To his sub, he’s powerful. (I use he/him because for me, my Dom is male). He’s her protector. He keeps her safe and is the source of her sexual pleasure. They indulge each other’s sexual cravings. He cares for her emotional, mental, and physical well-being. Does this power and responsibility take its toll on him? The answer is yes, it can, and the toll can be immense.
As a sub, you may notice your Dom push you away. Maybe he isn’t as responsive in conversation or text. You may think that you have done something wrong or that he isn’t pleased with you. You start to overthink. You go over the scene (as much as you can recall) and wonder what you did wrong, what happened that could have displeased your Dom enough for him to pull away.
But the thing is, it may be something else entirely. More than likely, that’s what it is. And it’s something that isn’t talked about much because Doms are expected to be strong and always in control. At least that’s the perception. Doms are supposed to stay strong and never show weakness, even though they are in fact only human. All humans have feelings, including negative ones and they are valid in having them.
He is human and as a sub it is important to remember that your Dom carries a heavy load. Their burden is great. And even though they have a suit of emotional armor, you need to learn to recognize when they drop. Yep, you read that right. Doms can drop in the same way that subs do. The same way that we need their support and care to come back up from drop to level out, they need that same help from us.
Before we can talk about Dom Drop, we need to define Dom space. Sub space is this magical place that happens during playtime. In subspace, depending on how deep you go, you can feel like you're floating as you move to a part of your headspace that increases your pain tolerance, helps you let go of inhibitions, and helps you get to your most highly suggestive and submissive space. Sometimes you lose time or have difficulty putting events in order when you try and recall a scene. You have the trust in your Dom to care for you so you can let go.
Doms experience the same euphoric high. As defined by kinkly.com, Dom Space is “Dom space is an intense, altered state of consciousness that a dominant person may feel during a BDSM scene.” While subs can succumb to the euphoria and really let go, the Dom must keep part of his head grounded in order to recognize safe words and maintain the submissive’s safety. He must do this to protect her from physical harm. It is a sacred trust between Dominant and submissive that healthy Doms do not take for granted.
Doms have the same high, but then they come down, too. And their crash can be just as intense as sub drop, if not worse. Dom/Top drop is defined as “an after-effect that may be experienced by a dominant after they have finished with their submissive. This effect is usually characterized by a feeling of guilt or depression.”
These feelings can lead to behaviors that can make the sub feel as though they did something wrong. The Dom can retreat, pushing her away as he tries to reconcile his feelings about what happened during the scene. It’s a logical question that can lead to drop. How can you get off on hurting the person you care about most?
There are so many different things that can trigger Dom drop. Of course, there are the physical reasons; there is a biochemical response to a scene with your partner. During a scene, emotions are heightened. Adrenaline and endorphins build as the scene comes to a head. Once the scene is over, the Dom is still working. He is ensuring that you are ok. He’s providing aftercare. He’s cleaning up.
They can be physically sore from the exertion during play and mentally exhausted from having to stay in control enough to protect the sub from any harm.
A Dom can also have emotional triggers. When a Dom and sub spend time together and then physically separate for a multitude of reasons, including a long-distance relationship, this can lead to the Dom missing his sub and that emotional disconnect can lead to drop.
One Dom explained that the drop came from his sub called him the wrong name. Both the Dom and sub are polyamorous and had other partners. Even though it was an honest mistake by the sub, as he explained it, it sent him reeling into depression like he had never known before.
Another Dom was so ruled by his fear of losing his ideal sub, that he was hesitant to have playtime with his submissive. He told her that the loss of his other sub was so traumatic, that when he found that perfect relationship again, he wanted to protect it at all costs. Even if that meant to deny a big part of who he was. This is an extreme case, but it can happen.
The ethics and morality that we’ve learned from youth also play a role in Dom Drop. We are taught from a young age that hitting is wrong. Men shouldn’t ever hit a woman. We shouldn’t call people, especially people that we love, derogatory names like bitch, slut, whore, slave. Yet, the person we care deeply for has asked to be hit. Has asked to be tied up and used. Has asked for consensual non-consent. Has asked to be called awful things that are completely against everything that’s been ingrained in us to call people we care about. That dichotomy can lead to guilt.
