Hello and welcome to another of my guides. Today I want to take a closer look on the topic of aftercare. This topic was breifly covered in my guide to BDSM etiquette but deserves a more thorough coverage because of its importance.
As with all my guides, this is my personal opinion and view on the topic. Every person is different and has their own opinion. However I hope that you can take something away from these paragraphs even if you have a totally different perspective on the matter than I do.
What is aftercare and why is it needed?
BDSM scenes are like a flight with a plane.
The negotiation, the part that has been covered in the etiquette guide, can be seen as the part where the pilot checks all their instruments and sensors to see if they are ready for takeoff.
The scene itself, the part that has been covered in the subspace/topspace guide, can be seen as the actual flight of the plane. Maybe with a bumpy takeoff or some turbulences mid-flight but still flying.
Now that it comes to the end of the scene it's time to bring the bird safely to the ground. And that exactly is what aftercare is for - a smooth and calm landing after an exciting flight.
The point of aftercare is to slowly lead both, the sub and the dom, back into the real world. This process can take a while and I can only suggest again to not have another appointment lined up after a scene, so you can take as long as you want and as long as it takes since the need and required intensity of aftercare can vary a lot depending on the scene and participants.
Often aftercare is depicted as something that a dom does to a sub. While I agree that more often than not the sub is in "more" need of aftercare because of the mental and physical strains the scene had on them, that does not mean aftercare is a one-way street. It's part of the ending so both participants are reassured, calm and collected after the scene.
While I pointed in my last post about sub- and topspace at aftercare as a treatment for subdrop and topdrop, I want to express that there is no need for either sub- or topdrop for the need of aftercare.
For me, aftercare is a set component after every scene, no matter if I'm doming someone or getting dommed. I think it prevents both parties from feeling like a toy that gets dropped after the other has finished playing with it. While wanting to feel like a toy can be something a sub can feel inside a scene, it certainly shouldn't be outside of one.
By paying attention, showing sincere interest and care for their partner even after the scene, the dom and sub show each other that there is an interest in connecting with their partner. I personally find it important to build a relationship outside of scenes. It's needed to build a trusting relationship and have meaningful conversations or even negotiations for future scenes.
For someone foreign to BDSM scenes this all might feel strange. Why would someone voluntarily put themselves through a scene, which leaves one in a state that you need aftercare to feel normal again?
To that I can only say: What people like sexually and what they enjoy outside of the bedroom can be quite different. While things like pain, degradation, humiliation, objectification and other kinks are more or less common in a BDSM context, it's probably nothing the sub or the dom enjoy outside the scene.
With aftercare both particpants express love and affection for the other, for doing this scene, fulfilling each other's sexual fantasies. At the same time, they are also expressing that they want to keep certain things in the bedroom. Showing the other, no matter what happened inside the scene, they still love and cherish the person outside of the scene and want them to feel as good as possible.
Also: Giving and receiving aftercare after a scene completes the whole scene and can sometimes be even more enjoyable and fulfilling than the scene itself.
These paragraphs describe what I'd call the core of aftercare. It's the preparation and execution I will almost always include in my aftercare. Not particularly in this exact order but I usually make sure to almost always cover each of theses steps.
What aftercare is needed
With aftercare there is no "one size fits all" kind of thing. Everyone is different about what they like to receive and what to give. Talking about this before any aftercare is needed is a must to see if you and your partner are a good match. Some people like receiving or giving very thorough aftercare, others don't like to give or receive any aftercare at all. That's all fine but talking about this, preparing your partner for it and giving them a chance to consent to it is a great idea.
Talking with your partner about what aftercare is needed lets you prepare for it a little in advance which can reduce the time either of you have to spend alone directly after a session because of preparation time.
Preparation and session ending
After talking with your partner about what aftercare they enjoy, the dom can do some stuff to prepare for this. They can tell the sub before the scene, or even inside the scene if needed, to grab things needed for aftercare. This can be anything between a glass of water, a snack, a towel, a special pillow or blanket or anything else.
When finishing a scene, the dom should have the aftercare in mind. Thinking about where and how to finish the scene so the transition to aftercare can be smooth and comfortable for the sub. Keep in mind that your partner might live in another time zone. The ending of a scene and the kind of aftercare needed might differ depending on the local time the scene is happening at.
