Doctor’s kinky teachings: The Vasovagal Response

Personal Assistant Required
August 4, 2015
Conversational Dominance and Power: A bit of a rant
August 30, 2015

Doctor’s kinky teachings: The Vasovagal Response

I posted a while back about my visit to a friendly kinky doctor to pick his brain, and pick it I did. Over dinner we had a wonderful long conversation where every concern I had was aired and answered. The most interesting and useful thing I learned was about the Vasovagal Response, let me share this with you.

This is something that happens not infrequently in play, and whilst I knew how to handle it, I was never quite sure of the mechanism of it. Why on earth do some scenes need to take a pause because the bottom feels dizzy, confused, extremely hot or cold and clammy, light-headed, tinnitus, spotting in vision, feeling anxious or occassionally they even faint? And why if someone does faint do they sometimes spasm like they are having a fit (that one gave me a fright when I first saw it)?

Turns out the Vagus nerve is responsible for all of these responses. There's a massive list of things that can trigger the body to have this response, which causes a malfunction in the parts of the nervous system that regulate heart rate and blood pressure. These triggers include:

  • Prolonged standing or upright sitting
  • Standing up very quickly
  • Stress directly related to trauma
  • Stress
  • Any painful or unpleasant stimuli, such as:
  • - Trauma (such as hitting one's funny bone)
    - Watching or experiencing medical procedures
  • Sensitivity to pain
  • Arousal or stimulants, e.g. sex, tickling, or adrenaline
  • Sudden onset of extreme emotions
  • Lack of sleep
  • Dehydration
  • Hunger
  • Being exposed to high temperatures
  • Pressing upon certain places on the throat, sinuses, and eyes (also known as vagal reflex stimulation when performed clinically)
  • The sight of blood
  • Serotonin level / SSRI
  • (Less commonly) Low blood sugar

These are just the reasons related to play! To see the full list (and far more detail about the Vasovagal response than I give here) check out the Wikipedia Article

So, when the Vagus nerve is triggered it can result in a slower heart rate or a drop in blood pressure (or both), which in turn leads to a loss of blood in the brain, and we all know how it feels when we stand up too quickly and the blood can't reach out brain in time. Yep, that dizzy, darkening feeling, it's the same thing just taken further!

The treatment if it gets as far as fainting I knew, most of us do I think. The feet need to be raised above the head to restore blood (or sit them down with head between legs, depending on what is practical). Also being able to spot the symptoms (both top and bottom being familiar with these is useful) and sitting down with a sweet drink and snack can often help it pass and prevent things escalating, if there's time. And before even starting play making sure the bottom has eaten recently is very helpful.

Oh, and the apparent seizure that sometimes happens when someone passes out is the clever body spasming muscles to try to pump the blood back to the brain!

It's comforting to understand what a body reaction is, and I always felt a little uncomfortable with my lack of medical knowledge when this physical response happened, but it's actually very normal and straight forward. Aren't our bodies just fascinating!

DISCLAIMER. I'm not a medical professional, just passing on what I've learned in what is hopefully a simple easy to understand way, I've missed out details so don't just take my word but go and research this properly if you're interested. Also you should probably get checked out by a doctor yourself if you faint often in play just to make sure it's nothing more serious

Leave a Reply

2 Comments on "Doctor’s kinky teachings: The Vasovagal Response"

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Adam
Guest

Huh! I’d not heard the term before, but it sounds like this explains the intense pins and needles I felt across my face when we had a session a couple of years ago. Thank you for the information!

(Also I keep thinking of booking a second session, and really ought to follow up on that…)