Illustration by Dirk Hooper
I’ve read about a million articles (only a slight exaggeration) on aftercare for the bottom or the submissive, but I’d like to propose a little aftercare for the Dominant or the Top too.
Before I get started, this article in no way is meant to minimize the incredible importance of providing aftercare for the submissive. For a Dominant, taking care of the person you just played with is just as much a priority as negotiation, consent, and safety during a scene. Tops or Dominants must take care of the mental and physical needs of their partner first, foremost, and always.
Also, if you’re a submissive and you’re reading this, I want to stress that your Dominant is the number one source of information about how they are doing. No article should take precedent for the ongoing, open, and honest discourse you should be having with the people you play with regularly.
Let’s step back a moment. If you’re a Dominant, then you’re in charge! Doesn’t it naturally follow that all your post-session aftercare will be taken care of? Not necessarily. There are several reasons that you might not be getting the aftercare you need.
- My experience as a Dom is that I am highly focused on my partner’s needs and desires. I feel strongly that’s the only way to go. That’s contrary to how many people approach this and that’s fine. However, sometimes that philosophy leads to missing some of my own needs and desires. It’s my fault, but it happens.
- You may not even be aware that you need some aftercare. A lot of people are just not terribly introspective in that way. This is one area that the submissive partner could be helpful since they often know you the best.
- Maybe, just maybe, you’re the type of Uber Alpha that doesn’t believe in showing weakness or needs at any time. You might believe that since you’re the King or Queen of the Universe that aftercare is for the little people. This could be a big blind spot.
Whatever the reason, here are some ideas for aftercare for the Dominant. Most of these are focused on players who are in a relationship. A single scene typically won’t require much besides a sincere thanks for a fun time and some feedback- if that’s requested (or a hug, hugs are always good). But an ongoing relationship gets more complicated.
All these suggestions are for the purpose of discussion. Each Dominant is different and knows best what they need. Take or leave these suggestions as you will.
Physical Aftercare for the Dominant
Some scenes are physically challenging in one regard or another. Throwing a heavy flogger, intricate rope-bondage, primal scenes, and other things can require strength and stamina. If you’re a weekend warrior your muscles may not be warmed up. No matter how old you are, there’s always a possibility that something zigs when it should have zagged.
These ideas for aftercare might help get the Dominant back in the game quicker.
These are mostly things for the Dominant to initiate.
- Drink some water. I’m the worst about this. If you’re engaging in a big, intense scene, you can get dehydrated easily. The submissive probably needs some water too.
- Get some rest. A great scene can drain your energy. If you want to be ready for the next scene, it’s vital to leave enough time to chill out or get some sleep before you have to get up the next day. Most don’t want to play with a sleepy Dom/me.
- How about a massage? A massage from your submissive is pretty damn wonderful. Not only does it help with tight muscles, but it’s also a great way to bring the two of you closer.
- Coffee, Tea, or…? After a scene is a good time to have your favorite beverage or treat served to you by your partner. Take a moment to enjoy it. For me, it might be cappuccino or some wine with the submissive at my feet. Your mileage may vary.
- Netflix and Chill. Personally, I need to be close to my submissive after we’ve played together. At the very least, that means snuggling up for a bit. If you have more time that might mean watching a movie together or catching up on the day’s events.
- Alone Time. On the other hand, some Dominants might want some time to cool down or reflect on their own.
Mental Aftercare for the Dominant
I think the mental aspect of aftercare is more significant (and more complicated) than the physical part. If your arm is sore after throwing a whip, that’s obvious. Your mind and your feelings are much more mercurial.
Being Dominant means that you’re likely doing things that run contrary to how you were taught to treat people. Causing pain, being exceptionally strict, and humiliating someone you care for works in the context of BDSM, but only if you know the submissive is on board and getting what they want and need out of the relationship. This is important. Dominants need to know you’re okay, and even better, that you’re enjoying yourself.
Here are some thoughts on how a submissive can provide aftercare for the Dominant.
- Giving Thanks. Something as simple as a “thank you” can go a long way with a Dominant. There’s a lot of pressure to come up with a scene, execute the scene properly, keep the submissive safe, and to make sure that everyone is having a good time. Don’t take that for granted.
- Be Forgiving. Not every scene goes as planned. Sometimes that leads to something wonderful, and sometimes the scene is a bust. If it’s a bust, then let the Dominant off the hook. I promise it will be appreciated. Dominants can be very tough on themselves. Remember, no one is perfect.
- Be Open. Dominants need information from the people they scene with. They need it to gauge where the submissive is and for their own peaceful state-of-mind. Being Dominant means taking on a lot of responsibility, and only a sociopath would be unconcerned about how their submissive is reacting to what is happening.
