There’s always been chatter about the wonders of outercourse and intercourse. We’ve all had conversations, most of them behind closed doors, about how integral outercourse is to having a pleasurable sex life and of course, all the ways in which healthy and consensual intercourse can better your life. However, there haven’t been enough discussions surrounding aftercare and all that it entails. Originally a concept that was only limited to kinks, aftercare is something that needs to be introduced into every dynamic, whether that happens to be BDSM or vanilla sex.
What is aftercare?
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Deeply rooted in the world of bondage, masochism and dominance, aftercare revolves around checking in with your partner and caring for them after any sexual activity. The reason it originated from the universe of kinky sex was that these sexual activities specifically can leave individuals feeling overwhelmed, both physically and mentally.
Tanisha Rao, Chief of Social Voice at The Sangya Project elaborates that, “Aftercare is an act or sensation that allows you to come back to feeling present and grounded in your environment and body without feeling disoriented or stuck in the feelings that come up for you during sex.”
Why is aftercare so crucial?
There’s no denying that the journey of sex as a whole involves a lot of physical and emotional investment from both parties. Not only this, but sex also results in hormonal fluctuations because it is an intense experience. Ruchi Ruuh, a relationship counsellor explains, “There are times when aftercare is more important than foreplay too. It prolongs the nourishment, pleasure and connection one feels during the whole act.”
A way of adding a closure, aftercare does a soothing job of tending to one’s physical, emotional and mental requirements. It creates a supportive environment for all partners involved and promises you a healthy sexual experience. Tanisha wholeheartedly agrees and adds, “Sexual acts can elicit a strong response from your nervous system, whether good, bad or even both. It’s a sense of closure that everyone involved needs to feel.”
Why is it foregone?
In our society, sex is always seen as a mechanism of procreation and less of desire. No matter what your dynamic is with the other individuals involved, aftercare must always be a part of it. Ruchi enlightens us and says, “A lot of people stay away from aftercare because they’re worried about changing an existing casual dynamic, but it’s mostly foregone because people aren’t really aware of it.” The physical aspects of sex like achieving an orgasm tend to overlook its emotional and psychological aspects. Tanisha adds, “The reality of sex being an event so full of care and vulnerability, even when it’s just a fleeting encounter with a stranger is never fully acknowledged for us.”
Which dynamics can introduce aftercare into their equations?
A common misconception could be that aftercare can cause rifts or confusion in certain dynamics, especially casual ones. However, aftercare is something that every relationship should partake in. Ruchi explains, “All relationships, whether they encompass monogamous romantic partners, polyamorous partners, power dynamics such as BDSM or even if you happen to be solo require aftercare to deepen emotional connection.”
If you’re wondering how this can be a part of a no-strings-attached situation, Tanisha tells us, “You can always offer basic aftercare by asking them if they’re doing okay. Even the smallest action of dropping them a text after you’ve gone your separate ways to let them know you’ve had a good time can be more than enough.”
Here are a few ways in which you can engage in aftercare with your partner(s)-
Have A Conversation About The Experience
We’ve always emphasised how crucial communication is with outercourse and intercourse, and so is aftercare. A simple verbal check-in with your partner(s) can help put them at ease and increase feelings of comfort. Having a conversation with them can help both of you figure out what’s working for you and also improve future scenarios.
Help Each Other Clean Up
If there’s anything we’ve learnt along the way, it’s gotta be that sex isn’t like they show it in movies or well-made porn. It has the tendency to get extremely messy for everyone involved. For those engaging in BDSM, aftercare can involve looking after any minor injuries that have taken place. On a simpler level, a quick shower with your partner can be equal parts fun and grounding too.
Grab A Bite Together
Let’s be real, everyone’s had one hell of a workout and is in the mood for a good meal. Gorging on some food together can create a comforting environment that allows your partner to be carefree.
Introducing this into a casual dynamic can prove to be a little tricky (believe me, I’ve tried and tested it!) However, if it works well for your dynamic then physical acts of touch such as cuddling or snuggling with your partner can work wonders to ground you and make you feel at peace.
Netflix & Chill
Who doesn’t enjoy some classic Netflix and chill snuggled up next to their partner? Putting on a TV show or movies you find solace in, such as Modern Family or F.R.I.E.N.D.S, can be the ultimate recipe for winding down and bonding with with your partner.