Subspace: what is it and how do I get into the zone?

Image by the brilliant Stuart F Taylor

It took me a long time to work out what subspace really was. When I first started going to kink events I heard so much chat about it – how people would go spacey and woozy during a beating, on a blissed-out high caused by the pain. How afterwards, their dominant would wrap them in blankets and bring them coffee or Coke, and they’d recover slowly, having the fuzzy feeling kissed and stroked away by wet lips and warm hands.

I’d screw my eyes up tight, grip the edge of the spanking bench, and will my brain to push me somewhere similar.

I wanted to feel the high they were talking about – that haze of pleasure. I wanted to be able to let go. Yet every stroke felt sharp. Like a wake-up slap of cold water. I rarely ever felt relaxed – always tense and on-edge, and keen to push for the next thing. Just as I can’t sit calmly on the sofa to enjoy a film, I have to check my phone and write and plan for whatever will come afterwards, so I couldn’t enjoy a beating in the moment: I had to always anticipate the harder smacks that would come later, or the moment he’d get tired of the beating and pull his dick out to fuck me instead.

More recently, though, I understand what my brain needs to help me get there.

He walked in the door in a bad mood. Down and sad and with a half-sigh waiting to be let out. I reached for a hug and he offered something else instead.

“Can I spank you? I really want to spank you.”

I was over his knee with my knickers down before the word ‘spank’ had fully left his mouth: moaning and squirming before his hand fell, ready to gasp with shock and delight the second his palm met my naked bum.


I’ve written before about how over the knee spankings can be therapeutic for me, but I suspect they’re therapeutic for him too – a naked, wriggling bottom and the sting of a smack on his hand being excellent ways to distract from whatever might be on his mind.

After a while, as the pain built to a burn, he switched to rubbing – pressing hard against my bum and squeezing all the areas that were sore. Using his other hand, he pulled down my top and bra and gave hard, harsh pinches to my nipples. It’s way more fun when they ache already – when they’re a tiny bit sore from being hard and unattended too long.

But I wasn’t in anything like ‘subspace’ – my mind was still wandering to what would happen next.

“Off,” he said, and gave me a gentle shove. I slithered down onto the floor and – assuming the ‘off’ referred both to me and to what I was wearing, stripped down to my knickers and knelt on the carpet. Staring down at me, he started to fuck my face. Slowly, but not gently: long, firm strokes that tapped hard on the back of my throat, making me drool and gag in exactly the way I like it. Making me passive. The kind of facefuck that keeps all my attention, and prevents my mind wandering to other things, as I focus on not choking on his dick, timing my breathing just right so I can suck in gulps of air on the out stroke and suck hard in the in stroke.

Not wholly focused yet though – there are occasional breaks in concentration as I tap his thighs, or gently push him back, when I need an extra pause to breathe in.

He holds my head in his hands and tilts it backwards, ordering me to keep eye contact. Straining as I crane my neck back, keep my eyes wide and wet as I stare up at him.

In. Out. Breathe. In. Out. Breathe. I get the hang of the timing and stop needing breaks for extra breaths. The rhythm soothes me enough that I start to think of the next thing – my mind starts to wander, and imagine the point at which he’ll stop, pull out, and order me to bend over.

But just as I start to picture it he speeds up, giving me a different rhythm to focus on. Keeping me hanging in that space where I can think only of the moment.

When he finally does – order me to bend over, that is – I’m already shaking. The build-up of speed and the concentration on breathing and sucking and holding eye contact has given me an odd level of calm. Not the calm I imagined subspace to be – a mindful one, where you soak up each sensation. But a more rushed, energetic calm – the kind that comes from cycling up a tricky hill or belting down the road for a bus.

Out of breath.



He bends me over the arm of the sofa and orders me to arch my back. Push my cunt up so it’s nicely presented for him. There’s no pause – no time to shuffle into just the right position – I lift immediately and he plunges in, fucking me brusquely, his dick filling me like he filled my mouth. And I know I can’t choke on it from there but the feeling inside is similar. The long, hard strokes slamming deep into me and focusing my mind.

