What is Aftercare and WHY is it Important?
Aftercare is a term you may or may not hear thrown around the scene. I hope that in your experience you often hear the term aftercare, if not find a new crowd, or ask your friends about their views on aftercare. You will want to make sure you are learning the “ropes” from someone who respects and understands the importance of aftercare, even if that may not be the term they choose to describe it.
The following is my take on aftercare, for those of you fortunate enough to have an idea of what I am discussing here, please continue reading, you may still learn something new – education is after all one of the pretexts of this blog. So let’s not forego the formalities, shall we?
Aftercare: The proper way to end a Play Date
If you are a Dominant, aftercare should be a part of your repertoire before you even begin to lay leather to skin, or otherwise. It is in completely bad form to beat, bind, torture, sodomize, subjugate, or otherwise sadistically enjoy another without doing some “closing therapy”. In other words BDSM scene play is not a one night stand, you do not just get up and sneak out afterwards, you take the time to talk and confirm the trust that was given by your submissive partner and thoroughly enjoyed by yours truly. Every good session is only made better by a great wrap-up, so grab a blanket and something refreshing to sip on for you and your submissive, they deserve some coddling, they are after all the object of your passions (sexual or otherwise).
Some great things to discuss during aftercare are as follows:
- How are you feeling?
- Was there something you particularly enjoyed?
- Was there something you thought you would enjoy, but in experience it did not fulfill you?
- Would you be willing to try that activity again, perhaps under different contexts?
- Were you comfortable using your safeword (if safeword was used)?
- Do you have any concerns you would like to discuss with me?
- Thank them for being the object of your physical and mental attention for however long your scene play lasted.
Some great Aftercare Activities:
- Addressing any wounds, bruises, sore areas with proper medical or first aid techniques. This includes ice packs, disinfection, topical antibiotics, band-aids, wraps etc. This is not something you leave to your submissive partner, you did the damage (wanted or otherwise) you take responsibility and care for them.
- Offering refreshment, always something light and comforting, a relaxing herbal tea with honey and milk is great for this (avoid anything with caffeine after intense play as this will raise lactic acid levels in the blood and increase healing time for sore muscles, clots, bruises).
- Depending on the particulars of your relationship cuddling is in order. If you are “play friends” wrapping a nice soft blanket around your submissive and holding them or letting them lean back against you in a resting position is a great way to settle things while you discuss the scene you just finished. If you are lovers a more intimate embrace is appropriate. I love to hold my pup and let him rest his head on or against my breasts (which he adores) it is both comforting and nurturing to him, and it re-establishes our connection as equals once the scene is done.
Regardless of your relationship dynamic, in scene and out of scene are two different scenarios, your submissive is a human being and an equal partner in your relationship. Aftercare is the time when you carefully reiterate their importance to you and your appreciation for the gift they gave you by placing trust for their well-being into your hands.
- Discussion: If you do not know where to start a sincere “Thank you” is a great place to begin, after that you can refer to the previous section for a good list of topics that will allow both of you to find closure and discuss growth for the next play scene.
- Bathing: again this is optional but also a great way to help them relax. You can draw your submissive a relaxing bath and wash them or sit with them and talk. You could also bathe with them, this is a wonderfully intimate experience and builds a real sense of loving and nurturing, it does not have to be sexual, bathing is more sensual and relaxing. Bonus: You get clean doing it!
Saying Good Bye or Good Night
I tend to be of the mindset that after a play scene it is best to assume responsibility for your submissive for the night, this will ensure his or her safety and your peace of mind. If having your submissive stay the night at your home is not an option, driving them home definitely is. Dominants tend to vary on what the best way to end a night is, once all is said and done, I prefer the certainty of knowing that my submissive made it home safely. If you do allow your submissive to leave your home on their own make sure you follow-up with a call to check that they made it back safely and with no complications. Discuss an amount of time before placing the “check in” call is best, this way you can avoid catching them while they are driving or not connecting with them because they have yet to make it home. The agreed upon amount of time should be realistic and leave about a 10 minute window in case of traffic etc. If your submissive cannot be reached by the agreed upon time then it is your responsibility to do all that you can to ensure he or she made it home safely, and YES that means getting in your car and driving to his or her house, if you absolutely must.
