Millennials and Aftercare

Here is a question I received recently:

“I am a Millennial and have been playing publicly with a Dom of roughly the same age for the last few months. After a serious session, he just packs his gear and waits for me to get ready. I feel really neglected but I am afraid to ask him to give me aftercare. What should I do? What should I expect from him? Am I topping from the bottom?”

Although I do not think being a Millennial has a causal effect your Dom’s lack of aftercare, I will say that many of the newer lifestylers have not been exposed to the traditions of BDSM. That being said, I am not here to preach Old Guard values. (“Hey kid, get offa my yard!”) Rather, I will discuss those traditions that are relevant to today’s kinksters. Aftercare – the comforting of a bottom after a BDSM scene – is one practice that is important to maintain for the Old Guard and New Guard alike!
Since the Dom you have been playing with is familiar with public play, chances are he is aware, either consciously or subconsciously, that he has been totally avoiding even the most rudimentary of aftercare. Not to play amateur psychologist, but there could be a fear of intimacy going on here.

Often it is the aftercare that is the most intimate and bonding of activities in our lifestyle. A drained submissive wrapped in the loving arms of his/her Dom/me, often in a blanket, is a common sight at most dungeon play parties. For many submissives, this is the true highlight of a scene. The fact that your Dom coldly packs up his gear might imply that something else is at work here. I liken it to its vanilla counterpart wherein the couple has sex without kissing. Knowing this, you might have a legitimate fear of expressing your needs to him. You might feel that he is avoiding aftercare, not forgetting it; that your desire for aftercare might be something he is unable to give you at this time.
Nevertheless, you must communicate your needs to him. He must know that you desire aftercare; it would then be up to him to decide if and when he will start to make it part of your public play. After all, he just might need a respectful “nudge” to get to the next step in your evolution as play partners. Or maybe he thinks it is not essential.

Your other concern is whether asking for aftercare might constitute “topping from the bottom.” Although I would tend to say “no,” the answer to this question is largely irrelevant. You imply that you are in a play relationship, not a “Dom/sub” one – and surely not a collared affair. (You would not say “a Dom” if he were your Dom. You would say “my Dom.”) Thus, technically, you are still in the negotiating stage; whether this will progress to a D/s relationship is still unanswered. When you are discussing your scene, with its hard and soft limits, safe words, etc., you can simply state that you would like to request aftercare when the scene ends. This is a reasonable demand, especially in view of the fact that he completely neglects it. Topping from the bottom is not a critical concern at this point. What is crucial is that you tell him what you desire.

As to what you can expect of him, you should hope that he is amenable to incorporating aftercare into his play. It will not only give you what you really need, but it is also a good habit for a Dom – Millennial or otherwise — to get into. If he does have a fear of intimacy, then he can at least give you a blanket, keep you warm, check that you are feeling OK. He should offer you water. (It is hard for a weary submissive to get up and fetch herself some water; besides, it would reflect badly on him to let you wander off looking for some Gatorade.)

If he is not open to changing his ways, then you might have to risk being a little “toppy” and tell him that it is essential for you. Again, this is still the negotiating stage and you must state clearly what minimum requirements you need to continue as his play partner. Every one, Dominant and submissive alike, has a deal-breaker. If this is a deal-breaker, you must tell him in unequivocal terms.
Whether it is just to improve your play life, or as a way of getting to the next stage D/s relationship-wise, communication is always paramount no matter what generation the players are. After all, if someone doesn’t know what you want, how can they give it to you?

By BaadMaster
After a ten year run as head writer for the legendary bondage.com, and an equally long run as the host of the hit internet show “Baadmaster’s Dungeon,” we are pleased to welcome the one and only Baadmaster to KinkWeekly. His thoughts about all things BDSM will now appear regularly on these pages. From the mental aspects of D/s to the nuts and bolts of S&M play, Baadmaster will cover every facet of this ever expanding lifestyle.