Dom Drop is like sub drop in many ways, but mainly that it’s not usually a permanent state of affairs. The amount of time that it can last or take to manifest varies from Dom to Dom and from incident to incident.
The biggest problem that can arise from Dom Drop is when the drop isn’t recognized. This isn’t necessarily the Dom or the submissive’s fault. As it’s not a terribly common occurrence, it’s easy not to know what the signs of drop are. If the Dom suddenly pushes the sub away, the sub may think that they did something that was wrong or displeasing to their Dom. Feeling like you have disappointed your Dom is a crushing feeling that can leave you thinking horrible thoughts about yourself that are completely untrue.
When communication breaks down because the Drop isn’t recognized or discussed, it can lead to a whole host of problems with the dynamic that took time to build. Trust can be broken. Insecurities can rear their head. The play may become stale and simply be just going through the motions. It can become too light or too heavy. He may be afraid of being able to control himself and so he holds back.
Much like everything else in the BDSM lifestyle, aftercare needs to be talked about and agreed upon. Trust and communication are the cornerstones of the Dom/sub relationship. When your Dom seems to be feeling down or maybe not just quite right, try and encourage him to talk about his feelings the same way that he wants you to talk about yours.
What if he doesn’t want to talk about it? If that’s the case, then you need to learn to recognize what Dom Drop looks like for him. It could look like any of these:
If you notice your Dom exhibiting any of these symptoms or behaviors, you should try to do things to help them know that you are still there and you are ok. Reassurance is very important.
One Dom shares his experience in this article. He explains that sometimes the drop is different every time. One of the big takeaways that I got from his article and what he also shared in a podcast that what he did with his submissive, was to not stop being a Dom. He remembered his rules and protocols. He said it’s a lot like riding a horse, when you fall down, you need to stand up, dust yourself and get back on.
Another Dom explains how drop feels. He equates it to a crash from caffeine or the way that “you deflate at the end of a long work day. And you’re in this funk you can’t get out of.” It’s like a cloud that you can’t get out from under. His article is geared towards other Doms. His big piece of advice for Doms experiencing drop is to give it time and practice self-care.
Sometimes the drop is inevitable. But like anything, you can try and do what you can to prevent it or at least minimize the impact of the drop on your Dom.
The first thing is to have an idea of the type of aftercare that your Dom needs. This should be done and agreed upon before any playtime happens. Some things that you can include in aftercare for him:
Dom Drop is a very sensitive subject. Remind your Dom as you are discussing this topic that you see that knowing about what he needs will help make you a better submissive. You’ll know better how to serve him, and the result will be a stronger connection between the two of you.
I say this as a word of caution, Dom Drop can be something that your Dom is embarrassed by. Some men really struggle with talking about feelings. After all, he is supposed to be in control and not seen as weak or emotional. Use kid gloves when talking about it. Pepper the conversation with care and reassurance.
A note to you as a submissive, be sure that you know the difference between healthy Dom behavior and toxic Dom behavior. Sometimes you may think that it’s Dom Drop, when in fact it’s merely a toxic Dom playing an abusive game where he abandons you or ignores you.
You’ve done everything you can to prevent the drop from happening, but it happened anyway. Now what are you supposed to do? What tricks can you pull out to help your Dom feel better?
There are a few things that you can do to help them with their drop. The first is touch. Touch him in a way that works for your dynamic. Perhaps that means you put your head in his lap. Maybe you lay with your head on his chest and cuddle, wrapping yourself around him. You could give them a massage to help ease any muscle tension that they have. Not all touch has to be sexual. It simply needs to be comforting.
You can also try words and phrases to reassure your Dom. Here are some phrases that you could actually use or maybe give you an idea of what to say:
They are all such simple things to say, but combine them with a gentle voice, soft touch, and a look of affection it could be enough to pull your Dom from the depths of his drop, especially if the scene was especially intense or long in duration.
