508. Discussion Topic Write-Up: Sub-Frenzy

I am writing this from the standpoint of introducing these ideas and concepts as part of a discussion group and may include ideas and concepts that I have discussed in earlier posts.

I. What is sub-frenzy?

The term sub-frenzy has been around for decades, but in more recent years the definition has become rather incomplete.  The current definition of sub-frenzy is something like this:

A frantic, mania-like state where a newer sub will desperately attempt to experience every BDSM act they have any interest in, frequently to the point that it affects their decision-making and impairs their judgment.

This definition is lacking because it describes the symptoms but not the cause.  As such, the term sub-frenzy has been limited in its application towards the specific scenario described above, while leaving a void of terminology for other scenarios that involve frenzy.

If we are focusing on the source/cause, a better definition of sub-frenzy would read something like this:

A state of impaired judgment where a sub will behave abnormally or erratically in  pursuit of an altered mental state.

II. The source of sub-frenzy

The majority of subs and bottoms that engage in BDSM do so because the activities they engage in release chemicals in the brain that achieve a “feel good” state.  Some of the more commonly acknowledged chemicals include dopamine, adrenaline, and endorphins.  To put it bluntly, BDSM makes a sub high.  Differing acts may lead to varying degrees of high.

Even subs that focus mainly upon power exchange experience a flow of associated chemicals and neurohormones when they enter submissive mental space.  While this may not be the same sort of high that a masochist receives from impact play, if a sub prefers to be in submissive mental space over their standard vanilla persona, this makes this altered mental state desirable.

A sub desiring to achieve either of these altered mental states is normal.  A sub that feels an irresistible urge to reach these mental states is a sub in frenzy.

As with any good-feeling altered mental state, problems may arise:

  • An unrelenting desire to do it more.
  • Addiction and withdrawl.

These problems fall at the source of sub-frenzy.

III.  What does sub-frenzy look like?

For the most part, sub-frenzy looks a lot like a drug problem.  It mostly manifests itself in ways that resemble drug abuse or drug addiction.  There are a few common scenarios where sub-frenzy routinely appears.  Some of these scenarios are more common within the M/f community while others may be more prevalent within the F/m community.

     A. A newer sub that is not in a relationship with a dominant, but has access to available/potential partners at any time.

They finally got brave enough to pursue it.  They went out and tried it.  It felt great.  Now they want to experience it as much as possible and in all of its different forms.  What will they do to get it?

This is the most publicized version of sub-frenzy for a couple of reasons.  First, all subs were new at some time, so nearly all subs can relate to this.  Second, this is one of the most dangerous of all situations that a new sub can face.  When a sub is in the fits of frenzy, they may lose common-sense, ignore safety concerns, and make poor decisions.  e.g. playing with a stranger that has no references, no safe call set up, being too trusting, etc.

     B. A newer sub that is in a relationship with a dominant.

In these situations, a newer sub that is wanting to chase new experiences (highs) may display neurotic/erratic thought processes and behaviors.  While they might normally be a good person, when sub-frenzy takes over, they may become impatient, rude, selfish, and demanding.  They may attack their dominant for progressing too slowly.  They may look outside the relationship for quick fixes.

While this scenario is less likely to lead to damage for the sub, it is more likely to lead to damage for the dominant.  This is especially true for newer dominants.  As dominance has a steeper learning curve than submission, when a couple who starts engaging in BDSM together, it is very possible for the newer dominant to be ruined by the sub by having their confidence shattered due to their inability to comfortably progress as fast as the sub wants them to.

     C. An experienced sub that is not in a relationship with a dominant, but has access to available/potential partners at any time.

For veteran subs, reaching sub-frenzy tends to be the result of a slow, gradual build up.  They know how it felt.  They want to feel that way again.  They know enough not to make “newbie mistakes” but the longer they go without it, the more the “ache” sets in.  The ache may start with a general sense of malaise.  Things don’t feel right.  They don’t feel normal.  They don’t feel alive.  The longer this persists, the worse it feels.  Go long enough without it, and depression may set in.  Spending enough time in depression may lead to desperation.

Once desperation sets in, the sub may find themselves crumbling or in some cases, willing to compromise on their standards for a dominant.  In the end, they are faced with feeling awful or making a questionable decision.

The ache is withdrawl.

     D.  An experienced sub that is in a relationship with a dominant.

This situation is very similar to case C, except that the sub instinctively wonders why the feelings they want to have are not happening.  In most of these cases it’s a matter of, “life gets busy,” “work is slammed right now,” or something of that nature that gets in the way, preventing the couple from engaging in acts that had become a regular part of their interactions.

Many subs aren’t aware of what the ache is, they just know that they have begun to feel bad and don’t know what to do about it.  On some occasions, they feel embarrassed having to spell out their needs or their feelings get hurt that the dominant isn’t noticing that their needs aren’t being met.  If this happens, the sub may start acting out by breaking rules, showing disrespect to the dominant, or the like.  While they might not even be consciously aware they are doing it, some part of them is hoping that the dominant will react and that the ensuing acts will give them the feelings they need.

     E. A sub that is not in a relationship with a dominant and does not have access to available/potential partners. 

This scenario is also very common and it may affect both veteran and newer subs.  Nearly all subs first access their submissive mental space via fantasy.  This generally happens years before they ever found themselves brave enough to pursue BDSM.  In many cases, they have intricate fantasies dancing around their heads that have been carefully crafted to their specific desires and preferences.

For subs that have frequently had no access to a dominant, they may become accustomed to reaching space through their fantasies.  At certain points, the repetitions of fantasies may no longer be “enough” to satiate them and they will chase more intense feelings.  In these cases, a common manifestation of sub-frenzy for a sub that has managed to trigger themselves into a shallow submissive mental space is to hop on chat clients or kinky networking sites and begin firing off messages to dominants.  The ache and feelings in the moment skew their judgment and certain things may “seem like a good idea at the time.”

In many cases, these messages may be lewd and suggestive or even reach the point of being rude and insistent.  Depending upon the sub’s gender and type of dominant they are messaging, these advances may be met with open arms or outright rejection.

In any case, if a sub reaches a point where they become absolutely set upon forcing another individual into their currently active fetish fantasy, it is the result of sub-frenzy.

IV.  How to deal with sub-frenzy

Sub-frenzy isn’t the easiest thing to deal with.  If it was, it wouldn’t be a problem that needs to be talked about.  Most guides for BDSM relationships will include aspects that help to avoid difficult/painful/damaging situations caused by frenzy.  e.g. having continuous and open lines of communication reduce its chances of happening.  Couples may also institute things like weekly “maintenance,” where they make a consistent effort to ensure that the sub is able to get their “fix” regularly and avoid the ache.

For newer subs, finding some friends within the community that are trustworthy is paramount.  Most experienced subs and dominants are quite familiar with type A sub-frenzy and are often willing to make accommodations for newbies that are struggling.

For those that do not have access to a partner, this can be a much greater challenge to contend with.  One of the better solutions to this is to make a serious effort to locate a partner, which will likely require making contact with a well-written, polite and respectful message, that was composed with a clear head and not within the throes of the ache.  For those who deal with type E, they should be aware that many dominants within communities network and talk and share the names of the subs that approach them in an overly thirsty or rude way.

Lastly, it is important for people to know that in many cases, sub-frenzy does behave much like a drug addiction.  When people go too long without the good feelings they crave, they will eventually begin to withdrawl and their emotional state may deteriorate.  Once this sets in, it is not something that can just be “stopped,” it will continue plaguing them until it becomes sated.

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