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When I saw that the round table topic was aftercare, I was excited. I've recently written two posts (one for the dungeon crawl & one talking about it). I won't link to either of them because there was quite a bit of promo in them. I will share a lightly edited portion about myself though.
For myself, I tend to be pretty stereotypical in my wants when my Master has taken me into sub-space; then I want blankets and cuddles. When the BDSM activity has been lighter though, the chance to serve Him (like get Him a rum-n-coke or food) that's what I want- although the drink thing is now an issue because with Him on blood thinners, there is no more alcohol. We're still trying to work out what thing mean in this new reality of ours. Part of reason behind aftercare is to limit "sub drop"- an almost depression like reaction many subs have after play. If you think on the endorphins often released by BDSM activities, this makes sense. There's also an intimacy that can be built, a time spent with the dom and sub connecting. Another important part of aftercare is for the Dom to make sure the sub is okay- check on marks, bruises, any bleeding, blood sugar (like feeding).
Now I both enjoy heavy play and am bipolar without being on medication. Even before my Master tore His Achilles tendon, formed a blood clot, just the mix of my issues meant for a need for aftercare. Oh and let's add the facts that I'm a recovering anorexic and hypoglycemic. Yeah, there's a lot my Master has to care for to keep me okay- we even break the BDSM erotica convention of "Master eats first." Nope, I do so my blood sugar doesn't crash dangerously. Well I'm supposed to, but I'm not always so good at obeying. :D
An aftercare fail- I'm not so much sure it's a fail as a peculiarity of how I function. Of course it took becoming 24/7 with a dominant to find this one out, but if I fall asleep in subspace, even with what I'd consider "appropriate aftercare," when I wake the next day, I struggle to function. I can't hold a thought, most certainly can't have any serious thoughts. Those also tend to be days I don't write, even if I'm in the middle of writing some "light." Sometimes putting together a written sentence, even when chatting with a friend, is tricky. I've tried to think on if maybe it's a need for longer aftercare, but I'm not sure. The last time I remember this happening badly was when my Master did what became the inspiration for my "pressure point massage" snippet- I forget when I shared that lol. But He'd used His knowledge of pressure points to pinch and poke me into an amazing orgasm and subspace without any genital contact or heavier BDSM activity. While I have no clue how long He spent with me, I know He did spend time. Cuddling, comforter pulled back up around my shoulders. I slipped into sleep and I don't quite remember Him getting out of bed, although I'm sure in the moment I knew- His sleep schedule was thrown off for one reason or another so He was just taking care of me before heading back out to get on His computer and enjoy some TV.
I was saying at this point to my BR that I didn't know what I was doing; it felt unfinished to me. Then I thought of a conversation my Master and I had on the way to His doctor's appointment today. I'd begged to go to our local munch- there's a "it's a new year, let's have a potluck at my place to get things started again" type event happening next month. My Master and I never participated in BDSM at our local munch in the past; strict rules against genital-based sexuality and an over-the-top theatrical nature expected of EVERYBODY turned us off. Missing from most of the people was a "my kink is okay, so is your kink" perspective. Now I tell you all that because parts of the conversation equaled to "they're over-thinking it in comparison to how we live our lives." In the aftercare I described above, I doubt my Master would think of it in such analytical, almost artificial terms as "I'm doing aftercare." He'd just do what it seemed like I needed. While yes words are good to talk about aftercare, I think too often what we see online, what we read in BDSM educational books, hear in workshops is unnecessarily thoughtful- the top does what the bottom needs after the scene. And it is need, in that moment, not what some book says it needed.
That leads me to think of something that happened the other day. I've been struggling wishing for more sex, more BDSM activity- my Master's health issues, duh! He was joking about using His cane (not a "made for BDSM" cane, but an actual cane meant to help a person walk- He was excited to find one that has an oversized 20 side-die for the hand hold) to beat me. Well I think I surprised Him 'cause I walked over to Him and leaned over Him and His chair :D. The bit of beating and some knife play (there's a dull knife inside the cane) was really good- I was definitely less tense than I had been. But it was only a few minutes, not even long enough or intense enough to get our dog wandering over to find out what was happening- dog is a big mood killer lol. I sat back down after that and got back to author work; spending some time with my characters was "aftercare"- although I'm not sure how many people would agree with that being enough or good. Shrugs. I liked it; tension relief and then I wrote a good sex scene.
Aftercare is what you make it :D And I love comforters.
And now that you've read my thoughts, please leave a comment and then continue on to the other participants to read their thoughts on aftercare.