Last month I did a hostage scene with a sub friend who I’ve known for a long time. Someone asked what it was like and I described it like:
“Driving a high-speed train, keeping it on the rails while patting your head and rubbing your tummy”
The scene had a fun shock component to it and incorporated a few harder aspects of play, pain, psychological torture and water boarding. Suffice to say that there was negotiation and a safe word in place but the sub didn’t know everything that was going to happen.
In a scene of this nature, for the Dom there is a lot to manage. I’d scoped out the venue beforehand and placed gear ahead of time in handy locations where I would need it and reminded myself of physical hazards. I’d also warned people who would be around (it was at a play party) what was going on so to give them opportunity to stay out the way if anything was too much for them.
But to go back to my description of the train, there is a lot for a Dom to manage in this type of scene:
- As I’ve already said, the physical environment and physical hazards
- Gear and safety of the gear involved, any bondage and movement restriction etc
- Planning and looking ahead for new hazards and heading them off
- Managing the headspace of the sub and making they are having fun and OK
- Managing your headspace (the Dom) and making sure you are in the right place and not going too far
You can get the idea that while such scenes can be very fun, they can also be exhausting, physically and mentally.
In fact, with this scene it was me that ended it. We’d got through the activities I’d had planned, and 4 litres of piss for waterboarding and the sub was in an obstinate headspace. I’d been keeping a lid of my headspace and balancing holding back on the waterboarding so it was fun rather than over the top. However, the subs obstinance was making me want to push and get the answer I wanted from the interrogation (his safeword). Given that I’d run out of planned activity and being aware of my headspace, I decided to end the scene rather the push on. I felt there was a risk of me going too far if I continued.
The sub went and got cleaned up, I re-joined the party and after a break had another fisting session. But the scene played on my mind for a few days, I was glad I’d ended the scene when I did but that headspace I was in concerned me. As much as fun playing with dark sides in kink can be, it can be difficult when we are confronted with our shadow selves and just how far we can go.
This leads me to aftercare for Doms. There is plenty of writing about aftercare for subs and looking after them after intense play, them needing time to come down from endorphins, making sure they are warm, hydrated and that hot drinks, snacks and cuddles are all good things to help. But how do you know a Dom needs aftercare and what do you do? Things to look for include:
- Seeming quiet, distant or thoughtful or withdrawn
- Tight or insular body language, arms crossed, huddled up, or facing away or blocking
- Taking time to return from dominant headspace, still being demanding or aggressive out of scene
As a sub, if you spot these kinds of signs you may need to accelerate your own come down and pull yourself together to look after your Dom. Make sure you are hydrated and warm then tackle helping them.
First, sort the physical. Get them to a spot where they can be comfortable, preferably away from where you were playing. Make sure they are warm, comfortable and likewise hydrated and fed. Their blood sugar may be low too after a long scene so a tea with sugar or a sweet fizzy drink may help along with something light to eat.
If they are struggling to come back from a dominant headspace make sure you use their real name and talk to them as a person (within the confines of your relationship with them). If it’s appropriate it’s better to call them their name rather than Sir or whatever term they identify with when Doming. I often tell people if I’m doing a harder scene that if they need me address me and talk to John, not to Vulf. Names and language matters!
Then provide reassurance, if you enjoyed the scene, tell them that. They may be worrying about that and feeling concerned or guilty about what they have done. Provide physical assurance as well as this, they may want hugs and to cuddle and to feel small, maybe a blanket to wrap up with. At this time, it may be a good opportunity to apply some gentle music (don’t carry on with whatever music you were playing to) or to watch something light on TV/Netflix. Keep offering snacks and drinks at regular intervals – without it being often enough to be pestering. Maybe offer to run them a bath or fix them a shower.
When they are more together and can be left, offer to clean up from the scene so they don’t have to do the work. This helps them out but also saves them physically reengaging with the scene that they have just started to leave behind and process.
Then later that day or the next day if you played in the evening, check in on them. Ask if they enjoyed the scene and if they are doing ok, give them opportunity if there is anything they want to talk through. Keep in touch and check in for up to a couple of weeks after, don't just vanish after a scene.
Being a Dom can be hard work and hard scenes can take a lot out of you. Please look after your Dominant!