Aftercare for Submissives: Taken from a Different Blog

BDSM for Beginners (part 7: aftercare for submissives)
(for penelope, who’s been patiently waiting for this one)

“[My online Master] does not understand
subdrop and leaves me to deal
with it on my own”

“I know this is going to sound weird,
but I have never needed aftercare”

“Aftercare is extremely important to me,
as it gives me the reassurance that my Dom
not only loves me, but also enjoyed our play”

“She took me to the edge of heaven,
and then dropped me”

Aftercare is one of the most important things you need to learn about BDSM.

As Midori points out, aftercare may not be:

“as sexy a topic as say, double handed flogging, Master/slave protocols, suspension bondage, etc … we know we need it, but we don’t dwell on it. We treat it like flossing our teeth. “Yes, yes, we know”…

“Unfortunately the reality is that the presence or absence, timing, quality and sincerity of aftercare can make the difference between a fantastic scene and a miserable experience. It’s as necessary as air or water; similarly vital, yet taken for granted until it goes missing or quality is degraded”.

Because aftercare is so important I have broken up this “BDSM For Beginners” on aftercare into several posts:

Part 7 (this post) will look at aftercare for submissives, and address many questions you have repeatedly sent to me:

* What exactly do terms like aftercare and subdrop mean?
* What does subdrop feel like?
* What does aftercare consist of?
* How do I work out my own aftercare needs?
* Is aftercare ever needed after online play?
* How do I make an aftercare kit?
* What do I do if I feel I need more aftercare than my Dom/me provides?

Part 8 will explore aftercare for dominants:

* What is domdrop?
* What is top guilt?
* If my Dom/me needs aftercare, what do I do?
* Advice for fledging Dom/mes on “drop”, guilt and aftercare
* Aftercare for D/s couples

Part 9 will examine aftercare for switches:

* Do switches experience both types of ‘drop’?
* Does “drop” worsen when switching occurs over a short time period?
* Switch health issues
* Practical aftercare issues
* Advice for newbie switches on “drop”, guilt and aftercare

Part 10 will provide instructions for emergency self aftercare (this being an important issue for many of you, especially in regards to online play)

SOME DEFINITIONS:

“i tried looking up on the net a definition /
explanation of sub drop.. it amazes me … that
no one has written a definitive article on sub drop”
(the journey)

Wiki provides the following definition:

“aftercare is the process of attending to an s-type (submissive, slave, bottom, etc) after intense activities of a physical, and/or psychological nature relating to BDSM activities”.

Aftercare, says Wiki, is linked to subdrop:

“a name given in BDSM to a feeling experienced by the submissive after a scene. The coming down after experiencing subspace and the return to normality can happen quickly, or slowly. It can be a nice experience, or a bad one. The effects, good or bad, can last almost no time at all, or they can go on for hours, even days. Subdrop is very subjective and personal”.

Yes, well, technically, but aftercare is more than this. Chris M writes:

“Aftercare is … the culmination, the pulling together of all loose ends, the finishing touches, the final communion between sharers of the SM ritual, the phase where the participants (usually the tops) formally give the fantasy scene a context in everyday reality”

At its most basic, says Midori, aftercare is “the human courtesy to acknowledge the end of the scene and the other’s contribution to both of your experiences”.

WHAT DOES SUBDROP FEEL LIKE?

“*slightly perplexed look* i know this is going to
sound weird, but i have never needed aftercare.
Online, offline…never even thought about it
… am i the only one?”

LOL, no you are not the only one! How each person responds to BDSM play – be it a real time play party or an online cam session with your Master – is a highly personal experience. No two kinksters will ever respond the same, and the same is true of aftercare: some people really need it. Some don’t. You will only discover your own aftercare requirements – linked to how your body physically and emotionally reacts – when you play. “It’s quite common with kinky play”, writes Midori,

“whether it’s physically or emotionally intense for a person, that there’s a huge adrenaline rush and shift of neural chemicals of various sorts during play. (Well, actually, I hope this happens most of the time for you. After all, the adrenaline goes hand in hand with pleasure.) As the scene closes and we “return to earth,” the level of adrenaline, endorphins, seratonin and other yummy body chemicals comes down”.

