Intimate importance: The value of aftercare


Alex Kendall

Illustration by

A.J. Newth, Contributing Writer

When you think of sex, you usually think of the act, not what happens after. Sexual aftercare is one of the most important parts of intercourse, yet so many people have no idea what it is.

Aftercare refers to time spent cuddling, talking and taking care of your partner after sex. Regardless of the level of intensity, taking time to reset and acknowledge any emotions is essential to return to regular activities in a healthy way, according to Mind Body Green.

This activity is a time to wind down after experiencing intense euphoria and it helps rekindle closeness and ensure a healthy bond with your partner. The mind is incredibly vulnerable after sexual intercourse, and aftercare is a way to improve open communication and validate any lingering feelings, according to MBG Relationships.

It also helps combat post-coital dysphoria, known more commonly as “post-nut clarity”, a feeling of sadness that follows after coming down from the euphoria of orgasm. This is a feeling experienced by both men and women, and by comforting one another after sex, sharing thoughts and maintaining a positive emotional bond, those feelings of sadness can be avoided, according to Broadgate GP.

Not only does aftercare help deal with feelings of sadness, it also ensures respect between both parties. Intercourse can be intense and tiring depending on preferences, and it is essential to make sure you and your partner are both cared for at the end.

Whether you are friends with benefits, on a one-night stand or in an established relationship, aftercare should be happening every time you have sex. It helps relax you and your partner as well as strengthen your connection.

Some people may experience embarrassment after sex. Finishing can come with feelings of shame or discomfort even during completely consensual acts, according to Psych Central. Society teaches that sex is promiscuous, which can lead to those feelings of guilt or shame. Some even experience those feelings from what they consider to be poor performance.

Aftercare can help with this as well, by cuddling and talking which creates time to allow the feelings to pass. Sex can occasionally have an abrupt ending, and can even end without climax. These are important times to practice aftercare and communicate, which can help with feelings of loneliness that may follow.

Sexual aftercare can help with emotional safety and security, and it can be the make or break of having a positive relationship with sexual intercourse. Many people believe that aftercare only needs to occur in the kink or BDSM community, however it’s something that should be happening after any kind of sex, no matter how kinky or vanilla, according to Well + Good.

Now that you understand what aftercare is, you may be wondering how to start. There’s a simple answer: communication. Make sure that your partner’s needs are met after sex and then communicate what you need to feel relaxed as you come down from the dopamine high that follows orgasm.

Practicing aftercare can improve your well-being, your partner’s well-being and your relationship with sex. It intensifies the connection between you and your partner, combats post-nut clarity, and helps you readjust and tune your emotions before returning to day-to-day activities and routines. If you’re having sex, you need to be practicing aftercare. Everyone loves cuddles, but in this case, they mean so much more.

I recommend trying sexual aftercare. Experiment with what works for you personally as well as what works for your partner. Be sure to communicate and allow time to adjust and feel comfortable. Who knows, this might change the way you experience sex entirely.