The current No True Way prompt is:
“Aftercare is mandatory for subs.”
There is a certain ambiguity in the way that it is phrased. Does it mean that it is mandatory for the Dominant partner to provide after care to their submissive, or is it implying that the submissive must must care for their Dominant?
I suspect, in the general D/s context it is the former; particularly in the aftermath of any form of impact/discipline/torture/S&M session of your choice. It’s true, after a (very literally) bruising session, I definitely need all the care I can get; be that physical relief in the form of soothing balms being applied to my inflamed skin, the the emotional care of being wrapped up in Master C’s strong arms and listening to His soothing words. In that specific context, within our particular dynamic, given the level of pain I will have almost certainly had to endure because of my own masochistic tendencies, then it would be fair to say that, yes, the provision of aftercare is Master C’s responsibility. It is a responsibility that He takes very seriously. His strong hands, firmly but gently applying the soothing, cool aloe balm to my tender skin after a thrashing/flogging/caning is actually every bit as much a part of the “session” as everything that went before it. The bath He runs for me, the glass of wine He pours for me, the gentle reassuring words, the hugs, the caresses are all a very important part of the whole episode.
But what about Him? What about Master C’s feelings and emotions following an intense S&M session? While He knows and understands that not only can I endure the pain that He inflicts, my emotional make up means that I actually need it some times. I have written before about how I periodically need to be broken down and rebuilt in order to fully release the stresses and tensions of living. Knowing that I need it does not make any easier for Him to inflict it upon me. It’s not easy to deliberately inflict pain and cause hurt to a person you love, even when you know it’s what the want and need. It requires a kind of emotional strength that carries its own price. And for that reason, aftercare, for us, is very much a two way thing. I need to reassure Master C that I will willingly accept the physical pain that His belt, or the flogger, or the cane or the paddle inflicts. I need to assure Him that the welts and bruises on my back and buttocks are symbols that I wear with pride; they are the marks that He, and only He has and can put on my skin. I reassure Master C with my words, and also with my actions. It turns out that a long, slow, sensual blow-job is the most effective cure for “Dom-drop”; which is fortunate for both of us I guess.
But, what this illustrates, once again, is a point I have made on a number of occasions; namely that a D/s relationship is, first and foremost, a relationship. The aftercare element of D/s, is simply an extension of the care and support that we provide each other in all other aspects of our lives. We care for each other and support each other every single day; being in a D/s relationship doesn’t change that; in fact, I would go as far as to say it enhances it because of the need for extra care in those particularly vulnerable moments.
Trusting someone enough to actually let them hurt you is actually quite a big thing for both parties. I know that Master C is aware of my limits. While we may have the equivalent of a safe word, it is something I almost never resort to and on those rare occasions I do, it’s because of me, not something that Master C is doing because He never attempts to force me to use it. When Master C is doing something particularly rough or that causes me a degree of pain, He will often ask things like “Your enjoying this, aren’t you?” or “You want more of this don’t you, you slut?” or “You need a few more lashes/strokes, don’t you?” On the surface, these questions actually do have their literal meaning, Master C is actually asking me those very questions, but He is also checking in with me and reaffirming that I am happy and willing to continue. The language may sound demeaning (which is important because it plays to my humiliation fetish) but it is just another example of the care Master C takes. In it’s own way, Him asking/telling me “You need the brat thrashed out of you, don’t you?” is no different to Him asking me if I need help with a particular “vanilla” task in everyday life; the only thing that is different is the context.
So, once again, I’ve used several rambling, stream of consciousness paragraphs that essentially boil down to, yes, aftercare is mandatory for submissives, both the receipt of said aftercare and to provide it too and that applies both within the D/s context of the relationship and in everyday life as well.