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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Aftercare - do it, please, please, please

Sometimes, if you read in DD or D/s blogs the emphasis is put on how to follow rules and what subs get as a punishment. I expressly admit that I am no better here at all. But what is missing in many descriptions is no less important than being lectured, the rituals that you follow before and during a punishment. I am talking about aftercare. Doing it or leaving it out makes a major difference to the one who is punished. I am not sure to what degree other partners might do it during scenes, but since scenes can be overwhelming too, we do aftercare after scenes as well. Usually Master is the one who does aftercare to me, but if I am still able to, I at least try to do the same for him.
After punishment, usually I need being reaffirmed that all is well again. A punishment is something that brings me down completely out of two reasons: first, the physical aspect is exhausting and the strokes are only part of the strain that I suffer from. I feel tense before and even more so during the punishment, then there is the pain, obviously, and until I start crying, the strain increases rapidly. With the crying I get my relief, this is when all is washed away what had been wrong.and that's when I feel physically like plunging down. This kind of letting go all trouble is something demanding a lot from the body, which is probably one of the reasons why it works well with us. I feel that I made compensation for my actions in a physical form.

This leads to the second aspect of the punishment, which is the emotional side of it. The physical strain that can be felt is to a major part based on the emotional state I am in when it becomes clear that a punishment is due. There is the knowledge that it will happen, it will be painful, which does not make it easier. Then I have to cope with the knowledge that I let Master down again, there is self-reproach. To a degree it creates a bad conscience in me; how much also depends on what has happened, whether it was something that disappointed Master or whether it was just a relatively minor slip which you could expect to happen now and then, especially with me. Then I am not always emotionally as resilient as I wish I was. Mind, I would never receive a punishment if Master knew that I could not cope with it emotionally. Still, there are differences from one day to the next. The physical side of that is easier to bear, because if you get ten with the cane it hurts more or less, depending on how you feel, but that is always something you can cope with when it is just about the pain. But the emotional state makes the difference, whether this pain was bearable or not, whether it was too much and you cannot cope well enough in your head with something your body can easily take. That's where you can see different reactions from my side. If I was well-balanced, I could accept the punishment easily and be more grateful and focus on Master a short time afterwards. If I was not as balanced as we had thought, I would cry harder, most times my relief would be greater too, but of course, my frustration would have been bigger before and during the punishment.

All this and far more has to be dealt with, and that's where aftercare has to start. I need to know that all is good again, often I don't want to talk immediately afterwards, but I don't want to be alone either. Then I would feel lonely. Hugging is good, but only after Master has applied arnica cream or lotion. That's part of the ritual, it helps to get back to normal, because it has something like everyday-routine to it (I am not punished every day). After my emotional coctail has subsided, I usually recover quickly, that's when I like to talk to Master again. I am not angry with him, because my own action led to a punishment. I have been angry with myself up to the point of punishment, afterwards that is gone too, all is over and forgotten about what I did, but I need to hear that too, even more so, if the strain was stronger than at other times. Talking to Master after punishment is usually a lovely mix of intimacy, when we talk about ourselves and light-hearted talk about all that might come to mind, once the more important talk has been done. If I get that, this feeling that he is there for me, that he cares and listens and I can do the same for him, I feel connected to him and it feels all right and harmonious. This is the basic version of why aftercare is so important for me and I am convinced that most subs, if not all, could agree to that.

Besides, so far I have not even covered why it should also be important for the well-being of the dominant partner, or after a scene, which is not punishment, but the activities there can be unsettling as well and even if all goes well, there could be secondary effects that nobody had reckoned with.

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