Winter has started so we need some warm soothing subject to read in front of a warm fire.
Recently I did a discussion about aftercare. For every discussion I do my research and try to translate that research into my own vocabulary, into my own words. I do that first of all for myself so I understand and grasp wat I am writing about, but I have noticed that it also makes things clear for others. So that ability I will try to use more extensively.
This post is written with the help of those who attended the discussion in SL: Thank you all!
I do like to listen to others as I think everyone’s knowledge and understanding is worthwhile and in this case a friend, I will call her S, gave me the link to an article. I read it and the good thing was that it provided me with questions I really wanted to answer for myself. So I did some research.
A whole lot is written about aftercare and mostly about the physical conditions of the submissive: How to treat the skin and bruises and what to do right after. Some do talk about the emotional and psychological effect of a scene and some even include the effect it has on Dominants. I think that knowledge about aftercare is very important in BDSM. The idea of aftercare should not be that it is after the scene. I should say that aftercare is part of the scene, we have to: ’Clean up after the party otherwise we are left with a whole lot of mess!’. And as in all good project management
Care in general
To be a good Dominant or submissive we have to take care of ourselves. Far before a scene we always should be aware that taking care of ourselves, of our bodies, of our mind is part of the overall care we need and it is also part of what we need to do a scene. If we do not look at our own mental state we either cannot receive or give. We need to be ready for a scene and a Dominant must recognize what he needs or his submissive. Even in just random scenes with play partners it is important that the Dominant shows his care with the preparation, knowing what he does and how calm and collected he is. Lack of sleep, bad nutrition or emotional effects of daily life can cause far more reactions. Not only for submissives but also for the Dominants involved. There is a tendency to see the Dominant as this overall collected, sane and balanced person. I do not agree, perhaps more constraint as submissives also Dominants do have mood swings and have to be aware of that before during and after the scene. Also the scene itself has affect on their emotions. A Dominant has to be very aware of his emotional state and on how thing effect or might effect in him.
When do we need aftercare
Aftercare is usually seen as the care right after a scene. There are some who claim they never need aftercare, there are some who claim they never give aftercare. Some will claim that aftercare is only necessary after an emotional trying and/or physical heavy scene. But I have heard that most submissives prefer to have aftercare. I would even state that aftercare is an important ingredient for the deep bond between a Dominant and a submissive. Aftercare is not after the scene. Aftercare is part of the scene.
Sure there can be a 'quickie', which doesn't have much impact, but even that the attention of the bond together is part of it too; but there are times that we really should be aware that aftercare is necessary.
Scenes that are demanding and intense
Scenes that involve new partners or new techniques
Scenes that involve punishment, humiliation, or intimations of nonconsensuality
Scenes that result in tears, screams, orgasm, or emotional release
Scenes that have been interrupted by an accident, injury, fainting, or anything else out of order
Scenes that have “gone bad”, resulting in anger, or upset, or ending with a safe word
Scenes that are broken (and that happens in the virtual world or perhaps on the phone or cam when a connection is lost.)
The emotional need and necessity of aftercare
If we look at the list above than of course we need to understand what to do to look after the physical effects. But I want to address the emotional effects first. When fully giving up control it drains us. Not only physically but also mentally. Our body and mind need to gain strength again to build up us and be ready to face the world again. I found it wonderful. It is not only the blahdiblah… of chemicals, the whole feeling of vulnerability to give up full control and to let happen what happens makes the sub after that at times in doubt about herself, about the care of the Dominant, feeling lonely and insecure.
We need to nurture ourselves with tender love and care. We lost ourselves.
After an intensive scene a submissive might not remember the scene or only parts of it. It is good when a Dominant asks her what she remembers and fills in the gaps of what she has missed. This happens usually in RL scenes. Online though a scene can feel as intensive although some may consider it as pure Roleplay most of us do feel the emotional and physical effects of it all. When a submissive does as ordered in her RL, like applying something as simple as clothespins on her nipples, she will feel a lot of the effects afterwards. Another thing that has for example a lot of effect is when a submissive for the first time reveals parts of her body or applies something on her body for the first time on cam. Do not take this lightly it takes a lot of courage and devotion to do that. And I am sorry to emphasize this: Submissives please be certain of who your Dominant is, before you send any pictures of yourself, or let yourself be seen on cam! It is like meeting in Real Life, there are predators out there.
