Aftercare is an oft forgotten element of BDSM. We think so much about what happens during our scenes that sometimes we forget about what takes place afterwards. Yet aftercare, at least to me, is an important component of what can make a scene memorable and enjoyable.
Broadly speaking, aftercare is that time after the whipping and bondage has ended when Dominant and submissive come together more as equals. It is a time for calm and reflection and reassurance, where both body and mind can adjust and come down from the intense highs of a scene.
There are no hard and fast rules around what is involved or how long it takes. Some submissives I’ve played with have simply packed up and left with barely a word being spoken. Others have needed more. One submissive I was very close to would take a couple of days to return to “normal”. And let’s not forget that sometimes Dominants need it too.
For me aftercare is primarily about reassurance. After the scene has ended a submissive may be in pain, physically or emotionally, may doubt whether what took place was enjoyable, or could just need to know they’re loved. Whatever it is they need, the Dominant needs to provide it.
My preference is to bring the scene to a complete end first. The latex should come off, the whips put away and ideally both of us should have left the play space, at least for a few seconds. It breaks the bond with the scene and signals a start of the return to “normal”. We can then settle down and relax and start to talk about what just happened.
Conversation allows the submissive to express how they are feeling, what they enjoyed, what they did not. Gentle probing, open questions and allowing the submissive to speak freely can help them verbalise what they may be feeling and make sense of it. Active listening is an essential skill that Dominants need to learn.
Some element of physical contact is important in providing comfort and reassurance. Do not underestimate the power of cuddling. Holding someone close has a calming effect, easily reinforced by gently swaying or rocking, and by slow breathing.
Occasionally the intensity of emotion that builds up can only be released by bursting into tears. If this happens I invariably find myself hugging the submissive, holding them close and giving them space to cry. Not only does this provide them with the reassurance they are undoubtedly seeking, it also means you don’t look at them, which can hinder their ability to allow the emotion to escape.
It doesn’t end when you shake hands, part company and close the door on them either. Texts, emails and calls after there has been some time apart to reflect may be entirely appropriate. The emotion will have subsided by then and an opportunity to learn from the scene could present itself.
From my perspective, aftercare is a time when the Dominant puts their power over the submissive to one side, and engages as a human being. The scene has ended and play is over, so it is time to place the submissive’s care above all else for a short while at least. No matter what happens, what they say or how they respond, that is their time to express themselves and I will not take it from them.
Done well, aftercare reinforces the bond between Dominant and submissive. It shows the submissive is cared for and respected for who and what they are. This, in my view and experience, should lead to longer, deeper relationships.
Razz is a London based Dominant, rubberist and rigger. His photography, erotica and musings on all aspects of BDSM can be found at <A HREF=”http://www.thisisrazz.com“>www.thisisrazz.com</A>