Sex aftercare is for everyone and can lead to better sex.
What if someone were to tell you that winding down after sex is just, if not more important than having an orgasm? There’s a scientific reason why this is, and it has to do with the hormones and chemicals like oxytocin, dopamine, and prolactin that release during sex. If you’ve ever felt a noticeable drop or sadness after sex, these chemicals dissipating might have something to do with it.
Sex aftercare seeks to smooth out this drop in chemicals. Connection doesn’t have to end post-coitus or post-orgasm. In fact, sex aftercare is a way of continuing the pleasure. Sex aftercare can look different for different people, and this guide will help you find a way that’s right for you.
What is Aftercare?
Aftercare originated from the BDSM and kink community as a protocol for taking care, both emotionally and physically, after intense sex. You don’t need to bring out the handcuffs and floggers to practice aftercare, though. Even folks who have more vanilla preferences can practice aftercare - it’s beneficial for any type of consensual sexual encounter. You might be surprised to know you most likely have practiced aftercare before.
Everyone should practice sex aftercare as it can help connection, vulnerability, or at the very minimum, ensure that people feel cared for post-sex.
Why is Aftercare Important?
Aftercare is a way to make sure everyone is taken care of and given some TLC. It’s also about providing attention after a physically or emotionally taxing or vulnerable experience. Remember that sex feels and brings up different things for different people!
Aftercare is an often overlooked part of winding down after sex. Have you ever had sex and then rushed out the door before taking time to check in with your partner about the experience and how they are doing? Instead of assuming how your partner feels, take the time to ask. Aftercare ensures that partners spend even just a few moments to connect after intensity which can help provide security, contentment, and even deeper connection for the future.
As mentioned before, aftercare also seeks to avoid the crash or bluesiness from all the feel-good chemicals released during sex. It also attempts to prevent a jarring transition from sex to day-to-day life and can help provide sexual closure for the experience and greater fulfillment from it, sort of like the icing on the cake.
Who is Aftercare For?
Aftercare is not just for long-term couples who are madly in love or for BDSM practitioners after an intense scene. These practices are essential even after a one-night stand or a friends-with-benefits hookup and can make casual encounters feel emotionally safer. At the minimum, it’s a way to provide a space to come down from sex and make sure everyone feels okay.
Aftercare looks different for everyone, and what might feel good and important to you might be different from your partner. It’s important to ask what your partner(s) needs and wants are in this department, preferably before the sexual encounter, so you know what to expect or make space for. If you don’t know what might feel like good aftercare, don’t worry! Feel free to experiment with any of the following ideas or a combination of them!
Take a Shower Together
Showering with your partner can be highly sensual and increase intimacy. It’s also the perfect way to keep talking or kissing.
Another benefit of showering after sex is for sexual hygiene. Showering flushes away bacteria that could lead to yeast infections. If you don’t have time to shower or are too sleepy, these PH-maintaining wipes work just as well.
Cuddling after sex is a great way to reconnect. Now is the time to prop up your pillows and get comfortable. Cuddling releases oxytocin, which can help you and your partner strengthen your bond and increase trust. You can also do a quick body scan at this point, especially if you’ve had rough sex and tend to any soreness.
Talking after sex while basking in the intimate space you’ve created can make sex better for everyone. Now is a great time to check in verbally with your partner and ask how they are doing and how this encounter was for them.
You can discuss the experience, and discuss what was hot and you’d like to try next time, or what they liked or didn’t like. For some people, asking for what they want during sex can be a difficult topic to broach, so this process of checking in can break down that barrier. As it’s already a vulnerable space, this is a great time to fantasize about steamy encounters for the future.
Speaking about sex creates more trust between partners and seeks to ensure everyone feels safe. It also can serve as an opportunity to enhance the experience for next time.
There are myriad benefits of massage like reducing stress, decreasing tension, increasing relaxation, and improving immunity. Massaging a partner post-sex adds a special sensual element. Massaging a partner either with oils or lotion is a great way to show affection and care for one another and for each partner to feel taken care of and pampered.
Sex is exercise, and it’s vital to replenish and rehydrate after! You might notice you’re hungrier after sex because of burned calories, increased heart rate, and hormonal changes. Grabbing a snack or eating a meal can serve as a way to show care and spend more quality time together. So dial up the number to your favorite Thai place and have at it!
Remember, what feels like good aftercare for one person might be different for you! As you try sex aftercare ideas, take note of what works for you. Opening up the space for aftercare can drastically improve your sex life for you and your partners.