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The Importance of Aftercare

aftercareOnce a BDSM scene has physically ended, the connection between Dom and sub is still very much active. The connection, especially if the scene has been done well, may have been very intimate and psychologically intense, this will still remain for some time afterwards.

If the bottom has successfully reached their ‘subspace’* they will take some time to drift back into a state of normality where they can be left alone. This is a time when the Dominant still has to maintain some level of control over the situation, and keep their sub mentally and physically safe. A Dom will often still be in their own ‘Topspace’* and more than happy to see to the needs of their submissive.

This time after a scene is an important time to strengthen the connection and the feeling of well-being for both parties. It’s time to show each other how much you enjoyed the scene, and to debrief a little, give feedback about what you both enjoyed most during play etc.

BDSM can be so intense that it can leave you feeling exhausted, drained of energy, and in need of some nurturing and tenderness – and this goes for both participants. After an intense scene you might be still feeling exhilaration, you might have a big grin on your face, or you might start to feel a niggling sense of doubt, of guilt or even traumatisation. It’s a time to reassure your play partner that you’re pleased.

Some of the best things you can do in the period immediately after your scene are:
* Hugs and cuddlesaftercareexcerpt
* Rest
* Sex if that’s part of your dynamic
* Have something to eat or drink
* Giving each other some verbal affirmation and reassurance
* Expressing thanks to each other
* Temperature control – a warm blanket to cuddle under, or a cold drink if it’s hot
* First aid – if needed
* A ‘debriefing’ or reflection if you’re both able to talk
* Some people just want to be left alone, others will need to remain close
* Tidy up the play area together, clean the toys, pack everything away neatly

All of these things help with maintaining the connection and to provide a closure to the scene, allowing time for a gentle return to reality and to normal everyday activities.

 

AFTERCARE KIT

So, to be able to be ready for providing aftercare to a submissive or play partner, a wise Dom will be prepared, or have on hand a kit containing some of the most likely things for aftercare – everything needs to be close at hand so that you don’t have to leave your partner while you go in search of a drink or a blanket etc. It’s different of course if you’re playing at home or going out to a club, so take some time to think through what you will need and pack an Aftercare Kit. Here are some things you might want to include:

* A first aid kit – include some painkillers, antiseptic cream, a soothing gel or lotion (such as Arnica)
* A soft warm blanket/coat/dressing gown
* Bottled water or an energy drinkaftercare3
* Thermos flask of hot coffee or hot chocolate or herbal tea
* Food – chocolate, muesli bars, dried fruit
* An ice pack
* A hot water bottle
* Warm socks

Even after aftercare, the euphoria of a good scene can take a day or more to wear off. It’s important to keep in touch during that time if possible, in case one of you has an unexpected reaction. Top/subdrop* can still kick in up to 3 days afterwards a scene, and aftercare needs to continue right through if at all possible.

Tip for Newcomers: It’s good to remember if you’re watching a BDSM play scene, always give the Dom/sub time and space after a scene has ended to see out their own aftercare routine before approaching with any comments and/or questions.

*Bottom/Subspace – A specific state of mind that a submissive may enter, particularly after intense activities and/or (depending on the person) intense pain play, characterized by euphoria, bliss, a strong aftercare4feeling of well-being, or even a state similar to intoxication. Thought to be related to the release of endorphins in the brain. The euphoria associated with subspace may last for hours or sometimes even days after the activity ceases.

*Dom/top-space – A heady feeling of control, as opposed to the floaty endorphin fueled Subspace a submissive can go into.

*Top/Dom Drop – Colloquial A sudden, abrupt feeling of depression, unhappiness, or similar negative emotion in a dominant which may occasionally occur immediately after a period of BDSM activity. May include feelings of guilt, especially if the dominant believes he or she has made an error, or has traditional ideas about relationship or socially appropriate behavior.

*Sub/Bottom Drop – The temporary depression experienced by submissives/masochists after intense BDSM play.

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