[Guest Post] Aftercare for D-Types: Mental, Emotional and Physical by Kelvin Sparks

I recently put out a call for guest bloggers to write about aftercare in BDSM from the Dominant’s perspective. I published the first post earlier this week. Today’s, by Kelvin Sparks (he/him), is the second. Kelvin has written for C&K once before.

Amy x

Aftercare for D-Types: Mental, Emotional and Physical by Kelvin Sparks

Aftercare—the activities and/or attention given to a partner after sexual, BDSM, or kink experiences—is something widely discussed within kink communities. However, a lot of the discussion of aftercare focuses on aftercare for submissives, bottoms, and masochists (who I’ll collectively called s-types). This seems intuitive at first—they’re the person being acted upon, after all—but it’s important not to dismiss the importance of aftercare for dominants, tops, and sadists (who I’ll collectively call D-types).

Why Do D-types Need Aftercare?

Just as with aftercare for s-types, aftercare for D-types incorporates three kinds of well-being; mental, physical, and emotional. 

Leading a scene can take a huge amount of mental energy. While the power exchange within D/s scenes is mutual, it’s tops within a scene who have the greater responsibility when it comes to managing risk. Being a D-type in a scene involves practiced and involved skillsets—such as using impact toys with accuracy, assessing a bottom’s emotions during a scene, and assessing risk and safety both pre and mid-scene—and the attention, careful observation, planning, and empathy involved in topping and/or domming can easily lead to mental fatigue after a scene is concluded.

Depending on what kinds of play partners are engaging in, topping can also be physically exhausting or taxing. It can be easy to think of the physical impact of BDSM scenes being only pain and/or injury, and that this is something limited to s-types, when in reality that’s not the case at all. For one, dominants can be bottoms, but it’s also worth noting some forms of play can be physically taxing on tops as well as bottoms. As an easy example, for people new to strap-ons, topping during play can be physically exhausting, as it uses muscles that they may not have used much before.

Finally, aftercare is important for emotional wellbeing. “Drop” is a well known phenomenon in kink circles, referring to the period after a emotional/endorphin high during a scene. Sometimes specifically called sub-drop or top-drop depending on who it’s used to refer to, it can happen immediately after a scene, hours later, or even days later, and is characterised by intense negative feelings.

In dominants or tops, the emotions of drop can be intensified or informed by the cultural conversation around dominance and sadism. Feeling a sense of guilt at one’s actions and desires—even after risk-aware and consensual sex—isn’t uncommon, and these feelings can be intensified for marginalised D-types. In my own experience, the guilt I sometimes feel after SM play is impacted by the cultural perception of trans people and masculine queer people as sexually predatory. As another example, some of my sadistic Domme friends have expressed that their feelings of guilt after a scene are sometimes mixed with a sense of shame for their deviance from a lot of the gendered expectations around dominance. 

What Does Aftercare for D-types Look Like?

Aftercare for D-types is as varied as it is for those on the other side of the slash. Different scenes can feel intense in different ways and to different extents to different people, and what people enjoy and/or need as part of their aftercare can vary from person to person. Depending on your wants and needs, aftercare for you may look like administering first aid, having a snack and a drink, praising your partner(s) for what they did during a scene, watching a film together, having some alone time, or creating a “buffer zone”—a period of time spent with your partner/s doing something unrelated to BDSM.

I’d also like to emphasise debriefing as a kind of aftercare in itself. Once both partners are grounded, talking over what went well (and not so well) in a scene doesn’t just help when playing in future, but can alleviate the guilt that contributes to top-drop. Hearing that their partner loved being hit and why, for example, can work wonders in alleviating the guilt somebody may feel around enjoying hitting their partner. 

Aftercare Compatibility

If both sides of the slash need aftercare, and it’s just as important for D-types as it is for s-types, how do you navigate situations where these needs are in conflict? This is why aftercare is just important to bring up in negotiation as what players are looking for in the contents of a scene. If a submissive prefers to have alone time following a scene, but the dominant person they want to play with needs cuddles and affirmations, then it’s best if these things are worked out in the discussion stage. 

In some cases, conflicting needs when it comes to aftercare can be solved by delegating aftercare to a third party person, or by players compromising some of their wants so all players have their needs met. In other cases, vastly different needs when it comes to aftercare means players aren’t compatible, even if they’re otherwise agreed on what they want from a scene. It may suck finding out you’re not compatible with somebody you want to play with, but it’s far better finding out before you attempt to play together than after.

Kelvin Sparks logo

About the Author

Kelvin Sparks (he/him) is a bisexual trans man who writes about sex on the internet. You can find him at KelvinSparks.com, or at @Kelvinsparks_ on both Twitter and Instagram.