Subdrop is when all the endorphins and adrenaline are settled down again. It happens when there has been play with pain, emotions and humiliation or just after an intense scene. Usually you have been nicely floating in subspace. The full attention of the Dominant, the full giving, serving of the submissive can make the submissive feel lost and alone once she is alone. It doesn’t matter if you had aftercare right after. Those moments are lovely warm and caring. It kicks in hours after the scene when you are alone. You suddenly feel depressed, cold empty and down. The whole world collapses around you and you doubt all and mostly yourself. It is when you feel abandoned by all and mostly by the Dominant. It is one of the best reasons why aftercare is not only right after the scene. Sometimes a Dominant doesn't recognize this and will discard it or at least not connect it to the aftermath of intensive play.
If you recognize this just seek contact with the Dominant and tell him how you feel. He should pick up on it. There are some measures you can take to help yourself and deal for some part with aftercare on your own.
Giving, receiving aftercare is an individual thing. Know that someone new to lifestyle doesn’t have a clue, so always offer at least the basic of a cuddle an a talk, be knowledgeable on what you can do. Hug her, hold her be gentle and speaking soothingly to the submissive. Make she sure she can sleep some that she has the time to recover from all. Be prepared with a basic aftercare kit. Or make sure when it is online that she has enough to help herself in the house, either by your guidance or perhaps when you suddenly have to leave. We can and should take all measures online to prevent us for cutting a scene short, but alas it does happen at times. You could already make a routine in which she feels comfortable: Like that she should sleep, eat chocolate and drink water. Help the submissive by asking her what she needs most and what she finds helpful to keep herself balanced after a scene.
When the Dominant is not there she can write her feelings down and sometimes a little note with some instructions now what an how to write does help. A small-prewritten note in which the Dominant shows his care and devotion can be an important part to help her feeling his love and devotion.
After trying scenes we at time do not remember what happened fully or what we have said. Of course in the virtual world we can read back, usually a scene in RL is not taped. But reading back is not enough. Talking about the various aspects of the scene and how it affected us is a wonderful way to reflect and learn for both. It tells a Dominant what he is able to do the next time and how he can proceed. Perhaps he has to take a little step back, or he can continue a path he desires knowing it will be ok. Especially when a new kind of training is installed it needs to be checked and carefully evaluated. It is also necessary for the submissive to understand the significance for the Dominant. The submissive shouldn't feel to demanding. For example when a Dominant hasn’t started with giving His submissive pain and he starts doing that for the first time, he might feel the guilt as most of our upbringing has been steered against giving pain to another. He needs to feels it is ok and pleasurable as well to enter into this new world.
· Clean her up address her wounds and bruises, even online –with no actual wounds- it is part of the cooling down and necessary.
· Have a blanket ready to wrap yourself into, as most will get very cold. This is a sign for the Dominant to cuddle or hug but! Not all submissives enjoy that, some will just want o be left alone for a while. Be aware that also after a scene online, submissive can feel cold as well, so if needed let her dress and become warm.
· Talk reassuringly and gently show her your care for her and tell her she did well, even when a scene is broken or whatever that has happened. She needs to feel you are fully there for her. When she wants some quiet time be sure you stay close and monitor her.
· Make sure you have the time to nap afterwards, or sleep soundly during the night.
· Make sure you drink water and eat some, as said chocolate is a good help, but it might be candy or fruits for the glucose.
It is good if you have an aftercare Kit of your own with all the ingredients you need before a scene. And do realize when you start to feel down and depressed it might be subdrop, so think of a few things to help yourself, like a note of your Dominant. Be clear to the Dominant what you need and if you have no clue think together what helps and you will find out what works best for you.
Aftercare is necessary do not neglect it and be aware she needs you after the scene as well. It is a bonding moment and help in the developing of trust. Help her with her aftercare kit and to look together with her for ways to make her feel comfortable again when she feels subdrop. Realize it is as important for you as for her.