BDSM101,  Reflections

On Top Drop

It’s almost cliche how much we say “Top Drop” is often forgotten in the conversation when we talk about aftercare.

The same way bottoms come crashing down from the chemical cocktail rushing through their bodies, so do tops.

Depending on the scene, the top may experience the backlash that comes with intense physical and psychological exertion. Lactic acid builds up in your muscles, causing soreness and discomfort. They may experience the collapse from being in an altered psychological state; the “high” triggered by endorphins and adrenaline.

Experiencing Top Drop will differ from person to person, as will the specific needs in order to come back from it once the scene is over. It might not manifest itself right away, it could very well happen the day or two after that or not at all. Your mileage may vary.

Tops might find a drop in mood, feeling low and sluggish. They may be irritable and quick to snap. Perhaps worst of all, is the overwhelmingly negative head-space that takes over: conscience-stricken, remorseful, plagued with self-doubt and self-hatred.

Although everyone involved gave their informed consent to all that took place, depending on the intensity of the scene, that self-inflicted hostility can high-jack and impair the person’s rational thoughts, rendering them unable to reconcile what happened inside the scene, and who they are out of it.

“How can I like this?”
“How could I do this?”
“I’m a sick person.”

Things were done. Words were said. Either of them, if done in any other context could be considered reprehensible, even with consent.

The best thing a top can do is recognize the symptoms to do something about them. They can plan the same way and to the same degree they focus on the bottom to ensure a safe space to cool down and ground themselves

Regardless of the role, everyone is responsible for their own aftercare. It should be discussed and negotiated before the scene even begins. Self-knowledge and accountability are key.

Do you need physical contact?
Do you need to talk about the scene to process?
Maybe you need to hear some reassuring words from your bottom or nothing at all.

You must identify exactly what you need and don’t need. Perhaps physical contact is the last thing you want, and all it takes is some electrolytes, a protein bar and you’re good to go.

Not all scenes require aftercare, but when boundaries are pushed and the threshold into edgeplay is crossed, it’s good to have a clear plan of action. Recognizing, acknowledging and communicating clearly can make the drop easier to process. No one is a mind reader.

In my case, the first thing I have to do is have an electrolyte drink followed by chocolate and a plush bathrobe or blanket. Then I enjoy talking about the scene to process the experience, as I take care of the aftermath. Often it consists of some TLC to my scene partner, be it an arnica and calendula balm for the impending bruises, or antiseptic for open skin.

Once that’s done, if I’m close enough to the person, I put on music or a show and get a nice, sensual massage from them for when the soreness kicks in. We often pass out for a few hours, then it’s time for clean-up.

The next day we exchange texts expressing how we feel now that it’s been a day since we played. Often it’s reassuring messages that counter the darker elements if they so happen to take over.

There’s no set formula, except for the fact that it must be negotiated ahead of time. It’s whatever you need to get yourself back to the real world, and it can be as simple or as elaborate as you need it to be if everyone else is OK with it.

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