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Aftercare is the attention given to someone who has just finished a scene or some play, and who requires time, medical, emotional, psychological, or other support.

Note that either or both participants in a scene may require aftercare, though it is more common to see aftercare being given to the bottom or submissive.


Time may be required for someone to:

  • Cool down after vigorous activity
  • Return their focus to more mundane things after the intensity of the scene

Cooling down

There are a number of BDSM activities, such as flogging, which can be quite physically intense. Even if the action doesn't raise a sweat there are still likely to be physical reactions occurring such as sexual arousal, responses to fear or pain, or other excitement. After a scene it can take ten to fifteen minutes of quiet time for the body to return to what passes for normalcy.

If you do need to drink something, make sure that it's water, and make sure that you only take little sips to start. Large gulps of water just after exercise or while you're still hot easily cause nausea or vomiting.

Return of focus

Beyond being physically intense, a lot of BDSM can be psychologically or emotionally intense and this too requires a cooling off period afterwards. Do not operate heavy machinery straight after BDSM, don't buy insurance, and don't make vital decisions about your future either. Give yourself time to settle down and then get back into outside life.

Subspace is important here. For many people being able to achieve subspace is an important part of their BDSM scenes. Subspace can take time to achieve and also time to exit.

Medical attention

Medical attention may be required when:

  • Bleeding or bruising has occurred through flogging, piercing, cutting, whipping, etc.
  • Dehydration has occurred to someone who has been, for example, bound or restrained for an extended period without drink
  • Blood circulation has been affected as result of being restrained in the one position for an extended period
  • Light-headedness has occurred due to an unusual position being held

Bleeding or bruising

Where the skin has been broken or abraded, wipe up the blood and clean the area with a good disinfectant.

There are medications which can help get rid of bruising faster then would occur without assistance. See your local pharmacist for advice.


With the sweating and heavy breathing which accompany many scenes, dehydration can be a serious risk, particularly during warm weather and particular where subspace is involved.

Keep cold water handy and drink some regularly. If you come out of some activity where you couldn't drink for a long time (such as mummification) and are very thirsty, take small sips to start with. Don't gulp.

Blood circulation

If you have been compelled to remain in the same position for a long period of time then the blood flow to some parts of your body may have slowed down. While it's unlikely that you will have been motionless long enough to suffer from the blood clotting which can afflict air travellers, it can be a good idea (in more ways than one!) to get a massage of the affected areas to get any pooled blood back on its way. Getting up, stretching or going for a walk can be good ideas.


If you've been upright for a long period of time then some of your blood may depart for parts south and leave you brain under-supplied. If you do feel light-headed, lie down or sit down and put your head between your legs until it passes.

If your submissive partner gets light-headed, stop what you're doing, cut her down (if she's restrained) and get her head down.

Emotional support

Emotional support may be required after:

  • Humiliation scenes to reassure the person that they are valued
  • Intense physical abuse (beating, flogging, spanking, etc.)
  • While the person is recovering from an intense experience and is feeling vulnerable


Humiliation involves embarrassing, criticising, putting down, or ridiculing your partner. All of these involve significant hits on their feelings of self worth. After such a scene they need to build their self-worth back up to pre-scene levels. Stay with them as they do. Hug them, reassure them, support them, and tell them how good it was for you. Show how much you value them.

Intense abuse

Not everyone is completely level-headed, and if you're laying into your partner with a cane or flogger then some corner of their mind may think they deserve it in a negative sense (particular if they also got that message from someone in their childhood, such as a teacher). After such a scene, reassurance and keeping your partner company may do the trick if they have such a consequence.

Tops and dominants can also have a reaction to such heavy scenes. Beating their partner so hard they bruise, cry out in pain, or bleed, can trigger psychological reactions. They too may need comfort and support afterwards.


Until a person has fully recovered from a scene they may be emotionally vulnerable, particularly after humiliation scenes or mind fucks. It's often a good idea to ensure that after a scene you both have plenty of quiet time (such as overnight) where you won't be interrupted by telephone calls, appointments, visiting family, or any other stress, until you've both fully recovered.

Psychological support

Psychological support may be required when:

  • Unexpected or traumatic memories have been awakened as a result of the scene
  • A humiliation scene has been particularly intense


Sometimes BDSM scenes, or words spoken during scenes, can awaken unpleasant memories. Be aware this can happen, and be prepared to abandon a scene if it does. Take time to talk about them with your partner if they need it.


Many people engage in BDSM because of the catharsis they experience. Their reactions can be intense, not just to deliberately intense scenes --- such as humiliation --- but also to simple flogging, cutting or even service activities. Often they'll simply need quite time and company to process it all. I.e., don't rush off until you have both recovered.