Category: Switchy Girl’s Guide

A Switchy Girl’s Guide To … Aftercare

Aftercare – The time after a BDSM scene or play session in which those involved calm down, and slowly come back in touch with reality.

When I first joined the kink community the concept of aftercare baffled me. As someone who would not consider themselves tactile or overly affectionate I decided that aftercare wasn’t for me. I am not embarrassed to say I was wrong. I think aftercare is for everybody, and what some of us are saying when we say we don’t ‘need aftercare’ is ‘my aftercare looks different to yours’. Whether we have discovered that for ourselves or not.

IMG_7072The go to thought for aftercare is often cuddles with the other participant/s also involved in the scene or play session. Many of us may not be playing with a regular partner though, and many more of us might not feel that comfortable with cuddles. This makes it really important to think about the follow things:

  • What does aftercare look like for you?
  • What does aftercare look like for the other person/people you are playing with?
  • Who Do You Think Aftercare Is For?
  • What aftercare can you provide for yourself when you are alone?

What Does Aftercare Look Like For You?

Aftercare can come in many forms. Often depending on whether the type of aftercare needed is physical or emotional. Some of the more common aftercare needs I’ve come across are:

  • Physical closeness – both with the person you played with, but often also with those you are close too and feel comfortable with.
  • Words of Affirmation – it can be comforting to hear the scene was enjoyed, you are loved, your rosy bum looks beautiful and whatever other affirmations work for you.
  • Hydration and Nourishment – a glass of water is probably going to be no bad thing for most people, types of aftercare snack seem to vary greatly, but are often well received.
  • Peace and Quiet – many people enjoy finding a quiet space post play, sometimes alone, sometimes with a partner/friend. If someone isn’t familiar with a venue it’s always a nice idea to point out where the quiet spots are.
  • Low Lit Areas – Bright lights, similar to loud noises can be quite jarring when you are coming round from a particularly intense scene, finding somewhere with low lighting may ease the transition into reality.
  • Keeping Warm – aftercare blankets, cosy jumpers and onesies all seem like popular choices for those people who feel a bit chilly post scene.
  • Sleeping – sometimes if a scene was particularly intense or draining and sleeping is an option is often a great way for your body and mind to wind down.

Your aftercare might include some of those things or none of those things, whatever works for you is valid though and you should never be afraid to voice what aftercare it is you need. If someone doesn’t take your need for aftercare seriously, belittles the type of aftercare you need or tries to enforce their own aftercare needs, then it may be worth taking a step back from play until you are certain you will be able to manage your aftercare needs on your own.

I would encourage everyone to discuss their aftercare needs as part of their pre-scene negotiations.

What Does Aftercare Look Like For The Person/People You Are Playing With?

If cuddles are your go to and much loved form of aftercare and you start playing with someone who needs minimal physical contact after they play then aftercare needs are going to clash. Like me you might find that you grow to love your partner’s aftercare preference, what happen if you don’t though? What can you do to minimise the chances of drop for all involved without anyone feeling they need to neglect their own aftercare?

  • Compromise – with long term partners or friends, whether they are romantic partners, play partners or both. Some kind of compromises is usually going to be best for everyone. Maybe cuddles is a bit much for one person, but smaller amounts of physical affection could work. Holding hands, gentle petting, affectionate kisses can all go a long way to reassuring someone post play.
  • Outsourcing – this is a lot more caring than it sounds. At events and play parties, especially if playing within groups of trusted friends, it’s not uncommon for aftercare to be found with a person who wasn’t involved in the scene. If this works for everyone involved there is no reason why this isn’t valid.

I’m not a great cuddler, because physical affection isn’t my go to way to express myself. I am however exceptionally happy to spank someone who needs aftercare cuddles. My partner is a great cuddler and is quite often happy to engage in cuddles and hair strokes with our friends. That said if one of my awkward cuddles would help someone out I’d be happy to give that a go.

Who Do You Think Aftercare Is For?

I know at least one person will be reading this thinking ‘but surely the person getting aftercare is the bottom/submissive’, so why is compromise and outsourcing even an issue? The reason being is that Tops/Dominants need aftercare too. Perhaps not always, perhaps not all Tops/Doms, perhaps not with every bottom they play with. At some point though there is a good chance you will play with a Top/Dominant who will need some form of aftercare, or you may experience it yourself as a Top/Dominant.

It takes a lot of energy, both physical and mental to both plan and execute many of the scenes as play sessions we love to partake in. While those scenes can have a Top flying high in Topspace, it also means that Top Drop is a very real and is every bit as unpleasant as sub drop.

What Aftercare Can You Provide For Yourself When You Are Alone?

