Aftercare is an essential part of any type of BDSM whether it is a long drawn out scene or a simple spanking when the kids aren’t home. It makes the end of playtime a much more comforting experience and can be a great time for bonding with your partner(s.) As a submissive I know that being held and loved and being able to slowly drift out of subspace and knowing I’m safe is just an amazing feeling. But to me, even in my own relationship, it feels like aftercare is mostly directed towards the submissive. However if you stop for a moment and think about it, dominants or tops need their own version of aftercare as things can be quite demanding on them as well. The questions to ask though are A) do they get that aftercare and B) how can we improve upon the idea of aftercare for them so they get something out of it?
My partner and I have discussed this particular topic more than once and sometimes the aftercare for them is simply being able to take care of me. That helps them come back to center and feel more settled. But I often wonder if I, as a submissive, am doing enough to help them get there because many times I’m a shaking puddle of happiness, drifting through subspace and that makes it hard for me to do much beyond hold onto them and tell them that I love them. Repeatedly. Maybe that is what they need most in that moment. Sometimes, however, they need some space to put themselves back together and that’s OK too. Usually I get a drink and cuddles and they make sure I’m alright before giving me a blanket and ensuring that I know they won’t be far and I can always call out to them if I need them. That is another thing that works for us. What works for us might not work for you.
On the flip side, perhaps you are the submissive who considers things like getting your dominant a drink and making sure their needs are met could be part of your aftercare too. Perhaps you arrange things before hand to make it easy, which is great for planned things, but harder for more spontaneous play (unless you’re super organized and always keep things ready for when anytime becomes playtime.) However you do it I think that finding a way to take care of a top, just as they take care of a submissive is an important thing in any relationship, no matter how serious or casual things are between the people involved.
Aftercare means different things to different people and it can vary so widely that I don’t want to attempt to guess at what it means for you personally. I do want to suggest that readers take a long look at how they practice aftercare and see if there’s a way things can be different that might allow the dominant person to receive more or better aftercare as it seems to be good for them as well. If they are struggling to be grounded after a scene, what can you do to help them come back to center? Do they need touch and closeness? Do they need space? And lastly, how can you combine the aftercare for a submissive with the aftercare of a dominant in a way that allows the people involved to all get what they need?
I’m guessing that some of you read the title of this post and immediately though, “Well duh, Livvy”, but I’m not just talking about giving or removing the idea of enthusiastic consent here, although that’s obviously important as well, even in relationships where there is also implied consent. There is something more to be said for letting your partner say no within a sexual situation (or any situation really.)
Having agency within one’s life, sexual or otherwise is incredibly important and, I feel, incredibly freeing. You’re not obligated to go along with the crowd and it lets you do what you need or want to do both in and out of bed. This is something that I think many people think about too much because going with the flow has always been encouraged, especially, it seems for girls and women. We’re expected to say yes to all kinds of things, even when we want to say no. But back to saying no in a sexual context without specifically removing consent.
Here’s an example of what I mean. Let’s say that my partner wants to try bringing food into the bedroom to play with, but on their own they decide that I wouldn’t like it and therefore they don’t bring the idea up at all because they have essentially already made the choice for me (i.e. assumed I’d say no.) BUT, if my partner comes to me outside of a sexual context and says hey, maybe we should get some edible chocolate and some whipped cream to play with in bed. Suddenly I have agency again and I can decide if it is something I want to do or not. For the record, it would be a no; I’ve heard that the edible chocolate stuff is really gross and I don’t want to be sticky from whipped cream. By not making a choice for me, my partner has given me a choice to say yes or no to that particular act. Notice that I’m not saying no to sex as a whole or to other things, but just to the idea of food in bed. It can be your yum, but it certainly isn’t mine.
The example above is pretty clear and concrete and defines what I mean relatively precisely. And it can be about anything between you and your partner, whether its related to your sex life or not. It’s simply another good way to share your lives together and to communicate in ways that give you both the power to say yes or no to any given thing at any given time. There’s no pressure or expectation that something has to be done, especially when we focus back on sex, and instead it creates an open dialog that might given you more or different or better ideas of things to suggest to your partner.