Even for more experienced players, who:

“have enough personal data to know their general patterns … there’s always room for surprises. Sometimes we are moved deeper and fly higher than either party expected. So, it’s not uncommon that we experience a “drop” the next day, or for that matter, several days after the scene”

“Drop” can occur even after completely satisfying play. Nine times out of ten you might experience these effects of play as wonderful ecstatic pleasure that slowly eases off to blissful contentment. But if those body chemicals fall too fast they can your body and mind in a similar state to shock: subdrop. Usually the rule is: the deeper the subspace, the harder the subdrop.

(BDSM resource detour:
want to read more about the science behind
body chemicals relating to your “drop”?)

Chris M calls subdrop “the SM equivalent to the post-coital blues”. Some female subs describe it as similar in a way to PMT. It not only occurs immediately after play but can hang around for days afterwards, and can manifest in some really nasty emotional and physical ways, including (as listed by Jersey Girl):

“anxiety attacks, feelings of loss, indescribable sadness, crying for no apparent reason, lethargy, insomnia, total panic, extreme emotional numbness, rage, dizzy spells, irrational fears, manic energy, the desire to isolate, the thought of leaving the scene, or the partner, feelings of self hatred, loss of appetite, the uncontrollable desire to binge, perhaps even to purge, inability to concentrate, headaches, leg cramps and nausea”.

The most common ones people experience revolve around anxiety, irrational fears, and feeling dreadfully alone and abandoned. A sub coping with “drop” alone, observes Mistress Steel:

“may view the Dominant’s absence as a reflection of that Dominants ‘true’ opinion of them, their sinful actions, their real worth or value. It is common for many submissives to mentally and physically punish themselves during this bottoming out period. They sometimes convince themselves that it is ‘better’ for their Dominant if they aren’t around. They may take actions which they know will disappoint, inflame or anger their Dominant”.

Sound familiar? For many subs, this particular state of mind is VERY familiar. Snarkly71 observes:

“[the] first time [subdrop] happened to me i thought there was something wrong with me, i felt so ashamed, unworthy, useless and couldn’t understand why my Owner would want to be near me or with me.

“It suprised me as it happened a day or two after just out of the blue when the high disappeared, when I so didn’t expect it and I thought it was just me being depressed and why should someone so wonderful as her want to be round someone as miserable as me”

Luckily Snarkly71’s owner was an experienced Domme and knew exactly what to do:

“She wouldn’t let me run though and just patiently comforted me through it [and] show[ed] me an article like yours after I had experienced it [a] few times”

So keep in mind: you may have experienced “drop” in the past and not even known it. (If this is the case, then it’s important to follow the guidelines below on how to work out your own needs and aftercare requirements so you can avoid future “drop”).

(BDSM resource detour:
want to read more of Mistress Steel’s
article on Sub Rebound?)

HOW DOES AFTERCARE FIX THIS?

“I hadn’t realized [subdrop] was a normal thing to happen in play. I thought I was just acting like a fruitcake afterwards because of my own history with chronic depression….

“Now that I know this will happen and it is something to expect rather than have it be something to get *more anxious* about I can tell myself that it will be OK and not to get twisted the wrong way because it”
(Private Label Literotica Forum)

Aftercare is about recovery. It addresses both physical and emotional needs, and is “basic to the planning of any SM scene”, writes Chris M,

“especially for intense, edgy scenes where the participants go deep. Play that is physically heavy, intensely emotional, or improvisational, with lots of twists and turns, can leave your partner shaken, vulnerable and exposed, making it all the more crucial to guide them safely back to earth. … How well you take care of your partner will say a great deal about what the scene really meant, whether it was just a quickie or a deep beautiful bond bringing you closer together as people”

But aftercare involves more than attending to physical injuries and countering emotional “drop”. Its also vital in providing recovery from what Chris M terms “broken” scenes, and is especially important in the aftermath of:

* 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 unseemly act of God
* Scenes that have “gone bad”, resulting in anger, or upset, or ending with a safe word

WHAT DOES AFTERCARE CONSIST OF – IDEALLY?

