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?
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.