Aftercare: Are You Sure You’re Having Sex Right?
Let me set the scene for you. You just got done with a steamy (or maybe weird, silly, lame, or anything - we don’t judge) sex session. You get a bit of a natural high from sex that you need to settle down from. All of those chemicals and hormones have just finished rushing through you at a fast pace, your heart is pumping and now you’re getting back to reality.
You’re filled with dopamine, oxytocin, epinephrine, serotonin, and DHEA, your hypothalamus is going into overdrive and your blood is flowing faster. All of this happens within the time you have sex and finish up. Then, it all comes crashing down to the real world. Do you sometimes have trouble with this process? Well, you’re not alone.
Foreplay and the hanky panky get a lot of recognition, but no one really talks about aftercare. What is it that you do after you have sex? Does it involve a partner (one or more), or do you prefer to hang out alone after sex? Is it the same thing every time, or does it differ?
These are all important things to figure out about yourself for your sexual journey (unless you prefer mediocre, depressing sex - you do you).
The pattern of actions you partake in after sex (whether alone or with partner(s)) in order to make sure that everyone involved is taken care of and they are feeling okay.
Let’s dive deeper
Stemming from the BDSM community where sex play can be a little more intense, aftercare is actually a really important part of sex in order to make sure that everyone is feeling alright after that big kaboom. Regardless of the type of play, there has to be some TLC at the end of each session. Even if it’s just a high-five that you’re looking for, you deserve it.
The type of relationship between the partner(s) doesn’t matter either. It can be with a one-night stand, a situationship, a friend with benefits, or in a monogamous/polyamorous relationship. Everyone deserves to feel good after sex.
What do the studies say?
There’s still deeper research needed surrounding the topic, but the little that there is suggests that aftercare after sex is essential to combating post-coital dysphoria.
Post-Coital Dysphoria (PCD)
Also known as Post-Coital Tristesse (PCT)
A counterintuitive phenomenon characterized by inexplicable feelings of tearfulness, sadness, or irritability following otherwise satisfactory consensual sexual activity.
There is one notable international study, though, that supports the fact that it’s common. An anonymous online survey of 1,208 male participants found that 41% have experienced PCD at least once in their lifetimes, while 20.2% have experienced it in the last four weeks. A small percentage of 3-4 experience it on a regular basis. In a smaller study of 222 female university students, 39.9% have experienced PCD at least once in their lifetimes, while 10% experienced it in the last four weeks.
There is no correlation between how the sex was (it could have been great or awful) nor does it correlate to the person you had sex with; there is usually no distinguishable reason for why you may feel this way. It seems to be linked to “current physiological distress, childhood sexual abuse, and several sexual dysfunctions,” but the phenomenon is not known well enough to really pinpoint a cause.
One thing that is confirmed is that it is always after and never before or during consensual sexual intercourse. Another thing that you can be assured of is that it is real and it’s common (like chlamydia, but invisible and not contagious).
What to do after sex
How can you plan to (hopefully, because you can’t always assure a satisfactory sexual experience with the available fish in the sea) avoid post-coital dysphoria? Well, you need some help regulating your body and its hormones after taking old one eye to the optometrist. That’s where aftercare comes in.
Aftercare after sex can help reduce the chances of feeling downbeat after some great sex. It is a big factor in making sure that all parties involved feel safe, comfortable and (still) wanted after a solid bam bam in the ham.
Aftercare can be anything. It is entirely individualistic and you need to communicate what it is that you need because people aren’t mind readers (thank god, because this writer has seen too much writing for Lube’d). It can look like a cuddle session, some pillow talk, sharing a glass of water, laying in silence, or anything else you may need in order to come down safely. If you need to bump fists and go off on your own, that’s fine, too! However, make sure that you and whoever are both on the same page because as much as you deserve aftercare, they do, too.
Aftercare is important after all kinds of sex, not just BDSM. Dive deep into yourself, figure out what it is that you crave after sex, and ask for it. If you’re not getting that aftercare, you might not be with the right partner and will have to reconsider. There’s a fish out there for everyone (if Trump can find someone, so can you).