What You Should Know About Sexual Aftercare

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Experts Say Sexual Aftercare Is a Must — Here’s Why & How to Practice It

What You Should Know About Sexual Aftercare

Experts Say Sexual Aftercare Is a Must — Here’s Why & How to Practice It

Real talk: Lots of people are so focused on getting laid and getting off that they don’t think much about what happens after that mission has been accomplished.

But according to intimacy coaches and sexologists, it’s super important to check in with your partner post-sex — no matter what the nature of your relationship is. This ritual is known as “sexual aftercare,” and practicing it comes with lots of perks for both of you.

Engaging in sexual aftercare is a great way to make sure your partner feels cared for, clarify what did and didn’t work, and even strengthen your connection. And it’s not just for couples in long-term relationships, either.

“Aftercare can be an essential part of sexual experiences, and it should be prioritized just like foreplay,” says Aliyah Moore, a certified sex therapist with SexualAlpha. “Through sexual aftercare, partners can create a safe and comfortable space where they feel emotionally seen and supported.”

So, what does sexual aftercare entail, and what benefits can you expect? Below, experts share why sexual aftercare should be a regular part of your bedroom routine — plus some tips on how to practice it.

What Is Sexual Aftercare?

If you’ve ever cuddled or talked about your experiences after sex, you’ve already been practicing sexual aftercare without even realizing it, says sex therapist and relationship coach Leigh Norén.

According to Natasha Marie Narkiewicz, a sexual wellness expert and head of communications at the sexual health company MysteryVibe, the term originated from the kink and BDSM community, where it’s especially crucial to have check-ins to ensure everyone feels safe. However, she notes that this practice can be applied to every relationship for a slew of benefits.

“Sexual aftercare is the practice of helping each other process whatever comes up after sex,” she explains. “It’s a dedicated time to cultivate a safe space and further connection. Sexual aftercare can involve any number of things, such as providing reassurance, mitigating insecurities, or simply rehydrating and exchanging silly banter.”

Think of sexual aftercare as the “cool down” from sex, says Narkiewicz. In the same way that you warm up before a vigorous workout and cool down afterward, you can ease into sex with foreplay and ease out with aftercare.

“You come up together; you come down together,” she adds. “It’s all part of the same experience — with a beginning, middle, and end.”

What Are the Benefits of Sexual Aftercare?

Sex is a highly vulnerable experience that can bring up all kinds of feelings, thoughts, and sensations.

Between potential insecure thoughts about your body, concerns about how long it’s taking you to finish or whether or not your partner is having a good time, and a rush of emotionally bonding feel-good brain chemicals, there’s a lot to process. That’s why experts say sexual aftercare is so important.

One major benefit of sexual aftercare, according to Narkiewicz, is that it presents an opportunity to reflect on what you just experienced while it’s fresh in your mind, and better understand each other’s needs and desires. The best part? This kind of open communication can ultimately lead to better sex, says Norén.

Sexual aftercare can also help you and your partner build deeper levels of intimacy and trust, according to Moore.

“It demonstrates a commitment to each other’s well-being, creating a sense of mutual care and respect that can enhance their overall relationship,” she explains.

In fact, a pair of 2014 studies found that more post-sex affection — such as cuddling with each other — is linked to higher sexual satisfaction as well as relationship satisfaction.

When you and your partner try new things that take you outside your comfort zones — say, a new position or toy, role playing, or dirty talk — aftercare offers the chance to check in about how it went.

“If an injury or triggering experience is left unsaid or untreated, partners may be less inclined to try new things due to fear or negative feedback,” Narkiewicz adds.

Lastly, Moore notes that sexual aftercare can help partners establish boundaries and build consent practices.

“This can promote a greater sense of security, allowing partners to explore their sexualities more freely and authentically,” she tells AskMen.

Does Everyone Need to Engage in Sexual Aftercare?

“Whether the relationship is long-term or a one-time hookup, we are all still human, and every human has fundamental needs like acceptance, security, support, and respect,” explains Narkiewicz. “The absence of sexual aftercare can make sex feel impersonal and transactional.”

Sexual aftercare may not be for everyone, but even if you don’t feel a need for it personally, Norén says it’s a good idea to ask your partner what they find helpful after an intimate experience.

How you practice sexual aftercare may vary a lot depending on the nature of your relationship, explains Rebecca Alvarez Story, a sexologist and sexual intimacy expert and co-founder/CEO of BLOOMI.

For example, after a casual hookup, Story says you might offer to get your partner a glass of water or ask what felt good for them — whereas in a long-term relationship, you might cuddle up for some pillow talk.

How to Practice Sexual Aftercare

Sexual aftercare can be practiced in a lot of different ways, so it’s worth trying different tactics until you find what works for you and your partner. Here are some expert-approved ideas to get you started:

Share feedback on what you liked and didn’t like during sexAsk your partner if there’s anything they’d like to do differently next timeTake a shower or bath togetherSnuggle or spoonHave a drink or snack togetherGive each other a massageWatch a movie togetherMeditate togetherTake a walk togetherGive each other a compliment relating to your sexual experience

Remember: your aftercare needs may be different from your partner’s, and that’s OK.

“Some people prefer space to cool their body temperature down, and some like to be close and cuddled,” explains Narkiewicz. “Some people want to sit in silence, while others like to talk.”

It may take a bit of compromise, but it’s well worth the effort to find a routine that works for both of you.

“Don’t forget that it’s just as crucial to take care of yourself after sexual activity as it is to look after your partner,” says Moore.

“Prioritize your personal needs by getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water, and doing other self-care activities that make you feel relaxed and refreshed,” she adds. “You can be more completely present and engaged in your relationship and build a more rewarding and long-lasting connection by putting your own needs first.”

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Source: AskMen


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