The idea of aftercare is simple in words: give care to someone post scene. That care may be food, sweets, water, a blanket, cuddles or even just words. That is up to each person to decide what is needed and to communicate it as such.
Aftercare is far too commonly overlooked. I’ve even been told that “good” submissives and bottoms don’t need aftercare. I’ve heard bottoms told to “buck up” and “deal with it.” None of those things are okay in my eyes, unless that’s the negotiated dynamics or the submissive/bottom says they don’t need aftercare.
I never used to need aftercare. I could play hard for two hours straight and be fine with no crash. It wasn’t until I was emotionally, mentally and physically harmed during a scene that I discovered I needed care post play. The first time it happened, it hit me like a ton of bricks the next day. I was irritable, sad, alone, miserable and had no idea why. Then the light over my head clicked on and I understood. I tried to fight the drop and that only made it worse. A dominant friend told me not to fight it, let it run it’s course and it will pass sooner. I did, but I won’t deny that I felt like a loser sitting in bed crying only because of an emotional drop, not because something was wrong or I had been harmed.
The next time it happened, I was prepared. I warned the top that I crash the day after play and he vowed to keep in contact with me and to help me through it and he did. It was much easier having him chat with me online even about benin things and when the drop came, I wasn’t miserable, sad or anything. I was just low energy and lazy. I was told to pamper myself with a hot bubble bath and champagne and that revived me.
Some aftercare is needed mid-scene. One of my last play dates involved objectification which I normally find very stimulating. Unfortunately, this last time, one saying triggered negative feelings and I became detached and visibly anxious. I began to shut down and my Master saw it. He asked what was wrong and how to fix it. I explained that it was all sexy up to one phrase and that one phrase triggered bad feelings. I explained I knew it wasn’t intended to cause bad pain to me, but the truth was, it did. He acknowledged that I was hurt, stopped the scene and held me close. We cuddled for about 10 minutes and then that sad feeling I had passed and I was eager to resume pleasing him.
That was my first experience of a mid-scene crash and immediate aftercare. The fact that I wanted to serve and fuck my Master within 10 minutes of that drop showed me that it couldn’t have been handled any better. I applaud my Master for picking up on my off nature when words failed me, addressing the issue and quickly moving on to what was needed. With that said, not every Top/Dom can see that in their sub/bottom. If the above mentioned thing happens, the bottom doesn’t speak up or the top doesn’t catch on before the scene is over, it won’t be as easy to deal with, however, it is possible. Discuss what triggered the bad mojo, how to prevent it and what is needed right now to help ease the drop. Remember, if you don’t let someone know what is wrong, they aren’t mind readers and probably won’t know what is wrong or why.
I mostly covered aftercare from a bottoms perspective but there is such thing as “top drop.” Most bottoms who bottom only, don’t know this, but as an experienced switch I can say top drop does happen. If I am topping for a scene, taking care of the bottom is all the aftercare I need. There is another circumstance where I top and I need to do self aftercare…teaching classes. No one informed me that teaching a class is basically as draining as topping the whole entire room at once. After my first class, I suffered an epic headache and drunken feelings. I couldn’t drive safely/comfortably, my head was pounding and all I wanted was chocolate. Being a switch and all, I figured out that it was a drop and I was able to remedy it soon enough. I did find it interesting that my top drop was nothing like my bottom drop, but I still needed care (from myself) and I made sure to tend to it.
So whether you are a Dom/top or sub/bottom, be sure to talk about the need or lack of need for aftercare as soon as possible and/or as soon as needed.