Drop & Aftercare
If you've hung around any kink discussion group long enough, you'll hear the terms "sub drop" and "aftercare" thrown around. You might also hear the rarely-discussed "dom drop" while you're there, too. While none of these terms are about kinks (at least, I'm not aware of anyone who has a kink for any of those!), they're still some of the important basics of kink – and just as important to know about as what "top" or "bottom" means.
So what is aftercare - or dom drop or sub drop? Is it important enough to spend as much time as we do talking about it? If you get drop, how do you combat it - and how does aftercare help reduce the chances of drop?
Let's get into it.
What is "Drop"?
Essentially, doing lots of super-intense, kinky, intimate stuff lights up our brains in the best of ways. That's part of why we all keep doing it. For some people, types of consensual pain translate into pleasure - and/or sexual arousal! For others, getting to explore their kinks feels really rewarding - and fulfilling – all on its own. And, of course, we can't forget to account for how intimate and trusting kink can feel - and how vulnerable exploring kink and delving down into the deepest reaches of your soul is.
All of those things come together in a heady cocktail of brain chemicals that can leave you "flying high" - completely naturally. However, where there's a "high", there has to be a return back to "everyday" - and that's essentially drop in a nutshell.
If you don't think you've experienced "drop" before (and that's totally normal!), I'd liken it to getting back from the best two-week vacation of your life - and the next day, you need to head into your usual routine at your usual job - and it's a rough day at work. You likely feel pretty frustrated, possibly lonely, very sad - and really, really missing the life you were living just a few days ago.
You might have experience "drop" from other activities you enjoy, too - it isn't just exclusive to kink! If camping is your passion, and you get back from a whirlwind weekend trip, you can feel some drop about going back to everyday life. Even if your activity was just a few hours long (like being immersed in an amazing, hours-long 5-course dinner if you're a foodie), you can still get some drop when everything is said and done - and you're plopped back into the life you usually lead.
Generally, people find that "drop" feels more intense after longer periods of immersion. If you attend a weekend kink conference takeover, you're more-likely to experience a heavier drop than if you just completed an hour-long scene. Every person is different, but in general, the same person will find that their "drop" will hit harder when the immersion and intensity of the activity were stronger.
That brings us to the next point about "drop"; it doesn't always happen. Don't assume that your scene wasn't amazing (or that you didn't play hard enough!) just because you don't end up getting a drop afterwards. The "drop" usually happens for a few uncontrollable reasons:
- You had to go back to regular, everyday life suddenly - hence the "drop". If you had a bit of time to come-down from the experience, you might find this factor lessened.
- Your brain chemicals just really, really aren't cooperating that day. Sometimes the brain can be a bit of a butthead, and we don't get much of a say about that.
- You were very fueled by the experience in some manner - and it really "hit the spot" for whatever needs you had had - like social, sexual, vulnerable, etc.
You can also experience some gentler forms of "drop" in a short-term basis. You might feel some of the same "drop" sensations just minutes after your play partner leaves, and you're back to being alone again - without any of the kinky fuckery they had just brought into your life moments ago.
Do Tops/Doms Get Drop?
Yep! While we spend a lot of time talking about care for the bottom-side of the slash, people on the top side of things can experience a lot of the same sensations. Drop for a Dom-leaning person may feel different - or it may feel exactly the same.
Regardless, Tops/Doms can get drop too - and this should always be kept in mind when you're talking about drops from BDSM. It isn't just exclusive to subs!
Tips for Dealing with Drop
BDSM drop sucks to deal with - but a lot of people consider it a worthwhile downside for the kinky, intense scenes they get to enjoy. Dealing with drop requires knowing yourself. To kidnap a word from the trending vernacular: it's a lot about knowing your own self-care needs.
"Drop" is all about your brain missing the intense enjoyment it found during kink scenes - and you essentially just need to coddle it, treat it with love, and try to feed it comforting, enjoyable experiences - and drop will slowly go away.
Your "drop" may stick around longer if your kink experience was extremely immersive. For most people, though, the "drop" won't last longer than a few days - and for most, the worst of it can be over within a single evening. Just taking care of yourself - and getting through the lethargy your brain is giving you, is the goal of dealing with drop.
