Sometimes I want to be beaten. I want to let my breath go ragged as I lay prostrate before Daddy, feeling the floor shudder under her boots as she circles me. I want to float in a liminal space of fear and anticipation, ears pricked for the sound of leather cracking through the air before it reaches my flesh. For that split second before impact, I want to hold my breath in sheer terror. And when her flog makes contact with my thigh and inertia swings the falls to wrap softly around my legs, I want to release the air from my lungs in a lone cry of euphoria and desperation.
Sometimes I want to be held. I want Daddy to wrap her arms around me with her body pressed so firmly against mine that I cannot discern my heartbeat from hers. I yearn for the soothing pressure of her hands rubbing slowly along my back. I want to rest my chin on her chest as she lovingly strokes my hair, her fingertips dragging gently across my neck and scalp. She looks at me like I’m a delicate petal that she must protect and praise, like in that moment I am the only responsibility she will ever have. It’s heaven.
There are times where I crave the beating, and the aftercare is a pleasant reward. Other times, I crave the aftercare and the beating is merely foreplay. There is a misconception in some kink circles that aftercare is a secondary act – a notion that the word after can naturally imply. But this is a false narrative. As a sub/bottom/little, it’s important to think about what you want from the aftercare portion of your play dates so you can communicate it and plan for it with your dom/top/daddy.
Examine Your Subdrop, Communicate Your Needs
Subdrop refers to the melancholy low that often follows the high of being beaten, tortured, or psychologically controlled. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the term, if you have ever subbed for a good dom then you have likely experienced it. Similar to the low period that comes after a psychedelic trip, you are returning to your body and back to real life.
Like anything else, subdrop is experienced on a basis unique to each person. Some feel just a slight twinge of sadness or exhaustion, others might feel downright depressed. Whatever your experience may be, it’s critical that you examine these sensations and emotions. Subdrop can become a very dangerous space if left to navigate alone, especially for those of us healing from previous trauma or simply new to riding the ups and downs of subbing. Our doms offer us aftercare as a way to nuture and care for us when we are in a subdrop state. By listening to my body and mind following a BDSM scene, I know that I am allowing myself the tools to effectively communicate my aftercare needs to Daddy. I’ve learned some techniques to facilitate awareness of my experiences and identify what I need when moving through this space, and I am going to share them with you here.
Solo Techniques: Listening To Yourself
Following a BDSM scene, there are a number of solo techniques I have learned to help me tune into my post-play needs. In my experience, these work best either immediately after a scene or in the 24 hours proceeding play.
Body Scanning is a body awareness and grounding technique that trains your mind to listen more intently to how your body holds emotions. Close your eyes and regulate your breathing to be even and soft. Let distractions fall away and start to experience your body with acute attention. Start at the crown of your head and work your way down your body. Get curious about the sensations you are experiencing in different parts of your body – where are you holding tension? What feels relaxed? Are there emotions tied to those sensations? How are those emotions manifesting in your physical form? What would feel good on your body to ease the unpleasant sensations and elevate the pleasant ones? Allow yourself to dig deeper and think about how aftercare can support you through the post-play sensations your are experiencing.
Post Play Journaling
Journaling after a scene is a great way to put words to your emotions and sensations in a low-risk, judgement-free setting. It also allows yourself a moment to freely explore whatever is coming to mind for you when you are in subdrop. You can start by writing down what you did and didn’t enjoy from the scene, what you’re proud of, what you want to avoid in the future. Then, let yourself start writing what you are feeling in your after-play state. How is your body doing? What is your mind stuck on? What are your negative emotions? How about the positive ones? This technique is best done sequentially over time. Once you have journaled after a few play sessions, review your writing and start to identify patterns of thought and sensation. What will help you when you are going through those patterns?
Emotional Visualization is a tool that will help you to identify your emotions by harnessing the visual representations that manifest in your mind’s eye. Let your body be still and your mind be quiet. Close your eyes and focus in on what you are feeling. Sadness? Joy? Fear? Giddiness? Loneliness? As you start to identify these emotions, let your inner eye start to paint a picture of what you are feeling. What are the colors, the objects, the locations? What is coming to mind? Do these emotions shift as you visualize them? Are there ways that you can alter the scene that in turn alter your feelings? Use these insights to inform what aftercare options are going to feel good for you when you are in your post-play state.
Duo Techniques: Help Your Dom Help You
Although solo exploration is vital, I have also found it useful to work with my dom to help me dig into my subdrop experience and determine my aftercare needs. These techniques have felt most effective for me when done within a couple hour window following a scene.
Guided Meditation is a way to sink into awareness, mindfulness, and relaxation with the aid of direction. This can be especially effective when your dom is your mediation guide, because you are already in a state of heightened listening and dependence. Work with your dom to develop a guided mediation script, or use a pre-made script like this one, that will allow your dom to walk you through a tour of your post-play emotions and sensations. Bonus points for sharing your experience with your dom when the mediation is finished.
Debriefing: When you ____, I feel ____
Debriefing is really a separate animal from aftercare, but one can inform the other. By using a “When you ____, I feel ____” structure to express post-play thoughts about a scene, you are giving yourself a powerful chance to reflect on your experiences and needs. During this debrief, listen to your emotions as they arise. You may even add another section to the debrief sentence structure: “When you ____, I feel ____, and it makes me want/need _____.” These conversations can be centered around the experiences during the scene itself, but they can also extend into the post-play arena. Explore these conversations with your dom.
Experimental Sensory Care
Sometimes talking isn’t the answer, or at least not the full answer. What may work better for you and your dom is to use gentle sensory experimentation to determine what types of post-play needs you have that can be met through your aftercare. Work with your dom to try different post-play sensations: they can feed you ice cream, play with your hair, read you a story, wrap you in a blanket, massage your feet, sing you a song, rub ice cubes on your shoulders, light a good smelling candle, etc. Work with all of your senses and pay attention to what experiments illicit a positive reaction from your body. Be sure to go slow and be vocal if something isn’t feeling right – this experimental process is all about figuring out what makes you feel good.
Try, Try Again
Learning to listen to your body and pinpoint your needs is an ongoing, lifelong process. Be gentle with yourself as you move through these techniques and write down the insights that come to you so that you can access them later when needed. And above all, be sure to communicate these insights to your dom so that together you can make an aftercare plan that will be nourishing to you both. I remind myself that aftercare is a constant experimentation – keep something if it works, let it go if it doesn’t. We deserve to feel good.
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Disclaimer! Articles on this blog are written from a place of exploration, not expertise. I do not speak with absolute authority on kink. I hope the articles will serve as conduits through which the queer kink community will continue to become more visible, knowledgable, and accessible. These are my personal experiences and/or researched topics.
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