Sex, Dissociation, Trance and Subspace
Sex is not only about physical sensations. The mind plays just as much of an important role: our thoughts and feelings, our connection to our body, the ways we experience touch. The body can affect how we feel, the mind can affect how the body reacts. Sex becomes a lot more interesting when you consider how much the mind matters in it all. Some people, like me, have the ability to got into altered mindstates: I am able to mentally disconnect from my body, from physical sensations, from emotions, or the world around me. It can help me refocus a times or focus on things differently. And sometimes, it can make me feel nothing at all.
Dissociation, trance and subspace are all states of an altered mind, and they can seem similar. And it is true, someone who is prone to dissociation is easier to hypnotize. And someone who can go into trance easily, can fall into subspace quicker. I can experience all three of these mindstates. You’d think that there would never be an issue with confusing them, or actually needing to understand what is what.
Unfortunately, that is wrong. During sex, I need to be very aware of what is going on with my mind, just as much as I want to consciously experience what is happening to my body. The reason is quite simple: is what is happening actually good for me? Dissociation is a trauma response so if I go into dissociation during sex, I am actually triggered and my brain has disconnected from physical sensations because they were too overwhelming. If I go into trance, I want to be able to consent before, I want to feel safe to do so. And when I go into subspace I want to be able to enjoy what is happening instead of worrying if I am dissociating.
Dissociation, trance and subspace all feel like you are floating. It is like your mind is floating in clouds and you experience things differently than you normally would. Your inside is connected to the outside in a different way.
Sex and Dissociation
As I mentioned earlier, dissociation is a trauma response. Most people dissociate at one point in their lives. Your brain goes into that kind of state when something dreadful is happening. It could be a physical injury, losing someone you love, being in an accident. You feel too much at once, physically or emotionally, or both. For your own sanity and survival, your brain disconnects from that pain. You suddenly feel nothing at all. The pain becomes numb.
Now, in a healthy human being, this is a good response to trauma. You can survive, you don’t need to feel, you don’t need to be connected to the pain in the moment. But for someone like me, who has been through long term trauma during childhood, dissociation becomes the automatic response to any kind of trigger of overwhelming emotions. It is of course related to my Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and C-PTSD. In DID, another part of you takes over and can function in one way or another, while all other parts are not in connection with reality during that moment.
But it is not the DID sott of dissociation I am talking about. I mean the kind that other people also experience, when you are just floating and do not experience any feelings or pain anymore. It can be a relief, to dissociate from something painful. But it can also be confusing, because you can feel that something is happening, but you are so disconnected from it that it seems like you are almost watching it happening to you, without feeling anything at all.
There are a few instances when dissociation takes over for me during sex. The first thing is vanilla sex. The sensations are not strong enough for me to be able to enjoy them. I get distracted, and uncomfortable. That leads to triggers, and maybe even flashbacks. So I am unable to enjoy what is happening, and my mind just disconnects to “get through it”.
I can also go into dissociation when I am not really feeling up to sex or I am being caught off guard. Going from zero to one hundred when it comes to pain and humiliation is not something I can do. I need a sort of build up. I need to be in the right kind of mood. So sometimes when my Master starts to hurt me out of nowhere, or when he pushes while I am not ready, I dissociate from all sensations. It doesn’t happen often, but it happens. And it can be difficult for him and me to quickly determine if I am dissociating or floating in subspace.
Subspace is such an interesting altered state of mind. It is when you feel your submission so strongly, that you totally let go. For me, it feels like I am in the safest and most delicious moment of my life, and my mind starts flying on those feelings. It is when you give up total control and al physical sensations become pleasurable.
To me, it feels like I breathe differently. I breathe life differently. Everything is light. I am in my Master’s hands and nothing bad can ever happen to me. It isn’t necessarily a sexual space. Subspace can be triggered by anything related to submission. He might pull my hair back and give me a kiss. Or he tells me I am a good girl. All depending on my state of mind in the moment, the smallest thing can give me the happiness of subspace.
It is a positive space that can almost become addictive. It is like being high on drugs! Pain is the most obvious trigger for me to go into subspace. If the intensity is slowly built up, pain can turn into pleasure.
The only danger I see with subspace is that your judgment is impaired. It can become more difficult to determine if play or a situation is actually physically harmful, because pain just feels so very different. I trust my Master to be careful and safe though.
Trance involves more active consent. Although I can go into self-trance, I need to very much focus to do so. My Master has some conditioning put into me, but that is not the same as trance to me. If he were to put me into trance, I would need to focus on relaxing enough to be ready. And he would to actively create an image for me to disappear into.
Trance feels like going into your innerworld and leaving your body behind. I mean, yes, you can feel physical sensations, but the strongest focus is on your mind and your emotions. It is not like floating, but more like introspection. You are kind of lying on a soft bed and things are safe and relaxing. Yes, that is what trance feels like to me: safe and relaxing.
In erotic hypnosis, trance can become sexual. It is how my Master and I began our D/s dynamic. While we are physically close, we rarely use hypnosis as part of our sexual play though. But because I am so suggestable, it can sometimes happen that he puts me into trance without neither of us noticing it first. It happens when he talks to me while we are engaging in play. He maybe narrates what he is doing to me, or what he would want to happen to me.
I am quickly aware when I am sliding into trance and I tell him when it happens. It is a rare occasion that it happens unplanned, and unless it is what I want to do in that moment, we can easily just ground me to get back to reality.
Telling The Difference
It is important for me to be able to tell the difference between dissociation, subspace and trance, especially during sex. While subspace and trance don’t hold a lot of dangers to me, I need to always make sure that I am with someone who is safe, and that I am actually consenting to what is happening. I think I have that down pretty well by now, as I know that the person I primarily play with can be trusted.
Sex and dissociation, on the other hand, is something I need to work more on. I sometimes confuse the sensation with subspace first and once I realize I am actually dissociating from having been triggered, it is often too late to do anything about it. I just go with the flow, and let things play out, getting through it. That is not healthy though, and it is definitely something I need to work harder on: to tell the difference between dissociation and subspace right from the beginning. I want to be a safe play partner, just as much as I want my partner to be safe.