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Sexual Aftercare: Why It’s Important

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Sexual Aftercare: Why It’s Important

Sex doesn’t end at orgasm. Explore the importance of sexual aftercare and different practices to enhance connection and intimacy post-sex.

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When it comes to sex, society often places so much attention on the build-up and climax that you might be left wondering: What comes after? 

Sexual aftercare — emotional, physical, and psychological care and support — adds intimacy and a sense of safety to all types of sexual experiences. Like how foreplay sets the stage for connection, mutual desire, and sexual activity, sexual aftercare consolidates the emotional and physical bond after partnered sex and ensures every participant feels comfortable and cared for.  

That’s why aftercare is an important part of any sexual experience. And we’re here to shout it from the rooftops.

What’s sexual aftercare? 

Sex is an intense experience. 

Whether you’re into extreme kinks or prefer to keep things simple, any act of physical intimacy can bring about complicated feelings of vulnerability, anxiety, or discomfort, no matter how experienced or adventurous you are. Sexual aftercare is simply the practice of caring for your partner(s) after sex (and being cared for by them) so everyone involved feels safe, respected, and grounded. 

A key aspect of a healthy sex life, aftercare involves tending to one another’s emotional and physical needs. In most cases, aftercare isn’t sexual, meaning the act focuses on intimacy outside of sex. How you do aftercare will depend on you and your partner’s (or partners’) unique needs. It may include cleaning up, having a meal, or conversing about your likes and dislikes — just about anything goes.

Why is sexual aftercare important? 

Sexual aftercare is crucial because it acknowledges the emotional and physical energy spent during a sexual encounter. It’s a period for rest, connection, and recovery — whatever that may look like for you and your partner(s).  

During aftercare, everyone can express their feelings, discuss their experiences, and reaffirm their bonds. The last part is particularly meaningful for people who take on new roles during sex, like dom or sub, as their dynamic temporarily diverges from their real-life relationship. For instance, if a favorite sexual fantasy involves pretending to be a cheating spouse, taking time after you finish to transition from the roleplay back into your loving and loyal relationship may be an important emotional grounding process for everyone involved.

Here are some more benefits of sexual aftercare:  

  • It fosters trust: Aftercare allows for open dialogue following intimate experiences. This helps partners share their feelings, increases confidence, and boosts intimacy.

  • It promotes physical comfort: Addressing physical needs after sex is a key part of aftercare. From hydration to clean-up, it’s all about showing care for your partner’s well-being.

  • It encourages feedback: The calm following sexual release is the perfect environment for honest discussion. Partners can discuss what felt good, what needs adjustment, and what would be fun to try next time. It’s a safe space for open communication, which can help elevate future sexual experiences. 

  • It reinforces boundaries: Aftercare is a tangible demonstration of respect for your partner’s (or partners’) comfort and safety. It’s a great time to strengthen consent and affirm or adjust established boundaries. 

How to practice sexual aftercare 

Spoiler alert: Aftercare isn’t one-size-fits-all. 

It encompasses a variety of actions geared toward nurturing partners’ physical and emotional bonds after sex, and it should be tailored to everyone’s preferences and comfort levels. Understanding, respect, and comfort are critical pillars for providing and receiving effective aftercare, whether it’s after a simple session or a complex BDSM experience.  

Here are 11 aftercare ideas to try after your next encounter:  

1. Cuddle 

Cuddling and holding each other close is beneficial for relationships because it releases oxytocin, a feel-good hormone, and reduces cortisol, a stress hormone. It also enhances physical connection, allowing partners to create a deeper bond. And physical affection is good for your health — it’s linked to lower blood pressure and better sleep.  

2. Kiss 

Kissing is another affectionate way to feel closer to your partner after sex. It extends the encounter in a soft, non-verbal way, helping maintain intimacy and connection. Kissing and other forms of outercourse are particularly excellent for coming back down after sex that involves roughness, degradation, or submission.  

3. Go on a date 

Whether it’s breakfast, a walk in the park, or a visit to a coffee shop, a date is a great way to care for your partner(s) after sex. It’s an opportunity to engage in relaxed conversation and enjoy a shared experience outside the bedroom — and it’s an excellent way to reconnect with your primary partner if you’re ethically non-monogamous.  

4. Have pillow talk  

Engaging in pillow talk after sex encourages open communication. Now’s the time to discuss feelings, share honest thoughts about the experience, and reinforce boundaries (such as porn in the bedroom). Plus, pillow talk is an excellent opportunity to bond over your shared experience and it pairs well with cuddling and kissing.  

5. Shower together  

Showering together is an excellent way to clean up after sex — and continue the fun. It’s quite intimate, and sharing such a personal space can feel nurturing, sensual, and even playful. It’s a refreshing way to reconnect that contributes to an overall feeling of mutual care. 

6. Watch a movie  

Sharing in an activity — like watching a movie — encourages everyone to unwind. Choosing something funny or lighthearted can help you completely relax and let loose after a long or intense session. If you’re a fan of heavier sexual experiences, watching a movie may help you avoid associated postcoital dysphoria (feelings of sadness and anxiety after sex). 

7. Offer an act of service  

Acts of service are a powerful type of aftercare. They might involve preparing a meal, tidying up, or any other small gesture that shows thoughtfulness and consideration. This type of aftercare is reaffirming and comforting, and it might be just what you need to transition from sex to your normal routine.  

8. Use words of affirmation 

Verbally express your affection, gratitude, or admiration to boost your partner’s confidence and make them feel good. These affirmations can be simple compliments, declarations of your feelings, or even acknowledgments of your partner’s (or partners’) actions. If you prefer the less mushy route — or if you and your partner(s) aren’t serious — praise their sexual skills and attractiveness.  

9. Give a massage 

Who doesn’t love a massage? This is a great way to release tension, encourage physical relaxation, and provide a nurturing touch. It’s also an opportunity to make a soothing physical connection after a sexual experience. So don’t rush out of bed — take turns pampering each other. 

10. Have a drink or snack  

Hydration is always important, especially after sex. Attend to your and your partner’s (or partners’) physical needs by drinking water and eating something after sex — bonus points if you have their favorite snack on hand. Providing tasty drinks and food is a considerate gesture that shows you’re mindful of your partner’s well-being. 

11. Treat any injuries  

You may sometimes have minor injuries — like bruising, light scrapes, or cuts — after sex. If this is the case, treating these injuries immediately is a vital act of care. Whether it’s disinfecting a cut and applying a soothing cream, icing a bruise, or offering pain relief like aspirin, treating injuries right away communicates respect for your partner’s safety and helps to relieve any post-kink discomfort.

Have better sex with Quinn

Sexual aftercare is as essential to partnered sex as masturbation is to self-love. That’s why we made Quinn, the audio erotica app created by women for the world. Quinn is home to an incredible range of ethical audio-erotic content to help you discover, explore, and nurture your sexuality.  

To access thousands of audio stories and guided sessions, download the Quinn app for iOS or Android.

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