When sexual aftercare is talked about it’s often in relation to the kink community. So much so that I didn’t even find out about it until I experienced my first dom drop. That experience made me realize that I drop after many types of sex, not just the kinky kind. So then, why do we mostly discuss sexual aftercare in a kinky light? Maybe it’s just because kinky people talk about sex more, who knows? 

What I do know, however, is that anyone can benefit from sexual aftercare. So, what is it? And How do you do it?

Drop, What Happens to Your Brain on Sex

Sex is an intense experience, especially when you view it through a scientific lens. Before the act of sex begins the first thing that happens is we get a rush of adrenaline telling us we are interested. This starts the arousal process. During this stage, the heart rate and breathing pick up. 

If things go well during the session our brains will release dopamine and serotonin, which are 2 of the 3 happiness chemicals. This is what makes sex feel “good” (for most of us). These chemicals are also responsible for helping us feel focused, pleasured, and calm (other things that we relate to sex). 

The 3rd happiness hormone, Oxytocin, is released during climax. This is what gives that intense rush of emotions. 

But, what goes up must come down and that’s exactly what happens to those who experience drop, also known as Postcoital Dysphoria or the Post Sex Blues.  

As we begin to settle back into our normal states, so do all those chemicals in our brains. And, when those chemicals begin to dissipate and return to normal we can experience feelings of anxiety and/or depression from the sudden change in happiness hormones. 

It seems that the more attuned our sex lives are with our sexual fantasies the stronger and more likely you are to drop. This is why drop and aftercare are more commonly discussed in the kink community. 

This isn’t always the case however in some cases, your brain may confuse these feelings for fear (adrenaline is the same in fight or flight), or relate them to past trauma which is also a contributing factor to drop. 

Drops can also just happen. For no reason at all, just all of a sudden the sex feels…bad. 

What is Sexual Aftercare?

Aftercare refers to the action of taking care of the emotional and (or) physical needs of all of those involved after sex. 

Aftercare is the intimacy after the intimacy. For many, sex starts with foreplay and ends at the climax (I’ll get into that another day) rarely do we think of the after. 

I get it, a lot of people may be awkward with the after, especially if it’s a one-night stand with a person from the bar. But, you deserve the after. 

Sexual aftercare lets your brain know that everything that just happened is fine and it’s ok to feel ok. 

Why is Sexual Aftercare Important?

Well, the main reason is that aftercare helps with drop. Not properly taking care of ourselves when a session is over can result in those “bad” feelings of dread, depression, or insecurity. Sexual Aftercare can act as a cushion to our hormonal fall, helping ease us back into normal life as our hormones begin to regulate again. 

Aftercare also validates that everything we did was ok. When someone just gets up and leaves, or we’re left to stew in our thoughts, the drop of emotions we experience may make us view these things in a more negative light (the post-nut clarity phenomena). Aftercare can tell our brains “Look everything is fine and you’re doing good, no need for shame.” 

Lastly, Sexual aftercare helps us strengthen our bonds and increase security with our partner(s) and with ourselves. Taking care of ourselves or having others take care of us during vulnerable situations such as post-sex can build trust and security. Aftercare is an amazing practice in not only self-love but also love for others. 

How to Sexual Aftercare

Before any aftercare is discussed or performed, it’s important to first communicate with your partner(s). Do they want it? If so, How do they want it? Do they even want you to be a part of it? 

For some people, aftercare can be a solo activity and they may need alone time to reset. This is completely fine, just make sure all of those involved are getting their aftercare needs met as well.

When it comes to sexual aftercare, everyone is going to be different,  and what your partner(s) wants and needs out of each session will change. The important thing to keep in mind is the goal of sexual aftercare is to feel grounded, relaxed, and secure.

One of the first ways to do this is by tending to their physical needs. This could be anywhere from cleaning their wounds after a BDSM session or just making sure there’s a snack & water ready. Cuddling, massages, and taking a bath alone or together can be an effective way to ground yourself after sex.

The second way to create security in the bedroom is to cater to the mental aspects of the regulation. Reassure your partner(s) with positive affirmations, watch a movie together, or just talk. Let your partner(s) know that you are there for them.

Final Thoughts

Sexual aftercare is important for everyone. It shows all those involved that they are cared about and it helps regulate emotions that are brought on by the flood of hormones sex releases. 

It’s an effective way to reset and there’s no one right way to do it. No matter the sex you have, it’s taxing on your brain, and having the appropriate sexual aftercare is vital to ward off those Postcoital blues.