If you’re getting into any form of BDSM, you’ll need to learn proper aftercare. Here are the basics and a list of suggestions
WHAT IS AFTERCARE?
In short, it’s a fancy way of saying that everyone is okay and happy after playing around in BDSM.
It’s also gently bringing someone back to reality (from the fantasy of play) and helping them feel grounded again and/or re-establishing the normal, loving roles you would normally assume (if you’re in a relationship).
But, there’s a lot to aftercare that many new players might not realize – including special attention to physical and mental or emotional needs.
It’s also important when dealing with physical injuries or “drop”.
WHAT IS SUB/DOM DROP?
When you’re playing around in BDSM, there are often spikes of endorphins and adrenaline (especially if you’re doing something intense). When you crash from this natural high, there is a chance of “drop”. This can include…
- Can’t calm down or feeling irritable
- Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
- Feeling tired or lazy
- Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
- Persistent sad, anxious, or feelings of emptiness
- Problems with appetite
- Problems with sleep cycle (too much or not enough)
- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not go away even with treatment
These feelings can show up right after a scene or anywhere from 24 to 72 hours after (depending on the intensity of the scene and the Dom/sub’s personality, constitution level, or problems they might be going through at that moment.)
Basically, drop is different for each person and for each scene.
SIDE NOTE – One way to help avoid drop is to gradually go into and recede from a scene.
- If you are new play partners, you must discuss/share what aftercare is needed.
- If you’ve played often with your partner, you might just need to quickly double check nothing has changed (or you’ve played often enough that you’re already familiar with the aftercare needed).
- If you’re new to BDSM, it’s better to start slow and try things that aren’t as intense – you’ll also need to talk during your aftercare to share what works and what doesn’t.
THING TO DO IN AFTERCARE
- Taking off all BDSM gear – like blindfold, ropes, or restraints
- Moving the sub somewhere comfortable and warm (off the floor)
- Cleaning, disinfecting, applying medicine, and dressing any injuries
- Applying any lotions, aloe, cooling creams etc. to make the body feel better
- Offering painkillers, vitamins, supplements or antacids to deal with pain, lactic acid build up, or loss of nutrients
- Wrapping the sub in a blanket or bathrobe to counteract the body’s temperature drop (if you’re worried about your sub overheating, use a breathable fabric or something lose with holes, like a knitted or crocheted blanket).
- Offer water (don’t force them to drink)
- Offer chocolate (if the sub can have it) to take care of blood sugar levels
- Juice or power drinks are a good alternative to chocolate
- Hugging, cuddling, caressing
- A soft and gentle voice from the Dom
- Reassurance that everything is okay
- Offering praise
- Reassurance (if the sub feels awkward about their kinks) that they are normal and their pleasures are nothing to feel ashamed about
- Offer a reassuring and gentle touch to a part of the body that wasn’t affected by the scene
- Make sure participants are serene and positive
- A phone call or meet up a day or two after an intense scene to talk about things and make sure everything is okay
- Have a warm bubble bath with candles
- Put the sub in their favorite comfortable clothing
- Watch a movie the sub likes
- Journal writing
- Being left alone to reflect or even meditate
Remember, everyone is different. Some might need very little, while others might need a lot. It’s not for a Dom to judge what’s right or wrong – rather to take care of their sub.
DOMS CAN HAVE DROP TOO
Did you know that Doms sometimes need aftercare too?
The stereotype is that Dom’s are strong creatures that don’t need help or reassurance – but this is an unhealthy mentality towards Tops. They are human too, and they can experience fatigue or have a rough day. The reason people don’t think about Dom aftercare is because they’re so busy taking care of the other person, they’re just starting to learn the craft, or it’s a professional arrangement that is solely focused on the sub.
What can you do?
If you’re practicing BDSM in a relationship, it’s a balance of making sure both parties are happy and calm. If you’re a professional Dom, you should make sure you have a system in place to take care of your own aftercare – this can be having a friend you can hang out with or call, a partner that can take on the responsibility.
EXTENDED CARE OPTIONS
Remember, a sub might need care for a few days after you’ve played. This can be in the form of a scheduled phone call, video chat, or in-person meet up.
However, there are times where that might not be possible, And that’s where a “babysitter” comes into play – this is someone trusted by both parties to step in for the Dom and offer aftercare based on the sub and Dom’s pre-negotiations.
Extended care is important to maintain good communication, deal with any negative feelings that might pop up, and avoid any toxic behaviors.
With all things BDSM, every person and every experience is unique. That’s why communication, positive attitudes, and consensual actions are VERY important. So is not judging or forcing your own BDSM beliefs on others.
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What’s your go-to aftercare? Fuzzy socks? Long conversations? Share in the comments.