That in itself wouldn’t make me go spacey, but the combination of all this stuff does. As we fuck he switches from hard thrusts to sharp smacks, quick orders to move here or do this or tell him that. Pulling my hair to lift my head so he can pinch my nipples. Fucking again, harder, so I can feel his crotch smack against the sore redness of my spanked bottom. Turning my head round to the side so he can spit in my gaping mouth.

I can’t think about anything except the specific sensations of the moment, and most of my movements are involuntary – instinctive. He flicks through the different elements, first slowly and then quicker, until I feel like I’m holding tight to the edge of something, gripping desperately in case I fall off. I realise that I’m squeezing him too tightly with my cunt, and if I don’t let up soon I’m going to come.

He tells me not to, and I give it three seconds of effort before disobeying him, earning myself another harsh slap that sends more shivers of hazy pleasure through my spine and into my head.

And I want him to come but I don’t want it to stop. This weirdly shaky high. This total focus on what’s happening. This energetic, sloppy, messy, sensual assault – the only thing that can keep my head in one place, and push me into the zone. Where neither my mind nor my body is thinking about what’s coming next, they’re just gripping onto the moment to milk as much pleasure from it as possible.

It isn’t until we’re finished that I realise my legs don’t work, and I slide off the sofa into a ball on the floor. Cathartic sobs of happiness well up inside me. That’s the closest I ever get to what I’ve heard people say about subspace. My mistake was to associate it with calm, considered, measured punishment – the kind in which you count strokes and breathe deeply in between: like meditation, but with whips and smacks. I don’t think it works like that for me: I need more distraction and confusion. Quick switches between sensations, and a constant variation on sensory input – smacks, words, changes in position, orders I have to follow and strokes I want to grip onto. Like circuit training, in which you don’t have time to notice how knackered you are. Or like a quickfire quiz that pulls answers out of your brain you didn’t realise you knew.

An onslaught of pleasure that leaves me struggling to stand and unable to think straight. The kind of fuck he asks me about afterwards, saying “how was that? Good? Are you happy?” and I can’t bring myself to say anything but:




  • You get to Subspace by throwing the red potion on the ground and then going through the temporary door that appears.

    I’m so terribly sorry – I’ve just been waiting for years to make that joke.

  • How do I get to subspace?
    Erm, practice, practice, practice?

    I can’t personally relate to this post for a few reasons, but even so I could almost feel it. Really well written. And hot!

    • Girl on the net says:

      Hey – thanks! The title in the question is less about getting specific advice on it, and more to sum up that for some people it’s not going to be quite the way they might think. Basically a question from my 18-year-old head when I was a bit confused about it =)

      • Sorry, I just couldn’t resist making the Carnegie Hall joke.

        It’s quite clear that this isn’t meant as a how-to, and of course it’s interesting that your personal experience of subspace turned out to be so different from what you expected/had been told. Self-knowledge is a great thing, as is being able to recognize the authenticity of your own experience when it doesn’t conform to expectations based on the experiences of others. In other words, if something that works for others doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t necessarily make you “wrong”.

  • What gets me to a spacey mindset is normally time and the unknown, because I’m just like you – I’m all over the place with my thoughts. It doesn’t have to be BDSM, a ridiculous amount of multiple orgasms can do it. The odd occasion I’ll slip into it quickly, but that’s because my husband will immediately go to something I will not expect and the edge of boundary which shocks me into letting go of any thoughts but a mild panic and release in trust, but that’s happened less than a handful of times.

