Subspace (also sub space, headspace, flying, or floating), in the context of BDSM, is the psychological state the bottom's mind is in during a deeply involved (physical) play scene. Deep subspace is a trance-like state often characterized by insensibility to pain, recession and incoherence.
The phenomenon is believed to be caused both by the physical and the psychological aspects of BDSM play.
During the scene, the intense experiences of both pain and pleasure trigger a sympathetic nervous system response, which causes a release of epinephrine from the suprarenal glands, as well as a dump of endorphins and enkephalins. These natural chemicals produce the same effect as a morphine-like drug, increasing the pain tolerance of the bottom partner as the scene becomes more intense. Producing a sort of trance-like state due to the increase of hormones and chemicals, the bottom starts to feel out-of-body, detached from reality, and as the high comes down, and the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in, a deep exhaustion, as well as incoherence. Many bottoms once reaching a height of subspace will lose all sensation of pain, as any stimulus causes the period to prolong.
Deep subspace may also cause a danger in newer bottoms who are unfamiliar with the experience, and require the top to keep a careful watch to ensure the bottom isn't placing him or her self in danger. Many bottoms require aftercare while returning from subspace.
A related but different concept, bottom space, refers to the mental shift when submitting to a partner during BDSM. Bottom space is not so much about happy passive trance but more about ego reduction.
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