When you’re trying to have intimate moments with your partner, the last thing that you’re probably thinking of is what happens after sex. Still, the moments after intercourse are vital to your relationship, believe it or not. Sexual aftercare is the practice of caring for your partner(s) immediately after sex. The practice can involve cuddling, hugging, talking, or showering with your partner as long as the intention is for you both to feel cared for, nurtured, and supported after engaging in sexual intimacy. Although some couples are concerned about the lack of sexual intimacy in the bedroom, aftercare is just as important because it centers relationship satisfaction as well. Aftercare can help enhance feelings of security after sex, as its activities can help our partners feel closer to us, connected, not used, and respected.
Originally, the term ‘sexual aftercare’ was introduced and coined by the BDSM community as a practice to make sure everyone was taken care of after sexual encounters. Although sexual aftercare was originally used to describe the care and attention given to partners after BDSM play or kinky sex, it is now a common concept and practice amongst non-kink communities, including monogamous and polyamorous couples.
When having sex, endorphins and feel-good hormones, including oxyticn can be released, the unleashing pleasure centers in the brain. However, aftercare can help regulate your feelings, and your body responds as those chemicals slow down. According to a recent study, people can be more prone to depression after sex, so being attuned to your partner’s emotional needs can help them with their mental health and strengthen your bond. It’s important to remember that intimacy, connection, and closeness do not have to end after an orgasm.
According to VeryWellMind, sexual aftercare consists of the following but isn’t limited to:
- Talking, whether it’s about the sex you just had and how you feel or other topics
- Reading together
- Watching tv
- Showering together
- Eating snacks
- Taking a nap
- Rubbing on each other
- Listening to music together
- Stroking each other’s hair
The best aspect of sexual aftercare is that it’s low maintenance and straightforward. It can be fluid and can change over time, even with the same partner(s). But a core principle of sexual aftercare is communication. Consistent communication with your partner about how each of you wants to engage to get the most out of the practice is always key, and it is integral to understand your partner and their changing needs.
Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to practice aftercare. If you and your partner(s) feel cared for, you’re doing it correctly and preserving both of your emotional well-being in the process.