Probably one of the most important parts of aftercare. Pampering your partner with love and affection. Either for a wonderfully executed scene or for "enduring" it. Words of approval, taking care of the other and being taken care of increase the glow from the rush of top- and subspace, which is just an increadible feeling.
Part of the aftercare for me is always the removal of any toys the sub has attached to or inside their body. This could be anything like ties, clamps, plugs, collars, shackles, cuffs, gags or something else. This step is also why it is very important for the dom to always keep track of what toys are used on and in their sub's body at all times.
Instead of telling my sub to remove every toy from their body, I like to be a little more empathic and talk them through the removal of the toys asking about any ache, pain or discomfort.
Depending on the duration the toy was used on the sub, I sometimes allow them to keep using that toy a little while in aftercare, especially if it makes them feel good, safe and secure. This could be something like a harness or a collar. At the end of aftercare I make sure to remove every toy from the sub's body though or at least make very sure my sub is out of subspace when making the decision to keep a toy on their body.
Hydration & snacks
If not provided a drink during the session, the sub may be thirsty. Reminding the sub to have a drink by offering to go grab one for them, or better - have one handy before the session begins. Telling a sub to prepare their favorite drink, hot or cold, is a good idea for aftercare preparation.
Having a small snack handy is a good idea. Depending on the duration of a scene, it can be physically exhausting. Supplying the body with energy helps to raise their mood as well. Dark chocolate has been scientifically proven to be a great snack to raise the mood. But literally anything else will suffice as well. Something sweet to boost the blood sugar and a real meal afterwards is usually the best after longer scenes.
Depending on the actions performed during a session, the temperature of the room and the clothes worn by the sub during the session, the sub can be very cold or hot to a discomforting degree. If the dom knows this could be the case even before the scene (e.g. it's summer and the room is very hot), they can prepare for this in advance.
Depending on the temperature, these are my preferred ways to cool down or heat up their body:
- A hot drink like tea, coffee or a hot chocolate or a cold drink like water, some juice or a lemonade. Some suger in the drink can help regain some energy if the session was exhausting
- A bowl with warm/hot or cold water to put the feet into. If the sub feels very cold cuddle them into a blanket at the same time.
- A cold or hot shower or even a bath
- Cuddles in bed under a blanket
- A wet towel or washing cloth. Focus on cooling off the head.
Breathing & heartrate
Chances are that by the end of a scene the sub's heart is racing and the breathing is quick and shallow. Check on how they are feeling on that front. If needed try to do some breathing excercises to slow down the breathing and the heartrate to normal levels.
For some people aftercare is just a calm conversation after a scene. About the scene or just a casual conversation topic. But other people might enjoy some other kind of aftercare. Other ways how you and your partner spend time together.
These following paragraphs describe ideas that I have practiced and experienced with a partner on the giving or receiving end.
Music & Sound
I love to offer some music or an acoustic scene to relax to, sometimes both at the same time works as well. For some nice background noise, I love to use a soft murmur or similar sites. Obviously the choice is depending on your partner (and maybe also you if you listen to something together). Some people rather relax to heavy metal, others to classical music - pick accordingly.
Even if you can't be physically with your partner, virtual cuddling is something you and your partner can do. Sending various cute hug, cuddle, snuggle, handholding or caressing gifs combined with slight cuddle RP and words of affection can do wonders during aftercare.
Guided self massage
This might sound a little strange but guided self massages are a great way to relax after a scene, especially if it was physically exhausting. Telling your partner where and how to massage their sore body feels as wonderful as doing it. Maybe even add a little music or murmur to it as mentioned above.
Autogenic relaxation & progressive muscle relaxation
Something I love to do to my partner if we talked a bit and they want to relax, nap or sleep now. Consciously paying attention to certain parts of the body, one after the other, and relaxing those muscles can bring a pretty deep relaxation to your partner's body within a couple minutes. I lost track of the amount of times I finished aftercare this way with my partner actually falling asleep during or directly after it.
You don't have to be an expert in this field to make it feel amazing for your partner. If you are nervous to try it out maybe look up a guide on the internet like this to get an idea how you could approach this.
