BDSM Basics: 5 Things You Need to Know About Subfrenzy

For those who identify as submissive, think back to your first D/s relationship (or your early days of submission). Did you ever find yourself acting out of character, lacking patience and wanting to do ALL OF THE THINGS, and agreeing to (nearly) everything a Dominant partner suggested — regardless of your personal safety or boundaries? While not the only potential reason, there’s a good chance you went through subfrenzy.

It’s hard to recognize in the moment, until you know it exists, but that doesn’t mean we’re helpless against it either. Whether you’re helping a new submissive navigate subfrenzy or you want to make sure it never happens to you again, education is key. Here are five things you need to know about it. (If you prefer to watch/listen rather than read, scroll to the end for the video version.)

You Don’t Always Know It’s Happening

That first rush of energy, joy, and/or exhilaration that hits anyone in a new relationship is often referred to as New Relationship Energy (NRE). Subfrenzy can easily be masked as NRE. It can also happen in conjunction with NRE. What that means is that you might not realize you’re in subfrenzy until you look back on it later.

We’re all different so not everyone has the same experience with it, but there are a few commonalities:

  • Saying yes to anything a Dominant person asks for, suggests, or wants — without thinking it through
  • Agreeing to kinks, rules, and other power exchange elements even when they go against your boundaries or limits
  • Being so excited to submit that you believe you have “no limits” or decide that your limits don’t matter
  • Tossing out all safety considerations for kinky fuckery or in a power exchange relationship (even when you know better)

Subfrenzy Often Leads to Poor Decision Making

See all those signs above? That’s how many submissives wind up with fake dominants they wouldn’t have given the time of day to in a vanilla relationship. It’s why many people wonder if they’re “really submissive” after a poser tells them they’re not allowed to have limits — but they’re miserable in their power exchange. And, in some cases, it’s how submissives get physically hurt in a kinky scene.

That euphoric feeling is great…until it isn’t. Not everyone who goes through subfrenzy experiences a worst-case scenario. The most common thing I’ve seen is people staying in D/s relationships that are a bad fit or overwhelming their very good, caring Dominant partner because they’re so excited. But when you’re in the grips of subfrenzy, you’re definitely less likely to make good, healthy decisions.

Any Submissive Can Go Through It

We often think of subfrenzy as a “new submissive” thing and it is extremely common with new kinksters. Especially those who’ve never expressed been submissive in a relationship before. But that doesn’t mean long-term, experienced subbies can’t go through it, too.

NRE really plays a part here, I think. Feeling good with a new partner can cloud our thinking and judgment. For submissives, this has the potential to turn into subfrenzy. This is especially true if it’s been a while since you were happy in a D/s relationship or since you submitted to anyone.

The point here is don’t think it can’t happen to you just because you’ve already gone through it once — or if you skipped it in a past relationship.

Subfrenzy Can Cause You to Ignore Bad Behavior

The worst part of subfrenzy isn’t that it happens. In the best case scenario, you’re simply a lot more excited than typical NRE — and probably a lot more impatient. The worst part of subfrenzy is how it can impair your judgment. In the midst of subfrenzy many submissives find themselves overlooking red flags and bad behavior.

  • Lies and half-truths (especially unnecessary ones but definitely the big ones, too)
  • Not caring about boundaries
  • Telling you “this is how D/s is” or “I always get what I want” when you question something
  • Not listening to your wants and needs
  • Focusing only on their pleasure with no care for yours
  • Lack of communication
  • Gaslighting

Of course these aren’t all the possible red flags a fake dominant might exhibit. But if you look back on previous D/s relationships and realize you excused any of this behavior, it could have been because of subfrenzy.

You Might Be Less Vocal About Your Own Needs

Even if you’re in a great D/s relationship with zero bad behavior and red flags, subfrenzy can still bite you in the ass. Many people (myself included) found themselves not speaking up and advocating for their own needs as submissive. The desire to please, coupled with uncertainty in a new role and even NRE, lead me to go along with whatever my Dominant partner wanted.

Thankfully, what he (both my first and second Doms) wanted were things I was willing to do or try. But there were things I was curious about or thought might be interesting that I never mentioned. Sometimes in an effort to be the best possible submissive, I didn’t speak up and let them know there was a problem.

Again, these things can occur outside of subfrenzy but when you’re in a new relationship or you’re new to submission, frenzy is definitely a possible culprit.

Resources to Help You Learn More About Subfrenzy:

Dealing With and Understanding Subfrenzy (podcast)

How to Feel More Submissive (blog post)

Going Slow and Having Patience in D/s (podcast)

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