It is rather common for new members of the community to find this world exciting and enjoyable. However as with most things, Power Exchange should be practice in moderation and with due consideration to important factors.
Over the years House Sanguine has witnessed our fair share of individuals that find themselves in this state, and eventually come back having learned a lesson. Reading the below information can make the difference between learning things the easy, or the hard way.
Written By: Kate Kinsey © 2014
What is it? How do I know if I have it? How do I deal with it?
Sub-frenzy is a phenomenon that affects many new submissives. It’s that first rush of overwhelming, consuming desire to experience every kind of kink, as soon as possible, often to the point of neglecting all other concerns. Most of us have thought about submission long before we ever have the nerve to go looking for it, and when we do, it’s often like someone dropped a bomb in the middle of our world. You can become consumed by it. BDSM is all you can think about.
Is there really a difference between sub-frenzy and simple enthusiasm?
Yes, because the particular factors involved can be so intense that a submissive’s judgment and instinct for self-preservation can be impaired. You can be really enthusiastic about cooking, but the chances of physical injury from too much baking are pretty slim. Being enthusiastic and intensely interested is fine; it’s when you let that enthusiasm cloud your judgment that sub-frenzy becomes dangerous. In extreme cases, a submissive may risk not just health and safety, but their jobs and family. Submission involves some very powerful magic, both physically and emotionally. You need to proceed slowly as you learn about your own needs, your reactions, your tolerances and desires.
What are the signs and symptoms of sub-frenzy?
Basically, it’s when you’re going too fast and taking too many risks. You’re doing things that, a year from now, you will look back on and ask yourself, “What the fuck was I thinking?”
- playing too soon with someone you just met;
- playing too often (you don’t take time between plays to process mentally and emotionally, or to heal physically);
- engaging in types of play that you haven’t educated yourself about enough to know what’s safe, what’s not and or even if it’s something you really want to do;
- you agree to everything, with everybody;
- you don’t ask questions or make any demands of your own;
- you meet strangers in private, often without telling anyone where you’re going or who you will be with.
Some prefer the term “candy store syndrome” because newbie submissives are like kids in a candy store. We want it all, and we want it all now, and we don’t care that we might rot our teeth, or end up with a stomachache, or in a sugar coma.
Why do we believe this “frenzy” applies mostly to submissives? Don’t tops/dominants experience this kind of extreme enthusiasm that could impair their judgment?
No one denies that new dominants/tops can experience their own challenges and lapses in judgment. But the level of “frenzy” is more acute for submissives, and the factors that cause it are different, for several reasons.
It is the submissive, not the top, who is flooded with interest and offers from the moment she first puts a profile online or ventures out to her first munch.
Newbie submissives are often referred to as “fresh meat.” Some of the invitations are respectful and helpful, while others may be vulgar or downright insulting.
New tops simply do not have the opportunities that a submissive does. Reality and limited opportunity puts the brakes on most tops. It’s hard to fall prey to “frenzy” when you are struggling to find any play at all.
2) Endorphins and altered states
Endorphins are a group of morphine-like hormones secreted by the brain when the body is under unusual stress, such as during a “scene” or “play” involving a prolonged flogging or spanking. These hormones fit into the brain’s opioid receptors and stimulate them to fire, producing tranquilizing and pain-killing properties that help induce a sort of euphoria. Marathon runners, for example, talk about the “runners’ high” that comes from pushing their bodies to extremes during competition.
A submissive tends to experience profound altered states while most tops/dominants do not, because, obviously, the submissive is on the receiving end of extreme sensation while the dominant is only delivering it. The endorphin high in itself can be addictive and judgment-impairing.
3) A submissive nature
Submissives want to let someone else take control, and they want to please. While this is part of what makes a submissive so much fun, it also makes it very easy for them to feel like it’s not their place to question, or ask or demand. When you add in all the uncertainty of inexperience, it is very easy for a submissive to get in over her head.
This is NOT to say that submissives are “naturally” victims! But the nature of their desires make it more likely that they can be manipulated, much more so than the top/dominant.
Most new submissives (and even some more experienced ones) are still trying to get their heads around the idea that being submissive does not mean they are submissive to everybody.
4) Level of physical risk
We also call it “sub-frenzy” because the submissive/bottom is the one at a drastically more pronounced physical risk than the top. The submissive is the one being struck, stuck, slapped, poked, prodded, shocked, tied up, choked, beaten, dangled, hogtied, blindfolded and otherwise rendered helpless on the receiving end of possible physical harm.
But that’s not to say that tops are not at some level of risk from sub-frenzy. This is another reason why it is imperative that dominants be aware of the phenomenon and watch out for it.
How does sub-frenzy put a top/dominant at risk?
A top who plays with someone in a frenzy state may find themselves dealing with a lot of misunderstandings that, even if they don’t result in a serious accident, can still result in tears and drama from an unhappy submissive who puts all the blame squarely on his shoulders. At worst, the top may find a policeman knocking on his door, or rumors circulating that he is not a “safe” player. At the very least, the dominant gets a ruined play that doesn’t satisfy anybody.
It is a potentially damaging double standard that some submissives feel they can skip carefree from play to play and leave all the responsibility for safety and education to the top. That’s just not true, and it’s not fair, and it doesn’t lead to better play for anybody.
When both dominants and submissives are aware of sub-frenzy, hopefully it encourages both to communicate as honestly as possible and make better decisions.
How do you deal with sub-frenzy?
1) Gather knowledge.
