For some, sex aftercare is just as important as the sex itself! While the two may seem very different, they are intimately linked, and neglecting sex aftercare can negatively affect your relationship and overall satisfaction following a sexual encounter.
There are many ways you can exercise and apply sex aftercare, but how do you know which one is right for you? Here’s a basic breakdown of some tried-and-true methods of sex aftercare and tips on when they might be best.
And what is sex aftercare? It refers to a set of activities that you can attempt immediately following sex — before clothes are put back on and the pleasure fades out of view — to promote alignment and satisfaction between yourself and your partner.
While historically, sex aftercare stems from BDSM encounters, it is crucial to emphasize that sex aftercare is for everyone and has been shown to benefit all types of sexual encounters to ease the crash after climax.
“Sex aftercare is the period after sex where your partner continues to show care for you, whether that means tending to your physical needs or providing affection and reassurance.”
Types of aftercare
There are many types of aftercare, and they all have a purpose. By identifying which type of aftercare is right for you, you can make sure that you get what you need in your time of need. Here’s a brief overview:
1. Emotional Sex Aftercare
Instead of immediately falling into a new routine after sex (getting dressed, turning on the TV, checking your phone, etc.), set aside some time for to keep emotions on, and gauge into your partner.
Emotional connection is essential in any relationship. Whether you crave deep talks, feedback, or words of affirmation, all are beneficial to incorporate in your after-sex care.
Deepen intimacy in your aftercare by initiating pillow talk and seeing where the connection goes from there. During pillow talk, you are sustaining your emotional intimacy with your partner and presenting an opportunity for mindful connection. Ask your partner if they enjoyed their experience(s), would they do anything differently next time, and what they liked best about your encounter together.
Ideally, sex aftercare with an emotional focus will allow you and your partner to extend validation, engagement, and vulnerability. Use honest feedback to deepen your bond and learn more about each other’s likes, dislikes, wants, needs and desires; it could be just what is needed to make sure both partners leave feeling well taken care of.
Additionally, remember every individual has different needs, so plan accordingly. Ask sexual partners how they like to connect emotionally or through discussion may help build trust and comfort with each person’s individual wants/needs.
2. Physical Sex Aftercare
Physical aftercare is an excellent way to convey your tenderness, love, and care for your partner through sensual touch. Touching after sex can help to continue intimacy between you and your partner, bringing you closer.
Beginning with one of the most common and sensual forms of touch — kissing! Stealing quick kisses while you get ready in front of each other is just a small gesture of closeness to continue your connection before heading back into reality. Kissing enhances feelings of passion and desire between partners by transferring saliva from one mouth to another.
Studies have shown that kissing and other physical touches increase oxytocin levels, which is known as the love hormone. Oxytocin has been known to increase feelings of closeness in relationships; it also plays a role in sexual arousal by increasing sensitivity and creating tension at touch receptors throughout our bodies.
Another form of physical sex aftercare can be expressed through these after-sex clean-up tips. Consider a steam shower with your partner. Taking a moment to wash each other is a beautiful way of showing that you don’t take their body for granted.
Sharing water during and after play may lead to surprise and delight, in addition to promoting trust, generosity, open-mindedness, and relaxation with your partner.
Sex Aftercare Dos and Don’ts
Although initial urges may tell you to hurry up and slip back into reality, do all you can to ensure that you and your partner are relaxed, happy, and satisfied.
Here are the dos and don'ts of sex aftercare:
- DO reeducate yourself on what it means to prioritize aftercare in your sexual encounters- reeducating can be as simple as reminding yourself that just because intercourse is over doesn’t mean sex is too. Continually educate yourself on what you should do after sex.
DO take a moment to cuddle afterward share your thoughts- you mustn’t brush off post-sex moments with just anything other than what it is: an opportunity for bonding and connection. Taking a moment to remember each other and share any lingering thoughts from before or during sex will help bring you even closer together after having shared something so intimate. Cuddling also helps ensure physical safety by providing nonverbal cues of "we’re still here together."
DO talk through any moments of euphoria or lack thereof with your partner. If sex finished without climax, felt like intimacy was missing, get to the bottom of it.
DO use sex aftercare to communicate. one of the critical elements of great sex is the deep understanding and connection between partners. Sex aftercare offers you a safe space for those talks. Need inspiration? Try these 10 Questions to Deepen Intimacy.
- DO work towards sexual autonomy for yourself. Sensual intelligence hinges on self-awareness. Pay attention to and respect your needs. During sex aftercare, align your body’s response and desire with your voice. Express and elevate your needs.
- DON’T roll over and fall asleep. If you forgo sex aftercare, not only are you closing off yourself to conversation and sustained emotional bliss with your partner, but you are also overlooking your body’s needs (using the restroom, showering).
- DON’T close off emotionally because climax did (or didn’t) happen. Whether or not you climaxed, you are entitled to sex aftercare. Your desires matter just as much as your partners. Remember, good sex with a partner is only possible through total trust and ownership over your pleasure. If you are left unsatisfied, open yourself to accept the disappointment, communicate it to your partner, and leverage it into power over your pleasure the next time.
- DON’T assume your partner’s default is to detach emotionally and physically after sex. Let’s face it, oftentimes, our body language can entirely contradict our emotions, our thoughts, and our wants. The same applies to your partner. Miscommunication can manifest itself in ways beyond saying the wrong thing, so do not shy away from initiating cuddling and conversation.
- DON’T assume climax is the end of a sexual encounter. Outside of after-sex clean-up, moments after coming should be seized to prolong the desire and ease the crash after experiencing orgasm.