Nov 122011

cute white rat holding a little teddy bear, tucked in a blanket

After weeks of excitement and planning it was finally time for your big sex-positive con.  You overpacked by a few suitcases and toy bags, but it was all worth it for the amazing, intense and maybe even transformative event.  You made new friends, reconnected with old lovers, co-discovered that new sex-injury, got on a first name basis with your favorite venders, and gained knowledge and skills you’ll carry with you into the future.

So why do you feel like crap now?

Keep reading for more on recognizing and recovering from con drop-

Savvy event attendees and producers know the phenomena all too well: Con Drop.  It strikes in a multitude of nefarious ways, leaving a trail of emotionally and physically dilapidated attendees where there was once a hotel full of limitless energy and excitement.  In our wrap-up session at this month’s splendorous Playground conference, Reid, Brian and I prepped the audience a bit.  Unfortunately, con drop doesn’t seem to be something you can reliably prevent.  Rather, it’s a dastardly little energy backfire for which it’s best to simply accept and plan ahead.  Just like doing your laundry upon your return, it’s better to deal with promptly.  If not, it will build up and leave you facing an even bigger pile of stink.

It usually takes me 2-3 days to hit my con drop, but after Playground it struck almost immediately.  It begins with the overwhelming urge to exclaim that “nobody understands how tired I am” while making a scene under a pile of blankets and pillows.   Eventually it settles into a migraine or maybe a head cold, and a bit of dehydration.  I know it’s coming.  I plan for it, I accept it, and that helps me bounce back faster.

In the midst of my pillow and blankets, I usually scan for tweets from fellow con-goers and presenters.  This time, I asked  how con drop hits you and what you do to give yourself relief and keep perspective.  Here are my favorite responses:

Symptoms of Con Drop (and Con High)

