All Things Aftercare: How Important It Is to Have Post-Sex Routine

Aftercare is the process of comforting or taking care of your partner(s) after a sexual experience. Sex can be an intimate and vulnerable experience, which can leave people feeling emotional once finished.

Key takeaways:

Aftercare aims to make each person feel safe, secure, and cared for once the intensity of sex has worn off. Each person may have different aftercare needs, including kissing, hugging, taking a shower together, or chatting about how they felt about the experience.

Sex aftercare – what is it?

Aftercare originated in the BDSM scene as a way to take care of everyone who may have encountered slight injuries during a BDSM scene, such as a rope burn from bondage. In recent years, it has become common for people outside of the BDSM scene to practice aftercare, as it helps to ensure people are comforted as they transition from the highs of sex back into reality.

There are many different ways that a person can practice aftercare, and what works for one person may not work for another person. For example, one person may love to cuddle with their partner(s) straight after sex, while another may like to jump in the shower with their partner(s) to clean up while recapping the experience. Others may need a little time to themselves to allow them to ground themselves before returning to reality. Therefore, you should have a conversation with your partner before having sex about how they like to practice aftercare.

Why should we practice aftercare?

Practicing aftercare should be done after every sexual encounter, as it increases closeness and intimacy with your partner by ensuring each person cares for both physically and mentally. Sex can be an incredibly immersive experience that makes us feel amazing due to the rush of feel-good hormones released into the body. These hormones can make us feel euphoric and even reduce the amount of pain felt in the body.

But once sex is done, these hormones begin dissipating, which can sometimes result in post-coital dysphoria, the phenomenon of experiencing sadness, tears, or irritability after pleasurable and fun sex. Alternatively, some people may also experience a period of shame or guilt after sex due to the sex-negative message we constantly receive from society. Aftercare aims to help people move through these emotional periods through closeness and intimacy.

Furthermore, as sex can often be exhausting and messy, aftercare can be beneficial in physical ways. Taking care of your partner by offering to help clean them up, offering them a glass of water, or tending to minor injuries will make your partner feel respected and cared for.

Ultimately, taking time after sex to make yourself and your partner feel safe and loved will result in more fulfilling and satisfying sex.

Who should practice aftercare?

Aftercare is for everyone, whether they have been in a long-term relationship, have just met, are in a long-distance relationship, or even for those having solo sex. How people practice aftercare may look different in each of these scenarios but still allow each person to feel cared for in a way that each partner feels comfortable doing. In a casual relationship, aftercare may look like checking in with each partner to ensure they’re emotionally well. In a long-distance relationship, it may be using words of affirmation to your partner.

Aftercare in your post-sex routine:

The goal of aftercare is to make sure that everyone feels respected and cared for. To do this, it's important to communicate with your partner to find out how they like to be treated, both during and after sex. There are many different ways to practice aftercare, and you may want to incorporate some of these in your practice or do something different.

  • Debrief. Sex is all about communication. Use the time after sex to debrief and check in with your partner(s), asking them what they loved, liked, didn't like, and how they feel in the moment. If your partner is feeling emotional, ask them how they’d like to be comforted.
  • Kissing and cuddling. Post-sex kisses and cuddles are a great way to increase intimacy with your partner without requiring much energy. Plus, cuddling releases oxytocin, which can help to relieve stress.
  • Rehydrate. Sex can be physically exhausting work. So making time to rehydrate after sex is a must, and providing your partner with a cool glass of water is a simple way to express that you care.
  • Take a shower. Having a shower with your partner after sex is a great way to destress while also getting clean. Many people also find the shower a great space to debrief with their partner post-sex.
  • Have a nap. Taking a nap with your partner after sex is a great way to develop intimacy, plus it may be needed depending on how intense your session was.


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