I saw a photo today that said “No matter how hard or soft you played, remember the aftercare of your submissive.” Beautiful sentiment, right? Well worded, compassionate, true….. eh. But is it though?

Aftercare is wholly dependent upon the individuals you are playing with. What one person may require, another may find cloying and unsatisfactory. So, too, is what you call your play partners. In many cases, those whom we play with will not be our own submissives and there may well be no power exchange between us. We are, in those scenes, Tops and bottoms, switches, sadomasochists; enjoying and learning from each other.

But why, then, with something so “obviously” common knowledge and widespread, should I critique the wording of what amounts to memery? Why go to the effort of spelling something out that has been over worked and remodeled so many times?

Because clarity of thought matters.
Because clarity of expression matters.
Because clarity of communication matters.

Particularly, and especially, when it comes to kink and What It Is That We Do.

What we think, what we express, and what we communicate are rarely altogether clear and exact. Moving through a feeling, to an expression, to what someone else hears and understands, is rarely precise. Clarity in each step of that path from one to the last can only help us be understood how we meant to be understood.

The feeling is often: we must take care of those who are vulnerable and be careful with them. This is a good thing! This is a good feeling to have, particularly around those who are new. I applaud the emotion that prompts the expression “Remember the aftercare of your submissive.” What hurts the feeling and the expression is how it may be understood.

“Remember the aftercare of your submissive.” At what cost? To what end? We know that Tops and Dominants; indeed nearly everyone involved in kink; experiences drop at some point in their journey. Are we to care for those we play with at the cost of self care? Are we to neglect our own needs for the sake of another’s….?

If the dynamic is some kind of power exchange, the answer may be yes. Depending on how you negotiate between Tops and bottoms, the answer may also be yes. But do not neglect your own needs and your own requirements regarding aftercare and the potential drop. Take your own needs for aftercare into consideration when you negotiate. Be clear and precise in your expression, so you can be understood as you mean to be understood. Be honest in sharing your needs with your partners, and make arrangements so that everyone involved will be taken care of appropriately.

Be good to each other.

Be good to each other.
– alyxknight

This is just so important.  Just about everybody experiences some kind of drop, not just Subs.  

“Aftercare” is also self care.