so distorted from it’s original roots in “runner’s highs” and other assorted beginnings that i’m not completely sold on the idea that a person is awash in morphine-like chemicals just because they have been hit a few times or what not. They say that runner’s only starts kicking in when the runner has gone beyond their normal capacity and has started damaging muscle tissue. Doesn’t sound like the most common Saturday Night Beat-Down to me.The amount of endorphins released in response to certain foods and many stimuli are almost imperceptible to the average human.

    Don’t get me wrong, i believe that to some people, especially those predisposed to addiction behaviors, the rush from the mental stimulation is just as alluring as the actual chemicals themselves. How many times has it been revealed that a person’s non-specific aches and pains are really from chemical depression?

    i worry that sub-drop has become a way for people to make normal living become special and treatable when there might be nothing wrong but a case of the tireds. Sounds so much cooler to say “i have sub-drop” then to say “i miss my master”.

  4. March 6th, 2010 at 16:03 | #4

    I think it makes a lot of sense, psychologically speaking – at least bio-psych speaking… And the logic of mini-endorphin releases does link well, after all when coming off tablets you don’t go cold turkey, so step down the dosage – so a little blast through again could work well…

    Either way, great post – thanks!
    LF x

  5. February 14th, 2012 at 13:48 | #5


    Thank you so much for all of the useful information on sub drop. I agree that a nice whipping would help the next day but it isn’t always feasible. Of course I miss Sir but that doesn’t account for those moments of crazy thought.

  6. February 16th, 2012 at 22:45 | #6

    @bonimiss Thank you for your comment and for crediting me in your post. 🙂

    I can’t imagine being in your situation. It must be very difficult for you. My best suggestion would be to find another way to channel the insanity kicking up a dust storm in your gut when you drop.

    As I mentioned in this post, there are a lot of other factors in play for M and me, like mental illness and past abuse. So, I’ve got so many coping mechanisms they’re coming out my ears! My go-tos are exercise and cleaning. Both work off an amazing amount of energy, raise the rate of endorphin production and take my mind off whatever (if anything) is bugging me.

    But if you’re looking for something more D/s related to keep the connection and feel of the scene alive a little longer, there are lots of other options. For example, sometimes M would have me do things like apply clothespins to my boobs or pussy and take pictures while he was at work so he could look at them when he got home. Maybe you could talk to your partner about something like that? You could make him videos or a sexy photo album to be kept at your place just for you two. The possibilities are endless!

    Hope this helps!

  7. bananalemon
    July 21st, 2012 at 18:47 | #7

    I want to say I recently went through an awful case of this. The thing that managed to pull me out of it was working out. That exercise till you’re exhausted, giggling, and happy point. Yum. I did still need some cuddling and closeness and talking with a friend. But the exercise basically cured me.

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