  • TBK365 recognized the drop as being “a lil tired and run down.”  SltBtm_chris is on the same page, contributing that he starts “feeling depressed; no desire to move.”
  • RobinsToyNest describes it as “feelings of vulnerability and loneliness. Generally unsettled. Sometimes bored with ‘real life’…con withdrawal is one of the strangest things I’ve ever felt. like being unplugged from a collective energy source.”
  • It’s normal for your body to demand care by succumbing to an illness after a con. Beeskwared lamented “Flu bugs. One of the few unfortunate side effects of being so close to so many great people over a weekend”
  • Quite a few folks tweeted that they get con high, either instead of con drop or along with it.  Being easily distracted, feeling isolated in your high level of activist energy, or bouncing between drops and highs is common.  Some folks enjoy the feeling of con high, others find it unpleasant.
Treating Your Con Drop
  • RobinsToyNest reminds us to keep it in context and feed off the energy that was created and will return when you bounce back.  ” It’s only the snuggles and face-to-face time that’s ended. The energy continues.”  She also suggests we “seek support from supportive ppl around me. Maintain connections w/ those met at con. Write about my feelings & experiences.”
  • Siniful says “My solution to con drop is to schedule seeing people that stimulate me in a similar fashion. Then, I can ride the high waves.”
  • Relaxation was a major theme.  SltBtm_chris  suggests we ” plan that day to sleep in, cuddle ur partner & stay on couch…& if i do have to work, minimize interacting with others & do repetitive tasks for easy feeling of accomplishment.”
  • Amethyst1 goes the mindful route ” I look for balance/imbalance. Did I have lots of sex & now don’t feel I have enough? Hung out w/ my friends & now miss them? …I try to drill down what this particular drop is, because they’re not all the same. Then address it as its own case.”
  • Beeskwared says “I just stay connected! The attendees are a very connected group, so I’ve been tweeting and Facebook chatting with all those awesome peeps, and plotting future get-togethers”  But he also recognizes that it’s important to let your body heal and patient with any illnesses you come down with during your drop.  MlleAuroreB is right there with him, “I’ve been writing. Trying to stay in touch with people I met and fighting this damn cold I have.”
  • Enjoy a keepsake.  I found several folks who share a useful technique from me.  We buy a little something at the con that we can wear or carry with us for the following week to help us feel connected to the experience after the event.  I like to buy a simple piece of jewelry at every event I attend.  This week I’ve been wearing my new red pendant from Toronto quite a bit, and it makes me smile to see it in the mirror or touch it.
Several folks also noted that they have similar experiences after other major events, like concert performances, recording porn scenes, so on.  They find the same tips and tools do the job regardless of where the drop started.  And if you’re looking for more structured advice, I strongly recommend Elkor’s FetLife post on con drop, though you’ll need to log into FL to read it.
    Reid Mihalko‘s Tips for Con Drop:
    Reid Mihalko of was also at Playground and generously shared his tips for bouncing back.  Here is what works for him.
    • Feeling bittersweet with low level depression?  Reid opts for his favorite forms of self care: a bath, body work, movie, mindless TV with ice-cream or time with friends.
    • Feeling dead tired?  It’s time for lots of sleeeeeeeep!  Reid says that he tries to sleep in the next day, and only works a half day to catch up on emails.  Then he goofs off the rest of the day.
    • Got a cold?  It’s time to take a day or two off.  If you’re like Reid, who makes out with tons of amazing peeps, gets nearly no sleep and networks his ass off, don’t be surprised if you get the flu a day or two after being “on” for an entire weekend! Remedies: Preemptively get lots of rest and self-care BEFORE the conference. Pack extra nutritious food for the con and eat well throughout. Getting lots of sleep will probably not be an option if you’re like Reid, so plan on taking a day off after the conference. Reid likes to stay on after the conference for an entire extra day and just lay low and chillax before he heads to his next gig. Find out what works best for you!
    • Sometimes it’s hard to adjust to your partner’s, or partners’, expectations.  Reid suggests that If you’re returning home to a lover/partner, warn them ahead of time that you might be “run down” and in need of recharging so they can adjust their expectations that you’ll return home bright-eyed and bushy tailed to shower affection and attentions on them.
    • Above all, Reid suggests you beware the temptation to try to “hit the ground running” and catch up on all your work and put in a full work week after a conference. You will have diminishing returns. TAKE A DAY OFF as soon as you can. You need to shut your brain off and recharge your mind and your body.
    Dr. Ruthie’s 3 Big Tips for Recovering From Con Drop:
    1. Be good to yourself! Keep up your vitamins and catch up on food, exercise, hydration and nutrition.  If your con was amazing then you have probably burned through your reserves and then some.  Listen to your body’s needs and provide.  Be happy with a much reduced level of productivity and abilities for a week after the event.
    2. Regain your balance.  Think of your event as going on a giant sugar binge – super amazing and fun, but with a crash afterward.  Now you must get balanced again.  Slowly and gently re-engage in your normal life schedule.  Don’t hide from people or go overboard on being social.  Don’t let yourself keep odd hours wallowing in your discontent.  Leave your house/computer/iphone for a bit and regain your balance with your surroundings in a pleasant way.  Create a balance between interactions (even if only online) with con-folks and with your day-to-day folks, and take pleasure in the different kinds of happy stuff you feel from both groups.
    3. Enjoy major inspiration, Avoid major decisions. Draw, write, record or otherwise note your amazing flashes of inspiration that stem from your event. That inspiration and excitement is extremely valuable. Now is a time to use that to prepare yourself for any changes you want to create in your personal or professional lives.  However, now is not the time to launch.  Delve into what you learned and energy you gained and really explore and document it so you can carry it with you and use it to build solid, lasting change that sticks with you after the impact of the con has evened out a bit.

    And while you’re at it – look around for the next event and make plans to attend.  Better yet, contact the coordinators as far in advance as possible to ask how you can help!  It’s a great way to keep in contact with con folks so you can be surrounded by more of that fantastic sex-positivity.

    Got some advice for con drop, or even con high?  Just looking for someone to groan with as you work through your drop?  Share below or join us in tweeting it out @DrRuthie, #ConDrop.  And be sure to say thanks to @ReidAboutSex and all of the other wonderful contributors for chipping in on this piece!

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