Aftercare: New AND Improved! Not Just For BDSM!

In the BDSM community, aftercare is something that’s pretty openly talked about and, in my experience, pretty universally used as a method to bring two people back to Earth after an intense experience. Aftercare has a way of emotionally bonding people, validating the experience that the two just shared.

“Thanks for the awesome sexytimes!”


I mean, I suppose it is, to a degree. Cuddling for a bit and rolling over to fall asleep
could be considered aftercare if the people engaging are already in a relationship.
But I’m talking about experiences that involve casual sex, booty-calls, friends-with-benefits set-ups, and even one-night-stands. Simply because you aren’t deeply and emotionally involved with someone does not mean that something deep and emotional happened during your experience together. Just because things are casual and you want to keep clear emotional boundaries in place doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat your partner with kindness and dignity!

And this is why aftercare needs to be discussed in vanilla experiences. People require emotional validation. Period.

Maybe the person who just had sex with you is currently exploring a new sexual freedom, but is still having issues accepting their new-found awesomeness. Perhaps the person you just had sex with did something completely new to him/her that you were unaware of. These people need aftercare. Need something reassuring; need to know that wanting to have casual sex and wanting to explore is more than okay. These individuals need to know that even if this experience will never happen again, that they are respected as people.

And honestly, everyone needs to know that.

I’ve been in situations where I felt simply discarded after a sexual experience, left waiting for the motion to come over and cuddle for a bit, or a simple kiss goodbye, only to receive nothing whatsoever. I had just given that person something of myself; I’d thrown myself into the act, joyfully and uninhibitedly. I felt completely and utterly rejected, used, and tossed aside when a partner refused to acknowledge me in any affectionate way once the sex was over.

I decided that from that point on, I would require my partners, regardless of our situation, to give me some sort of aftercare. That aftercare can be as simple as a hug and kiss goodbye at the door, or a “thanks for an awesome night!” Acknowledgment of the event is key! Pretending it didn’t happen and standing awkwardly, looking embarrassed and ashamed of what just happened is no way to send someone on his/her way.

I will say this about vanilla aftercare: I’ve been pretty lucky in choosing partners, be them long-term, short-term, or casual, who understand and share my needs. And I’ll tell you this: it feels just as good to give aftercare as it does to receive it. Showing people that you value them and what you’ve just done together is incredibly rewarding. Not to mention I’m a sucker for wanting to make people feel good about themselves.

Aftercare does not have to be extensive. Aftercare can mean:
• A hug and kiss goodbye after sexytimes
• A “thanks for an awesome time,” and a high-five with a smile*
• A small conversation about what’s going on in each other’s lives, especially if you two are casual lovers or friends with benefits.

Or, aftercare can become really extensive and can mean:
• Showering/cleaning up together
• Extended cuddle time
• Post-sex pillow-talk
• Walking someone to their car/bus/train.

Little things have huge impact and can mean a lot to someone. Just apply aftercare as you would The Golden Rule, and you’ll always leave someone feeling positive about the experience you shared together.

*Editor’s note: In Karen Owen’s notorious Duke “Fuck List” powerpoint she describes “high fiving” a paramour while giving him a blowjob in the library. Why wouldn’t you want sex to be fun?

Photo by KrisEz. Source.



  1. […] LINKS! Laboratory Grown Vaginas Successfully Transplanted Into Patients Funny People (Look for the video of Aaron Dues from 4/19/14 for the accidental heckling.) Aftercare: New AND Improved! Not Just For BDSM! […]

  2. […] – include time for aftercare […]

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