During a sexual encounter with a new or old partner, you probably learn what they like during sex. A tip I like to use is talking about what each other likes before things start to get sexy to help build a little sexual tension and set each other up for ultimate pleasure once the sex starts. Discussing what someone likes during sex is probably pretty common amongst many partners (I hope!), but knowing what your partner likes after sex is just as important through the practice of sexual aftercare.
What is sexual aftercare?
Sexual aftercare is a concept made popular by the BDSM and kink community. These types of sexual encounters can involve pain through slapping and biting, or can even involve some more intense toys that combine pain and pleasure. Part of arranging a BDSM “scene” or sexual encounter, is discussing in depth what everyone is and isn’t okay with during sex and also discussing what is needed after sex to help come down from the intense play session and feel safe and comforted. This openness in discussing needs before and after sex should be practiced by everyone, no matter how “vanilla” your sex might be!
What can be included in aftercare?
Aftercare can look like whatever makes you feel best after sex. During sex, feel-good hormones are released, and these hormones are released during orgasm as well. Sometimes people can feel a bit of an emotional comedown after sex once all of these hormones are released, leading to a low mood. Having an aftercare routine that makes you feel comforted and safe can help alleviate some of this. My number one sexual aftercare tip is peeing after sex!!! Especially if you have a vagina. Pee right after sex to avoid a urinary tract infection. Peeing after sex if you have a penis is good for you too, but not as pertinent.
Maybe after sex, you like to cuddle and talk. Maybe you want to sensually wipe each other down with warm towels. Maybe you are too overheated and need a few minutes to cool off and not touch one another. Maybe you need food. Maybe you need water. Maybe you are energized and want to do an activity together or go for a walk. Stay in bed. Fall asleep. Make a meal. Truly there is no wrong way to do sexual aftercare. Personally, my ideal aftercare routine is
- Snuggle in bed
- Ask my partner questions to learn more intimate things about them, whether they are a casual partner or someone I love
- Drink water
Aftercare with any type of partner
Aftercare can be practiced with a casual partner who you only sleep with once or someone you sleep with for the rest of your life. Communicating what you need to feel good after sex, and holding space for someone else to do so will deepen your intimacy no matter the type of encounter.
I recommend discussing sexual aftercare before you have sex with someone if possible, so that way you know what they need to feel safe ahead of the sexual encounter. If you get caught up in the heat of the moment and can’t discuss first, asking them right after sex is great too! I would also bet that your partner(s) has never been asked about what they need after sex before, which will probably make you a memorable, safe lover.