So, yes it is a form of consent to let your partner say no to something just like any other type of consent that is out there, but in this case it can give them the freedom or permission that they need to say no in other parts of their lives as well because they may feel empowered knowing that they can say no to you, so they can say no to others. Never assume that you’re idea is too kinky or weird or vanilla or whatever and that your partner won’t like it. Just ask them!
They’d been friends for years and often shared late night dinners or just hung out with a cup of coffee and chatted. There was a time when both of their lives went sideways and she couldn’t be there for him as well as she wished, but he was still there for her. He always reminded her to look up, especially at night and see the wonder of the stars and space above us. It was always so vast and overwhelming and she was reminded she was but a speck of dust in the cosmos. Yet, somehow, she kept going and he was her best friend and support, cheering her up on bad days, cheering her on when she tried something new. They talked about their pasts, about the present, and about various plans for the future. One August night he suggested they go stargazing. She, who had never been, thought it might be a novel opportunity and was happy to indulge him.
The Perseid’s were bright and moving across the sky at an excellent pace providing plenty of chances to see them. She found herself wrapped in his arms as they watched and he pointed out different stars and constellations as well. A large meteor, a fireball, zipped across the sky and both of them gasped at the beauty of it. And he kissed her there under the stars, finally brave enough to act on what they both knew had been brewing all along. Her arms rested on his shoulders and she looked up at him, wordlessly, for a long moment before they came together in a gentle hug. It wasn’t closeness that brought them together after all, but space.
And in that space, they both found a love they thought they would never know, never get to share with someone, never come close to experiencing. Together they started a journey that hasn’t yet ended. Each year they try to catch all the meteor showers possible. Each year they grow closer. The space between them gives way to more physicality, but the space that brought them together is always there, high and vast and untouchable.
He was hers and only hers. She took him, she owned him, she was his everything. And she was his. He owned her just as much as she owned him. He asked and she obeyed. She asked and he gave. It was a blissful utopia that only they shared. No one else would or could even compare.
She was far from perfect and sometimes her flaws impacted how they interacted, but he loved her still. He loved that soft smile she had when she was sated from orgasm after orgasm, He loved her sarcastic attitude, he loved everything in her that she herself could not love. Plain and simple he loved her.
He could not seem to show her or tell her this enough. Doubts and fears from previous relationships had left her blind to her own capability to let herself be loved; still he persisted.
And one day, many years later, he said something to her that simply resonated in her soul. “I love you and you’re beautiful.” and for a moment without hesitation or fear she believed every word he said. She wished she could bottle that feeling and keep it forever where her own fear couldn’t take it away from her. So she tucked away into her heart as best she could, treasured it, and tried hard to remember it. All because of him.
I’m a little kinky, my partner isn’t at all. And we knew this going into our relationship. At first I was afraid to talk to my partner because I’ve been shamed in the past for my sexual desires, kinky or not. So that was the first hurdle to overcome. To help me out, my partner offered frequent reassurance that it was OK to talk to them and would often ask me if I wanted to talk about it in a very non-pressuring kind of way. Eventually I began to open up.
And we started talking about things like fisting, being tied up, being spanked, being called names and the like. The more I talked about it the easier it got. That’s not to say that it is easy, because even four and a half years in, I still find it somewhat difficult (yay for my deep seated issues!) and sometimes I clam up at the simple mention of what they can do for me to make our sex life better. But we work through it and we both talk about our wants and needs and fears, not just about our sex life, but about everything in our lives.
That makes us stronger together than we are apart. My partner knows what I want, I know what I can reasonably expect to happen based on our conversations and we go from there. Sometimes things don’t go perfectly, other times everything is beyond perfection. It is all about timing and keeping the lines open. We even talk during sex about what is going on and working, what could be better, and what I do or don’t want at any given moment in time. And that can change and 5 minutes later I can want something I have just said no to. That’s OK.
My regular readers know what a high value I place on communication in a relationship and the same holds true here. It took me sometimes to work through past issues and trauma, but once I got there and got to a point where I figured if my partner could see me naked then I could probably talk to them about anything I wanted to do or try when it comes to our sex life. I would beat around the bush cause I was nervous (who doesn’t sometimes?) and finally just come out with whatever was on my mind. I’ve never gotten a disgusted reaction, although I have gotten some let me think about replies and maybe I’ll get a hard no one of these days. It’ll be OK. As individuals we are both entitled to say no just like we are to say yes.
