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There are some who enter this lifestyle cautiously and taking baby steps, learning and asking questions before they leap into action. And there are those who are just too excited to wait…so they jump in feet first, head first, or cannonball…making a huge splash, having fun, getting wet and sometimes injuring those around them if they’re not careful.

This isn’t a note about safety, but rather thinking things through from beginning to end. Regardless of the scene in which you choose to indulge, two things seem to make a difference in the quality of said scene: warm-up and aftercare.

Warm-up is generally described literally, as in warming your partner’s bottom before bringing out the heavy impact, but it encompasses so much more. Warm-up gives both the Dominant and the submissive the opportunity to get into the appropriate headspace. For non-impact scenes, one may simply forget that warm-up is necessary, however in these scenes, it can often make the experience that much richer.

Before beginning any scene, try having your submissive kneel before you. When we begin our scenes this way, I touch him; run My hands over the ridges of his back and shoulders, dig My fingers into the muscles on his chest, tweak his nipples, tug on his hair. It is during this process that I blindfold him as well, allowing him to focus only on My touch. If there is a specific area on which I will be working, I will also focus My attentions here…warming his ass, back, or chest. For female submissives, this same technique applies. There should be some sexual arousal at this point which is not a bad thing, especially if impact or moderate to heavy pain is your goal.

For new partners, this is especially important as it allows them the opportunity to get used to your touch; it allows you to establish a physical connection with them. It allows both of you the opportunity to focus on the moment, and allows the details of the day that has gone before to drain away. This connection will improve any interaction between you and when used in later play sessions, tense moments, or simply in non-play situations where you desire to reconnect. The more you use it, the more effective it will become.

In practical uses, it also gives you the opportunity to examine your submissive for sore spots, existing bruises and injuries, or places to avoid. Once your examination is over, some form of worship is also wise. Foot/boot worship, breast (or cock) worship, but in demanding that your submissive worship you, however briefly, it establishes your privilege and right to this type of treatment and further deepens the connection between you. It gives your submissive the opportunity to thank you for what you are about to do, and further relaxes you and helps deepen your headspace. Warm-up can last as long as you wish…you will know when you both are ready.

Once the scene is over, aftercare is also important. While in some cases, it will be very similar to warm-up (i.e. caressing and worship), it may also be more intense. After heavy impact scenes, submissives react in a myriad of ways. Some shake quietly and need to be held, some cry and desire no contact with the Dominant at all, and still others are simply floating along and are incapable of speech. If your submissive is the type to want no contact with you, make certain that you have another person with whom they are comfortable present to administer the aftercare, but never leave them alone and despite the fact that they may not desire contact with you, do not leave the room. This is a lesson, I am ashamed to admit, that I had to learn the hard way.

Take care to have a blanket, bottles of water, even a small snack waiting for after your play. You will probably need the water as much as your submissive. Once they begin to cool off, it happens quickly and they may get cold, so the blanket will come in handy. When administering aftercare to someone larger than you are, it is difficult to hold them, but putting some of your weight on them, wrapping your arms around them, rubbing them gently, all these things help them feel soothed and bring them slowly down from subspace.

If you are engaging in impact, you may want to have aloe available to soothe chapped skin, arnica for bruises, even icepacks and ibuprofen for later. It is also wise to understand that a drop in blood sugar may affect one or both of you following an intense scene, so some type of snack is wise.

Whatever type of aftercare you decide is best, what matters is that the care of your submissive is above all else. The toys can wait to be cleaned and packed, the person waiting to use the furniture after you can wait. Until your submissive is able to stand on his own and you feel he is okay, he should be your only focus. If you know that your partner requires a lot of aftercare and you plan on playing in a public dungeon on a busy night, you may wish to arrange to have someone there to clean up after your scene and pack your toys so that you can give your submissive all that he needs.

I’ve heard people say…I don’t do aftercare. Hell, I’ve said that. I have always done the cuddling thing, made sure he had water, but rubbing aloe into his skin after a heavy impact scene…not something I usually do. It just depends on the needs of your submissive, and your needs. But do not be fooled, very few submissives require zero aftercare. There are some, but not many. Some simply need hand holding, cuddling on the couch, or sex…but the connection you establish during a scene doesn’t immediately end when the scene is over. Such an occurrence is often too abrupt and unsettling and needs to be continued for both of you until you are both calm and at ease.

I have observed that the better the warm-up and aftercare, the less he experiences sub-drop and the less I experience Top-drop. And since neither one is fun for Me, I prefer to avoid them both!

I sincerely hope the next time you play, you take these thoughts into consideration. I’m not a warm and fuzzy Mistress during play, but the connection we develop is important to Me and without it, our scenes feel “less-than.” In adding warm-up and aftercare into how we play, I find the connection intensifies and lasts far beyond an hour or two of play.

Warming up before BDSM Play

23 Punishments are (not) Rewards