Hmmm…. That’s a tough one. There are a lot of things within BDSM that I don’t understand. TPE is one of those things. Intellectually, I understand what TPE is, but I cannot understand why anyone would want to give away their independence. I don’t judge those that do, I just don’t understand.
I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to explore most of the activities I’d like to, and to have done so early on. I look at my early exposure as an opportunity to find my niche, and to master the skills I choose.
I would like to experiment with hot wax, and other temperature play. There are a few people local to me that I know of that could show me the safety precautions necessary, and of course, my wonderful knight, Phoenix, would be more than willing to explore with me.
I have heard more versions of what headspace is, whether or not it is a good thing, whether it is dangerous or not, etc, than probably the weeks than I have been alive on the planet. Everyone has their own version. There is a good reason for this phenomenon: headspace is intensely personal, and everyone deals with it in their own way. What I am writing now is NOT to be taken as “This is how headspace should be and what you should do” but rather just me relating my thoughts on it.
With my Lady, I reach many different levels of subspace. Anywhere from not at all, to gone to the world for an hour or more. Regardless of the deepness level, I do tend to have a ritual of “self-aftercare” involving a beer and a cigarette. This in no way means that my Lady does not provide aftercare, or that I do not want it. She comforts, soothes, does all the things I require during this time, regardless of the level of subspace she has taken me to.
There are times that I get so damn deep into subspace that I would literally be incapable of giving directions to the gas station across the street. I am completely coherent, I know what is going on, but it all seems far away and frankly the connection between thought and words seems to get disconnected. I could no more tell my Lady what I need than I could walk outside and jump to the moon. This is definitely where she shines. She is attentive, patient, guiding me not out of subspace, but back into the safety of her arms. She gets me to a physically safe place, and then holds and cuddles me until I swim my way back out of subspace into reality.
Yes, coming out of subspace feels like swimming up from a deep lake or pond, for me at least. All my thoughts are there, but the mental perception of drowning in emotion should I open my mouth is all too real. All the emotions are good ones, but they are entirely overwhelming when they hit all at once with no filter on them. Raw love, admiration, respect, gratitude… I may not have words for all of them, actually. It is not a case that I do not want these emotions expressed, but I have to have the time to process them myself, which happens in subspace as I am swimming back to reality.
As far as whether or not it is healthy, I’m not a mental health professional. However, I do know that for me it largely depends on my partner. If, as with my Lady, I have a caring and understanding partner, I do believe it is an entirely healthy experience. I get the time to recoup my senses, work through all the thoughts and emotions, and most often our night continues. I have been with partners who were not at all caring or understanding. They viewed subspace as taking me away from them and having their accolades sung by me for the job they did, which I suppose in a certain sense it does. With them, I actively did everything I could to avoid losing myself to the experience, and thus to subspace, because the outcome was invariably unhealthily filled with guilt, shame and pressure. The only answer I can truly give is the overall feeling I have the next day, good or bad, of the experience in total is what determines its health for me.
So, in closing, should everyone strive to find their own headspace? I believe so, but I strongly caution for you to allow your own relationship, and your own mind, dictate what it looks and feels like. To me, my subspace is in invaluable tool in determining if I liked, loved, or hated the activities that happened to send me there. During the actual scene, and immediately afterward, I am too involved in my own physical feelings to recognize any mental sides to it. It is the process of subspace that gives me clarity to the overall situation. Not immediately after I come back to earth, certainly, but after reflection with a clear head the next day.
I know I have written this almost exclusively from a subspace perspective. That is the headspace I have the most experience with personally. However, I do recognize there are others, such as domspace and little space, which require elements of care from the partner not in them. But as my experience with them is extremely limited or non-existent, I will leave it for someone else to expound on them. All states of altered perception require a caring, understanding hand from the other partner to be healthy in my opinion.
I responded to a post yesterday about a more experienced submissive than the dominant they were in a relationship with. I have been in that position a couple of different times, so it wasn’t hard to offer advice. However, without derailing their post entirely, I could not in good conscious say all that I had to say on the subject.
Now, we all get into relationships with partners of varying levels of experience compared to our own. It is the nature of everyone being an individual. A person can have years of experience as a rope top or bottom and none in corporeal punishment. There are folks with experience in degradation and humiliation that have no idea how to handle a service oriented submissive though they have always been the dominant in their previous relationships. The comparisons are as numerous as the experiences you can think of.
The question of mentors came up in the replies, and I agreed that they can be useful in having questions answered about specific activities. If you want to learn how to successfully and safely suspend a human in rope bondage, having a mentor that has experience in doing so is definitely going to come in handy. If you stop and think about it, it only makes sense.
What I did not want to say in my comment was there is a whole area of experience that while harder to quantify and define may well be even more important over all. It is not experience in specific activities that I allude to, but rather the experience of living in the mind and body of an individual. This is true for both dominants and submissives. It is impossible for a person to know everything that is in the mind of another. We can come close with communication, but I highly doubt an individual ever divulges all their own deepest, darkest secrets. These individual, and largely internal, experiences do not nullify the fact that they are experiences at all, even if they have only happened in the imagination. The human imagination, combined with a cursory sense of research, is a very powerful thing. After all, it is our imaginations that form our fantasies in the first place, without experience or research. It is this mental adventuring that in fact leads most of us to our respective roles within any lifestyle relationship.
So, back to the question of does experience matter? Yes and no would have to be the only logical answer. If you are only concerned with specific activities, it definitely does, and should. But in terms of a relationship, the emphasis on experience is lessened by the fact that we are all individuals. There is no “One Twue Way” that is going to work for everyone. Each relationship is a unique entity, and should be approached and treated as such. It is not so much about each person’s experience, but the experiences that can be created, shared and enjoyed between two unique individuals.