Aftercare and how to do it

After sex, do you ever feel vulnerable, emotional, unfulfilled or far away from your partner, even though they’re lying right next to you? Let’s talk about aftercare. 

Aftercare is a term referring to the time and attention we give to our sexual partners immediately after sex to make them feel safe and supported. 

As a practice, aftercare is heavily prevalent in BDSM culture, where it’s particularly important to debrief after intense experiences or to tend to wounds after kinky sex. More and more, however, the value of aftercare in any sexual context is being recognised; really, it should be considered as an important part of all good sex. 

But how do we do it? Here are four ideas to get you started. 

  1. Cuddle. 

Cuddling, kissing, holding hands, massaging, stroking, or offering any kind of physical touch is a great way to gradually ease out of sex. After intense touch and closeness, distance can be a sharp contrast. If our partner rolls away from us and quickly disengages, it can make us feel rejected, disconnected, or insecure. Staying physically connected to our partner is a simple way to maintain the connection built-up during sex. And it feels nice too. 

  1. Pillow talk. 

Communication is a great way to combat post-sex insecurity. Giving each other positive reinforcement after sex and making it clear that you had fun takes the guess work out for your partner, making them feel secure and happy after sex. This could mean telling your partner what you liked, and what your favourite part of the sex was. Reflecting on this can also help you better understand your own sexual preferences and help your partner increase your pleasure. Ask them what they liked too and remember for next time! 

Don’t forget, people can often feel a bit raw and exposed after sex, so this is not the time to be critical. If you want to try something new, or change something about the sex you’re having, wait until long after it’s over to discuss. An aftercare debrief is a time to boost each other’s confidence, focus on the positives and get excited for next time. 

  1. Take care of each other’s physical needs 

If your love language is acts of service, then this one is for you. Get up and get your partner a glass of water, a nice warm tea or a snack. Sex is a workout! Help them refuel and rehydrate. This can work in casual relationships just as much as committed ones; it’s not about showing someone you’re in love with them, it’s about showing someone you respect and care for them as more than just a sex object. Small gestures can reinforce that you’re not about to rapidly evict them from your bed now that play time is over. 

  1. Shower together 

Like cuddling, showering together prolongs physical touch and intimacy after sex by keeping you and your partner close together. Combine this with an act of service like washing your partner’s hair or soaping them up and you’ve got yourself the perfect aftercare cocktail. 

These are four tried-and-true approaches, but there are literally infinite methods of aftercare. Find out what actions feel nurturing for you and your partner, and tailor an aftercare routine to your needs. You’ll leave sex feeling more satisfied, confident, and fulfilled after a well-rounded experience that has a beginning, middle, and an end.

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