When it comes to sex, we often give a lot of importance to what happens before and during sexual activity with our partner. However, we often fail to think about what happens after the sex is done and the need for sexual aftercare.
What Happens When You’re Done?
Getting dressed or going to sleep as soon as you have finished having sex with your partner can not only be considered rude, but is also dismissive of you and your partner’s sexual and emotional experience. Sexual stimulation and orgasm cause our brain and body to flood with hormones that can leave us feeling relieved, relaxed and satisfied. After a while, we then start coming down from these highs and back to our normal state. If the drop happens too quickly, it can leave us feeling embarrassed, ashamed and uncomfortable. This is where aftercare comes in, so as to be able to regulate one’s hormones and ease the hormonal crash that can happen after sex.
What is Sexual Aftercare?
Aftercare is a concept that is widely practiced by members in the kink community, but in reality, is a practice that everyone should adopt. Even if you and your partner do not typically include kink activities in your sex life, sexual aftercare is an important part of sex that should not be left out. Aftercare can include many different activities, but can essentially be boiled down to checking in with your partner after sex.
The main goal is for everyone involved to feel safe and connected to their partner, as well as to reflect about your shared sexual experience. Some of the benefits associated with aftercare can include improved emotional intimacy and leaving your partner feeling respected after your sexual encounter, regardless of whether it was a one-night stand or you are in a long-term relationship together. The following are some ways that you can give yourself and your partner aftercare:
After sex, it is important to nourish your body physically. Get yourself (and your partner) a glass of water or some tea to rehydrate your bodies. You may also offer to prepare them a snack, or perhaps order some food to eat together. You may need to visit the bathroom to urinate and clean yourself up as well. A hot, steamy shower with your partner can help you both to remain connected after your sexual encounter. You can also keep the physical intimacy going by cuddling, kissing and embracing each other, enjoying that post-coital bliss!
Mental and emotional aftercare
Mental and emotional aftercare is also a very important part of aftercare. You can do this by talking about the sex that you have just had – what you enjoyed, what didn’t go so well, and what you’d like to try next time round. Giving your partner reinforcement about the things they did well can be really positive and help them to feel safe about any insecurities they might have. If you didn’t feel turned on by something they did, or felt uncomfortable about something during your sexual encounter, it is essential to talk about it so that the experience can be improved the next time you have sex.
Giving yourself aftercare
There are times where for some reason, your partner cannot give you the aftercare that you need after sex. This could be for a legitimate reason, or it might be because your partner can be somewhat distant after sex. In the latter case, this might be something you’d want to bring up with your partner to avoid feelings of being used and unloved after sex. Nonetheless, there are some things that you can do to give yourself aftercare. These can be things like putting on something comfortable, watching your favourite TV show, or reading a book that you really like. You can also do some journaling to debrief with yourself about the thoughts and feelings you have experienced after sex.
Aftercare is an essential part of sex and should never be skipped. It can damage the relationship you share with your partner, or even the relationship you have with sex. Aftercare should not be too much to ask for from your partner – we all deserve to feel good about ourselves, even after the sex is done.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Pamela Borg is a counsellor who enjoys working therapeutically with adults experiencing various issues. These include general mental health and wellbeing, gender, sexuality, relationship issues.
Austin, E. (2020). 8 Ways to Give Sexual Aftercare. Retrieved from: https://medium.com/love-emma/8-ways-to-give-sexual-aftercare-52d95e804eb7
Engle, G. (2020). Why Aftercare Is Important After All Kinds of Sex, Not Just BDSM. Retrieved from: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/why-you-should-practice-aftercare-every-time-you-have-sex
Weiss, N. (2021). What is Sexual Aftercare? Retrieved from: https://www.intimina.com/blog/what-is-sexual-aftercare/#:~:text=Aftercare%20is%20a%20broad%20term,nervous%20system%20is%20ramped%20up.