The Importance of Aftercare in BDSM 

[Content warning: sexual references]

If you practise BDSM, you will most likely be aware of  the importance of establishing physical and emotional boundaries with whoever you are having sex. These may include an in-depth discussion of fantasies, hard limits (very distinctive boundaries that should not, under any circumstances, be crossed), soft limits (boundaries that are discussed but can be more flexible), and safe words (definitive words that replace ‘stop’).

Following these steps is essential to ensure no unnecessary discomfort or lasting damage is caused to anybody involved in a scene. However, a step that is often overlooked is aftercare. The intensity of giving or receiving in a BDSM scene encourages a rush of endorphins and adrenaline that, when a scene is finished, is likely to plummet. This feeling is referred to as ‘sub drop’ (for the submissive participant(s)) and ‘top drop’ (for the dominant participant(s)). 

Symptoms of lethargy, nausea, pain or dizziness may also occur after getting lost in a BDSM scene so effective aftercare is essential to recharging, reconnecting, and regaining composure in a newfound sense of reality. My advice to practising effective aftercare is as follows, but remember that negotiation of aftercare is very important as everybody’s needs are different!

Firstly, ensure any wounds and injuries are attended to; perhaps skin needs to be soothed with an ice pack, or cuts need cleaning. If you have been penetrated; pee. You are more than likely to be dehydrated, so drinking lots of water can never hurt. Eat a light snack, like a piece of fruit or a smoothie, to solve any blood sugar problems.

Secondly, if it suits all involved, enjoy physical contact. Simply cuddling and kissing can help to diminish feelings of worthlessness potentially encountered by a sub while helping a dom to combat potential guilt for hurting somebody they care about. The idea is to boost your oxytocin levels, which can also occur through slower sex leading to orgasm, massaging, gentle touching or even by putting on cosy pyjamas.

Finally, communication is vital. It is integral to discuss your feelings, positive and negative, toward the scene you just enacted. Positive affirmation and reassurance where necessary is an excellent form of emotional aftercare, which is likely to reestablish the (hopefully) respectful and trusting relationship you generally share. Try not to part ways until participants are all definitely in a positive mood.

[Aischa Daughtery – she/her] 

[Photo credit: DrCarl]

 

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