Sexual aftercare is the time people spend caring for each other after having sex. This can involve cuddling, talking, or massage. Sexual aftercare can be important for individuals of any gender.

Sex is an intimate activity that causes a person to feel various emotions. After sex, some people may wish to spend time caring for each other. This can help strengthen bonds and help individuals feel safe and secure.

Some people may find they enjoy or require sexual aftercare following sex.

Read on to learn more about sexual aftercare, why it is important, and how individuals can benefit from it.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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Sexual aftercare is the act of caring for a person’s partner or partners after they have sex. It can be a way for individuals to strengthen the bond between them and their sexual partners.

An older study from 2014 found that affectionate behavior after sex had associations with higher sexual and relationship satisfaction.

Sexual aftercare can include activities such as:

  • cuddling
  • shared intimacy
  • talking about what a person liked and what they did not enjoy during sex
  • massaging each other
  • bathing together
  • sensual touching

Sexual aftercare may be important after people engage in BDSM, which stands for bondage and discipline, domination and submission, sadism, and masochism.

The following are sexual aftercare tips.


An investigation from 2019 noted that married people who cuddled more frequently reported increased levels of relationship satisfaction.

With this in mind, cuddling after sex may help a person feel closer to their partner or partners. It may also help them feel safe and relaxed.

Additionally, BDSM may involve humiliating and degrading acts. Therefore, cuddling after BDSM activities may help remind a person that they are loved and cared for.


Research from 2018 looked into the number of males who felt postcoital dysphoria (PCD). PCD is when a person feels tearful, sad, or irritable after sex.

The researchers found that 41% of males surveyed had experienced PCD at some point in their lives and that 3–4% of people experienced PCD on a regular basis.

People can engage in sexual aftercare to discuss how they are feeling after sex. A study from 2016 found that individuals experience increased emotion and intimacy following sex. This can lead to bonding behaviors, such as discussing feelings and emotions with each other.

Treating any injuries

Certain BDSM activities can result in a person becoming injured, which may be intentional or unintentional.

If a person receives a wound during sex, a partner may help treat them. This may help someone feel like someone is looking after them.

Bathing or showering together

Spending time washing together, or washing each other, can be an intimate experience. A person may enjoy being naked with their partner or partners in a nonsexual scenario.

Hygiene after sex is also important — washing the penis after sex can help prevent infections. The advocacy group Planned Parenthood suggests that uncircumcised males should clean underneath their foreskin every day and after sex.


After sex, people may wish to spend time doing nonsexual activities with their partner or partners. This might involve:

  • napping
  • watching a film or TV show
  • having a snack or beverage
  • playing a computer game together

Spending nonsexual time together may help build a stronger relationship.

BDSM is a group of consensual sexual practices and interests. BDSM comprises physical, physiological, and sexual elements.

Power play is at the core of BDSM activities. This can mean that one person is dominant while another is submissive. Someone may also switch between being dominant and submissive.

BDSM can involve certain activities during, before, or after sex, while certain BDSM activities may not involve any sex acts at all.

BDSM activities can include:

  • being tied up, or tying someone up, during sex
  • being whipped, tickled, spanked, or performing these actions
  • humiliation
  • punishment
  • degrading acts, such as licking their partner’s shoe
  • ordering another person to do certain acts
  • sensory deprivation, such as blindfolding

People use BDSM for sexual fulfillment and fantasy. However, certain elements of BDSM can involve pain or humiliation. A person may feel a sense of shame or sadness after they engage in BDSM activities.

A study from 2016 noted that people who engaged in BDSM may experience stigma-related shame and guilt. This could lead to feelings of loneliness or feeling like a burden.

By engaging in sexual aftercare, a person can reassure and comfort their partner if they have any negative feelings after sex. They can also receive treatment for any wounds or cuts resulting from BDSM activities.

Following any kind of sexual activity, a person may feel frustrated or detached from their partner. Sexual aftercare aims to ensure that everyone involved feels secure and acknowledged.

Sharing nonsexual intimate time together may help a person reconnect with a partner. It may be beneficial to use this time to talk about things they might not typically discuss.

Additionally, doing activities together after sex may reassure a person that they are not just a sexual object. It is important for everyone in a relationship to feel valued and respected.

Sexual aftercare is when a person cares for their partner or partners following sex. It can help strengthen relationships through communication and nonsexual activities.

People who engage in BDSM activities may find sexual aftercare important to their relationship. Although consensual, BDSM can involve painful or humiliating activities. Therefore a person may find it comforting to cuddle or discuss things with their partner or partners after these types of sexual activities.

Sexual aftercare can be important after any kind of sex, as some people can feel upset or frustrated after sexual acts. It can also serve as a suitable outlet for discussing certain feelings.

There are various kinds of sexual aftercare that individuals may benefit from. A person can speak with their partner or partners about the right kind of sexual aftercare for them.