I consider feedback about the scene as part of the aftercare, but it can be seen as a separate aspect. It's something I leave up to my partner if they are open to discussing things now or rather at a later point in time. This is important to me since maybe something happened within the scene my partner does want to give negative feedback on, but doesn't want to focus on at the moment, because they rather want to enjoy the bliss of the moment and the positive things.
I personally don't always come back for the missing feedback on a single specific session, unless I tried something new and want to find out how it worked. However getting feedback at some points, especially if you have more or less regular sessions with that partner, is very useful.
Getting feedback about the session is crucial to learning, improving at domming or subbing and it also helps getting to know your partner better.
Don't ask for feedback instantly after the scene. It's like asking "How was I?" directly after sex. It's pushy and frankly unsexy. It should be one of the last things you discuss with your partner after a scene to make sure you both are back in the real world and have a clear mind when descussing the scene.
The possibilities as to what you and your partner can do during aftercare are limitless. Watching a video or movie together, playing a video game together, remotely cooking together, taking a walk while staying in a call with your partner, anything.
Just try to find something that suits both you and your partner.
How to execute aftercare
As mentioned before there is no "one size fits all" and the aftercare I experience differs probably a lot from the aftercare other people practice. However there are a few things I want to point out that should be considered when giving or receiving aftercare.
Usually the aftercare I experience is focused heavily on the sub at first and evolves into a more balanced interaction later. This is the reason that some of these are purely written from the perspective of the dom.
One of the most important things is having an understanding for your partner. At the end of a scene lots of feelings, mental and physical ones, can rush through your and your partner's body. May it be after a long teasing session or a scene with denial, ruined or full orgasm(s).
Be understanding for your sub needing a moment after a scene. Give your sub time to enjoy that feeling of bliss while also offering your presence without pressuring them to talk to you. It can sometimes take a couple of minutes to get out of a tie or to grasp a clear thought and to be able to talk again. Give your partner that time without being absent.
Be understanding for your sub still being in subspace for a while. Don't try to pull them out of there. It's a highly pleasurable state the sub might enjoy a lot. Your sub might even want to keep toys in/on their body to feel closer and more connected to you (e.g. keeping on a collar). Give them time, let them stay there for a while and gently guide them out of subspace by pampering them with affection and then slowly starting to ask them questions and give them little tasks like getting a drink or a snack.
Be understanding for your partner having a subdrop or topdrop right after a scene or at a later point in time. Your partner might even start to cry. This (usually) doesn't mean you did anything wrong - quite the opposite actually. Strong emotions are usually involved when the rush during the scene was so strong, that falling back to normal levels feels like something is missing. Offering to do aftercare, not only directly after the scene but also at a later time, is a great way to assure your partner to feel safe and secure with you.
If you can't be there at a later time, make sure to tell a person you both trust about the session and the potential need of aftercare so that person can step in.
Be understanding for the amount of aftercare needed. Sometimes it takes little, sometimes lots and lots of aftercare to come back out of the scene. Ask your partner if they are satisfied with the amount of aftercare provided. If your partner needs more aftercare, please be so kind and provide it, if your schedule allows it.
Be understanding for your dom to also needing aftercare. This doesn't need to be anything forced and sometimes giving aftercare is all the aftercare that is needed for the dom. But doms can also have some negative feelings that need to be taken care of by the sub. If your dom is talking negatively about their performance, a mistake or anything else that happened during the scene, please make sure to reassure your dom. Make them understand how much you enjoyed the scene. What and how to improve on can be discussed at a later time.
This is especially important for the aftercare of both partners since the dom drowning in self pity can also heavily affect the sub's aftercare in a negative way.
Imagine a scene where the dom went a bit too far on the pain side of things.
If the dom expresses how proud they are about their sub for enduring the pain, that not only makes the dom happy but also the sub very proud. You can discuss at a later point if that was actually too far and how to avoid going that far in a future scene or if the sub enjoyed getting their soft limits pushed a bit.
However if the dom just expresses how sorry they are and how bad they feel, that doesn't only make the dom sad, but also the sub. Not only because they don't like to see their partner sad but also because it diminishes their own performance and it feels like they did something wrong by following their dom's commands.
