When negotiating a scene, an aspect which can often be forgotten (especially with new people) is aftercare. It can be entirely too easy to overlook, as it can often seem as such a natural cap, good or bad. Why would you possibly need to discuss it ahead of time; it’ll just happen, right?
But no, it might not. Also there’s more than one way to aftercare, and not everybody’s going to agree on what’s right or wrong. And there’re some for whom aftercare isn’t even necessary.
Aftercare, for the record, is the physical/emotional cartaking that occurs after a scene, usually for the sub, but also for the Dom. It can vary in intimacy and intensity depending on the relationship between the two, the intensity of the scene, or simply the overall environment.
But why is aftercare necessary? Because a BDSM scene tends to be an intense, superchaged, and traumatic experience, especially for the sub. Sure, it’s usually cathartic as well, but it can still put someone through the wringer; sort of how running a few miles can make you feel great, but you’ll still need that period of cooldown (and maybe a shower) before you can feel relatively back to normal.
Again, different people, different scenes, can require different sorts of aftercare. But a good rule of thumb involves a few simple checkpoints:
– Check everyone over for physical injuries that need to be tended to immediately. There may be cuts that need bandaging, bruises that require icing, or burns that require salves. While I’ve never personally had a scene this physically intense, YMMV.
– Support them (as they may be shaky), walking them to an area where you can both sit together, snuggling as needed. They’ll probably need a blanket to wrap themselves up with. Be certain to have water handy.
– Sit quietly until they come back to the land of the living. Even if they’ve been happily ensconced in subspace they’ll need varying degrees of time to return to reality.
– Once they’re lucid, engage them in some light conversation. Perhaps discuss the scene about what you both liked and disliked. But don’t expect any heavy conversation at this point.
– Finally, get both of yourselves dressed and clean up your playspace (if you haven’t had someone to do this for you already). Now’s a good time to hit the buffet or the fridge, as some people are absolutely ravenous after a good scene. And always be sure that you both hydrate!
– Later you may want to chat further and in-depth regarding your scene together. I’ve found these sorts of conversations to be extremely helpful.
– The next day, call or send a text to see how they’re doing. Even if you’re not trying to set up a long-term relationship, this is the sort of followup you really should engage in, so tell them ahead of time and see that they’re alright with it. Many subs aren’t aware of the sort of subdrop they’ll face the day after a scene. Different sorts of foods can help alleviate this (chocolate is often a good one).
Of course, there are many variants on all this. The time required can be anywhere from five to 30 minutes (or more). Some people require little to no aftercare (although the latter is very rare in my experience). Sometimes there’s a third party involved who’ll take on some or all of the aftercare duties (such as a Dom or Master of their own). And depending on the intimacy of the couple, some parts may be omitted, or become much more intense.
Regardless of how you do it, aftercare is an extremely important part of any scene, and should always be a critical part of your negotiations.
PirateStan has been involved in his local BDSM community since 2007, after having had a lifelong inclination towards it. He currently lives a contented life in Southeastern Virginia with his girl, zeirah, while working by day for a Major Metropolitan Publication.