We talk alot about different sexual activities, but oftentimes forget that there is a level of care that should be given afterwards. This is called aftercare, and it’s the time a couple spends cuddling, talking, and caring for each other after sex. Aftercare is an essential thing following BDSM because it ensures both partners feel at ease and ready to rejoin the real world, particularly after intense kink play. Aftercare is also important after any sexual contact, to build the love and connection already there.
- With BDSM entering the mainstream (Fifty Shades of Grey and 365 DNI really brought those to light), more people are taking interest in the kinkier side of sex. This results in people leaping into more adventurous play during sex. From furry cuffs to whips, wax play, and degrading, these activities can be very fun, but also require a level of trust.
So what exactly is aftercare? Effective aftercare.
In BDSM, setting up safeguards is a key component to ensure safety and comfortability by all parties. But once the whips are put away and the ropes are removed, the BDSM community believes that emotional and physical vulnerability still needs to be nurtured and protected. This is where aftercare comes into play.
- In BDSM, aftercare refers to the attention and time given by partners to each other after an intense sexual experience. Think of it as a recovery time. Just like you recover after a workout, in sex you should do the same.
Aftercare is not just for those in BDSM
- Sexologists believe that all couples and sex partners should devote time into post sex aftercare. While cuddling after sex session is not new, making it a routine helps bring it from just “things you do after sex” to something more thoughtful. Asking your partner what they liked or didn’t like, helping them clean up (take a shower together!), and being affectionate are all things that go in to aftercare.
Why is aftercare important?
- In BDSM, aftercare is important to ensure the overall mental wellbeing of everyone involved. In more vanilla sexual activities, it’s just as important.
- Aftercare can cushion you and your partner from the come down after an incredible orgasm. Some women and men experience an intense down after such an intense up, so taking care of each other and creating a safe space helps you both cope and hopefully not feel it as strongly.
- After sex, you may feel vulnerable. You’ve just shared your body with someone. Connecting with your partner can help to strengthen your bonds. When you engage in aftercare, you tend to develop a deeper intimacy than those who don’t.
Aftercare is different for everyone. Whether you are new at this, or you’re looking to improve your aftercare, here are some things you and your partners can incorporate into your sex lives.
- Pillow talk. This tried and tested post-sex ritual really does work. Use this time to check in on each other’s physical safety and feelings after sex. Just asking your partner how they feel after sex is a great aftercare practice. This allows them to tell you what they did or didn’t like, whether they’re experiencing discomfort or pain, and to express their feelings for you.
- Cuddling. Cuddling can help you find a more physical connection post-coitus. This activity makes everyone feel well taken care of. Just as a hug brings you endorphins, cuddling does also.
- Saying goodbye. Sometimes, sex can be awkward and uncomfortable. Even if you’ve been with your partner for a while, you may feel awkwardness on occasion. Being receptive and caring to how your partner is feeling is good aftercare. Aftercare can be a hug, calling them an Uber (when they’re ready) or even just walking someone out to their ride so they feel comfortable and safe.
Discussing aftercare first
- In BDSM, this is a must to ensure everyone’s level of comfort, safety, and that each other’s needs are met. There’s no reason not to use this practice after any other kind of sex. Asking whether there is something they may want to do or need after sex is jsut courtesy! Ask these questions in the form you’re comfortable with.
What NOT to do
- Acting cold and impatient after sex, not acknowleding you just slept together.
- Sneaking out in the middle of the night or in the early hours of the morning without saying goodbye.
- Not following up with a message a day or so after sex.
The benefit and key point to aftercare is treating each other with kindness and making each other feel appreciated and valued for the time, effort, and vulnerability having sex naturally takes. Normalizing care and affection, even after a one night stand, can help aftercare be more widely implemented, and lead to overall better sex lives!