• Help & Advice
  • Find a Service
    Close icon
a couple cuddled in bed with candles and snacks watching netflix

Why we should all practise aftercare

For #SHW23, we’re Playing It Safe. In this blog, sex and kink educator Calie Rain explains what aftercare is and why it’s important for all types of sex. 

If you have ever started to explore the world of BDSM and kink, you may have come across the term “Aftercare”. Aftercare is a very common practice in the BDSM community, but even if you don’t consider yourself kinky, aftercare can enhance your sex life, both with a partner and solo.  

So, what is it? Well, aftercare is what it sounds like.

Once the active play has stopped, the aftercare starts.

What this looks like will vary from person-to-person but some of the common types of aftercare are things like having a hug or at least some physical contact with your partner to reconnect, or just sitting quietly together. Some people do get a post-orgasm chill so having a blanket or similar handy that they or both of you can be wrapped in is a good idea. It can also be a chance to have a drink and a snack. 

For some people, aftercare can be more involved, such as giving your partner a massage or running them a bath. It can happen straight after play but can also happen over a few days, particularly following very intense play or introducing something new. It might take the form of checking in with each other, or having a proper conversation about how the play was for each of you, what you would like to do again and if there is anything you would rather not do again. It can also be just allowing yourself little treats and/or looking after yourself in a way that you enjoy.  

With kinkier play, there can be a lot of chemicals released during play which slowly dissipate when play has stopped. Some types of kinky play can also be outside of the usual social norms and that can play on people’s minds, making them question why they like such things. This can lead to something called ‘drop’. Drop is when all the endorphins and other chemicals leave the body. For some people, this happens gradually and they don’t notice it, but for others it can be quite a bump back down to earth. This can lead to anything from feeling a bit meh (technical term!) to feeling depressed and/or emotional.  

It is worth noting that ‘drop’ isn’t exclusive to kink.

Many people feel it during their lives, particularly if you have had a big event that you have been building up to and then once it has happened, you don’t quite know what to do with yourself or don’t feel quite right in yourself. Post-holiday blues is one example. 

Aftercare won’t completely stop drop but by connecting with your partner or doing nice things for yourself, it can help ease the symptoms. Having that moment with your partner when you are letting each other know that you enjoyed what you did and it hasn’t changed anything between you can help with any feelings of shame that come up.  

So why should you think about adding some aftercare to your post sex routine? Well, as above, it can help with drop if you experience any.  

Aftercare is also a great way to keep the communication going.

Sitting down and having a post-sex debrief doesn’t necessarily sound sexy, but having a check-in with each other and making sure you are both feeling good is the perfect way to open that discussion. It can be done straight after or it can be done a few days later. Telling each other what you really enjoyed and want to do again can build anticipation for the next time. You can talk about what didn’t work so well, whilst keeping it framed in a positive way, like updating a menu to remove some to make way for a bigger portion of something else or something new entirely.  

However, the best reason to do aftercare is simply that it can be nice.

Sex can be intense, passionate, romantic, frantic, low effort or an awful lot of effort! Having those moments at the end to breathe and enjoy the time together can just keep the connection going and continue revelling in the good bits. Non-sexual intimacy can be really powerful, especially post sex.  

But what if I’m masturbating or with a one-off partner?

Aftercare isn’t exclusive to couples.

Masturbation will still give you the endorphin rush and so looking after yourself is really important. In the immediate aftermath, wherever possible, don’t rush yourself to get up. Relax, maybe put your favourite music on. The tips about blankets, drinks and snacks all still apply.  

Having a conversation with yourself also isn’t a bad idea. What did you enjoy, what didn’t work as well for you? Communication is always discussed when it comes to partners but knowing yourself and understanding what you enjoy both when you are feeling horny and when you are feeling more rational, can really improve your sex life, be that solo or partnered.  

Aftercare doesn’t have to be some huge thing you need to do every time you have a quickie. Aftercare can be as simple as a forehead kiss or a glass of water.  

,

The results are in: Our Digital Front Door is a runaway success 

Matt Rigby, Head of Digital at Brook, shares some highlights from the first phase of our Digital Front Door project. The Digital Front Door is the online sexual health platform…

picture of a sandy beach with a cloudy sky

How Brook Cornwall is breaking barriers to sexual health

This Sexual Health Week we want to amplify the voices of those who face barriers as well as those who are working tirelessly to break barriers. Rachel Balshaw, Chlamydia Screening…

photo of Southend beach in the sunshine
,

Breaking barriers in Southend

This Sexual Health Week, we want to shine a light on the innovative work that our teams are doing to break barriers in local communities. Here, Rutendo Chitiga, our Health…