“I know what [my partner] needs: gentle loving lovemaking followed by cuddling and small talk. The cuddling and small talk is most important. I think the confirmation that I love and want him without coersion and that I appreciated the scene is necessary. I hadn’t thought of this as aftercare. I give it in a kind of hazy sweetness while all my nerve endings are still singing. Gentle love just seems the natural thing to do”

The quote above provides a perfect example of aftercare – like parttimeswitch (above) you’ve probably been receiving or giving great aftercare without knowing, lol.

Partimeswitch knows her partner’s needs and provides them, almost without conscious thought. But what about in cases where you don’t know your partner well. What are the classic stages of aftercare? Let’s use cc’s terms, as they make those stages easy to define: Before care, During care and Aftercare:

Before care simply refers to things you can do prior to play to make sure you are prepared. Basically it’s looking after yourself. If that sounds a bit boring, remember – you are looking after your Master / Mistress’ property when you look after yourself, and the healthier and more focused you are at play time, the longer and harder you can play. Therefore, looking after yourself is a perfect way to please them. Before care applies to online as well as real time play.

So what does this mean in practical terms? It means things like getting plenty of sleep before the day. And making sure on the day you are centred. Focus is very important. A lot of people (both subs and dominants) develop little rituals to ease their transition: put aside daily life concerns for a few hours. Relax yourself via whatever technique you prefer: have a bath or a massage. Or meditate. Eat lightly but well. Drink lots of water – hydration is VERY important – but no alcohol. Don’t forget your regular medications. Some people also recommend taking fish oil (Omega 3 & 6), or flax seed oil (Omega 3 only) an hour before your session, and as part of your aftercare, to aid healing.

(BDSM resource detour:
want to read more about healing
supplements /what to eat
before play? Click here)

Because you will have chosen an experienced dominant who understands aftercare and “drop”, your Dom/me will spend time explaining these issues, and will check over all these things with you prior to play, as well as during the scene (cc’s “During care”). Your Dom/me will check you often, ask how you are feeling, whether you need water (or a sports drink to keep your electrolytes in balance), will monitor your hands and feet for cold, that your body has not gone limp in it’s restraints, etc. They will also expect you to let them know if something is wrong (a rope too tight, or whatever).

When play finishes, your Dom/me will devote the time you need for immediate post play aftercare needs – what Midori calls “common sense stuff. Other than specific first aid and possible medical information not much is needed to figure out [this part] … this is the phase that most people refer to as Aftercare”.

They will attend to practical things, like untying you, allowing you to visit the loo, attending to any injuries, etc. If you have told them you like physical contact as part of aftercare, they will wrap you up warmly and make sure you lie down for a while (if you feel like lying down), give you lots to drink and a little food, help you get dressed when you are ready. They’ll check full motor function has returned. They’ll also attend to your emotional needs, tell you how proud they are of you, ask how you are feeling, talk through the scene with you (if you want). If you are in a close relationship, they will hold you close, hold your hand -again: whatever you’d like them to do. If you’d prefer to avoid the touchy feeling stuff and curl up in a corner by yourself, that’s what they’ll go along with. All this is about basically helping you make the transition back to everyday life, so that you can walk out their door and get home safely.

They will also “check in” with you over the next few days, to make sure you are not experiencing any post scene blues, and to talk over the scene with you. After all, part of those post scene blues might not be “drop” – the emotions might simply be because you are worrying about something that happened in the scene. You might feel that you didn’t get what you wanted. Or even feel mistreated. In which case it’s best to talk things through and work out what went wrong, and how best you might communicate in future. You might find this is all you need to remove the last traces of feeling down.

