With the rise of BDSM in our culture (thanks in part to the mainstream success of Fifty Shades of Grey), couples are now exploring kinkier levels of sex. With that greater craving for intensity in one’s sex life comes a greater need for safety and responsibility.

A variety of safeguards are imperative for a fun – and harmless – BDSM session, but once the ropes are cut off, emotional and physical vulnerability still needs to be protected. Any successful BDSM practice should be equipped with an “aftercare program.”



What Is Aftercare?

Essentially, aftercare is what a submissive requires to feel safe, appreciated, and comforted after undergoing an intense scene.

Typically, BDSM escalates endorphins and sexual arousal so that you are launched into a hyper, altered mental state comparable to being intoxicated or drug-induced. This reaction is often labeled as “subspace,” and for BDSM practitioners, aftercare is vital in calming down the nerves and bringing a submissive back to reality. A good, compassionate Dom will understand that a Sub’s sexual boundaries have been pushed and that the submissive will need to rejuvenate and recuperate post-coitus. Aftercare is a way for a Dom to say “thank you” to a sub for opening up and giving the Dom full control of her or his mind and body. Aftercare gives back to the submissive and strengthens the bond between partners for a more fulfilling and deepening connection. Limits have been tested and role-play might need to be balanced with positive affirmations. Without a supportive aftercare program, a submissive could feel lonely, empty, and used, and this can potentially foster an unhealthy D/s relationship.



Yet, while BDSM traditionally implements this tactic, acknowledgment and appreciation in any sexual practice – even in the most vanilla of situations – should be administered.

Sex – no matter the intensity – can elicit a wide array of emotions, from pleasurable and cathartic to downright draining. Therefore, a little TLC can go a long way in reducing and soothing the overwhelming nature of sex.

And while aftercare might seem like a strictly couple ritual, even one night stands deserve a token of gratitude. Sex, at least good sex, comes with feelings and passion and you can’t soar to new heights without a soft, cushiony landing in place. Aftercare doesn’t just cultivate a greater sense of intimacy but also makes you a more compassionate and generous lover – a trait that will make you a better partner and give you even more satisfying sexual experiences.



What Aftercare Isn’t

Aftercare is a meaningful activity that requires attention and respect. Acting ashamed or aloof, leaving suddenly and quickly, or walking away without any acknowledgment that you two copulated is the complete opposite of aftercare. In order to establish an effective companionship or at least leave the hook up positive, some form of recognition should be instituted.  Treating the affair (and the person) with utter disregard not only comes across as selfish and cowardly but can perpetuate insecurities and sour a possibly exciting and pleasant experience. Good sex shouldn’t have a “walk of shame.”



Your Aftercare Options

It is best to discuss with your partner their aftercare routine and discover what their preferred method of relaxation is, but a couple of examples include:

  • Cuddling or spooning your partner
  • Massaging their body using essential oils
  • Holding and consoling the other person as they cry and release their emotions
  • Taking a shower together and washing their body or hair
  • Attending to any injuries that might arise from sadomasochistic play
  • Adhering to their temperature needs such as wrapping the other person in a warm blanket or turning on a fan
  • Creating a calming atmosphere with scented candles or tranquil music
  • Making your partner a plate of food or offering a beverage
  • Driving the person home




Vanilla couples or serious kinksters can both benefit from the nurturing sentiment that aftercare provides. For long-term couples, it brings the pair closer together and makes your sexual encounters all the more worthwhile. And for simple friends with benefits, aftercare establishes a more trusting and grateful conjunction that can only lead to even hotter sex.





“Sensual Aftercare: Rewarding the Gift of Submission.” DominantSoul. N.p., 19 May 2013. Web. 01 Nov. 2016.
“Aftercare: The Calm After the Climax | EROcentric.” EROcentric. N.p., 29 June 2014. Web. 01 Nov. 2016.
Tallon-Hicks, Yana. “Sexual Aftercare.” Curve Magazine. N.p., 05 Mar. 2015. Web. 01 Nov. 2016.