The notion seems to have gathered steam on American TikTok and is now well and truly travelling through other social media.
Originating in the BDSM community, the term represents mindful action and interaction after the act of sex. The modalities of aftercare—it could be cuddling, ordering food in, having a shower—are of course different for each couple, but in its broadest scope it is a set of steps taken together after sex, that help fight of post-sex blues as experienced by some people.
A good definition seems to be, “doing whatever it takes for you and your partner to feel safe, seen, and comfortable discussing what happened during sex,” as articulated in The Cut.
There’s reasonable science to support thinking about one’s ‘aftercare’ regimen. Sex as we well know, is a circus of hormones. Oxytocin and dopamine are released and that combination probably explains the exquisite happiness that comes with good sex. However, in all ascents are seeds of descent. In due course the levels are back to where they were, possibly leading to a crash, manifested in say, regret, or for some a feeling a self-loathing (for having engaged in sex.)
Therefore, for good lovers, and those aspiring to be good lovers, it is important to have some thoughts on what they do after the act. Communication is key, of course. But act mindfully.
N.B. In a recent show of the super hit podcast, Talking Sex, the term postplay got coined for the same use case. Listen to the episode here:Talking Sex Podcast | Love, Sex and Language