I’m going to do a little set of “behind the scenes” posts about Just Business, probably on a random basis. If you have anything you particularly want to know about the book or the characters or whatnot, you can contact me, and I’ll do my best to answer.
Earlier today, I posted on Tumblr a link to aftercare for dominants, and highlighted a bit about Top Guilt and mentioned that this was why there’s that scene of Eli sitting in the dark, holding his cat, and thinking the worst about himself.
I don’t have a lot of Tumblr followers. That post? It keeps gaining likes and reblogs. And it occurred to me that people don’t talk about that aspect of BDSM, and maybe I should blog about it.
Everyone whose read books with reasonably depicted BDSM in them probably knows about the concept of aftercare and subdrop as the sub moves out of subspace and back into normal headspace. It can be depressive or disjointed. Or a bit like a drunken stupor. Or the sub might not get any kind of drop at all, and be perfectly fine after a scene. Everyone’s different.
What people tend not to talk about is that this can also happen to a Dom. And again, it doesn’t happen to everyone… but it does to some. Everyone’s different.
I’ve seen very few depictions of top/dom drop in romances with BDSM. In fact, I can only think of one I’ve read recently, a small mention in Guarded by Cat Grant and LA Witt.
I think the lack of it in fiction is probably a two-fold issue. First, not to many people in BDSM talk (or know) about it, and second, there’s this perception that in BDSM romances that Doms are always in control and show no weakness or self-doubt…at least about BDSM. Ever. (Heck, half the time, they’re mind-readers who know what the sub wants before the sub does.)
But the thing is, Doms are human beings (and not actually mind readers). And all human beings have self-doubts.
Eli, in Just Business, has a whole truck-full of doubts that have been carefully sorted through, color-coded and cross-referenced for easy retrieval because he’s been in therapy for more than half his life. Yes, he’s got issues. And those issues creep into all aspects of his life, from “Should I really eat shrimp?” to “Do I really want to buy this expensive watch?” to “Should I actually tell this ignorant businessman the truth?” to “Should I really like flogging men?”
So yes, after a wickedly intense evening with Justin where Eli got everything he wanted and then some…he has a pretty rough crash that triggers some of the self-doubt demons that lurk inside him. Hence, he ends up sitting in his living room, in the dark, holding his cat and sorting through his feelings. Since he’s been through this before he recalls similar doubts he’s actualized in therapy and how they dealt with those. In the end, he knows it’s just exhaustion and top drop. He knows, intellectually, he’s not a monster. It’s just a matter of getting his emotions to catch up with reason.
Now, I do realize Eli is fiction…but I tried to base him in reality.
So here are some posts on top/dom drop that I referenced when I was writing:
Midori notes a further contributing factor to domdrop:
“In the act of sadism or dominance the top has exposed their desires and hungers that aren’t necessarily socially acceptable. We’ve been taught not to hit those we love. Now we do it for fun. It can take a bit of mental contortions to reconcile the cognitive dissonance with this. Many tops want to know that they are still loved and desired after exposing their darker desires to the other’
As usual, Midori is spot on. Chris M acknowledges something similar: “sometimes, when the heat of the scene has passed, a top can find him or herself exhausted, exposed and feeling guilty about doing bad, nasty things to someone they care about” while Sensual Sadist’s Alexandra observes “sometimes, exploring the assertively dark aspect of your psyche can ironically leave you feeling lonely and vulnerable”.
TD is similar to sub drop. It generally happens after a particularly intense scene or series of scenes. By all accounts we’re supposed to be loving, nurturing individuals. Occasionally, that conflicts with humiliating our submissives, scaring them intensely or making them cry, beg and scream.
A few weeks ago, I posted to the “What made you cry today?” thread that I had a major case of Top Drop. Since then, several people have pm’d me asking what that means, so I figured I would start a thread about it.
Here’s a definition that I found that closely resembles what I experienced:
TOP DROP: Colloquial A sudden, abrupt feeling of depression, unhappiness, or similar negative emotion in a dominant which may occasionally occur immediately after a period of BDSM activity. May include feelings of guilt, especially if the dominant believes he or she has made an error, or has traditional ideas about relationship or socially appropriate behavior.
There are more, of course. Googling top drop or dom drop will bring up these and others.