Reaction Space A Paradigm Shift in BDSMWithin the BDSM community we often talk about different forms of space, when the submissive reacts to a session she ends up in subspace and when the Dominant dominate he ends up in Domspace. Throughout the community, we refer to different types of headspaces which, simply stated, are different reactions that you get when subjected to all kinds of stimuli during a session.

What we rarely talk about any deeper psychological reactions that can occur after a session. We know that you may end up in a state which is reminiscent of a minor depression, something we call subdrop or domdrop, and we know that these reactions can be processed with good deal of aftercare. We often refer to warm blankets, the need for fluid and a lot of love after a hard session. The term aftercare is, in other words, intimately linked to dealing with the chemical reactions in the body and the time frame is usually a few hours after a session.

But what happens next?

My personal experience is the reactions of a submissive can go on for much longer than a few hours after a session, but above all, the reactions can go much deeper than we often think.

This is why, I believe why we should talk about what I define as reaction space.

There are clear explanation models within the BDSM referring to why the body reacts physically to a session where endorphins, adrenaline and dopamine are the usual suspects. Most models simply assumes the biopsychological perspective. The reason for this is debatable, but I believe it is because it is easier to embrace something that built on a positivist tradition – What we can measure, we can grasp and therefore it is true.

There is also a certain laziness in the BDSM community when it comes to discussing reactions from other psychological perspectives than the biopsychological and the effect is that we end up in a dead-end in terms of knowledge. The perspective you choose to start from is affecting how you look at different explanations and solutions. Unfortunately, the effect of the biopsychological perspective within the BDSM community is that we rarely talk about how to meet the psychological reactions from deeper level of psychological understanding. One example is that we often recommend people to talk to their submissive after a session to help the person to land on their two feet.

But the real question is how should you talk to your  submissive and what should you talk about?

In the BDSM community, there are few clear advice on how to talk to the submissive, usually the general advice is that you speak in a calmly and lovingly manner to your submissive. This advice might be a good general advice when we talk about the reactions immediately after a session, but what do you do when the submissive gets psychological reactions two weeks later or gets stuck in processing?

This where the laziness within the BDSM community becomes clear again.

We don’t to talk about deep or extreme reactions or how to process them using the Dominant partner as a facilitator because it’s a difficult part of the aftermath of a session. It is a process that has therapeutic elements that we do not talk about in general, maybe to avoid criticism. There are also Dominants who believe that dealing with this kind of process is part of their toolbox that they want to keep secret, reinforced by generalized statements like “If you don’t know how to take care of the reactions from your submissive,  then you shouldn’t be Dominant.”

How can we pass on the knowledge within BDSM community or develop it further if we do not broaden our perspectives?

By using the concept of reaction space, we can broaden the perspective to include more than the immediate reaction right after a session and we also get a space for a discussion around deeper psychological reactions followed by explanation models rooted in other perspectives than the chemistry of the human body.

Now is the time for a paradigm shift within the BDSM community.


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