Subspace. We’ve all heard of it and some of us have experienced it. If you are unfamiliar with what it is I highly suggest you read my article about it here on Kink Weekly. However, I get asked in class when I speak to subspace if there is an equivalent for D-types. Yes, there is such a thing as Topspace or Dom(me)space. However, this is something you hear much less about. Not only do you hear less about it, but it also seems to occur less often than subspace. Why is that? I have a theory.
This theory is my own personal opinion based on what I know of subspace and having experienced Topping. Have I gone out and researched it? Nope. Have I interviewed 100 D-types about it looking for common threads? Nope. So take this for what it’s worth and, if you’re really interested, do more research. If you do, and find more interesting tidbits – please leave them in the comment section below!
Ok, so let’s use subspace as a starting point. In general, subspace refers to an s-type’s reaction to various chemicals being released in their system. The closest vanilla activity I can compare it to is a runner’s high. In both scenarios the individual is pushing past, or through, a painful sensation – allowing the aforementioned chemicals (adrenaline, endorphins, etc.) to kick in. These chemicals give a natural high feeling and increase pain tolerance. If you have experienced either you know that you also have to allow yourself to relax into, or give into this chemical change in your body in order to feel the full effects. As I mentioned in my previous article about subspace, everyone experiences it differently.
So with that subspace refresher, here is why I think Topspace is more difficult for people to achieve. When you’re Topping you are focused on numerous things – where you want the scene to go, how your bottom is doing, which implement you’re using, your aim, your surroundings, etc. When you are that focused and “in your head”, it is much more difficult to let go, or “give in”, to the chemicals being released. You may still have endorphins and adrenaline pumping through your system however, there is a huge psychological component to achieving Topspace. For a runner if all you keep focusing on are the components of running – how tight your shoes are, worry about a lace coming undone, the pain in your right knee, concern about which direction you’re headed or if you’ll become lost on your trail, etc – you won’t ever allow yourself to get out of your head and give in to that runner’s high. The act of running has to become second nature so that you aren’t thinking about it anymore. That’s when you can start to “fly”, so to speak.
This is why I typically hear of D-types who have a lot of experience speaking of getting “spacey”. They have enough experience to where what they are doing is second nature. Flogging, spanking, or whatever they love just comes naturally and they don’t have to think very much about what they’re doing. They can let go and allow those chemicals to take over and feel all floaty after a scene just like s-types.
I think it takes a long time, and/or a lot of experience to get to the point that a D-type can get there, for their play to really become second nature – which is why we hear of it less often than subspace. It’s like getting in your car and arriving home, not remembering the drive. Because driving and your route home have become something you no longer have to consciously think about. Once a Top can say that about their play, they are much more likely to experience Topspace.
Jennifer Masri is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in Alternative Lifestyles for individual and relationship issues. She also teaches the BDSM 101 class series at Sanctuary LAX in Los Angeles every Monday evening. Read more about Jennifer on her blog, A Kink Shrink.
Im glad I found this article. As a newer Dom I have been reviewing my subs journal and the most recent entry was her research into subspace. As her Dominant I have looked into subspace but never understood my own feelings so well put.. During our first and every subsequent scene I found interesting is how the ritual of the experience is my favorite. The hanging of chains, setting out of toys, restraints, and the like. Walking around my submissive planning my actions. How will I immobilize this arm, can I rig the chains to manipulate her throat during the scene. Then the act of implementing that plan. As I’m almost always in a suit, the removal of my belt and tie for use. The sound of my shoes clacking on the floor mixed with breathing and anticipation. I shake and my mind goes sharp. It’s the mental aspect as much as the physical. Its the dominant version of subspace and I’m so glad someone put this and all the other information out there. While my acceptance of myself as a sadist/Dominant is newer its been there all my life. These articles helped us more than I can explain.
Jenn Masri says
I am so glad this article was able to help you make some connections! Thank you for your feedback! 🙂
Interesting. The first time I did a rope scene as a top, I felt buzzy afterward…almost like I’d had a couple of drinks, even though I was sober. It was pretty heady and I was surprised by it.
I just found this article because I just experienced coming out of Topspace and wanted to see if this was a thing. I just had a scene with my partner over text and afterwards as she was calming down I noticed I was also feeling spacey and blissed out even without touching myself. I have never experienced this before as a top until today.
Master M Zahn says
Im Master Zahn of Ontario. I give lectures on the topic of BDSM and alternative lifestyle culture. Im a Master by study. Dom Space is a thing though rarely covered with Sub Space.
In my view Dom Space is a state where the Dominate starts acting without the need of forethought in the action, but while still keeping their Submissive’s safety in the foreground. A Dom who enters Dom Space, Unlike a Sub, does not fully loose themselves but the sense of the Dom and Sub being separate beings may blur.
Jenn Masri says
I love your description of Top/Dom space! Thank you for commenting!
Glad I could help! lol 🙂
Thank you both for your comments! I’m so glad this is getting positive feedback so far and that my theory has some validity! 🙂
Kinky Contessa says
I can’t wait to write about my own experiences, I had never put a name to Topspace until I read this but it really helped me organize my thinking on the matter.
Kinky Contessa says
I completely agree and have actually been considering this for a while. I am actually interested in writing a follow up to this about my own experiences with Topspace
We’d love to hear about it! Email us at email@example.com
Yes Yes Yes, thank you for this! Some people don’t believe it’s true. It only makes sense that the endorphin rush can go both ways!