Thoughts on Subspace, Domspace, Control and Responsiveness

DaddyO's BDSM

by DaddyO


To set the record straight, I think MarcTaylor's writing shown below  DOMSPACE - TLDR: Unresponsive=Unsafe is brilliant. 

That being said, I have found out the hard way that sarcasm is not a good method to use regarding triggering subjects that many people consider tantamount to rape. Sarcasm essentially becomes a "rape joke" and the points you were trying to make become lost to the very people who you most want to hear it.


His analogy did inspire me to make some mental comparisons between his "Domspace" idea (which firmly places the Dom in the role of unapologetic abuser or rapist) and the subspace many Bottoms desire to achieve.


But I think we are talking two different things:


The Top must focus on and be able to display "control."


The Bottom must focus on and be able to display "responsiveness."


Both the Top and Bottom must be able to COMMUNICATE WITH ONE ANOTHER!


So regardless of what a Bottom's declaration regarding how responsive or unresponsive they get in subspace, it's still the Top's responsibility to maintain alertness and control (the power has been entrusted).


But I also realized how absurd it can be to put one's self in that situation without plenty of safe guards.


The way I look at it, always play with someone who believes they can be alert and responsive enough.


That is still not enough. This is why RISK AWARE Consensual Kink (R.A.C.K.) is a better term to use than SAFE, sane and consensual (S, S&C), and why PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY in consensual kink (P.R.I.C.K.) is the ideal.


Especially for more seasoned players or in relationships two enter into.


A Bottom's prior scenes may get them to say "yeah, I am able to use my safe word/wiggle my fingers/say no", but that first time you both discover they really are not able to do it, it becomes quite devastating if you have pushed passed a boundary.


How do I know? This has happened twice to me. Twice have I gone past my play partner's boundaries without being aware of it because no safe word was able to be given. I should say, "twice that I know of", because many Bottoms are afraid to tell me, opting instead to just not play with me again, or "warn others in the community."


The feeling is not just "bad scene" devastating, I am talking "life changing devastation" complete with feeling shame for hurting someone you cared deeply for, feeling anger in how it played out when you thought you were doing the right thing, doubting your own sanity, and falling from grace with many former friends who now think you're a monster. The repercussions from an incident like this have brought me a lot of self doubt, anxiety and regret. Add in the fact that I have played with a lot of newbies and younger women, and the label "predator" gets stuck on me.  Never mind that the two women this happened with were both in their late 30s/early 40s and very intelligent.


The first instance was with a former babygirl of mine. I whispered into her ear asking for an affirmative reply before proceeding and received the answer: "You do what you have to do, Daddy."


The second time was with a different partner several years later. In this scene (our second or third scene together), not only did I not know or realize a boundary was being crossed, she didn't either! It was only after almost a year later that she "realized" she had been in "rope subspace" (from a prior scene, mind you) and could not respond when she was invited into a predominantly sexual scene that was not even really involving me, I just led it.


So back to the subject at hand...


You wouldn't get into a vehicle that had broken warning lights or speedometer, but I know from experience those signals can fail mid-drive.

Sure, it's "the car's fault."


You are tempted to say: "How the heck did I know the engine was overheating, the check engine light never came on?!"


But ultimately the driver still is responsible for the vehicle's maintenance as well as driving it safely, even when the meters are not all working.


Recently a person on FetLife came to us and proposed dating, playing and potentially ultimately joining our relationship. I was tempted to proceed, since she was quite attractive to me and both of us enjoyed her company.


Again to use the car analogy, despite wanting to hop in and go for the ride, we chose to do an "inspection." In doing so, we found out the meters were in a language we just couldn't understand if they were present at all.


We set our boundary to not play with her.


So the real question I would like to ask in all of this:


Who are those who Bottom and become unresponsive in subspace (or have broken meters) supposed to play with if people who know what they're doing (like MarkTaylor) consider it a hard limit?  

Author's Notes/Comments: 


DOMSPACE - TLDR: Unresponsive=Unsafe

By MarcTaylor 


Trigger Warning
This writing mentions "Personal Safety/Responsibility" twice (2).