REALITY CHECK (PROBLEMS):
1) WHY IS AFTERCARE OFTEN POORLY DONE?

Bad aftercare – or no aftercare – Chris M argues, can “do damage that is basically incalculable”. Chris believes aftercare is often done poorly because “as important as it is,

* precious little has been written about it in SM texts currently in print
* it tends to be overlooked in educational forums
* unlike many other play techniques, there are no standard methodologies for how to do aftercare. Different personalities, tools, techniques, play intensities demand different levels of intimacy, touching, and duration, and no single approach is ever guaranteed to work
* its often forgotten during negotiation, setting the stage for aftercare that is rushed or inappropriate later on
* players may feel uncomfortable being physically intimate (hugging etc) after play
* sheer ignorance: many think the technical stuff concludes the scene is over, and have no idea how important aftercare is in making a good scene better

I would also add to this:

* little has been written about aftercare on the internet
* research on virtual aftercare requirements (increasingly needed) is non existent

Chris M concludes: “the good news is that aftercare can be easily improved, achieved through adherence to one simple principal: active concern and care for your partner”. Thankfully this applies to both realtime and online. Keep this principal in mind when you formulate your list of your own aftercare needs. NEVER take the fact that you are going to receive compassionate and intelligent aftercare for granted.

IMPORTANT NOTE: please read this emergency self aftercare post if you need help NOW.

REALITY CHECK (PROBLEMS):
2) WHY SOME DOM/MES DON’T ‘DO’ AFTERCARE?

“I have never tolerated the bandying aspect of [aftercare],
[I've] often been seen to be hard, but hey !!!”

Whether for the reasons Chris gives, or for others, at some time or another you are going to encounter a dominant who doesn’t care about aftercare. Some limit the time they spend on such things (Richard Evans Lee recalls being “shocked when I read one woman expressing impatience with her guy’s post scene requirements. Really she’d rather go watch TV”), often not realizing the effect this may be having on their sub, as Wildflower experienced:

“Aftercare is extremely important to me, as it gives me the reassurance that my Dom not only loves me, but also enjoyed our play. I will say that he is not particularly good at aftercare… as his tendency (or preoccupation) is to take care of the toys, cleaning and putting them away, which can take too long and I have the feeling of aloneness and abandonment. We’ve talked a lot about it, and he takes the time to cuddle and hug me for awhile in bed but it is still not always long enough. Then sometimes, he goes into the living room and watches a movie, which makes it even more lonely… Aftercare to me, gives me the recognition that he is there with me to the end, whatever that is… however long that takes… “

Some dominants just don’t see the need, as Tenderheartgirl discovered:

“i did not receive much in terms of aftercare with my former dom save for a few times. There were times, when i was quite disoriented and drove home and got into the house and just crashed. i never received calls or messages from him. i would contact him..i needed that connection to communicate and stabalise, but his replies were sporadic and cold”.

Others see no point in what they term “the culture amongst the new BDSM for sustained aftercare”:

“I have never tolerated the bandying aspect of it, [I've] often been seen to be hard, but hey !!! … there seems to be a HUGE cult of ‘aftercare’ … where it’s apparently drilled into the heads of most of the Doms (and subs) that this aspect of play is *required*… demanding/feeling entitled to some sort of ritualized pampering – especially after nothing more than light sensation play – definitely sounds like control issues to me”

If you are encountering something like this with your dominant, and you know you need aftercare: don’t panic! Aftercare does not need to be with the person you played with. As Midori points out, sometimes that’s neither possible nor desirable:

“If you hooked up with someone at a bar … or a sex/SM club, you may not have their contact info. You may not want to actually even know their name. You may have hired a professional dominant but you don’t want to aftercare with them … Maybe you engaged in intense play as a performance or commercial exchange”.

Going elsewhere is called Third Party Aftercare, and its a perfectly acceptable aftercare alternative. Read more about this in Midori’s aftercare essay. You can also provide your own aftercare – keep a link to my emergency self aftercare “just in case”.