Just knowing that there’s a name for what you’re going through can be enormously helpful. It helps to know that you are not actually losing your mind, and that other people have been through it.
Gathering as much knowledge on BDSM in general is also a good idea. The more you know about safety and terminology, the more you know the right questions to ask potential partners.
2) Build a support system.
Find other submissives, either real time or online; join discussion groups; attend munches. First, find friends and THEN find play partners.
3) Play with friends.
Find a trusted friend or “service” top who can take the edge off your intensity with friendly play to gain some of the experience you want and need. Or you can find local play parties where there are dungeon monitors and other people around to look out for you.
4) Use “safe calls.”
A safe call is a method where you check in with another person who knows where you are going, who you are meeting and when they should expect to hear from you again. If you don’t check in at the arranged time, or if you use a pre-arranged code phrase to indicate you are in some kind of distress or danger, your contact person calls for help. A safe call is NOT foolproof, but its better than no plan at all.
It’s true. You can get an endorphin “fix” from aerobics or kickboxing or whatever form of exercise you enjoy, or (let’s be honest!) any exercise that you can stand to do.
6) Keep a journal.
Write it out! Journaling will also be very useful in processing the emotions that go along with BDSM play.
7) Follow the signs.
Take a sheet of notebook paper, then get a magic marker and write, in great big letters, SLOW THE FUCK DOWN. Tape it to your bathroom mirror.
Other advice for new submissives
1) Read, read, study, ask questions, read some more.
Best and fastest first read: SM 101 by Jay Wiseman. Knowledge is your first and best defense against harm and bad decisions. Screw the Roses is also very good.
2) DO NOT be so eager to play or find a dominant that you accept the first one that comes along.
3) Beware of anyone who says:
- “I want to collar you now.”
- “I don’t want you talking to other dominants.”
- “If you were a true submissive, you’d do what I want.”
- “You must have no limits to be my slave.”
- “You don’t need a safe word with me; I don’t allow them.”
Or anyone who:
- Insists on a private first meeting: hotel room, his home or yours.
- Expects or insists on playing at the first meeting.
- Expects or insists that “play” include sex if you don’t want it to.
4) DO NOT be so eager to play or find a dominant that you accept the first one that comes along.
Did I already say this once? Well, it deserves to be said again.
Understand that a new submissive is particularly attractive to a certain kind of dominant who thrives on “fresh meat.” They will be attracted to your lack of experience, and eager to “mentor” you or “train” you. They will try to “stake a claim” on you very fast, to prevent anyone else from getting to you first. These dominants are not always bad or shady if they are honest with you, but you should be aware that they are out there. Don’t let one of them push you into something you aren’t ready for.
Some of them want a newbie because they are inexperienced and think you won’t know the difference. Some just think you’re an easy conquest. Some of them aren’t really dominants, just domineering assholes that think being a dominant means lots of blowjobs.
Note: a “mentor” who wants to have sex with you is not a mentor.
Submissives do not need to be “trained” in order to find a master or mistress.
5) Find the local group in your area.
Go to the local munch. If they have an online discussion group, join it. Just about every group around the country these days has a discussion group on FetLife. If classes or demos are offered in your area, try to attend.
6) Make friends first.
Make friends in that local group before you think of finding a dominant. Particularly try to find an experienced female submissive to help you navigate. If you can’t find one in real-time, find one online. You’ll need someone to bounce thoughts and questions off of.
The local group can help protect you with dungeon monitors at play parties, giving references to dominants that approach you, and letting those that might be tempted to take advantage of you know that others are looking out for you.
MANY PREDATOR DOMINANTS PREY SPECIFICALLY ON ISOLATED SUBMISSIVES! So don’t isolate yourself – and don’t let a dominant isolate you.
7) Learn the basics of safety.
Don’t be afraid to speak up if you are uncomfortable with something that seems to violate any of those basics.
RUN from anybody who says, “I have plenty of experience, who the hell are you to tell me I shouldn’t wrap this rope around your throat and leave you bound and alone for a couple of hours?”
8) DO NOT be so eager to play or find a dominant that you accept the first one that comes along.
(This is not a typo. I keep repeating this because it’s probably the most important advice I can give you!)
9) Learn to say NO.
It is your right and obligation to yourself (and whomever you eventually decide to give yourself to) to protect yourself from harm, both mental and physical. If you cannot say “no,” your “yes” has no value. No respectable dominant wants a doormat.
10) Play the field.
You need more experience to find out what you really want and need. There are so many different varieties and “styles” of BDSM, and there is no one “true” way to do it.
The right way is what works for YOU.
You are allowed to play casually with dominants without a collar or serious commitment. Group play parties are especially good settings for this.
11) Don’t enter into a poly relationship if you really don’t want to live that way.
It doesn’t matter how wonderful someone is, or how perfect you think you are for each other. He is not going to leave his primary for you, and if he does, then you have to wonder how quickly he may drop you for the next bit of “fresh meat” to come along. If he is poly now, he will not stop being poly for you. The Broken-Hearted Submissive Club is full of submissives who thought they could change him.
12) Read the discussions on FetLife.
You will learn a lot about how D/s relationships work by seeing the situations and problems people come here to get advice about.
Copyright 2014 Kate Kinsey
Please note: you are welcome to reprint, repost and/or distribute this article in part or in its entirety as long as the copyright is included and Kate Kinsey is attributed as the author. That’s fair, isn’t it?
Screen potential new partners with the Creeper Scorecard.
Avoid playing blind by using Closed Loop Vetting.
See our other Safety Links.