As I said before I prefer to skip all these unnecessary things and invite my submissive partner to stay the night with me if they have come to my house for a play scene.
Considerations and exemptions to the “stay the night” plan:
- Play scene was performed in a public place and he or she will have at least 2 hours of recuperation time after the aftercare ritual before he or she must return home.
- Play scene was performed in the middle of the day and he or she has other responsibilities to take care of, in this case make sure there is always a 2 hour window between when you ended aftercare and he or she needs to go take care of said responsibility.
- Play scene was performed in a public place and he or she has a DD for the evening WHO YOU FEEL can be trusted with his or her safety.
In the event that you wish to invite your submissive to stay the evening with you after the play scene is over you should be sure to discuss this with them prior to initiating the scene for the evening. This will give your submissive the opportunity to decide if he or she is comfortable with that arrangement before becoming emotionally and physically vulnerable to you in the deepest and truest meaning of that term.
If your submissive will be staying with you for the evening ensure you have appropriate sleeping arrangements to offer him or her, your bed is not always the proper option. Be considerate that some people have different sleeping habits and sharing a bed with another person may not be one of their habits. Also a couch is not a proper sleeping arrangement, unless you have a convertible couch that you yourself would be willing to spend the night in, do not ask that your submissive sleep on it.
Making someone sleep on the floor or in a cage only works in scene and in fantasy, it is not a realistic or healthy expectation for your submissive, especially if your play-scene involved heavy impact or edge play. You might like to treat them like a dog or less than human when they are kneeling down at your feet, but when it comes to reality they should be afforded the same comforts you would expect for yourself. Submissives are human beings, and they are entitled to be treated as such when not actively submitting.
The Aftercare Bonus Round
Want to take your aftercare to the next level? Want to be the Beau/Belle of the Ball in the local kink community? Go for the Aftercare Bonus Round, take up the challenge and experience first hand the rewards of dedication to your craft and expertise in proper Aftercare.
Great Dominants set standards for themselves, after all it is not just about your submissive becoming the ideal work of art, it is about you becoming the Master of the ideal work of art. The following suggestions can make the difference between the Dominant that does aftercare and the Dominant who masters aftercare.
- Always keep a small healthy *CLEAN* snack on hand to help your submissive refuel after heavy exertion. This is especially important if your submissive partner suffers from low blood sugar, anemia, hypoglycemia, diabetes, or insufferable grumpiness when hungry or tired.
- Always keep a healthy *CLEAN* form of “repair” drinks on hand, a smoothie made prior to or just after finishing a scene that includes a balanced source of omega 3:Omega 6 ratio, rich colorful fruits (berries, mangos, bananas) and a healthy clean fat source (coconut or avocado) is a great after scene treat that will help your submissive heal faster and avoid muscle or joint pain in the morning.
- Learn subtle relaxing massage strokes for the long muscles of the body and the scalp. Keep the massage light and relaxing, deep tissue massage is best left to professionals and the occasional treat for a very well-behaved submissive.
- Play calming meditative music that is not tacky or overly synthesized. Busting out the Industrial during aftercare – not the best idea, you want to play something conducive to relaxation in the background while you and your submissive unwind.
- Be playful and light-hearted, it promotes a sense of kinship and intimacy and will allow your submissive to open up without fear of reprisal or disappointment from you.
To the Submissive
Submissives should also remember that Dominants need love too, we need to feel that our actions are appreciated. If you enjoyed the scene and your Dominant partner made you feel comfortable and safe, then you should make sure to express your gratitude for their mastery and ability to maintain a safe environment for you. We may be Dominant but we put a lot of effort into the D/s relationship, we deserve to be recognized for that effort as much as you the submissive deserve to be recognized for your trust and obedience.