You may also have engaged in online play, which is one area Midori doesn’t discuss…

VIRTUAL SUBDROP + AFTERCARE:

“I can be physically exhausted from
domming even from on line play”

Virtual aftercare is a subject you are NOT going to find covered in the existing literature on aftercare, but the truth is that many of you reading this will be trying to cope with the effects of online play long before you move to real time.

So how does virtual aftercare work?

Well, in some cases, it’s really not needed. If you meet someone casually in a chatroom and enjoy some light play – perhaps a little erotic humiliation, a few pain tasks and some edging – you probably won’t need more at the end of the scene than some reassurance from your play partner that you did well, and that they really had fun.

However in committed D/s online relationships, online play becomes more serious. Tasks (including application of pain) become intense. Subspace – and thus subdrop – become possible factors. You should never undertake such tasks without your Dom/me online, as Nikita (author of “Tales from the Whipping Post”) discovered:

“I gave [a task involving pain infliction] to my little subbie. It was the third task I’ve given her. I was unable to be around when she performed it. She didn’t tell me when she was performing it and I didn’t know it would be so profound for her. But I responded as soon as I was able…about 2 or 3 hours later, and then, communicated with her live the following day. Although the task was difficult and pushed her, she enjoyed it, however, the signs of ‘drop’ were there. *sigh* I felt I let her down. As soon as I could get in touch with her, I held her hand through it and sent her the links you posted on FSSP”.

I think this was less a case of Nikita letting her sub down, and more the consequences of her sub not telling her dominant when she planned to perform her task. However, an experienced Dom/me will always accept the responsibility and acknowledge the importance of aftercare in such online situations (as Nikita did).

Virtual aftercare is similar in many ways to real time. Prior to play your Dom/mes will discuss your needs and aftercare requirements with you, and take you through the “Before care” steps listed above. If they have set tasks, it will be with the proviso that they (writes Nikita) “want the task to be performed when [they] can be around to respond/provide virtual aftercare – otherwise, it should not be performed”.

During online play they will keep checking by asking how you feel, or if you are playing via cam, by monitoring you visually. Keep in mind cam images can be very poor – and also there is often a time delay – so do speak up if there is a problem. Your Dom/me will appreciate this.

Afterwards, they will stay online, will instruct you to remove all toys and tidy up, wrap yourself warmly, drink lots of water, and will talk quietly with you. Slavejamie2 (on Alt.com) writes how

“as a slave … being trained remotely … my aftercare with my Master is all about communication via phone. i do not have the comfort of His physical presence during aftercare … He very carefully takes me through a lengthy “de-briefing”, asking detailed questions about my emotional and physical state post-scene”

What you talk about with your Dom/me will depend on the information you have provided about your aftercare requirements. They may talk about the scene (like Slavejamie2’s Master) if you have said you are happy to do that (some people prefer to wait a day or so), or just reassure you how much fun they had, how proud they are of you.

If you feel you are experiencing the beginning of “drop”, do let them know so they can help you with this. Like Nikita, they will feel dreadful if you go through this alone. Never feel bad about contacting them later if you are experiencing “drop” – or any other friend who you trust to provide support.

One of the worst things post online play is the reality that you are alone, that your beloved play partner is many miles away – one sub writes “I wish I was able to please and serve my Dom in real time. There are many times I ache to touch him, feel his arms around me…”, while Slavejamie2 observes that despite the tremendous care his Master takes with virtual aftercare

“i must admit, however, an emotional and physical “emptiness” when i come down off that endorphin high of slavespace, and i long for my Master’s physical presence more than ever”

Slavejamie2’s Master redresses this in part by maintaining “check ups” via phone – the sound of a dominant’s voice together with their concern will always reassure a sub. Another thing I suggest to subs when I provide emergency online aftercare, is to visualize their dominant (or in some cases me) physically with them, to counter this dreadful alone-ness and help them relax (“okay, so we are both sitting on your bed, with our backs against the wall … you’ve just made us some hot chocolate, I’m wearing flanelette pyjamas with humping frog patterns and a pair of fluffy pink slippers…..” etc) (gentle laughter, you see, is also good medicine for subdrop…).