So it's important for the dom to focus on the good things and boosting both their own and their sub's mood and trying not to feel guilty or sad (easier said than done, I know). If the sub notices, that the dom doesn't manage to focus on something else other than the mistakes and errors, instantly try to comfort your dom to interrupt the negative thought spiral.
Other than that? Truth be told while I do have personal preferences for giving and receiving aftercare, I don't really mind that much what kind of aftercare there is and how it's executed. The most important thing is feeling loved, cared for and appreciated in a context outside of sexual interaction. Feeling good about the scene and knowing your partner feels as good as you do.
Make sure to check in with your partner, ask them how there are feeling and if there is anything you can do to make it feel better. Constant words of affirmation, confirmation and praise can help grounding your partners headspace again.
Since aftercare can be very intimate, I only do aftercare in private even after a public game on Erofights.
404 Aftercare not found
But what happens if there is no aftercare?
I can only think of 2 cases in which there is no aftercare even though aftercare is wanted.
- There is a discrepancy between the needed aftercare between the sub and dom
If this is the case e.g. you need aftercare but your partner has no interest in giving aftercare or the other way around, I would discourage you from engaging in BDSM scenes with that partner.
Incompatibility concerning aftercare should be treated the same way as incompatibility with kinks. Knowingly engaging with them in scenes anyways is just asking for a bad time.
You won't have anyone to rely on if a top- or subdrop is happening and that feeling can be truly terrifying.
It also can leave you with emotions like vulnerability, worthlessness, humiliation or many other negative emotions that can bleed into your time after the scene which can have a serious negative impact on your mental health.
- There was aftercare after the scene but a subdrop/topdrop is happening at a later time at which your partner is unavailable (because of work, timezones or other reasons)
What helps is again depending on the person having the sub- or topdrop. Every person has to findout for themselves what helps them the best. But here are maybe some ideas:
- Selfcare - the solo variant of aftercare. Treat yourself well and take care of yourself. This can be anything between meditation, a walk or other sport activities outside, cooking dinner or having a small snack. Even self massages as mentioned earlier can work. Maybe playing a video game, or watching a movie can distract you until your partner is available again.
- Talk to someone else - especially when talking in the context of Erofights: It's not the same as getting aftercare from your partner but try to let other people take care of you. We have dedicated channels on our Discord server and there are many lovely people happy to comfort those who might need it. If the situation above happens more often than not, it might be worthwhile letting a trusted person in when sessions happen and therefore aftercare might need to be provided by that person (granted that person is happy to support you and your partner in that case).
- Find a substitution. There is material out there that can help you bridge the time between you needing aftercare and your partner being available again. There are aftercare videos or porn with follow up aftercare. For [M4F] aftercare see this or this. For [F4M] aftercare see maybe this channel and look for videos with the word aftercare in it. Other substitutions could be ASMR audiofiles. Check Youtube or even subreddits such as /r/gonewildaudio and look for "comfort asmr" or "aftercare" and you will find audios like this or this. Look for what works best, maybe even in advance so you don't have to browse when you actually need it.
I wrote the guide partially because I encountered quite a few people who were very surprised once they were asked about or experienced aftercare first hand for the first time. The reactions I got so far were exclusively positive and I know quite a few people who can't get enough of aftercare since they got to know it.
So I want to encourage everyone to practice aftercare or try it for the first time if you are new to this as I think both partners can profit from it a lot. Even though most of these suggestions are probably something you'd rather do with someone who you know a little better, offering some kind of aftercare, even if you just pick someone randomly from the queue, should be more common in my opinion.
If you are new to all this, you feel probably flooded with things to do, things to pay attention to and consider.
This post was created to give an overview about what I would consider aftercare and what options there are. What works and what doesn't is something every couple has to find for themselves. These are merely just ideas.
In the end, the only things that matter are the sincerity, affection and care you show each other as well as communicating with your partner and adapting to their needs if that's within your capabilities and comfort zone. If you go from there, not much can go wrong.
Make sure to stay open to suggestions. Talk about what your partner liked, not only during the scene but also during aftercare and what you could improve on next time.
If you want to learn more about aftercare from the dom of a very sweet lesbian femdom couple make sure to watch this video.
And with that, I wish you all happy sexy time and an even better time coming back out of it.