When I write notes to people at work, I like to provide “the short answer” and the “long answer”.
So here is my short answer for after care: just do it. Do not start a scene, event, or session if you are not prepared to provide care to those involved when it is over.
Now, the long answer: When you enter into a BDSM activity it is a lot like running a long distance, climbing a mountain, jumping out of a plane for the first time, or any other challenging activity.
It can be mentally and/physically exasusing and in this case the individual who is submitting to you is giving up the control they would have in those activities to pause for a moment or stop at a water station.
It is up to the Dominant to care for the submissive before (discuss, prepare and come to agreement on what will happen), during (make sure they are OK (watch for loss of circulation, negative reactions, and displeasure beyond and pain you are inflicting), and after.
You may go through a scene as a Dominant and get to the end and find that you want to take a nap. The problem is the other individual(s) are probably coming up from subspace or a down from a euphoric high that you created.
Like we tell our kids, if you created it, you need to take care of it. The Dominant is on the hook for making sure the submissive comes up/down smoothly. Trying to avoid a crash that could leave a negative note on what was a positive experience.
Like everything, a little planning and preparation will help. Bring a bottle of water to the play room, some chocolate (it sounds silly but chocolate can really improve a person’s mood), a glass of wine, a little’s stuffie, or whatever helps them to level out.
Most importantly, be there for them to cry on your shoulder or simply hold them. BDSM is a major release of emotional energy that we play with, build up, and take our submissives through.
When done right, they might forget their names, be unable to speak for their own needs, and surrender everything.
They are trusting us to ensure they are safe, which includes returning them to a sensible level of functionality.
It is fun to fantasize about rape play where you find a girl, toss her in a van, do what you want, then dump her at the curb when you are done.
It may just not work out in your favor if you do that to your wife and she has to walk home while dealing with the emotions let out driving and after scene…
Curve magazine has an article here on aftercare that is worth a read.