You can read about other ways to cope with post play needing your Dom/me in my emergency self aftercare post.

VIRTUAL AFTERCARE PROBLEMS:

“I have had a particularly bad time with sub drop … I have an online Master [who] does not understand sub drop and leaves me to deal with it on my own. I have been able to deal with anything that does come up. I have tried to look for issues on subdrop from a online perspective, but have not found anything yet”.

Of course – as above – the problem many of you are encountering is that the dominants you meet and play with online are unfamiliar with subdrop / aftercare. Even if you make them aware of your needs they may be unable to fulfil them:

“I do better [after online play] when [my Dom and I] have time and are not interrupted to talk about whatever after. We have discussed how I feel, how he felt, my children and he usually jokes around with me. When we can’t have that special time after I have found I have experienced sub drop, [I] just wasn’t aware that’s what it was. I would say it was bad sub drop for me but Mistress160 was there for me”.

I know from my own experience of regularly providing what I term “emergency online aftercare”, how badly some subs suffer. In some cases – as above – it’s a one off situation where a normally supportive and experienced Dom/me is unable to fulfill his usual “special time” due to unforseen real life commitments. But in many others, it’s an ongoing problem, caused either by inexperienced or uncaring dominants or by Dom/mes who simply cannot comprehend the need:

“oh come on! Come on! Aftercare is a real time concept! REAL TIME! You don’t need it after a half hour cam show with an online submissive!”

But the truth is, if that online submissive has had their limits pushed, emotionally and physically, aftercare becomes a very real requirement indeed – especially if the sub has experienced the infliction of substantial pain (resulting in endorphin release) or if specific kinks have caused emotional overload:

“I am a humiliation junkie, and [my online Master and I] play every so often with that perspective in mind. Sometimes my limits are pushed and the last time I played, my limits were pushed very hard. I was left with a feeling of euphoria for quite some time. Then I crashed. I have dealt with feelings of depression and sadness after a play session before, but this time, I felt lost.

“Not to get into the hows and whys of things, I will say that this particular time, all I wanted was a reasurance in an email that he liked what I did for him, and was happy that I did it. He would not respond”.

In this case, the female sub clearly saw her need for aftercare as a problem she alone needed to handle: “I can understand that he does not want to deal with the aftermath of what happens. It was my decision to push limits and deal with the after effects”. Her question to me was: how do I handle this alone? My response back was that with respect, she shouldn’t have to. Her Master should have been more aware of how hard his sub’s limits had been pushed and kept an eye out for communications from her – indeed, initiated those communications – so as to provide reassurance and emotional support.

It’s all very well for me to say this, but it doesn’t answer her question of how to cope with “after effects” alone. Because this question is so important I have published a separate post providing instructions for emergency self aftercare, with an emphasis on virtual aftercare needs. This way it will easier to find.

Lets finish up today by looking at aftercare practicalities (to help subs work out their own needs, write an aftercare requirements list and assemble an aftercare kit, etc):

(the perfect aftercare kit)

AFTERCARE PRACTICALITIES:

“i think we need to get some information pooled together on sub drop. what it feels like. what it looks like.. what makes it better.. so that other submissives and Dom[/me]s alike can read and have the light bulb click on and say.. OK!!!! that’s what’s happening. cause it can be a pretty lonely place”
(the journey)

1) Reading about aftercare / subdrop:
Read some of the articles in the reference list below. At least read Midori’s and Chris M’s articles. There are also articles about other related issues. I also highly recommend acquiring a copy of Midori’s book “Wild Side Sex: the Book of Kink” which contains a longer version of the essay linked above, and an excellent “Quick Guide: After Care Suggestions” section.