IMG_7073Aftercare immediately following a scene is great, and we all hope that this eliminates the effects of drop should be susceptible to them. Sometimes though we may need aftercare in the days following a scene or play session, and in these cases we may need to do a little bit of self-care. Solo aftercare varies as much as partnered aftercare does, some of the more popular things that come up though are:

  • Warm Baths and Showers – the perfect time for nice bubble baths and fancy shower gels.
  • Good Food – this might be healthy foods or it might be the biggest bar of chocolate going.
  • Hobbies – Reading, computer games, crafting, the gym. Whatever your hobby of choice is for relaxing or recharging it could be perfect for incorporation into your solo aftercare.
  • Talk to Friends – Sometimes just having someone to talk to can help alleviate some of the systems of drop. Having a support system you can talk to on days you need aftercare can be invaluable.
  • Surround Yourself With Things You Love – Cuddly toys, pets, your favourite mug, whatever makes you smile is worthy of aftercare inclusion.
  • Sleep – Get enough, make it good quality and don’t be surprised if you sometimes need extra in the days follow a kink scene or play session.

I would imagine a lot of Kinksters have neglected their aftercare needs at some point, but the difference good aftercare can make is amazing. Not only is it good for us as individuals, it can also be an important part of building and maintaining trust and support with a growing or established dynamic. Those moments that follow a scene are just as important as what happens within the scene.

Remember, there’s a difference between an aftercare plan and a trigger plan. An aftercare plan is for when everything goes right. A Trigger Plan is for when everything goes wrong. -Princess Kali,

Above is one of my favourite pieces of advice from Princess Kali. All the advice and thoughts I’ve shared in this article refer specifically to aftercare. I’m coming from the point of view that scene went well. If a scene ends abruptly, if someone uses their safeword or if in any other way the scene doesn’t go to plan, I highly recommend having a Trigger Plan.

My final recommendation for aftercare would be that while immediately following a scene is great, following up with someone a day or two after you’ve played with them is also a wonderful part of aftercare. It can often take us days to process some of the scenes we embark on, especially if we are new to kink, or we are playing within a new dynamic.

This is the third instalment in my ‘A Switchy Girl’s Guide to Kink, Fetish and BDSM’ series of posts. The next instalment will be published on April 9th and is titled ‘Do You Need a Trigger Plan’.  If you would like to hear more of my thoughts you can tune in to the #ProudToBeKinky Podcast, or you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram or you can send a friend request on Fetlife through _Floss_.

A Switchy Girl’s Guide To … Munches and Fetish Clubs

As a co-host of a podcast for which the tagline is ‘a podcast covering the social and interpersonal side of kink, Fetish and BDSM’, it will probably come as no surprise that I spend a lot of time talking about munches and Fetish events.

Before I regale you all with why I think these things can be beneficial to fledgling kinksters and veteran kinksters alike, I know a lot of people would be grateful for me explaining exactly what a munch is.

Munch – a social event for those who are kinky, or even just curious, to come along and meet like minded people. Depending on where you are based in the world a munch may be held in a restaurant, pub, and many other public spaces. They do not involve kinky play, and the dress code is casual.

While the internet is wonderful for connecting us to fellow kinksters, and indeed fellow human beings, we are not all looking for online interactions only or long distance relationships. Local munches provide the opportunity for us to meet people who are kinky and in our area.

When I’ve spoken to people about how long it took them to go to a munch after they first decided they’d like to attend one, the answer is usually somewhere between a couple of months and an entire decade. I personally took 6 months to get up the courage to go. Why do we put it off? Fear of the unknown and not having the answers to the barrage of questions we ask ourselves, such as:

  • What will everyone be like?

Personalities, looks, backgrounds and kinks will be beautifully varied. Much the same as with any other collective of people in non-kink related gatherings.

  • Will they all be weirdos?

Probably! In the awesome way. In my experience kinky people are creative, quirky and many of us are proud to be a little less ordinary.

  • Will I fit in?

More likely than not. On the whole the kink scene is very welcoming and loves to meet new people.

  • Am I kinky enough?

YES! Seriously we don’t actually mind how kinky you are. Being open minded and non judgemental is the key.

  • Am I too kinky?

NO! There is no such thing.

  • Do I need to know what I’m into?

Absolutely not. People might ask, but it’s 100% okay to say you aren’t sure but are interested in making new discoveries.

  • What if I’m the only one with my Fetish?

You might be, but you probably won’t be and if you are it won’t matter. You might even introduce someone else to it, and helping other people make those discoveries is great fun.

  • What if it’s boring?

Honestly, it might be. Some days everyone seems to be busy and it’s a quiet night, other days it’s like the whole town has turned up. That’s why we always recommend going a few times, and maybe even trying munches in other local towns.

  • What if it’s not for me?

It might not be, some people just don’t enjoy munches, but what have you got to lose by finding out?

