Not just an afterthought

I don't usually make any big mistakes as a dominant, that's not to say I still don't have  areas to improve in, I just mean I'm usually on top (no pun intended) of things I do.

A couple of weeks ago the boy, who in this new year shall be referred to as Locs, attended a meet and greet and stayed for the open play after. It was the first meeting for this group and the organizer was doing a round table sort of open discussion. One of the questions she posed was "What do you wish you'd known about the scene when you first started?" I eagerly raised my hand and spoke up about the importance of aftercare following a few others who mentioned things like trust and finding a label, or not, that works for you.

Afterward I helped the organizer co-top her extremely high pain tolerance puppy for a bit. I brought over a hairbrush paddle and newly gifted vampire gloves thinking these would definitely make a dent in him. No dice. After almost 20 straight minutes of paddling, scratching, punching and everything in between, I was breaking out into a sweat. I had barely noticed another domme had joined us until I saw her tapping out too. The organizer was much more brutal to her puppy than we were combined as she kicked him sternly with her combat boots in the back of his ass. She kneed him in his sides and sat on his neck. It was fascinating to witness, and partake, in a literal attempt to physically break someone down. Shortly thereafter, while I was regrouping to play with Locs I heard the puppy give out his first yelp--- it had only taken 45 minutes, three domes with instruments of pain, and a pair of heavy soled combat boots. I was impressed.

I proceeded to play with Locs, first making him strip into a pair of undies of my choosing then to the shibari. I tied him up in a futomomo tie restricting his legs and then tied his hands together in a simple cuff. He wasn't moving and that's the way I wanted it while I prickled his nipples with the Wartenburg wheel, slapped his face and dug my freshly done nails into his chest and stomach. I really am hands on. Some lip biting occurred and this went on for a bit until I felt he had enough, as he cried out into the air of the dungeon for mercy. I kissed him, untied him and got called over to a group of folks with some questions about shibari, and then to a table of other females complimenting me and then to someone asking to be tied their first time by me. I floated around the dungeon caught up in the social chaos and completely forgot about Locs after he had finished cleaning up. We stayed late laughing and exchanging info with new ministers and then drove the lengthy drive back.

It wasn't until later that night as we were crawling into bed I remembered something: I had forgotten to give him aftercare.

I mentally kicked myself for being so high up on my horse that I literally was not practicing what I was preaching. For me aftercare was the signal of the end of play. I had been an aftercare master in my day always sensing just what was needed of someone and providing. Yet, that night I had not given it a second thought. I apologized to Locs but he had said it was fine, he understood and he hadn't held it against me but it got me thinking about what aftercare means to everyone. When I was a sub I would have been very upset if my dominant had forgotten aftercare, especially if it was to go chat with others but to him it wasn't something he needed every time, so he says but I suspect differently.

I looked in my play bag and saw my aftercare package of Starburst candies, a bottle of water and a cashmere fluff and wondered what aftercare meant to everyone else. Clearly not everyone needs it but how many of us want it?

What does aftercare mean to you and how important is in play? What about with someone you're comfortable playing with does it change then?