[Guest Post] Aftercare for D-Types: The Care and Feeding of Your Sadist by Bethany Baker

I recently put out a call for guest posts on aftercare in BDSM from the Dominant’s perspective. I received a few great pitches and ended up commissioning two. Today’s piece from Bethany Baker (she/her) is the first. The second will follow later this week. This is Bethany’s first piece for C&K.

Amy x

Aftercare for D-Types: The Care and Feeding of Your Sadist by Bethany Baker

Aftercare is vital in BDSM. The focus of aftercare tips is usually on submissive types, who have experienced very intense sensations in the scene and who may experience sub drop even days later.

I’m here to talk about aftercare for the person who took the dominant role in the scene. This applies to Dominants, Tops, sadists, and so on (D-types for short) including those who identify as switches.

What is sadism, really?

Sadism is one of the Ss in BDSM. There’s a perspective on sadism that I’ve found very helpful to understanding dominant/sadistic types, which I discovered through Carolyn Elliott’s book Existential Kink and which she attributes to Tani Thole and Leslie Rogers of the Light/Dark Insitute: “Sadism isn’t necessarily the desire to inflict pain; it’s the desire to inflict sensation, to make oneself felt.”

This insight is what fully unlocked my sadistic kink. It helps to explain why kink without pain is still so, well, kinky! And when the submissive type enjoys pain, that makes it an extra fun sensation to inflict.

So, as someone who loves to inflict intense sensations of various types, what kind of aftercare is most helpful?

Tell me how it felt

I want to know that I have been felt. Did you love it? Love to hate it? Was it exquisite torture?

The dominant person in a scene is usually doing a lot of reading-between-the-lines. Submissive types are often either non-verbal (due to subspace, literally being gagged, etc) or are contrary or facetious on purpose (such as in the case of bratting). Pre-negotiation of the scene and safe words create guardrails, but the dominant person in the scene still has to steer between those.

So while aftercare for a submissive (especially after intense scenes such as humiliation play or hard impact play) involves explicit confirmation of “I am affectionate towards you, I regard you positively,” this type of explicit confirmation can be important for the D-type as well. Messages like “I love what you did to me” and “I want to do more of that” are affirming and restorative. (Always be honest. More on constructive feedback below!)

This doesn’t have to be immediate. It’s natural for it to take a day or two (or longer) for a submissive type to collect their thoughts, and in my experience, being genuine is more important than being prompt. What might that look like in practice? My partner recently said to me about a scene where he was submissive, “I love being the subject of your creativity.

Angels sang. My heart is soaring, just remembering him saying that. That is the sort of thing that goes into my mental bank of quotes to pull out on bad days. That kind of genuine feedback easily refills my bank of motivation to take the reins in the next scene. Speaking of that bank…

Dom debt and the energy bank

I’d like to put forward the idea of “Dom debt” as a counterpart to sub drop.
While submissive are generally experiencing a lot of intense sensations, Dominants are making a lot of intense decisions. We’re expending emotional energy, especially if we’re affectionate Dominants closely reading a submissive. When a dom spends more energy than they have, that incurs “Dom debt”.

My Dom debt tends to feel like overwhelm, exhaustion, withdrawal. It’s a “I just don’t have it in me today” kind of feeling. So, what to do about it?

Research shows that a small blood sugar boost (think: a light snack, a piece of chocolate) can replenish the brain’s decision-making capabilities in the short-term. Other effective strategies are adequate sleep, exercise, and relaxation (think: yoga, meditation, hot bath.)

Interestingly, if a D-type can be impulsive in a scene, this can actually help alleviate decision fatigue. So, the better the members of the scene know each others’ boundaries, the more impulsive the D-type can be, and the less decision fatigue they incur. This is another reason that feedback is crucial!

Check in on how to give feedback

Affirmation is important, and so is constructive feedback. As a submissive resurfaces from subspace, it may be intuitive to share feedback with a D-type as it comes to mind. This might work well for some people, but not for everyone.

One way to care for a D-type is to check in with them on when and how to give your feedback. At the end of an intense scene, the D-type may be feeling sensitive themselves, or may be emotionally tired and have a harder time remembering or processing feedback. If that’s the case, try jotting that feedback down and then sharing it as you’re planning for the next scene. 

Mutual aftercare

Additionally, the aftercare that is good for S-types is often great for D-types too! The cuddling, checking in, gestures of affection — these are verbal and nonverbal ways to affirm the mutual positive regard in the relationship.

Curious for an inside peek at a dominant headspace in action? Check out The Art of a Bad Day, an erotic short that I wrote for Pride Month 2021.

