Aftercare: Finding What Works For You

When it comes to kink, BDSM, D/s, and sex in general, most of us are very concerned with doing things the “right” way. For some it’s out of fear of harming another person or damaging a relationship. Or like me, you hate doing things wrong or not being good at something. In my mind, if I know what the rules are I can avoid mistakes and perform correctly, no matter what the situation may be.

The reality is that there are no real rules in BDSM and D/s – beyond consent and communication. However you play and whatever gets you off is the right way, as long as everyone involved knows what’s going on and agrees to it. This way of thinking is slowly permeating more conversations in kink (thankfully) but there’s one place where things still seem a bit rigid – aftercare.

Let’s be clear from the very beginning – John Brownstone and I believe aftercare is extremely important. Some moments in D/s and kink can be very intense – emotionally and physically. A submissive often needs help recovering from the moment and getting their bearings again. For the vast majority of kinksters some form of aftercare is necessary. But not everything you’re told about aftercare – what it should look like, when it should happen – apply to all people.

The Supposed Rules of Aftercare

Everything I’d heard or experienced about aftercare up until recently was fairly regimented. The need for aftercare is important after an intense scene and anyone who doesn’t provide it is a monster. You’re supposed to offer kind words. Offer touch. Give your partner water. Wrap them in a blanket. These were my aftercare lessons, and I suspect it’s the same for other people, too.

Don’t get me wrong. These are great guidelines for intense play, people who don’t know each other well, or if this is exactly what a person needs. But like every other part of kink, these supposed rules aren’t set in stone. If you try to provide or receive aftercare like this and it doesn’t work, you’re not broken. You just need something different.

Our Aftercare Routine

When I scene with John Brownstone, especially in the club, I need very specific things from him when we’re done:

  • My fuzzy blankie because putting my clothes back on is impossible
  • Cold water, but don’t make me hold it.
  • Hugs and back rubs
  • Cuddles
  • To hear “good girl” and “I love you”

But what about when it’s not something big like that? I still get aftercare even though I don’t always think of it that way. After a big long spanking or some rough sex that leaves us both breathless, we cuddle. We talk about little things. One of us will crack a joke, and we laugh – a lot. That, too, is aftercare. We’re connecting on a mental and emotional level after a very physical moment. In an unintentional way, we’re checking in with each other. Sort of an “are you good?” without the need for a serious conversation.

Aftercare That Works For You

Some people can’t stand to be touched after a scene. Others will be sick if they eat. Still others need a good long cry or a longer nap. Dominants should offer aftercare as a way to help someone transition out of an intense scene, but it’s okay if a submissive says, “No thank you.” It’s also valid to not want the aftercare being offered and ask for something else.

Like every other facet of D/s and BDSM, aftercare exists on a spectrum from not at all to Do All The Things.  And, submissives, sometimes Dominants need a bit of care too – once you’ve recovered enough to offer it. Flogging or caning someone until they scream, using language you’ve been taught is taboo, and some of the other rough ways we play can fuck with your Dom’s head. They might not call it by the same name, but reassurance and comfort helps them too.

Not all aftercare is the same, and if you get stuck on what you think you’re supposed to do, you’ll miss giving your partner what they actually need. When you’re figuring out what works for you and your partner, use those rules as guidelines, but ultimately, like everything else, do what works best for you.

Do you have any specific needs for your aftercare? Have you found that you want to be left alone or that you want a lot of care and attention from your partner? Have your views on aftercare changed over time? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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