What Is BDSM Aftercare - And How To Do It

BDSM aftercare is the time you and your partner take after playtime to recover and also to see to each other’s physical and mental needs.

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Apr 12 2021 6 min read
What Is BDSM Aftercare?

Aftercare is a fundamental part of BDSM and is a central part of BDSM activities - however, aftercare is not just reserved for those entering kinky territory. A cuddle, a chat or a cup of tea can be great ways to check in with your sexual partner and make sure they are ok. This might seem daunting to do with a new partner or one-night stand - but it will make all the difference in ensuring they are ok. And for those who are in a long-term relationship, this little addition will make your partner feel all the more special and appreciated. 

 

Dive straight in to all things BDSM aftercare...

  • What is BDSM aftercare?
  • Why is BDSM aftercare essential?
  • What is sub drop?
  • What is top drop?
  • How do you practice BDSM aftercare?
  • Physical ways to practice BDSM aftercare
  • Emotional ways to practice BDSM aftercare
  • What is BDSM aftercare?

    BDSM stands for bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, but in its essence, it encompasses a variety of sexual practices that push boundaries and blur the line of pleasure and pain. BDSM aftercare is the time you and your partner take after playtime to recover and also to see to each other’s physical and mental needs. Certain role-plays and kinky acts can be both physically and psychologically taxing, so this time is great for relaxing as well as getting back to reality and checking in on your partner. 


    Why is BDSM aftercare essential?

    BDSM is a uniquely intimate and sex-positive experience that you won’t have with the vast majority of people you encounter during your life. It involves a certain level of risk for everyone involved. BDSM can have an impact on your physical and psychological needs - these play scenes can push you to your limit and sometimes we need a little extra TLC to feel grounded again. 

    Sexual fantasies are just that - they do not necessarily correlate with who you are in the day to day life. Bosses in the boardroom aren’t always bosses in the bedroom. And whilst we may want our partner to become a demanding dom who exacts humiliating punishments on us, that’s probably not how the relationship works outside of the bedroom. Taking time to practice BDSM aftercare is a means of recalibrating the normalcy of your relationship.

    It can also prevent people from feeling used. BDSM requires all of us to be incredibly vulnerable and this deserves reverence. No one should walk away from a BDSM scene (a scene refers to the BDSM activities or encounters) feeling they’ve been used for their domination or submission. Assuring them they are valued especially if the core of their fetish is objectification and degradation.

    Not only does BDSM aftercare help with the relationship heading back to the usual dynamic but it can also help you and your partner’s minds and bodies recover. A strong emotional and physical drop is quite common after intense BDSM experiences - this is commonly referred to as sub-drop but isn’t an exclusive feeling to submissives.

     

    What is sub drop?

    A sub drop is an emotional and physical low, that begins anywhere from a few hours to a few days after an emotional/endorphin high, leaving you feeling weak, fatigued or dazed - and even slightly dehydrated depending on the intensity of the scene. It is referred to as sub drop as it is typically experienced by submissive partners after an intense scene.


    BDSM play and scenes can evoke powerful feelings and emotions, even if you’ve done impact play a thousand times it doesn’t make it any less intense. Your body will have physiological responses to pushing your body to the limit and this rush of adrenaline is what allows you to push through scenes. However this rush of adrenaline is responsible for a temporary imbalance, that can leave you feeling dazed and confused after you come down. Alongside adrenaline, your body also continually produces cortisol due to the prolonged stress that is typical of a BDSM scene. This can leave you feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted, disconnected and confused.

     

    What is top drop?

    Although the less common, top drop is that dip mentioned above but for dominant/top partners and is still something that needs to be taken into account. Many people talk about aftercare as if it’s just for subs/bottoms. However, they may feel more feelings of guilt, needing assurance that their actions are wanted and enjoyed. They may feel their needs are less important than the sub, but their aftercare experience is still important.

     

    How do you practice BDSM aftercare?