In conclusion: want to give a dominant type a little extra love? Tell them how they made you feel, buy them sweets, confirm how to best share feedback, and most importantly… behave! 😉

About the author

Bethany Baker avatar for guest post on aftercare for Doms

Bethany Baker (she/her) writes erotic romance that blends the familiar and the fantastical, the erotic and the emotional, the silly and the sexy, into one downright tasty concoction. You can read her novels and short stories for free on bakecookieswritesmut.com because she’s just a little slutty like that, and feel free to reach out on Twitter @BakeSmut.

Stop the Drop: 25 Things to Do When Subdrop Feels Overwhelming

Subdrop is real. As Kayla says in today’s 30 Days of D/s prompt, what goes up must come down. Subspace is a kind of high, fueled by adrenaline and endorphins and all kinds of happy-fuzzy brain chemicals.

Subdrop is what can happen when those chemicals wear off and reality sets back in. For some, it can be as soon as the subspace high has ended, while for others it can hit a day or even several days later. A lucky few may not experience it at all. Everyone is different. I most often drop somewhere between 12 and 24 hours after an intense play session, though it has been known to be quicker.

Drop looks different for everyone. You might feel sad or depressed. You might cry a lot. Some people report feeling really listless or now on energy/”spoons“. When you’re in the middle of it, it can be overwhelming and completely horrible.

Not everything on this list will work for everyone. Pick out just one or two that speak to you and try them. Here’s 25 things you can do to help when you’re dropping.

Amy’s Top 25 Subdrop Remedies

  1. Cuddle someone/something! Your partner, a friend, a stuffed toy, your pet.
  2. Make your favourite hot drink and sip it slowly, noticing how it tastes and letting the cup warm your hands.
  3. Eat some chocolate or whatever your favourite sweet treat is. Not enough to make you feel sick, just enough to give you those feel-good chemicals.
  4. Cook yourself a simple, healthy meal and enjoy eating it slowly. Something with protein and vegetables.
  5. Watch your favourite film or an episode of your favourite Netflix show. Something lighthearted is better.
  6. Write in your journal.
  7. Post to your blog, if you have one.
  8. Share how you’re feeling on your kinky social media of choice. Sympathy and virtual cuddles from friends who get it can be surprisingly cathartic.
  9. Listen to a comedy podcast or watch some stand-up. Laugh until your tummy hurts.
  10. Curl up under a cozy duvet with a good book or a magazine.
  11. Meditate. There are thousands of free guided meditations on Youtube, or try the Insight Timer app.
  12. Masturbate! Orgasm can perk you up no end.
  13. Go for a walk. Preferably somewhere out in nature, but to the shop at the end of the street and back will work in a pinch.
  14. Sit in your garden, if you have one, or a nearby park. Fresh air is important.
  15. Buy yourself something, if you can afford to. This could be as elaborate as that dress you’ve been lusting after for months, or as simple as a fancy coffee.
  16. Tidy up your room or work space. I always feel better and more clear-headed when my safe spaces are neat and tidy.
  17. Take a bath or shower. Spend as long as you like luxuriating in the hot water. Use your most decadent shower gel or that fancy bath bomb you’ve been saving.
  18. Play loud, upbeat music. Optional extras: sing along loudly, dance around your room for the length of a song or two.
  19. Call someone you miss. Your mum. A grandparent. Your best friend in another city. Just pick up the phone, say hi and catch up.
  20. Create something. Whatever your creative talent is, use it. Play your instrument, bake a cake, write a page of your novel, knit a few rows of your latest project.
  21. Take a nap. Even an hour of shut-eye will help recharge you a little.
  22. Exercise. Hit the gym, go for a run, or do some yoga. Moving your body releases tension and clears your mind.
  23. Get your hair cut or your nails done. No drastic changes! But a bit of pampering can really raise your mood and make you feel good about yourself.
  24. Just sit with the feeling. This is a mindfulness technique. Sit, feel, and think: I am feeling rotten right now because I am subdropping, but I know this feeling will soon pass and I will be okay.
  25. Do something for someone else. Whether it’s a chore that’s normally your partner’s but they’re super busy today, or getting shopping for an elderly neighbour, caring for others takes you out of your own head.

I hope some of these techniques are helpful to you, dear readers. How do you banish the dreaded subdrop when it hits?

Kinky item of the day: Bondage candles! Ever tried wax play? It’s one of my favourites and it doesn’t have to be painful – it can be really sensual. Please only buy candles designed for this purpose, as regular household candles can burn much hotter – especially if they have dyes or scents added. Remember to take fire safety precautions and start slowly if you’re new to wax play.

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