That yes/no dialogue often drives our discussions and will shape them into organic conversations that grown on their own, naturally, and gives us time to stop and pause before responding. And if the words don’t come out right we can always rewind things and try again. I think that last bit is really the secret to sharing what I want with my partner. Words aren’t set in stone but in fluid motion,
I was afraid to be naked in front of him. I couldn’t do it. But he understood and never once made a fuss or asked me why. He simply let me progress at my own pace. Eventually I was able to relax and shed my clothes, like shedding an extra skin. And he loved all of me.
I was afraid to talk about anything of import for fear of rocking the boat. So he encouraged me gently to open up, without prying, without anger. So eventually I did and my fears of being able to tell him anything gradually decreased. Each conversation improved our relationship. It is a work in progress, but we’re always progressing.
I feared censure because I naturally lean towards being submissive. Despite trying my trying to hide it because of that fear, he discerned it and indulges some of my whims. I’m not made to feel less, just taken care of and loved.
There were so many fears and unknowns that I felt like sometimes I was lost because I was so scared to talk or let him in or even love me. I was convinced that I wasn’t good enough, that I asked too much, that I wanted things in bed that he might find repulsive. Despite each and every one one of those fears, he was with me every step of the way. Encouraging, guiding, catching me when I felt like I was going to fall.
But the decision I made to let him love me…that’s what happens when you follow your heart.
And in case you missed it, my last Wicked Wednesday post can be found here.
In many relationships one partner will have desires that the other partner doesn’t share, maybe because they don’t know about them or maybe just because it isn’t their thing. Both of these are valid reasons not to share a desire and I’m sure there are plenty of others. What happens though when you take two people, one of whom is part of the asexual spectrum and the other is not? How does that couple reconcile their desires?
Step one: COMMUNICATE. I simply cannot stress this enough. If you’re not talking to your partner then that can only make things worse for your relationship, no matter what the topic is. So in that case, you may as well put sex on the table as a topic. I would hazard a guess that there are some asexual people out there who are willing to have “normal” PIV sex with their partners simply to make them happy. Perhaps other engage in more atypical sex acts that are pleasurable or enjoyable. And that is their prerogative and maybe that is where their communication levels have led them. If they are both happy and everything works for them, great! So now, we address the couple who, for whatever reason doesn’t want to do that.
Step two: Keep communicating to find what is right for you and your partner. Maybe they are OK with oral sex but not PIV sex. Perhaps they prefer to have sex on a limited basis and express themselves in other ways. They might not want to have sex at all and then you, as the more sexual partner, have to evaluate what that means for you. Maybe they don’t mind giving you pleasure, but don’t want you to do anything to them really; maybe kissing and cuddles are all they want. There are all kinds of permutations on how an asexual person might interact with their partner and I won’t try to list them here. Just work together to figure out what works best for the two of you. Eventually you’re pretty likely to come to a compromise that you both can live with.
These rules also apply to any couple who has trouble with matching desires or libidos and it takes work to figure out what you both want out of your sexual relationship. But if you can’t reach an agreement in bed, there’s no shame in splitting up because of sexual incompatibility. Sometimes love alone isn’t enough and that’s when it requires so major self evaluation to decide what is right for you and your partner should ideally be doing the same. You might conclude that you need to keep talking and working to figure these things out or you may decide that you should part ways. There isn’t anything wrong with that.
And even if you just have unmatched libidos in general, this same advice holds true. Perhaps you like to be flogged and your partner is leery to do so. Talk it out, give them time to consider if they are willing to try it, and then negotiate just how it is going to work out so that everyone involved has clear expectations of what will and won’t happen. Maybe you’ll discover something new about yourselves and it will enrich your sex life that much more. But none of this is possible if you don’t have conversations about sex with your partner (preferably not in the heat of the moment) and try to learn what each other wants and needs. Keep an open line of communication and go from there. You never know what might be fun that you’d never have discovered without having that little chat about fisting or bondage or even simple blindfolding for some light sensory deprivation.