A guide on how to give yourself the care you deserve.
Refers to tending, managing and caring for self and partner(s) after engaging in any form of sex. This care can range from a number of activities like cuddling or showering with the partner(s) or focusing on self clean-up or peeing after penetrative sex.
Sexual stimulation, arousal peaks and orgasms flush the nervous system with oxytocin, dopamine, endorphins, and other incredible neurochemicals which regulate between concentration, peaks of desire, arousal, euphoric-like states, and the deeply relieving and relaxing satisfaction on resolution (orgasming or once the activity is terminated). Reaching a peak also means that there will be resolution of this peak to create a state of normalcy in the body again.
If this resolution or hormonal drop happens too quick without receiving or giving yourself adequate space, time & opportunity for aftercare, the gradual drop can have some of us feeling abruptly disconnected, unsatisfied, unloved, awkward or just anxious. Despite being a concept inspired from the BDSM world, it doesn't matter whether one engages in vanilla sex or getting as kinky as one can be, aftercare is a really important aspect in all forms of sex.
Occupational Lens to Aftercare
Here are a few different ways to receive or give aftercare focusing on both solo and partnered care.
Catch your breath: Lie next to each other while y'all catch your breath. It’s a great way to be present with each other even if you don’t say anything.
Exploring touch: Staying physically close (cuddle up, kiss, stroke your partner's arm or back, caress their hair, listening to music, etc)is a good way to keep you from feeling emotionally distant.
Replenish yourself: If you or your partner(s) feel drained, sore, low on energy or even hungry, help them and yourself meet those physical and physiological needs. This in turn helps strengthen the connection and intimacy you shared.
Debrief: A really good way to feel great about the sex you just had is to talk about it. It's especially important if you ended the act in between or did not find it pleasurable in some way.
Clean up together: Sex gets messy! there’s sweat, saliva, lube, cum, and who knows what else. Walking to the bathroom to clean yourself or having a shower together is not only keeping the infections at bay, it is also enhancing the physical intimacy and connection.
Communicate: Quickies or tending to other responsibilities can shorten the aftercare time. Communicating what works best for you as an individual and as a partner becomes of utmost importance to split the sexy and dirty work.
It doesn't matter what form of sex you engage in; solo or partnered, casual or long-term), oral or penetrative, sensory sexual play or quickie. In any case, it's important to allow your body to process and regulate through the entire process. Remember, aftercare is never too much to ask for.