Every good submissive needs aftercare. After a punishment, or a session.
A submissive who’s been punished hard, or used hard, and now has welts and bruises, needs to know that he or she is loved and cared for, valuable and special.
That has a practical reason. It prevents or at least limits sub drop, the state of self-doubt and depression that can come in and bring the submissive’s emotional and physical state down, after the landing from flying through sub space. It’s like an ecstasy reaction, and like the eccie hangover, it sometimes comes immediately the effect wears off, and sometimes it comes a couple of days later.
So the Dom needs to give the submissive a lot of love and affection and tangible signs of caring, to reduce the drop, and give the submissive some things he or she can hold on to, and use to fight the negative feelings that can follow a session.
That obligation can’t be discharged in one session. Some submissives need immediate aftercare only, but others need immediate aftercare, and a second course one or two days later.
Tenderness is a crucial part of aftercare: the hugs, the soft, loving words, the treats, the warm bath where the dom shampoos the submissive’s hair, the love-making afterwards.
But it’s more than aftercare. I think, anecdotally, that all doms in a long-term bdsm relationship love their submissive. With the physical and emotional intensity of bdsm, and the awesome power of the submissive’s surrender, it’s hard not to.
Sometimes we show that love in a harsh, cruel way, knowing that the submissive needs our harshness in order to take flight. And sometimes we’re just tender, because that’s how we feel.
Tenderness is kind of underrated in bdsm literature, especially the sexy porn literature. But in reality, it’s essential.