You’ve battled through all those questions, plus many more I suspect. You’ve found your local munch and you decide to go along. What might follow next? I’ll be honest, you probably won’t find the person of your dreams on your first visit. It may take time to make connections and find your tribe, but when you do it will be so much fun.

Those of us who join the scene without a partner are likely going to hope we do find someone to share our kinky times with. Many people however discount the benefits of making platonic friends, or perhaps even casual play partners, on the way to finding a more long term or romantic partnership

Having kinky friends is wonderful if you are someone who likes to have open and honest conversations about your kinks with the people in your life. I’m personally happy to tell anyone who will listen about my kinky shenanigans, but I know that isn’t an option for many people. Forming friendships within the kink community can give you a network of support, advice and encouragement you just may not be able to get within your non-kinks circles.

Even if you are an established couple, who have no interest in meeting other play partners, you could still find a wonderful group of people to share your interests with and learn new skills from. Attending a local munch will often lead to invites to other events, and in many cases private parties. Where the opportunities to learn about and discover new kinks are endless.

Okay, so you’ve been to a munch, and maybe a play party or two, but what about if you want to experience something bigger, with more people, where on earth do you go then? That is where Fetish events come into the equations. These will vary from place to place, from country to country and even the same event came vary from month to month.

I spend the majority of my event time at Fetish events in and around London, my experiences will reflect that, so I would always recommend researching any event you might go to and asking previous attendees what you can expect.

In London the Fetish events can range from very little play, but high Fetish fashion to lots of kinky play, and very little clothing because we’ve all whipped it off to get a spanking or to be tied in rope. We’ve got events that have a grunge, gothic, alternative vibe and events that are more like a kinky rave. Whatever your specific likes and dislikes, chances are you can find an event for you.

Almost everyone I’ve ever spoken to has had a major panic about what to wear before their first trip to a Fetish event. I’m going to let you into a secret though, there is nothing to panic about. Making an effort is key, but you can do that without having a wardrobe full of Latex. Accessories and make-up can also go a long way to making an outfit shine.

My top tips for Fetish events would be:

  • Go with friends, if you haven’t got friend who will go with you, go to a munch and make some.
  • If you are uncertain about your outfit, check photos from previous nights, or email the organisers to ask advice.
  • Learn about dungeon etiquette, for example we don’t approach people during a scene, we don’t touch people stuff, if you’re in doubt about what you’re seeing then Dungeon Monitors (DM’s) are on hand to address any concerns.
  • Do make an effort with your clothes, but also wear something you feel confident and comfortable in. You first event may not be the time to give 8 inch heels a try for the first time.
  • Try a few. If the first one you try isn’t a good fit, it doesn’t mean you won’t love the next one you try.
  • Read the event listings on Fetlife, join the event group if it has one, and read their website in full if they have one, so you are not caught unawares by any event specific terms or guidelines.

You can make friends at a Fetish event, but it is harder than at a munch. Which is why going alone isn’t always the best option. That said though, a lot of events in London do organise meet and greets at the beginning of an event to welcome those who are visiting alone and/or new, to give them a rundown of the layout of the event, and what happens throughout the night.

I guarantee someone will read this who is really eager to go to a munch, but their nearest one involves some travelling and that is their only reason for not going. If you truly want to meet other kinksters outside of the internet, and you want to increase your chances of getting some kinky action, then I’ve got news for you … you might actually have to travel.

I get that it might be a mission, or it might be a whole day out of your week for a couple of hours of socialising. Wouldn’t it be worth the effort though if it got you the type of relationship or friendship group that you are longing for. I say this as someone who lives 3 hours from London, I travel there because it has the scene I love and wonderful friends, who I would not have met if I hadn’t have gone to my local munch, where I met a partner who was willing to travel with me to experience new things and meet new people.

There is a whole world of kink positive people out there, who are ready to be your friend and share their knowledge and joy of kink with you. You’ve got to meet them halfway though, they are already on the scene, they’ve probably already got friends, maybe they even know all the best event and parties, and like most of us I bet they love meeting awesome people and getting to know new friends. There’s even a chance that your new friend has a friend that is the potential kinky partner you’ve been dreaming of.

What is stopping you? For most of you the only thing standing in your way is yourself. So get out of your own way and send yourself on a new adventure.

If you have any question about how to find the munches and events in your local area then please do get in touch via my contact form and I will do my best to help you find the information you need.

This is the first in my ‘A Switchy Girl’s Guide to Kink, Fetish and BDSM’ series of posts. The next instalment is ‘Frenzy, Drop and FOMO’.  If you would like to hear more of my thoughts you can tune in to the #ProudToBeKinky Podcast, or you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram or you can send a friend request on Fetlife through _Floss_.