What is aftercare?
June 23rd, 2023
Make the time for aftercare.
After sex, especially physically or mentally intense sex, our bodies and brains experience a come down. Ensuring the mental wellbeing of yourself and your partner is crucial.
Traditionally practiced in the kink world, aftercare is an imperative part of sex. A lot of mental emotion goes into giving and receiving in any kind of scene, especially if they involve mental or physcial power exchanges. But even if you are just getting down to some regular vanilla loving, ensuring that those cognitive needs are met when you’re descending off that high and from that headspace is important. Performing some simple aftercare for your partner after what can be very intensive physical and emotional sex and play can make a world of difference to both your sex life and your relationship.
Making time for aftercare after an intense session is just as important as choosing a safe word. You cannot pour hours into finding the best outfits, coordinating gags and toys without dedicating some time to how you are going to come down from such fervent events.
So how do we do that? Let’s explore.
We have all been there: a partner finishes, rolls over, and goes to sleep. Or gets up, calls a car, and doesn’t say as much as a “cheers” before leaving. It can feel pretty devastating.
That feeling actually has a scientific name: “post-coital dysphoria.” When we have sex our bodies release oxytocin and dopamine; after sex, when those chemicals have depleted, we experience a small comedown. Ensuring the mental wellbeing of yourself and your partner, then, is crucial.
Not every encounter we have has to finish with an earnest “how was it for you?” or a deep dive into our inner psyches. It’s about learning what works for you to make sure that you’re in the right headspace after sex that matters.
As we’ve established everyone's needs are different; for some a cuddle and a kiss might be all that you need after sex to come back down to reality and reconnect. For others, you might fancy a shower together, or roll around in the dirty sheets and have a detailed breakdown. What is important is that you plan ahead what you are going to do so that you both feel connected and happy with what happens. It doesn’t even need to be a set in stone, especially if you aren’t that close or if it’s a casual encounter. Just a “you up for a cuddle/a chat/watching a movie after?” is simple enough. That way you know whether your needs are going to be met during and after sex.
Subspace is a sort of enlightened headspace nirvana that submissives can achieve during play with their dominant. You can read all about subspace here.
It’s quite difficult to arrange some relaxing intimate aftercare in a room or club setting when multiple people have been involved. If you came with someone, or a few people, it’s a good idea to arrange a date directly after. It doesn’t have to be a spectacularly amazing activity — something like a nice walk, or getting some pizza, so you can decompress together.
Aftercare is entrenched in the BDSM lifestyle, where sexual activities lean towards the extreme. Even if you are well-versed in the practice, everyone can experience some strong or unexpected emotions. Rub some lotion on those marks, clean up any sex mess, and tend to any injuries. Make sure you discuss what you enjoyed and didn’t enjoy, what you would change, what you’d like to do again, and why you felt the way you did.
Communication is everything during any sort of dynamic exchange, just as it should be in the aftercare come down part. If cuddling is your thing, then I strongly recommend it. There is nothing like being called names and getting thrown around, but being cuddled, having your hair stroked, and going back to your usual relationship dynamics afterwards is just as important.
Whatever your style is, aftercare is really about connecting with your partner to make sure that you both had an enjoyable, safe, and fun time, so that those times can continue.