I’m new to BDSM and I just heard of the term ‘submissive frenzy’. What is it? Why does it happen? How can I avoid it? Is there anything else I need to know about it?
Submissive frenzy is a phrase used to describe the state of excitement that new submissives often feel when starting out in BDSM. It can lead to poor choices when it comes to playing or partners. Focus on constantly playing and trying new things can cause burn out. Not taking the time to properly process the emotions that play can evoke will have a negative effect on some people.
Spend any length of time in the BDSM community and you will see the new people who go overboard. It’s normal, really; the introduction to a world where your darkest fantasies can come true does have the feeling of ‘kid in a candy store’. There can be an urge to rush in and experience as many things as possible, as quickly as possible. Of course, this type of behaviour isn’t just limited to the right side of the slash.
Dominants can experience frenzy as much as submissives do. It often manifests in the same way but can have other serious consequences. A dominant in frenzy can leave a trail of injuries and emotionally damaged partners. They may be engaging in play that is outside of their skill level or not taking into account the effects of the play on their partner(s).
Additionally, the new dominant/top may not be taking the time to process the emotions involved in their actions. Being sadistic can be great fun with a willing masochist, however, it can also shake one’s sense of self. A person whose self-image includes being a nice or kind person can struggle with causing others pain, even when it’s consensual.
Not just for newbies
Submissive frenzy or its dominant counterpart can happen at any time. People new to kink are more likely to experience frenzy, although experienced people do find themselves in the midst of it too. It can happen after a break-up or as a coping mechanism for any traumatic experience. Learning the warning signs can help you take a step back if you find yourself in the midst of a frenzy.
This list is to give you a general idea of what to look for, it is by no means exhaustive. If you are experiencing multiple things on the list, you may be experiencing submissive frenzy or dominant frenzy.
- Rushing into play with a person or people you’ve just met
- Rushing through negotiation or skipping it altogether
- Engaging in dangerous behaviours, like meeting in private for the first time or having unprotected sex with new or casual partners
- Playing so much you don’t have time to process the emotional impact
- Playing as a way of dealing with ‘drop’
- Engaging in play that you aren’t skilled in or knowledgeable about and without learning about the potential risks
- Falling in love with everyone you play with
- Falling in love after a single play session
- Withholding or lying about personal or health issues that could affect play
Dealing with Frenzy
Submissive frenzy and dominant frenzy are not always avoidable so it is important to know how to deal with frenzy if or when it happens. These guidelines are only as good as your willpower. It is wise to plan ahead and have a plan that you can commit to for all play encounters. This list contains suggestions for that plan, use what works for you, add your own and discard the rest.
Your plan could include…
- Trust your gut instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, chances are it isn’t.
- Don’t engage in play on a first meet. Take some time to get to know the person before engaging in BDSM play.
- Negotiate before play. Have a mental (or written) checklist of all the points you want to cover so that you don’t forget any.
- Meet potential new partners in public like a coffee shop or a munch. Don’t meet up with anyone who complains about this policy.
- Only engage in safer sex (condoms, dental dams, gloves, etc) with new or casual partners. Reserve unprotected sex for an established significant other or polycule.
- Take time between play scenes to process your feelings. This may mean limiting play to one scene per week, one play night (multiple scenes) per week or a schedule that works for you. Take time to let your body heal (for bottoms).
- If you find that you are experiencing drop after playing, try to figure out why. Do you need more/different aftercare? Do you need contact or reassurance from partners after play?
- Take the time to learn how to engage in new types of play safely. Attend a workshop, do online research or ask others in your community. Make sure you understand the risks. Always be honest about your experience (or lack of experience).
- Learn to recognise the signs of infatuation. Know how to separate it from genuine feelings of love while also enjoying the NRE (new relationship energy). Don’t commit to the first person who offers a collar/themselves.
- Know when your personal or health issues may impact a play scene. Be prepared to share this information with new partners and explain how it may affect play. In addition, be sure to tell them what actions they should take if an emergency should arise.