Comments

  1. I’ve noticed a falling away from the aftercare thing. everyone needs different stuff but this one just seems obvious

  2. Viniko Richmond says:

    Aftercare is essential in this lifestyle or else what is the point…it is cold, disconnecting, rude and disrespectful to fuck someone and tell that person to get up and leave in two minutes and less after intercourse…aftercare is the cool down and bonding period in the D/s world, not to be missed or overlooked

  3. Mister Johnny says:

    I think it’s also important to let the bottom know in this situation that should the Dom wind out not being able
    to provide aftercare or if the the aftercare still results in feeling as though needs aren’t being met, the s-type/bottom has the power and agency to negotiate additional aftercare with a caring friend, leather family member, and, should they have access, even with partner/s or other lovers. I also know of several friends that arrange an exclusive aftercare date 2-3 days post-scene with the person that would best suit their aftercare needs.

    It is becoming much more popular these days to practice radical self-care and to hold space for meeting one’s post-play needs as well as hold respect for how a Dom/top plays, which may or may not include aftercare. One may be able to get what they need from a top with a particular skillset and find that, for a variety of reasons having a close friend offer their amazing cuddles be the best choice for them overall.

    To the OP: You are valid and powerful. Talk to your play partner – you don’t have to avoid your aftercare needs, but you may not be able to get what you want from that particular person. Finding clarity for yourself (i.e., journaling, talking to a trusted friend or therapist) and taking personal responsibility for your needs by communicating will help you figure out whether or not this play partner’s style works for you and, as BaadMaster mentions could be a deal breaker for you.

    A good s-type friend of mine helps run the San Francisco submissive Safe Space group on Fetlife – I would highly encourage you to reach out to that group even if you do not live in the Bay Area. I cannot vouch for, but would also encourage you to search for other self care groups on FL. Good luck!

  4. Miss Penelope says:

    In my opinion discipline without aftercare is a form of abuse rather than part of a loving and caring Dom/sub relationship. While some subs may thrive on 100% abuse and discipline I think most want to feel cared for especially after a particularly difficult session.

    My 2 cents

  5. I ended up having an encounter just a couple days ago kind of along these lines.I am a switch that leans towards sub and I ended up having a rather public session with a dom I met for the first time that day. Afterwords they basically left and I felt incredibly hurt. I’ve been pretty depressed since then since this was so recent but maybe I just cling to my new dom too fast. I don’t know if I am the reason that hurt me so much or if they are.

  6. It’s so rare that I see someone refer to them self as a millenial!

    Sounds like this one should do more homework before engaging in this lifestyle.

  7. Aftercare is the top’s responsibility and if he were not interested in accepting the responsibility (and frankly if he knew what he was doing at all he would have asked what you need/want from aftercare before you ever played. As the bottom’s needs are primary, it is also important that you learn to ask for aftercare before you consent to play with anyone. If your top can’t provide what you need, it is still his responsibility to see that you receive what you require. Aftercare covers many things. First, it gives the top the time to really assess how the bottom is doing. Signs of shock can emerge well after a scene and it is the top’s responsibility to manage it. Recovery after a scene may require many things, drinking to avoid dehydration, eating to prevent blood sugar crashes, care for wounds, massage of body parts that were restrained to assure blood flow returns and nerve damage was avoided are some of the things that tops should be attending to rather than grabbing belongings and heading out without checking in with you. An adrenaline rush is followed by an uptick of oxytocin, known as the bonding or love hormone. Anyone who has endured a very stressful event knows how deeply they bond with the people who shared that experience. Ask any military unit that completes boot camp together, or a group of firefighters or police officers. People who struggle through natural disasters or serious accidents have this experience as do those who witness or experience intense violence. That bonding experience is the point for many people in kinky world (as mentioned above)
    Bonding deepens intimacy and trust. Experiencing the intensity together over time builds and strengthens the relationship. Finally, I agree with BAADMASTER that asking for aftercare is not topping from the bottom, it is an essential part of negotiation and that window never closes.

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