  • SpaceCaptainSmith says:

    It occurred to me today that the only time I’ve been in a situation remotely like this – being trapped in a situation where someone else has total control over you, they’re doing various painful things to you, you don’t know what’s coming next, so all you can do is close your eyes and try to dissociate yourself form your body – is at the dentist. Not so pleasurable, alas. :)

    (Is there such a thing as dental BDSM? Yikes, what a terrifying thought…)

  • Bill says:

    Great post. Here is a bit of a post for a blog I haven’t even opened up yet which describes how it is for me. This is me (a bloke who likes to both D and S) about being caned by a pro dome:

    Just as the cane is the most demanding of implements it can also be the most rewarding and a steady caning can push me into subspace. For me this is a place where I no longer jerk forward with each blow but lie completely still, absorbing the sensation, letting it flow through me while I calmly wait for the next stroke. The pain is no less intense but it is expected, unthreatening, welcome even. I feel myself sink into the warm comfortable leather of the bench, all cares drifting away as my senses focus on the cane and its effects. After such a session I feel so calm and serene that time seems to move slowly as I drift, mind empty and untroubled. I don’t need to orgasm as the pain is its own release. Instead I need the mistress to gently and slowly bring me back down to earth and when, and only when, I have fully returned, to send me back out into the world.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Oh wow. Thanks so much for that comment Bill – it’s really evocative and lovely to hear things from your perspective, especially as you seem to be in to different kinds of pain to me (I’m not very good at taking the cane, but I do enjoy watching it being dished out to someone who does!). Really interesting that you say the pain is enough release in and of itself – I don’t think I get that with pain but I do get that with roughness. often if the scene is rough/interesting/varied enough then all I need is exhaustion, not necessarily orgasm. Thanks again – that’s really interesting, and hot =)

      • Billiousone says:

        Thanks for such a positive response. If you would be interested in the occasional guest blog I have a few pieces. Mostly written from the perspective of a mail client of Dom/Sub sex workers. You could DM me @billiousone on twitter. Or email

  • Mochavoy says:

    Wow…this helps me understand my wife so much more. And myself. I constantly struggle to stay out of my head, especially during sex. I’m often worried about focusing on her and how to get her to cum. She often tells me she wants me to focus on pleasing myself. And there are times when I do…I call it the zone (yes, I know it’s cheesy). I definitely like subspace better. For me, it’s that feeling that I’m just…not there anymore. Like Hyde took over, and doesn’t give a damn about anyone’s pleasure but his own. She says I get a glint in my eye, and I know I just see her as buttons to push to get what I want, as holes to fuck, a canvas to make a mess of and just enjoy. I just want her, all of her. Those are the times when we both really, really enjoy ourselves.

    Thank you for posting this! Definitely sharing it with the wife. ;)

  • David says:

    As a submissive male I read a common thread that resonates with the issue of being taken from your day life, cares, worries and woes and being made to concentrate either on yourself (pain) or others (pleasure), both being switched as the session/event unfolds. As a male it starts with a cum ban that heightens the sexual expectation of release not knowing if that release will come or not but being honest and not masturbating and obeying the ban, this again heightens the expectation and link to my master. That denial and build up of desire has its own well understood effect on the male brain. Then is the desire to serve and please either in action or reaction in my case. Too painful a spank returns me to earth, a return to regular interspersed, building spanks interspersed by activities to please my master puts me back there. Then it happens, for those of you that run, its like the sensation of the missing miles, you know you ran them but you can’t remember them. I become super compliant and I know that this is when master will challenge my limits, this is our agreement, he knows when I am there, this is the time for the extra spank, twist, stretch, whatever he wants to work on. The management of the return is also crucial, it can be through orgasm but if I am to be denied then he simply secures me to the end of the bed, places a quilt over me and dims the lights and leaves. If the situation is that he or I am returning to work and there is not time then he adopts a different approach and stops being master, he hugs and holds me, the change in dynamic brings me around, he passes me my clothes to dress as he supports me until I am dressed. He gets me to walk around the garden a few times breathing deeply until I am ready to leave. It is also different again if he is going to ruin my orgasm, this does not return me to me, this is an advanced play where he continues to exercise his control as the natural release can clear the fog of sub space and he gets me back by spanking and a slow, steady rhythm.

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