2) Working out your own needs:
Everyone’s aftercare needs and requirements are different. Your level of play experience will obviously influence how well you know your needs and how you work out what your aftercare requirements are. But even if you don’t have much play experience you will still have some ideas about how your body reacts to stress / shock. Do you seek comfort from others when you’ve been hurt, or do you prefer to be alone? Do you prefer a particular type of painkiller (or have other medications that need to be taken regularly?)? Do you get cold easily? If you have played (both online and realtime) have a think about how you felt after those experiences? Did your dominant provide what you needed in terms of support? How did you feel the next day?: perfectly fine? a bit flat? really great? really down?).

It’s important to write all this down in a list. For example:

LIST: SubTess’s Aftercare Requirements (For My Mistress)

1. I’m not really keen on close contact after play. I’d love it if You sat next to me, though, and talked to me. I usually feel fine after about half an hour
2. I prefer to sit up afterwards, rather than lie down. May I wrap myself if Your lovely green blanket?
3. I always get really cold feet afterwards (there are socks in my aftercare kit – Mistress160 actually used to leave them on during play, it looked funny but did keep me warm!)
4. I’m allergic to most bandaids (there are some non allergic ones in my aftercare kit)
5. I’d love a hot drink afterwards because I always feel cold (tea bags in kit, but I also would love some of Your Jasmine tea)
6. For some reason I really don’t like music afterwards, it makes my senses feel raw
7. Could we not discuss the scene immediately afterwards? I find I relax more

Etc. Etc. Remember to print 2 copies of your list, one for your Dom/me a copy, the other for your aftercare kit.

3) Making sure you explain these needs to your Dom/me prior to play during your Pre Scene Negotiations:
Double check your Dom/me in aware of your needs and requirements, and still has your list – you are not letting them down by asking, this is something they will want to know. Make sure you have your list to hand if you need to look after yourself after play – you may not be in a position to easily recall the info it contains.

4) Assembling after care kits:
Preferably two: a larger one for home and a smaller one for travel (which can live in your toy travel bag). Things you might like to consider including in your aftercare kits:

* large bottle of water (for both drinking and washing, if theres no tap handy)
* high energy sports drink
* energy food: chocolate bars / dried fruit / nuts / biscuits
* ice packs
* hand sanitizer: “It’s a decent cleanser for superficial wounds (abrasions or small spots of broken skin) and, in public, it’s just not a bad idea to have” (Carrie Ann)
* small first aid kit containing bandaids, vaseline, betadine, pain tablets, regular medications
* warm cotton socks
* very soft plush blanket (I adore Brookstone’s NAP range for softness)
* vitamin E oil: “The pure, edible kind with no scents or mineral oil added. It’s great for wound healing and for the general drying out of the skin that can happen during a scene, as well” (Carrie Ann)

Additional items worth considering:

* Change of clothes / dressing gown / soft robe: Carrie Ann suggests “If you’re playing in a public space it’s always nice to keep a robe in your kit. It helps a lot for after… when you’re done with your blanket but may not want to get dressed yet. [We] play pretty heavy and there is usually blood involved. I often hate to put on my “good clothes” again (often something tight or vinyl or just plain old not something I want to ruin) and a robe is ideal. Even without the blood it’s nice to be able to wander around comfortably while you’re “coming down”.
* hot water bottle
* thermos of boiling water (for either hot drink or to fill hot water bottle. This is essential for me, its got so many uses)
* herbal tea and hot chocolate packets

A FINAL WORD:

All of this sounds a bit dire – it describes situations you may never have to face – but it’s important to know what to do if/when BDSM problems occur. Which is what this BDSM for Beginners series is all about.

I’d like to use the last few lines of this post to remind you that aftercare is usually a wonderful experience. A time to draw close to the person who has given you such intense pleasure, to affirm together the extraordinary experience you just created together – a time (as parttimeswitch describes) of “hazy sweetness while all my nerve endings are still singing”.

As Chris M so wisely says, “aftercare, both receiving and giving, really is one of the lovelier parts of the SM art form”. Promise me you will enjoy every moment!


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