    There is no single or right way to provide BDSM aftercare - the key component is being open, honest, accepting, and attentive to the emotional and physical needs of your partner, whilst ensuring your own needs are also met. Not everyone’s aftercare looks the same. Some people don’t want traditional aftercare - their after-care might even be being left alone. 


    Negotiate aftercare before you get started - if your partner wants to sit on their phone after an intense session that’s ok! As long as these feelings are discussed prior to experimenting with BDSM. Discussing your feelings after the scene is a perfect jumping-off point for future BDSM aftercare scenarios.

     

    Physical ways to practice BDSM aftercare

    • Removing BDSM accessories

    This could be your bed restraints, handcuffs, blindfolds, paddles - whatever you use in the bedroom to enact your darkest desires. Removing these should be a given as you don’t want to leave your partner tied to the bed for the rest of the day. But it is always good practice to clean and put them away to signal the end of the play scene. Once the sex toys are away - your relationship dynamic moves away from the BDSM scene. And if they are laid strewn across the floor because of an intense scene, then now may be the time to pick them up.

    BDSM replenish your body

    • Replenish your body

    Replenish your body and look after your blood sugar. Hydrate your body and introduce much-needed electrolytes or any drink that calms you down. A comforting green tea can help soothe you. In terms of food, think about post-workout snacks that help your body recover such as bananas or strawberries to replenish natural sugars that may be depleted after play. Consider a smoothie to replenish all your body’s good bits.

    • Warmth and comfort

    Make your partner feel safe by soothing them. If there has been a lot of exposure or temperature play then making sure their body gets back to a normal temperature is very important.

    • Kissing and caressing

    What is it that makes a forehead kiss so comforting? Having a loving and tender moment with those areas that took a beating (both metaphorically and physically) can help ease pain and ground how you’re both feeling 

    • Providing affection and comfort

    The physical contact you need could be slow sex or no sex at all. A cuddle? A sensual massage? These activities help partners remain connected and work out sore muscles from the scene.

    • Caring for wounds and injuries 

    Any and all bruises, abrasions and injuries need proper care. Rubbing soothing ointment, or applying an ice pack to any injuries that came about, is a priority in ensuring the wellbeing of your partner. A first aid kit should be part of your BDSM aftercare kit - as no matter how careful you may be accidents and mishaps do happen.

    • Bath or shower together

    Drawing a warm bath for your partner might be the perfect example of BDSM aftercare. Filling a sensual bath with bubbles and setting the scene with music could really soothe those aching muscles. 

    • Sleep

    Lethargic? Exhausted? Sleep is a crucial part of BDSM aftercare. Some might need a nap to allow their bodies to repair and return to normal, others might need to call it a night. Listen to your body and care for it.

    BDSM aftercare relaxing activities
    • Relaxing activities 

    Any activity that relaxes and helps you feel grounded is great for your very own personal aftercare. Some like reading, for others meditation, watching a film or playing a video game. Find what works for you.

     

    Emotional ways to practice BDSM aftercare

    • Discussing the BDSM scene

    Discuss what you would change or keep the same about the scene. However, if you’d like to wait before giving any constructive criticism to someone who might be feeling particularly vulnerable.

    • Reassuring each other about the kink 

    If one partner has a different kink, spend time reassuring your partner. Your kinks and desires aren’t ‘weird’ and anyone who makes you feel that way may not be creating the safest space for you. Make a conscious effort to continue making your partner feel comfortable, even if hours have passed by.

    • Attend to emotional considerations

    Praise and thank your partner for what they’ve done and go into depth about how much you liked it. Showing appreciation for the activities that you enjoyed is a great way of making your partner feel more comfortable with the activities and deepening your connection to take your scenes to the next level.


    With all things BDSM, every person and experience is unique. This is why communication, positive attitudes and consensual actions are central to the BDSM community. Providing aftercare after sex is a fundamental part of sex.

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