Before, during and aftercare.
This is another in the series of questions asked on twitter (if you have a question about something please ask in the comment or use the contact form, I like to know what you want to know)
Oh I have another one I don’t think I have really seen either of you write about. Aftercare.
Now this wasn’t her first question, but that one will be for Molly to answer so I thought I would try and tackle this one.
Now because I have to be different it will not surprise you to know that I have a very different definition of aftercare. To me it is really all wrapped up in the second half of the word, care. Care isn’t just for after play, care needs to start before you even begin to play. Do you have her favorite snuggle blanket? Did you pack the travel sized box of tissues in case you make her cry? Do you have the alcohol wipes if you decide to make her bleed? Do you have a sweet treat in case her blood sugar crashes after an extended session?
While we play, wherever we are playing I check in with her to make sure that she is comfortable (I know this sounds weird because I am hurting her, but a leg cramp, or cut off circulation or the dreaded cold toes are not actually fun for anyone) and there are the pauses in between painful moments when I run my fingers over her skin, or lean down and whisper in her ear that she can do this, or even just put my hand on the small of her back to let her know that I am still her protector. The more I show that I care the more she is willing to push herself.
For us there must be those moments after, those moments where I restore her to herself, to give us the space and affection to continue, in a different way, the passion and connection we have just experienced. Not to make us whole again but to linger in that joyous moment we built. Where we have been transported from the mundane world of care and worries and strife to a place where nothing but the two of us exist, lost in the completion of us.
After I help her from the bench or the cross or whatever it is we have used, the first question she always asks is “Are there marks?” and I send her off to the nearest mirror so she can see. Once she has returned she is always so proud “I was good Sir, wasn’t I?” I smile and tell her yes, wrap her in the tiger blanket and finish putting away the kit then we head off to a sofa or a corner where we can snuggle and touch and laugh and talk, to slowly resume taking part in social life that swirls around us.
This time is just as important to me as it is to her, because she does not take this journey on her own. And while I need to be the one that keeps his eye on the ball it is in those moments after when I am free to join her in the happy, tired, loving place we built together and we both can keenly feel that something is missing should circumstances keep us from the aftercare we both need.
I just read this aloud to Molly and her response was “That’s it?” and she is right, there is much more that can be said, both on aftercare and it’s close cousin subdrop, but I think that I will leave you with this for now, don’t worry, I will be back to tell you more before you know it.