Over at Fetish Meme, Richard asks, “Do you — bottom or top — ever or always require aftercare at the end of an intense BDSM experience? What elements are important to you for good aftercare?”

I had this conversation with T. just the other day. Back in the days before I ever did any sort of kinky activity with another human being, back before I joined the local group and started playing at parties and in private, I read a LOT of BDSM-related books. I’m a big bookworm wordnerd, and the wonders of online commerce meant that I could order all the books that are commonly recommended to newbies, and then hide them under my bed (even though I lived alone….shut up) and read them at my leisure.

Due to all my reading, I knew about aftercare — what it was, why it was important, why it should be included in pre-play negotiation, etc. And based on everything I had read, combined with what I know about myself, I just assumed that I would be the type of bottom who would need a lot of squishy, snuggly, attentive aftercare. (I tend to be emotionally needy, although being in a relationship with T. has reduced that to almost nil; however, in the past, I could be a giant sucking black hole of emotional neediness.)

Turns out that, no, I *don’t* need much in the way of aftercare. (At least, up to this point in my kinky travails I haven’t needed much — if any — aftercare.) We’re done, I’m good, I could use some water and help in finding my shoes, but that’s about it. I’ve been that way with T. as well as with the small handful of other people I’ve played with (people who are my friends, but with whom I don’t have a close emotional relationship).

I’m not really sure why that is. If I had to guess, a lot of it probably comes from the fact that I’m a control freak and I’m — “standoffish” isn’t the right word — very guarded when it comes to how emotionally close I let anyone get. And since bottoming is a very vulnerable state to willingly put myself in, I think maybe I don’t *want* aftercare because once the beat-y, ouchie part of the scene is done, I want control of my vulnerability back *right now,* thankyouverymuch.

That’s just a guess, though; I haven’t really given it any thought until right this moment.

T., on the other hand, needs/wants/likes lots of snuggly, attentive aftercare. When he bottoms, he likes to play hard enough that he either is (1) broken (in the sense of “I will break your fighting spirit!”), or (2) exhausted from struggling. After a scene like that, he just wants to collapse and be snuggly and wrapped up in a blanket and be cuddled. And then he gets water, and later food.

I don’t think that either one of us is “right,” because what you need (or don’t) is just…what you need (or don’t).