In a world of casual sex, the psychology of the human body is often ignored. During sex, our body releases several hormones. These hormones range from dopamine to oxytocin; oxytocin is often nicknamed the "cuddle hormone." Once we orgasm, our brain releases endorphins, which are another feel-good response generated by our body. Endorphins can give both direct pleasure and decrease pain levels.
So why does the science of sex matter to our brain? It impacts our mood, emotions, reactions, and how we interpret information presented to us. Sex is more than just the physical moments exchanged between two people. As with all things, sex is an energy exchange, and we should consider the impact even after the deed is done.
I'm a millennial who understands casual sex, no strings attached, friends with benefits, and the new era of "sneaky link." Each reference carries different boundaries and expectations, ultimately based on sex. I've engaged in a few of these since becoming sexually active in high school as a woman. Some started off as casual and ultimately turned into relationships.
However, others were simply just exchanges that I needed off my checklist. With each one, though, I noticed a pattern of how I behaved after sex. The guys or girls that gave me aftercare were the ones that I consistently hit up when needed. I always wanted the guy/girl that hugged me, held my hand, or fell asleep with me after. Those moments were the ones that made me value my partner when we were finished. They were also ironically the most dependable emotionally, even outside of our sexual encounters. Those people got to experience me in a sense that others would never see. The ones that dipped out or I escorted out immediately after sex were the ones that I felt no way about. They simply were just something to do or a name that I needed off my "hit" list. Years later, after realizing that I was demisexual, I also realized that my "hit and quits" were the ones I never wanted to build a genuine connection with. It was simply just attraction or a distraction that I needed at that moment. I realized quickly that is was cum love (you care about them until you cum). I didn't care if they were good or needed clarification; I just needed them up out my rotation when I was done. However, in my mid-twenties, I quickly realized that casual sex was not for me. I needed and appreciated a genuine connection--not just a name. Now, at 30, I'm not even entertaining anyone if it isn't leading to something. Yet, in my dating process, I've quickly learned to weed out the guys or girls that cannot emotionally meet my needs after giving them my body. We tend differently to things and people we value; aftercare is a proof of that saying.
"My body is my garden, and I refuse to have serpents eating my fruit."
What is Aftercare Sis?
Aftercare is ESSENTIAL to even experiencing me in such a sacred manner. Honestly, it should be the standard for everyone regardless of the title of the encounter. If you find yourself asking what aftercare is, that means you never experienced it. Aftercare allows both parties to enjoy the moment they've experienced and the vulnerability of being transparent. It's the quality time and emotional bonding that happens after sex. It's more than just grabbing the towel to wipe him or her off. It's the hugs, the eye contact, the tone of one's voice, and the intimate conversation that is necessary after. Any man or woman that tells you they disagree with aftercare should be cut off immediately. The whole "they'll be in their feelings" argument is not a valid excuse either. Aftercare isn't about someone catching feelings but showing them they matter as a HUMAN. That they weren't just a piece of meat on a cutting board in a butcher's shop. It allows them to be valued after such an intimate exchange. I always tell my current dating partner or person of interest thanks for being there because aftercare isn't just for women. Men need to feel valued and heard as well.
What should aftercare look like?
Cuddling (skin to skin suggested)
Hugs or Kisses
Dialogue! Have those conversations! (super important)
Text Check-in or FaceTime
Quality Time that isn't sex-based.
These are simply suggestions, but definitely consult with your partner to come up with a plan that works for both of you.
If they can offer you their body, then their time shouldn't be off-limits; like other things in life: stay protected, in light, and in places where people value you and your body. And if you have to ask yourself if they care after sex, should you really be having sex with them at all?