I recently saw a post on Facebook with a screen capture of the following by variantworks:
“I’ve seen people argue that BDSM & kink is bad because of aftercare. “You don’t NEED aftercare and safe words for vanilla sex because it’s not harmful!”
Uh, hate to tell you but aftercare and safe words do exist for vanilla sex. It’s getting your partner a glass of water after. It’s cuddling and compliments. It’s asking if they’re feeling good during. It’s words like stop, no, easy. It’s asking if there’s anything to make it better next time.
If you don’t really practice communicating and aftercare with your partner regardless of how vanilla it is or not, you’re just not a good partner.
And this made me think about what aftercare is, and reminded me of my personal thoughts about foreplay.
Aftercare and foreplay make sense in situations where you are really connecting outside of any other life stuff. Like, if you’re not in regular contact, those are the “before sex/kink/play” and the “after sex/kink/play” parts that should be paid attention to.
But they are SO MUCH more than that for me. And the quote above touches on that.
Let’s talk foreplay. What sets it apart from sex?
To me, foreplay is all of the touching and affection and teasing and innuendo and LIFE that leads up to sex/kink/play. ALL OF IT. Not just the fifteen minutes of inexpert fumbling it takes for you to get your nerve together.
It’s a lifestyle. It’s maintaining the connection and heating things up whenever.
In fact, I think anything can be foreplay or sex, based on where you are/where it takes you in the process.
All of it is sex if you are heading TOWARDS sex.
It’s all foreplay (to me) if it’s over time with no intention of making sex (or kinky play) happen within a reasonable amount of time.
Pet came to give me a kiss this morning. He was shirt-cocking. I tickled his balls as he kissed me deeply before he went up to work.
Foreplay, because neither of us were planning to have sex (or kinky play) right now. It’s just play ahead of the warm up to the main event. We’ll probably do this all day, in preparation for a date night this evening. Then, eventually, we will have our sexy time.
Foreplay is constant for me, and for many people without that regular interaction, the actual foreplay that most people do doesn’t really get them very far. Or isn’t all that interesting, because they’re not even ready for traditional foreplay without a deep connection simmering all the time.
So, what about aftercare?
And aftercare. Well, that, to me, is the bedrock of loving someone—wanting to make sure they are happy and healthy and in a good place.
YES, after something super intense, it’s MORE (just like foreplay gets hotter and heavier the closer to the actual event), but does it ever really go away?
To me, no.
It’s just, “This is how I love my partner,” or “This is how I show a playmate that I care.”
Do I always do aftercare?
Because it’s not always negotiated. Because it’s not always needed. Because I rarely play with someone outside of my usual connected partners, and when I do, it’s often with people who are already well-partnered, and I hand them back into exactly that kind of care in their lives.
BUT…if and when I were to play with someone and those terms don’t apply, well, then, yes, aftercare is the immediate after bits. It’s also the check-ins over days about how they are doing. Small talk, giving them the chance to bring up anything they might want or need to, and just being there.
Now, I know…
…that I’m playing fast and loose with the words here. The definitions are way more specific than how I think of the terms, and I expect most people will disagree with me.
(That said, the official definition of aftercare is medical, not kinky-recreational…)
This is about me personally, and how I live these words in my own life. And maybe someone you know or even you will resonate with this view.
What are your thoughts?
Are foreplay and aftercare discrete separate stages of time set aside for sexuality/kink for you?
Or do you find that you prefer to blend them more fully into your life, and twist them around each other and even around non-sexual and non-kink bits?