Tag: Subspace

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, enoughtomakeyoublush.com

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_.

Thoughts on Subspace (and Other headspaces)

N.B: This blog post was inspired an email from the Loving BDSM 30 Days of D/s. If you haven’t listened to their podcast yet please do so, you can also check out the website for great resources and links on how to listen or follow on social media.

For me I have experienced three different kinds of headspace when engaging in kink activities, and all three are very different. There’s subspace, which is probably the one we hear reference to most often. Topspace, which is becoming more widely discussed. For me there is also rope-space.

When we discussed this topic for the #ProudToBeKinky Podcast (Episode 19), my inclusion of rope-space caused us to have to restart the episode. The reason being Bakji flagrantly disagreed with me and I suspect he isn’t the only one. For me though, and only for me, it is an important distinction between subspace and rope-space. They are to me vastly different experiences.

I’ll talk a little bit further down about how I feel when I am lucky enough to reach these headspaces. What I will say though is they are most definitely an added bonus of my kinky fun and not my destination. I don’t always get the spacey feeling, both as a Top and bottom. Some people will space out really quickly and some people might have experienced it within their first few scenes of kink ever. Other people might never experience anything like what people describe as subspace and Topspace and that does not, and should not diminish how much fun they have with their kinks.

I have seen so many writing over my time on Fetlife and other platforms where people are asking for advice on how they can reach subspace. I specify subspace because it does seem to be the one people chase most often. While there will be recommendations made of what things might induce that spacey state, I do feel like people shouldn’t feel under pressure to try to experience it.

As someone who loves it when I do hit those headspaces, I will also honestly say that if I never managed to reach those spacey places again my kinky times would still be awesome and would in no way be any less satisfying because I hadn’t reached subspace or Topspace. While they might enhance a scene, or give a scene a different feel, I honestly don’t think it is the be all and end all of the kink experience.

One of my main recommendations for someone who is new to the kink scene and is curious about subspace is be very careful of who you chase that feeling with. You need to be certain that they will be capable and responsible enough to take care of you, when you will likely not be alert enough to take care of yourself. Your ability to communicate may be dramatically altered or in the case of some people removed completely, both myself and Bakji become a little incoherent when we space out, but many people will become totally non-verbal. You need a partner who understands and recognises this and who will therefore check in on you in other ways. You also need to know that you can trust them to play within negotiated limits and consents, because subspace is definitely not the time to be trying to negotiate new kinds of play.

Physical sensation is another reason picking the right play partner is important at all times, but especially if you are anticipating you might go a little spacey. During subspace my pain receptors just switch off, it’s a joyous thing, but also highly dangerous. I learnt this the hard way. In my very first BDSM encounter. As someone exploring my masochism for the first time, I was taken far beyond what I think was reasonable play. Why couldn’t I say so at the time? A combination of subspace, subfrenzy and lack of personal education on BDSM play.

To differentiate between how subspace and Topspace feel for me, I always feel like subspace is like a sedative and Topspace is like a stimulant. Subspace is floaty, warm and fuzzy and everything fades away. There is no world for me in subspace. If the world ended while I was in subspace I honestly don’t think I’d notice, or care. So long a Bakji is still present then my subspace will remain.

Topspace in contrast makes everything crisp and clear, and far from the world not existing, it 100% does exist and Topspace makes me feel like I could conquer it in it’s entirety. For me Topspace definitely becomes a more real possibility when the play between Bakji and I is a little more on the sadistic side. Sensual and loving Domination does not seem to trigger the same responses in me, as the ego driven power trip kind of Domination that we often engage in. Both are awesome, but it’s the second one that heightens my senses and make Topspace kick in.

The reason rope-space gets its own little category for me is because rope-bottoming is for me not equatable to submission. However the dynamic between Rigger and rope bottom if done with someone I trust and with whom I enjoy rope independently of BDSM play will induce a spacey feeling all of its own. While it similar to subspace in that it does create a bubble for me where all that exists is Rigger, rope and me. It doesn’t come with the same floaty, warm, fuzzies that subspace does and it doesn’t render me as incoherent either. It does however encapsulate me and transport me to another realm of sensation and pleasure (or pain as the case may be with rope).

Another topic that ties in nicely with this topic is aftercare. Which I haven’t really covered on the blog yet, but I will make a note to revisit it soon. When you’ve experienced any kind of altered state within a scene, aftercare can become even more imperative than normal. Again this will vary from person to person, but knowing what aftercare you and your partner/s need is really important and can vastly improve the feelings of drop (more on this in my next post) that can sometimes occur after any scene, but in my experience can be far more intense after a scene during which I went spacey.