My Lady just commanded me to post a bit on this subject, and you’ll need to bear with me for a moment because while I really can’t refuse Her, I’m not entirely sure of my own thoughts on the subject. So I’ll engage in the time-honored tradition of rambling while I collect said thoughts.
Of course, when I’m in trance, I don’t have many thoughts at all. Ditto with subspace; I know that there’s a lot of spirited debate on the subject of whether the two states are related, but to me, it always feels like a no-brainer. (Pun not intended.) Subspace is always described as that point where the endorphins and the emotions of the scene combine to create a point where the sub is no longer really capable of comprehending a reality outside of the scene. They just want it to go on forever. (In fact, The Topping Book by Dossie Easton and Catherine Liszt calls subspace “The Forever Place”.) Lady Ru’etha and I watched a Domme named Lolita demonstrate flogging at Dark Odyssey: Winter Fire, and she described it as “getting them to a place where all they can say is ‘yes’.”
To me, that’s a longer path to where I get the moment my Lady says, “Down.” Nothing wrong with the scenic route, of course; this isn’t a discussion of which is “better”, because there isn’t one. This is a discussion of how one can be used to enhance the other. When I go into trance, it makes the experiences of BDSM more vivid, immediate, and all-encompassing right away. I feel more immersed in the scene, more open and accepting of my Lady’s direction and commands, and generally buzzed all over. (To the point of frequently becoming non-verbal; one of the things I’ve been working more on recently is trying to stay aware enough to explain to my Lady just how much I enjoy what She’s doing to me, because it’s very easy for me to sink so deeply into the sensation that I can’t do anything else but feel it.) I hit that Forever Place quicker, which means I can stay there longer and build a huge erotic charge out of the scene.
It also means that once I go into trance, I’m in subspace even if I’m not necessarily in a formal scene. Just today, my Lady tranced me over the phone, and while I was deep in that Forever Place, she had me relive the sensations of a scene we’d already done together. She wasn’t touching me, She was thousands of miles away, but I felt like she was penetrating me with Her fingers just from hearing Her speak. When physical limitations prevent the physical part of BDSM (and let’s face it, they frequently can, for a wide variety of reasons), hypnosis can give you access to that same space without having to flog your sub until the endorphins boil over.
And of course, it works the other way as well. Knowing that subspace is a form of trance means knowing that the flogging, binding, petting, and quite possibly piercing (I’m not brave enough for needles, but mad props to those who love it) are all forms of hypnotic induction. So if you learn a bit about hypnosis, you can combine that with BDSM to find more specific and deliberate ways of inducing the state of subpace quicker and more powerfully. Your subs will go deeper, faster, harder, and stay there longer because you know exactly how to dominate their mind as well as their body. It adds an extra dimension to your play, once you realize that subspace and trance are related, and inducing one can induce the other.