Image originally posted as When We Are Asleep.
N.B: This blog post was inspired by an email from the Loving BDSM 30 Days of D/s. If you haven’t listened to their podcast yet please do so, you can also check out the website for great resources and links on how to listen or follow on social media.
For me, I have experienced three different kinds of headspace when engaging in kink activities, and all three are very different. There’s subspace, which is probably the one we hear reference to most often. Topspace, which is becoming more widely discussed. For me, there is also rope-space.
When we discussed this topic for the #ProudToBeKinky Podcast (Episode 19), my inclusion of rope-space caused us to have to restart the episode. The reason being Bakji flagrantly disagreed with me and I suspect he isn’t the only one. For me though, and only for me, it is an important distinction between subspace and rope-space. They are to me vastly different experiences.
I’ll talk a little bit further down about how I feel when I am lucky enough to reach these headspaces. What I will say though is they are most definitely an added bonus of my kinky fun and not my destination. I don’t always get the spacey feeling, both as a Top and bottom. Some people will space out really quickly and some people might have experienced it within their first few scenes of kink ever. Other people might never experience anything like what people describe as subspace and Topspace and that does not, and should not diminish how much fun they have with their kinks.
I have seen so many writing over my time on Fetlife and other platforms where people are asking for advice on how they can reach subspace. I specify subspace because it does seem to be the one people chase most often. While there will be recommendations made of what things might induce that spacey state, I do feel like people shouldn’t feel under pressure to try to experience it.
As someone who loves it when I do hit those headspaces, I will also honestly say that if I never managed to reach those spacey places again my kinky times would still be awesome and would in no way be any less satisfying because I hadn’t reached subspace or Topspace. While they might enhance a scene, or give a scene a different feel, I honestly don’t think it is the be all and end all of the kink experience.
One of my main recommendations for someone who is new to the kink scene and is curious about subspace is be very careful of who you chase that feeling with. You need to be certain that they will be capable and responsible enough to take care of you, when you will likely not be alert enough to take care of yourself. Your ability to communicate may be dramatically altered or in the case of some people removed completely, both myself and Bakji become a little incoherent when we space out, but many people will become totally non-verbal. You need a partner who understands and recognises this and who will therefore check in on you in other ways. You also need to know that you can trust them to play within negotiated limits and consents, because subspace is definitely not the time to be trying to negotiate new kinds of play.
Physical sensation is another reason picking the right play partner is important at all times, but especially if you are anticipating you might go a little spacey. During subspace my pain receptors just switch off, it’s a joyous thing, but also highly dangerous. I learnt this the hard way. In my very first BDSM encounter. As someone exploring my masochism for the first time, I was taken far beyond what I think was reasonable play. Why couldn’t I say so at the time? A combination of subspace, subfrenzy and lack of personal education on BDSM play.
To differentiate between how subspace and Topspace feel for me, I always feel like subspace is like a sedative and Topspace is like a stimulant. Subspace is floaty, warm and fuzzy and everything fades away. There is no world for me in subspace. If the world ended while I was in subspace I honestly don’t think I’d notice, or care. So long a Bakji is still present then my subspace will remain.
Topspace in contrast makes everything crisp and clear, and far from the world not existing, it 100% does exist and Topspace makes me feel like I could conquer it in it’s entirety. For me Topspace definitely becomes a more real possibility when the play between Bakji and I is a little more on the sadistic side. Sensual and loving Domination does not seem to trigger the same responses in me, as the ego driven power trip kind of Domination that we often engage in. Both are awesome, but it’s the second one that heightens my senses and make Topspace kick in.
The reason rope-space gets its own little category for me is that rope-bottoming is for me not equatable to submission. However, the dynamic between Rigger and rope bottom if done with someone I trust and with whom I enjoy rope independently of BDSM play will induce a spacey feeling all of its own. While it similar to subspace in that it does create a bubble for me where all that exists is Rigger, rope and me. It doesn’t come with the same floaty, warm, fuzzies that subspace does and it doesn’t render me as incoherent either. It does, however, encapsulate me and transport me to another realm of sensation and pleasure (or pain as the case may be with rope).
Another topic that ties in nicely with this topic is aftercare. Which I haven’t really covered on the blog yet, but I will make a note to revisit it soon. When you’ve experienced any kind of altered state within a scene, aftercare can become even more imperative than normal. Again this will vary from person to person, but knowing what aftercare you and your partner/s need is really important and can vastly improve the feelings of drop (more on this in my next post) that can sometimes occur after any scene, but in my experience can be far more intense after a scene during which I went spacey.
You can visit my 30 Days of D/s archives for more posts and you can also listen to episode 19 of ProudToBeKinky for further discussion of Topspace and subspace.