Last week I brought up the subject of aftercare, common misconceptions around it, and some signs that can let you know that care is needed. We talked briefly about areas that aftercare should focus on and today we’re going to get more into that. You can find it here if you missed it Aftercare Part One.
Before we wrap up with why aftercare is so important, we’ll also be discussing aftercare in clubs/parties versus aftercare at home and I’m going to start by giving you some lists of things you can use. Remember, even if you already do aftercare it’s good to try different things to see if they might work better.
Aftercare in clubs is going to be limited. You just won’t have many choices and the choices you do have will depend on if you are playing with your partner or a stranger you just met. Here are a few ideas:
- Water is always important for obvious reasons. Most clubs have this. If you know you are going someplace that doesn’t then bringing a couple bottles might be a good idea.
- Soda for the sugar content. Often food/juice isn’t available in clubs so if you haven’t brought anything then this is your only option for low blood sugar. Like water, most clubs have it.
- Checking for damage/injury. This should be done in a seamless transition from playing to aftercare. As you’re helping the bottom up/down/undoing the restraints, this is when you check. If they’ve been restrained for a while you want to make sure blood circulation is fine during the scene, but also when you are done.
- If their hands or feet are cold rub them briskly to improve circulation, or massage until they are warm again.
- Rubbing/massaging can be part of the checking, or just nice on its own as a wind down, especially if there is some residual sting. If you do this during the scene it’s usually accepted as part of it, but if you’ve transitioned out of the scene then at that point you should probably ask.
Keep it non-sexual unless you check with them first. It’s very easy for rubbing to turn into sexual touching. Also, I’ve mentioned this before but directly after a scene some bottoms/subs are really out of it and are not completely aware of what they are doing.
If they seem at all dazed or woozy and you are not their partner, you should wait until they are more aware before you try initiating anything of a more sexual nature even if they say it’s fine. Scene euphoria can mimic the effects of drugs and alcohol when it comes to consent.
- Make sure the bottom isn’t dizzy or shaky and help them sit down if they are, so you don’t end up with an unintended injury from a fall.
- Find a place to sit and talk afterwards. Yes, just sitting and talking is aftercare. You are helping them unwind and relax, and also keeping them off their feet while their body adjusts to the physical aspects. Sitting and talking is a good time to sip some water too.
- If they are cold you may not have many options. As I said blankets in clubs are mostly a myth, but you can help them get dressed if they aren’t full dressed at that point.
- Hugs or cuddling are essential after a scene, especially an emotional one, for some subs. Some, not all. You definitely should ask if they want a hug before assuming. Same for cuddling, which might not be possible in the club anyway depending on the space.
Aftercare in home is a lot easier for several reasons. The most obvious is that the person you’re playing with is likely someone you know very well. You know their triggers. You know their needs/wants after a scene is over.
You also have a lot more control over the situation and environment at home, which gives you more options. Clubs can be very limiting, but at home you’ve got everything to provide exactly what your partner needs. I’m also going to go much more in-depth on this because even if you played in a club or party, you might end up doing aftercare at home.
- Water is still good.
- Juice also good in the short-term.
- Actual food/ light meal is a good follow up. This is better than juice, candy, or soda because it won’t just provide a quick sugar boost that will crash, but something more stable.
- Checking for damage should still occur wherever you are. At home you can be more detailed with that. You might want to rub in some lotion or cream as part of it. You can also work a relaxing massage in.
- If they are cold you have lots of options for getting them warm including blankets, sweaters, turning up the heat, or even a hot shower/bath.
- Hugging/ cuddling or snuggling up in bed for the night are all wonderful ways to end a scene.
- A nice relaxing bath. I wouldn’t recommend a shower if they are looking at all shaky, unless you’re getting in with them.
- Watching a show together.
- Tuck them in for a nap.
- Comfort objects such as soft pajamas, stuffies, a warm robe and slippers, a hot cup of tea, etc.
- Sex. Yes, sex can be aftercare too.
- Some alone time to relax and let everything settle. This is one you should discuss first, unless they request it. Some people do badly when left alone after a scene, but other people enjoy the quiet.
