Dominants don’t need no stinkin’ aftercare! They just dish out the sweet nasty and life’s all set. Tops need nothin’ from no one, ’cause they’re tough. Being in control makes everything instantly easy. Dominants always know what they want, especially after play, so no one should bother asking.
And if you bought all that, I have a fine little slightly used nuclear reactor in Japan to sell you.
People who top need aftercare too. It drives me nuts that we don’t talk about this.
“Aftercare” is the term pervy folks use to refer to the set of action and attention a person needs after kink play to return to a state of every day stability in mind, body and heart. It can be as short and simple as a glass of water and a moment to sit. It may be a complex combination of emotional processing, physical recovery and period of intimacy. Soothe the sweetly savaged skin and gently come down from that adrenaline and dopamine high to be able to rejoin the world without being too jarred or jarring to others. For many, aftercare includes some sort of sensual or sexual time.
(Having to call 911 might be an aftercare need, but let’s just say that’s probably not an optimal or desirable option to discuss here.)
Many visualize aftercare as the basic beat-body care, the emotional comforts, snuggly blankies, water and validation — all for the person bottoming. The topping partner isn’t expected to have post-play care needs. She’s supposed to go from super-top to super-caretaker and then back to super balanced every day human, all on her own. It’s just not realistic.
I don’t know where this idea came from, but it does more untold harm than good to many who top and enjoy dominance, as well as to their relationships. Perhaps the assumption is that aftercare is primarily about injury or body damage care, and since the top isn’t hurt, she doesn’t need anything. This, of course, dismisses any exhausted flogging arms, feet tormented by sexy shoes, tired legs and rope burned fingers. Maybe they assume that aftercare is for grounding those bottoming from a place of emotional rawness and vulnerability. Feeling raw and vulnerable isn’t the exclusive domain of bottoming. Any person new to topping, or those experienced in topping trying new things, can feel uncertainty. Exploring intense emotional states could leave any good person who’s topping in a place of potential roughness. Poeple unleashing their inner beasts as they top, that part of them which society disapproves of, may leave them in need of validation of their humanity and desirableness.
It comes down to this — Tops are people too. Or more precisely, it’s a person who happens to be topping in the moment, and they get to have all the emotional and physical rollercoaster of an amazing experience shared.
If those dominating and topping don’t get the aftercare they need, and this persists, it may lead her into a pretty bad place. Negative repercussions may include self-doubt, exhaustion, resentment of the other, self-loathing, over compensation with domineering behavior, loss of interest in play or even physical ailments. If BDSM is supposed to be fun, this isn’t going to work and it’s not sustainable. Most importantly, it’s not fun.
On the other hand, well suited individualized aftercare, for all parties, can leave everyone in a much better place. It can even make a good play scene feel amazing in retrospect.
If you’re topping, what do you need for your aftercare? Maybe you already do your aftercare. For some people on the dominance side, providing focused and attentive care to the one bottoming is their own aftercare. For others putting away their own toys and cleaning the space is a form of aftercare.
But if you don’t feel you’re getting the post play balancing and care that you need, consider these points to figure out your aftercare needs.
1. Who do you want the aftercare from?
Would it be from the bottoming partner in the scene or not? Aftercare can come from a third party. If you need sex as part of your aftercare, but the person you play with isn’t someone you sex with, then you need that special sex care person for your après-play. The person caring for you doesn’t even have to enjoy bottoming. They can even be into topping. Some of the best top-aftercare I received were from others who enjoy dominance with similar style of play and mindset. When I’m going into a particularly intense or emotionally boundary pushing experiences, I’ll arrange for one of my exquisite dominance cohorts to witness my scene and be there for me afterwards. They’re particularly suited to relate to my highs and lows. If I want to talk about techniques, they know the details I need to gab about. If I want to bare my heart, they know the emotional challenges that come with topping. If the aftercare is from someone else, arrange for it in advance and set them where you need them. Maybe that’s near the scene… maybe that’s the person waiting for you at your abode. Since I like to BYOA (bring-your-own-aftercare), I make sure to arrange this well in advance.
2. When and how long do you need it?
Will this be immediately after the scene, hours later, a day later or many days later? Will this be over several hour or just minutes? Let your aftercare know, so they can prepare. If you need aftercare well after the scene, the person you played with might not be available or be appropriate for what you need. Maybe what you need is best done alone.
Over the years I’ve discovered that after a particularly intense scene, about two days later I need to do something very physical, like boxing. Otherwise I can get the deep blues. A bit of exercise seems to be the best remedy for the dopamine drop for me.
3. What does it involve?
Does this involve food, water, chocolate, blanket or any other items? Would you talk or be quiet? Maybe you’d like to wail and break things or break down in tears or hysterical laughter. Would you want people around you or not? Do you want to be left alone with a good book and a donut? Again, this helps your aftercare person prepare.
Whether you take your aftercare from your play partner or not, let them know in advance what you’ll need. If they’re not used to Top Aftercare, they may look baffled at your request, but carry on and ask for it.
If you’re bottoming, ask your topping partner about their aftercare needs before play starts. Seriously. You’ll score big points. And then follow through with it.
Remember, tops are people too!
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Read more practical realistic kink info and perv psychology in my book Wild Side Sex: The Book of Kink