Another suggestion that I found in all of my research was to let your Dom care for you. Tell him things that you need to feel better. You could ask him to get your blanket, hold you. Let him know that you are thirsty or hungry. Allowing him to feel needed and provide loving and tender care can remind him how much you want him to be the one to care for you. Let him provide for you.
A couple of things that I found in this blog post written by a friend of mine (he’s a Dom), where things I hadn’t thought of. They are a bit unorthodox but can work. I know that I would want to pull my Dom out of a hole if he was in it
One of them was to be willing to break the rules or protocols set between you and your Dom. This could be staying when you are supposed to leave. “If they lash out at you... tell them lashing out is not ok but you will accept it from them as proof of your devotion.” Stand your ground, and make sure that he knows that he means enough to you that you are willing to break the rules.
The other suggestion that Hanz had seemed to be reserved for extreme cases of drop. The suggestion is to reach out to another Dom to help talk your Dom through the drop and help bring him out. This is risky, and, like I said, for extreme cases of drop. You will need to share with someone outside of your Dom/sub relationship what is going on. Your Dom takes this as a breach of trust and there are consequences for breaking trust.
First, I think you are brave for looking for reasons why you feel off or maybe how to help your submissive understand what is happening.
Second, you may want to prepare a self-care routine in the same way that you would want your submissive to have one. If being alone or being away from your sub is one of the things that you need to do, you’ll want to consider getting a comfort item or find someone to take over some of your Dom responsibilities while you get your head straight. While this is an extreme coping method, you want to make sure your sub doesn’t feel like they did something wrong.
You could try doing things that bring you joy. Maybe it’s listening to music, reading a book, or watching a funny movie.
It’s also ok to talk to your submissive about what you are thinking and what you are feeling. I get it, Doms aren’t supposed to show weakness or let their submissive worry about them. Speaking as a submissive, we want to know, and we worry regardless. If anything, we see you as more dominant, more real, if you expose your vulnerable side to us. Remember that the bravest things that anyone can do is ask for what they need.
A relationship is a two-way street and takes communication. She wants to be included the same way that you want to be. Dominant/submissive relationships require communication. Talk about what worked in the scene, what felt good in the scene, and then talk about what didn’t work for the two of you. Some call it roses (good) and thorns (bad). Other circles call it start (what to start), stop (what to never do again), and continue (what you should keep doing).
The rules, so to speak, for a long-distance D/s relationship are not too different from the ones when you are face to face. Just like in traditional relationships, communication is key. If you or your Dom recognizes that they are going into drop, talk about it.
The first way that you can help a Dom from a distance is to reassure him that you are ok. Or reassure him that the things that he wants to do to you are ok. Remind him that you care for him or love him if that’s the case.
The next thing you can do is describe to him what you would do with him to bring him comfort if you were physically with him. One Reddit user commented that she “I would let you sit on the sofa, gently crawl on your lap, stealing a soft tender kiss as I do that. I would wrap my arms around you and hold you very tight. I would nuzzle my nose in the crook of your neck and place my head on your shoulder. I would give you gentle kisses and in between I would tell you nice things. I would say that I love you and that I find you attractive. I would say that I love your words.” By saying these things to him (voice is better, but if text is all you got, then use it), she was able to help him out of that space and back to level.
Being a Dominant comes with a high level of responsibility. The Dom is responsible for planning scenes, caring for the sub, staying in control enough to respond accordingly, and then clean up afterwards. Being the caretaker for someone else’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being comes at a price. Even though all the terms are agreed upon, it’s one thing to talk about inflicting pain or pushing someone’s limits and seeing what that actually looks like.
Dominant/submissive relationships are built on a strong foundation of trust. As a submissive, I trust that my Dominant will care for me. My hope is that in return, my Dom trusts me to care for him when necessary. That’s part of the deal. Give and take. It’s a balance, not a weakness. And truth- your vulnerability makes you stronger and makes me have a greater respect for you.