A Guide To BDSM Aftercare

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All scenes, no matter what the focus is, should include responsible aftercare. Once a BDSM play scene has ended, it hasn’t really ended – the intimate and emotional connections will still be there, and so aftercare is important for everyone involved. Aftercare doesn’t need to be overly sentimental or grand, it just needs to be an intentional display of appreciation and acknowledgment that will ensure you and your partner return to an everyday state of mental, emotional, and physical steadiness.

What is Aftercare?

Aftercare is, simply, the time you and your partner take after play time to recover and tend to each other’s emotional and physical needs. There’s a wide range of thoughts, feeling and emotions that are linked with kink, especially as many of the scenes performed test one’s limits, boundaries, power, and control. The time following the end of the scene is an important time to strengthen the emotional connection and the feeling of well-being for both of you.
 
It’s also a time to show each other how much you enjoyed the scene, and to debrief. Remember, kink can be an intense experience that leaves you feeling exhausted, mentally and physically drained, and in need of some tenderness, and therefore aftercare is an expected standard of post-kink scenes and experiences.

Why is it Necessary?

Our fantasies don’t necessarily correlate with who we are in our day-to-day lives. While we may want our partner to dress as a dominatrix who exacts humiliating punishments on us during kinky sessions, that’s not how we want them to treat us during the normal course of our relationship. Aftercare helps us transition from our fantasies back to our everyday relationship.

There can be a physical toll as well. The rush of endorphins coupled with potential physical exertion can leave partners feeling weak, dazed, and fatigued depending on the intensity of the scene.

Types of Aftercare

Physical Aftercare

1. Removing your partner from all BDSM paraphernalia to take them out of the scene.

2. Having something to eat or drink to replenish energy.

3. Depending on the intensity of the scene, you may need a warm blanket, an ice-cold drink, or some first aid equipment to hand.

4. Physical contact such as kissing, cuddling, and caressing any part of their body.

5. Providing affection and comfort in a quiet place.

6. Ensuring enough time has passed before letting your partner drive or, if possible, drive your partner home/arrange a taxi.

Emotional Aftercare

1. Expressing thanks and verbal affirmation to reassure your partner that what just happened was amazing, consensual, and intimate. Assure your partner that they are not disgusting and that they shouldn’t be ashamed of their kink.

2. A debriefing and good communication about the scene, but only if you’re both in the frame of mind to do so. Otherwise, leave this for the following day. Discuss good and bad points and be open to hearing your partner’s thoughts and feeling.

3. Check in with your partner a few days after the scene to ensure that there are no lingering negative emotions and that your partner is in a good headspace.

These don’t necessarily apply to everyone; some people will want to be left alone and others will need to remain close. Aftercare should be discussed before every session as your partner may require a different form of aftercare depending on their emotional state. There is no one way to provide or receive aftercare, the only real guideline is to be open, accepting, and attentive to the emotional and physical needs of your partner, while also making sure that your own needs are met as well.

If you’re feeling the opposite way to your partner, find a compromise. You’ll both need some form of aftercare that’ll help maintain the connection you’ve just experience, and provide you with closure.

Aftercare can be a slow and gentle departure from the psychological head space that BDSM often creates. This experience can be expressed with laughter, silence, yelling, tears, mood swings and so on, and can take a day or more to wear off. Therefore, it’s important to keep in touch during that time and talk through any shift in emotion you may be feeling.

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