- Do Some Introspection. One of the things that has been exceptionally helpful to me is to have a training diary, where the submissive talks about scenes and where they are within the relationship. This allows another level of introspection that might not be present when you’re talking face-to-face. What this does in the realm of aftercare is to identify where the submissive is emotionally and spiritually, and gives the Dominant clear guideposts along the way. Anything you can do to make things clearer will be valued. Honest communication, good or bad, can put a Dominant’s mind at ease.
- Keep an Eye on the Dominant. BDSM should be fun. Is your Dominant having fun? Are they as engaged as they were at the beginning? Are they more tired than usual? Is something weighing heavily on them? Part of aftercare for the Dominant is looking out for their mental and physical well-being. A BDSM relationship is a very powerful thing, and it’s likely that you know the Dominant better than anyone else. If it seems like there’s a problem, your respectful attention could make a big difference.
- Check in with the Dominant. If you don’t live with your Dominant then simply check in with them a day or two after a scene. That’s the time after DomSpace, or whatever you want to call it, wears off. A little love and reassurance during this time will be helpful.
Aftercare for the Dominant may take many other forms and will obviously be as varied as the people who take that role. The only way to know what your Dominant needs after a scene is to talk to them. You might be surprised by what you discover when you bring up the subject.
Do you have any other ideas for aftercare for Dominants? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.
About the Author
Dirk Hooper is an award-winning fetish photographer, professional writer, audiobook narrator, podcasting producer and host, journalist for the fetish community, BDSM mentor, and adult personal branding and marketing consultant for Sexy Networking.
Dirk Hooper won Best Fetish Photographer at the 2017 Fetish Awards in St. Petersburg Florida. As a fine-art fetish photographer, Hooper’s work has been exhibited in England, the Netherlands, Belgium, China and all over the United States. His work is part of the permanent collections of the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and the Leather Archives and Museum in Chicago, Illinois. Dirk Hooper’s work has been published in magazines like Skin Two, Von Gutenberg, Fet Erotica and Sinical Magazine. His work was published in the German hardcover art book “Fetish Fantasies: The Best of International Fetish Photography.” He has done professional photography for bands, books, posters and the adult film industry. Hooper co-founded the alternative modeling site Toxic Goddess. He offers his photography services for portraits and commercial projects.
Hooper’s articles have recently been published at Business Insider, Inc. Magazine, HuffPost, Slate Magazine, The Sporting News, MSN Sport, and Quartz. He has won the Quora Top Writer award for the past two years. He has also been published as a comic writer, a poet, and performed numerous copywriting assignments for professional and private clients. He is currently working on an erotic novel and a non-fiction book about social networking.
Dirk Hooper is the Host and Executive Producer of “The Fetish Show.” He has also recently launched a new podcast about success and inspiration titled, “The Dirk Side.” Hooper has been podcasting since 2005 and has produced hundreds of hours of shows over several networks. His first audiobook narration was for the Suzanne Steele novel “Glazov.”
Dirk Hooper does journalism for the BDSM and fetish community through The Fetish Show News, FETISHWEEK articles, the Daily Fetish Chronicle and freelance writing. Hooper’s award-winning website, http://www.DirkHooper.com features a gallery of his work, informational articles and is the home of “FETISHWEEK.”
Hooper’s inspiration for his work is an extension of his interests and experience in the BDSM and fetish community. He is a BDSM mentor and has helped guide or train both dominants and submissives.
Hooper works as a consultant on personal branding, social networking, SEO, copywriting, design and marketing through his Sexy Networking business at http://SexyNetworking.com
Spot on, once again! Thank you Dirk!
david, a Daddy says
Thank you for the informative piece. I wish more would read your work. .
Articles like yours are like the ‘walk-through’ practice before the game. OK, don’t forget this and that. Quick refreshers for even experienced players. Great information for rookies.
However, I feel you are exposing several broarder issues. Lack of consistent, significant open and honest communiucation. Noticable among newbies and plenty of ‘time-in-the-lifestyle’ couples.Perhaps not consistently but enough at times to present issues.
Forming the habit of talking (perhaps a lot like we do) creates then reinforces the trust that will save your relationship in a crisis. (Been there) Vulnerableness from openness .Especially by the dominant builds the submissive’s confidence in herself as well as her trust in her dominant.
Just as important is the power exchange or the dynamic under which one’s relationship is structured. Lots of tools available to helping with this. My advice here is thoroughly address and satisfy each party’s needs before ever tackling a want.
As dominants we like to train our submissives to be ‘our’ submissive. Well, train her to give you aftercare in all the ways you need. Then get her to describe her ‘ideal’ aftercares. You can practice until you have it right.
Dirk Hooper says
Thanks for your comments! All excellent points.
Vanessa Chaland says
Dirk Hooper always writes very informative articles. Always love reading his thoughts. 🙂
Dirk Hooper says
Thank you very much for saying that! It means a lot to me, especially coming from YOU!