The Dark-side of Power Exchange; Vulnerability & Sub-drop

Recently I was reminded of something that happened to me a little over a year ago.

At the heart of any D/s relationship must be a core of absolute trust. This of course must go both ways but I’d like to focus on the trust that the submissive places in the Dominant. That as part of the power exchange, of the submissive becoming completely and utterly vulnerable there is an inherent right for that submissive to receive not just aftercare but not to have that trust exploited in the first place.

If that trust is not there, or it’s proved to be erroneous this places the submissive in a very dangerous emotional place. What should be a mutually fulfilling sexual or play experience can fast turn into a negative one of shame and abandonment. This can lead the submissive into very dark places, If she is especially unlucky it may lead to the dreaded drop.

What is inherent in the dynamic is that the submissive opens herself up totally emotionally to the Dominant. This is never so true during play, Of course, not all submissives’ experience the drop. It’s not a place I like to visit; it is dark. It is lonely. It is scary and most of all I now firmly believe that it is largely completely avoidable. I also believe that for me at least, sub drop is linked to non existent or poor quality aftercare. either directly after on in the following days. I also believe it is linked to a poor quality or fundamentally lop-sided power exchange.

I never dropped when I was with my ex husband; my first Dom. We of course lived together and having grown up together; we knew each other inside and out.

However, the dynamic with my second Dom was different. Our time together was limited. This meant that play sessions were often cut short. Unfortunately; perhaps the most important aspect of the session was often missing or severely truncated; that of aftercare.

I used to drive away from our meetings feeling down and deflated. Like I had left part of myself behind; as if I was hollow somehow. Most of all; I didn’t feel good enough. I did everything I could; I tried everything to make myself feel better; chocolates, journaling, blankets, trying not to focus. Nothing seemed to work. I knew that after a day or so it would pass, which it did. And then it would happen again.

One day; after a session but this time over a webcam, I heard the words, “Well that was OK but it could have been better if you had…”, I didn’t really hear the end of what he was saying. I had just had a great experience and now I wanted reassurance. I was in an altered state but I was also vulnerable; ever so vulnerable. I had stripped myself bare, physically and emotionally. I had done everything he asked of me. I wore the outfit he asked for, got out the toys he wanted, listened to instruction. But it wasn’t enough.

I wasn’t good enough.

I went from euphoria into the pits in precisely 0.2 seconds. And the worst thing was that he wasn’t even there. I was all alone. I had reached out for the aftercare that I thought I was owed at a time when I was raw and instead received critisicsm. Not.Good.Enough.

And then I saw how little I meant to him. I was an animated sex doll put there solely for his amusement. It didn’t matter that I was giving everything of myself. That I was in fact breaking myself just to make him happy. What mattered is that he got what he wanted.

Needless to say I dropped horrendously. It’s that kind of thing which stays with you as a submissive. Makes it a little less likely that you will completely open up; completely trust ever again. Bruises fade but the scars left from inconsiderate care stay with you a lifetime.

That dynamic was obviously abusive. But it can still occur within normal relationships. I have read a few pieces recently which aim to highlight (written by male Dominants actually) on the importance of treating submissives as real people; women that are kinky but are deserving of respect. “She is a submissive but not your submissive”, they trill. The trouble is with this kind of writing is that invariably are preaching to the converted. The type of male dominant who will read a piece of writing such as that is also likely not to abuse in the first place.

Yes submissives are of course real people with real feelings. But even inside genuine D/s relationships that can be moments where submissives can become terribly damaged psychologically.

An inconsiderate word or a lack of care or reassurance can leave a scar greater than that of a cat-o-nine tails.

So, dominants I urge you to think twice after a scene; when you see your submissive looking at you with those big eyes which we do so well, no matter what your own feelings are about what just happened, remember that she has just put herself on the line for you. Just hold her and say the two words she needs to hear. “Good Girl”.

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