So here are some tips for dealing with sub drop and dealing with dom drop:
- Stay Around Supportive Others: One of the biggest tips for drop happens to be surrounding yourself with other supportive people. They don't need to know about your kink life - but something about interacting with others - or having someone to hug you when you say you're feeling down - can help distract us from ruminating on some of the darker thoughts that might pop up while we're in drop. Peer pressure is awfully effective, too, and you might find that your friend group can convince you to go out and do something to distract yourself - while your solo self would have had a heck of a time making that happen.
- Do Things You Love: Essentially, distract yourself. What are some of your favorite hobbies? Do you have some DIY projects sitting around half-finished? What are some things you could do to force your brain to focus on external things instead of its internal strife? A really-engaging movie (and delicious treats) can be a good option for this.
- Know Your Self-Care Needs: If you don't already have a list of things that "feed" your energy written down somewhere, I recommend making one. Knowing what activities feed you before you're sad can be really helpful to dealing with the feelings when they pop up - and giving the logical side of the brain some help with forcing you into the soft blankets in your favorite cuddle pile when all you feel like doing is lamenting about how much you miss your last scene. Your self-care can come a variety of forms, but knowing what self-care for you makes the difference.
- Consider Journaling: This may or may not be helpful for you. For some people, journaling can lead into ruminating habits (which is what we call it when your brain just keeps rehashing negative thoughts - which makes you sadder - which makes you rehash the negative thoughts again over and over and over). For others, however, getting all of their thoughts and feelings onto paper can help them connect with the emotions - and feel more comfortable exploring them and letting them "go". Essentially, some people do better with attempting to distract themselves until their brains are back to their usual setpoints - while others will find it easier to explore some of the negative sensations to feel more comfortable "accepting" that the feelings are temporary. Figure out which side you fall on.
- Reduce Drastic Kink-to-Vanilla Transitions: If you're removing the collar just minutes before the two of you need to be separated, you're setting yourself up for more drastic drops in all of those delicious, emotional brain feelings. Instead, if you find yourself regularly suffering from drop, consider a cooling down period - just like a cool-down after a workout. Spend that time coming down from the scene, having some casual conversation, and gently connecting with one another outside of sex/kink before trying to head back to everyday life.
Wait - isn't that just aftercare?
To an extent, yep! Aftercare is a must-have for a lot of people (not everyone!). Not only does it give both people time to "return to Earth" after such an intense experience, but it also reduces how drastically the "drop" is going to be after the scene. If you have the best scene of your life, toss on your pants, and just head home with no downtime, you're likely to experience some pretty intense drop. Instead, we put "aftercare" after the scene to help pad that transition from scene-to-functioning-human again.
Just like the name implies, aftercare is "care" you give "after" the scene or play session is over. Aftercare can look really different for everyone, but the most important aspect is that it's something both of you have discussed - and you both know what type of aftercare the other person finds important.
A "common" aftercare recommendation is just simply after-scene cuddles and snuggles. For a lot of people, that connecting, skin-to-skin touch is exactly what they need to help come back to Earth after play. Others may prefer to be left alone - with a blanket and some snacks - for their aftercare - but to have their partner check-in on them and make sure they're doing okay after a set period of time. Lots of people are somewhere in-between; again, it really varies by person!
I'm more of a cerebral person than a touchy person, so my aftercare generally looks like some sort of shared space (maybe a limb touching or two) while we both discuss how it felt, what we liked, and what we'd improve. While my aftercare looks "different" than a lot of aftercare, both styles are totally awesome, and the important part is that you're setting aside (and prioritizing!) the time to do the aftercare in the first place.
Pulling It All Together
So, we've learned that aftercare is vital - and one of the easiest ways to help reduce the intensity of drop after your favorite kinky scenes. We've talked about what drop is - and you have some good ways to help combat drop.
Drop, whether sub, dom, or switch, just happens to be a natural part of kink. It isn't a bad thing! Think of it more like the inevitable return back to "real" life (which feels like a drop) - because your scenes and kink were so good!
When you start to frame drop like a normal part of kink play, it stops being so much of a monster in the closet - and just starts being something you can openly prepare for and expect. In turn, that makes the drop less severe and easier to deal with.
Mistress Kay lives in the world of sexuality and kink. With a house that's quickly running out of space for things that aren't sex books and sex toys, she spends what free time she has writing femdom help articles (http://kinky-world.net/category/bdsm-advice/femdom-advice/), trying the latest and greatest in sex toys, and exploring the sexual universe with her partners. She can be reached at Kinky World (http://kinky-world.net/).