The sentiment in this image from Submissive Secrets struck a cord with me when I first saw it and continues to grind at me because, well, because aftercare is very important to me regardless of my role. I don’t do transition well, and this is especially evident when I’ve bottomed. There are people I no longer play with not because the play was bad but because the aftercare was insufficient and Ironrose can only be expected to find me in the shower crying so many times. I have gotten up from a scene and wandered off to find a snack only to come back half an hour later to admit that I got a plate and then saw all the snacks and couldn’t organize myself to put any on the plate (and would you please feed me). Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, and in my world so is any skill-set which I do not posses perfected by someone I know. Maymay possess kinky competence as a bottom which I find magical, not least of this is his combination of resilience and the ability to self-care.
Self-care and how it replaces or supplements aftercare is, well, interesting. As I mentioned, aftercare is important to me regardless of my role. While it’s a vital transition point for me as a bottom, it is a gut-level impulse as a top – I am very very protective of the people I hurt. I am tempted to say it’s the time I have to bond and reconnect with my bottom, but that isn’t really the case – the scene itself, no matter how seemingly violent, is the time I have to bond and reconnect with my bottom. Aftercare is the time we have to lick our wounds together, and to reassure ourselves that we are ok – individually, collectively, and in each other’s eyes. It’s when I not only assess the damage but also ask my bottom to reassure me that this damage is desirable. So while I appreciate my partner’s self-sufficiency, I also look for opportunities to take care of him, to balance the me-focused harshness of play with other-focused softness.
Right, so I posted this in the afternoon and it didn’t quite feel done, and then on my way home I had the thought of “wait, this isn’t a post about aftercare, this is a post about top drop!” Top drop is defined by urban dictionary as “An after-effect experienced by a domme/dom after they have dominated their submissive, characterized by guilt and depression.” Personally I’d call it second guessing more than guilt and depression, but it’s that nagging feeling of “I had an awesome time, why am I feeling blue?!” The truth of the matter is that I don’t know why I’m feeling blue, and most of the time there isn’t a reason to be found – that’s probably where self care comes in. Everything is fine, your brain doesn’t believe it, so make yourself some tea, watch a funny movie, and relax. But I don’t do self-care all that well, maybe it’s a skill I just haven’t been forced to learn, but I feel better when I get to talk my fears out with someone else. It’s just easier to say “hey, I think my own squeamishness got in the way of me hitting you as hard as you were craving” and find out whether or not that is, in fact, true than it is to worry about if you delivered love taps to a partner who was craving a beating and if they are feeling unloved as a result. Good aftercare mitigates top drop, which makes a lot of sense, and makes me all the more alarmed about female dominants who don’t appreciate it.