Something you should know about me, I've been topping for 10+ years now and I've heard about and witnessed many different head-spaces. I want to warn you about mine:



If you've seen me play or watched any of the MBE feeds the past few years, you may have noticed my collection and affinity for headbands. There's a rumor swirling around out there that I wear them because I'm prone to sweating and it hurts/is annoying when sweat gets in your eyes during a scene. The truth behind the headbands is much darker than you could have ever imagined. The headband is a totem, it's an item I use to unlock a very special headspace I like to call: DOMSPACE. Imagine a brown skinned Bruce Banner without the purple pants. When I go into DOMSPACE I essentially Hulk out, and much like the big green guy in the purple pants I want to destroy everything in front of me, usually whilst yelling "MarcTaylor SMASH!" Unfortunately if you're playing with me at the time that makes you the target. As I transform into this brown skinned monster I become a machine, I find that I loose most if not all control, and my inner Dom (the other guy) just takes over. It's like I'm along for the ride, but can't stop or slow things down. It doesn't matter what or how my partner (victim) and I negotiated, when I'm in DOMSPACE Yellow and Red mean nothing to me and no matter what safe-word is used I can't stop myself from causing pain and ignoring consent. When I'm in DOMSPACE I become unresponsive. Do or say what you want to try and protect yourself, it won't matter until after the scene is finished and the headband is removed. Also, if you ask me about DOMSPACE during a negotiation, I may or may-not mention it, if you don't ask, I certainly won't bring it up. OK, who wants to play?


Ridiculous right?


I was at Shibaricon last week in a class on advanced negotiations. During the class the topic of personal responsibility came up. -Elwood-, who was teaching the class, made a suggestion that if you're bottoming, you must keep one foot anchored in the real world. By all means seek out and find sub-space, or fairyland, or your pain palace, or whatever it is you seek, but please leave part of yourself in the scene to monitor and mention when your fingers start to tingle, or to say yellow if need be. A female identified bottom (look how politically correct that was) argued that she is unresponsive when she plays, and still safe. The male identified top person (I did it again) sitting next to her added, "when you play with her she get's downright unconscious for 3-5 minutes if you're doing it right". The female identified bottom person (3/3) went on to explain, "the Dom I play with has no morals and no conscience, in fact he'd literally keep beating you until he killed you if he weren't stopped. When I play with him I have another Top, who knows me and my body, stand by to tell him when to end our scenes, since I won't be able to." Now, the amazing thing here isn't that with billions of people on the planet the female identified bottom (4/4) who goes mute and can't protect herself in anyway, against all odds, paired up with the top who would "LITERALLY" kill her if he weren't stopped. I mean, holy shit! Cupid must just want to watch the world burn. The amazing thing is this was all said to the class as if it were a brag or a point of pride we should all take note of.


My personal opinion: I'm not the safety police, in fact, I'm probably on the most wanted list. I'm not here to stand on or establish a new moral high ground. If when you play as a Top or Bottom, you go unresponsive and can't communicate in anyway in either direction, I don't want to play with you because I feel that you are unsafe and represent a risk to me and my personal safety and liability. The blanket statement, "I was in a headspace that didn't allow me to communicate with you" is a Hard Limit for me. Red! Red! Red! If you are bottoming with me and you can't say or communicate in any way any of the following: "yellow", "red", "I've changed my mind", "I'm loosing feeling in my spleen", or "can we get pizza when we're done?", I'm sorry but I love pizza too much to play with you. This doesn't mean I don't like you, it just means I like pizza, and my own safety more (also Oxford Commas).


CLARIFICATION: Sarcasm... to Clarify: I don't REALLY go into DOMSPACE, it was simply a satirical literary tool to help illustrate a point.

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Starward's picture

Your description of domspace

Your description of domspace is one of the most chilling I have ever read (and I have read some gut wrenchers in my time),  The horror of this is far more than Stephen King has produced in the sum total of all his books.


[* /+/ ^]