- Have them kneel at your feet or complete a submissive task that is within their current physical capabilities.
- Journaling/writing about what they are feeling after the scene, or anything of that nature.
- Some completely unrelated activity that will allow you to engage on a non-emotional level so things can settle down. For instance, play a game or put together a puzzle.
Now this last one might surprise you but…
Have them perform aftercare on the Top/Dom/Master.
I know that seems counterintuitive but some subs, especially service subs, can be soothed and calmed by serving. Obviously, you need to be sure they aren’t shaky and can handle it, so it might take place a little while later but sometimes aftercare is giving not receiving. This will come up in a future post when we discuss aftercare for the Top too.
Are you achy from all the physical stuff you did to them? Have them give you a massage. Are you hungry? Have them make you a meal and serve it to you from their knees. Having them serve you sexually obviously will also work for some people.
Since you have a basic idea of what you’ll need after the scene it makes sense to get everything ready before you start to play, that way you don’t need to leave the sub alone while you hunt things down, and it will make the transition less stressful for both of you.
Okay but why is aftercare so important?
Well, there are a lot of reasons, all of which depend on the kind of aftercare you give. Some are going to be obvious, so we’ll skip those. I mean you know why water or sugar is needed. You get why you check for injuries or damage.
Those are the practical kinds of care and they are mostly for physical issues. Those are absolutely necessary, but some of the other things I’ve mentioned are in a different category and those are usually given for emotional reasons.
Aftercare can help the bottom to transition out of scene space so that they don’t have an emotional drop, or at least make it less severe. I have an article on sub drop here: Sub drop so, I won’t reiterate it, but sub drop can be caused by emotional or physical reasons after a scene.
Moving slowly from playing to relaxing will help you avoid drops caused by physical reasons—like plummeting endorphins or shock. It also means that if the drop happens you are already helping them deal with it. Things like hugging, cuddling, spending time together and relaxing are what you need to help with an emotional drop.
But subdrop from emotional reasons can happen at any time. It can happen five minutes after a scene or a week later. That means you may need to give aftercare at any time. It’s not just something that is necessary immediately after a scene sometimes.
So, if you have a wonderful scene, play hard, and go to bed happy but the next day sub drop hits… you’ll need to dust off your aftercare ideas at that point. Remember that subdrop can be really intense for some people and the stronger the emotions the worse the drop can be.
It can be hard to predict when or if it will hit, but it’s a good idea to prepare for it if you’re planning a really intense scene. I find that partners who are long distance or don’t get to play in person often for some reason (kids/jobs/time/physical disabilities) often have to deal with really bad cases of subdrop afterwards.
Because subdrop can be caused by both physical and emotional reasons it doesn’t always happen on a schedule. While drops from physical reasons will usually happen within a certain timeframe, the emotional drops can hit randomly and unexpectedly. This is a particular problem for subs in a long-distance relationship, unfortunately.
The good news is that whether your drop is from emotional or physical causes the same basic aftercare suggestions will still work. For me aftercare has always been most effective when it’s a bonding experience. I enjoy the cuddling and talking afterwards, being wrapped up and safe. But that’s not for everyone.
What’s important is that you find things that work for the person receiving aftercare. Don’t be afraid to try out various things. You’ll never know what works if you don’t try different things. And as a Top you might go into things with an idea that aftercare should be x, y, and z and then find out those things don’t work for your partner at all, so you need to be ready to let them guide you on what they need.
Here’s one last suggestion before I wrap this up: if you feel like you’re not sure what your sub/bottom/Little needs for aftercare try giving them some writing assignments on the topic and then listen to what they say. “What’s your favorite kind of aftercare?” “How do you like to wind down after a scene?”
I’m a big fan of getting ideas from your partner and writing assignments give subs a chance to be honest and open about their needs without feeling like they are trying to control everything. Anytime you aren’t sure how to handle something with them you can also whip out the old writing assignment technique and see what they think.
I think we’ve covered this pretty thoroughly but if you have any questions feel free to shoot them over to me. And if I left out your favorite kind of aftercare please drop it in the comments!
Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay home if you can!