On this matter of after play or cuddling (or pillow talk, as most women would refer to it), there will always be two points of view; a man’s and woman’s point of view. And in most cases they will run parallel.
Men will focus on foreplay and the sexual act in itself and go to sleep right after, no thanks to the relaxing hormone, oxytocin, that is released after sex. While for women, it is not so cut and dry. A woman is not only interested in the foreplay and sex, but also the after play, the sweet nothings, cuddles and touches that come afterwards.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen that much, as mister might already be snoring while she is still pouring her heart out or, worse, waiting for him to pull her into his embrace.
And some women I know unleashed their full wrath publicly on their men, whom they have been talking to privately about this matter, but who have refused to change.
It all started with one of the men on a WhatsApp group posting a meme bemoaning the way women “hoard” sex. As anything related to sex, the comments poured in, advising women to be “cheerful givers”, to stop using headaches as an excuse to get out of doing the deed, as sex allegedly cures headache. They practically ran the gamut of all the reasons; women shouldn’t withhold sex from their men.
One women jumped into the fray with this innocent comment, “We have heard oh! You want sex, but please stop sleeping immediately after the deed.”
“We have heard too, but what are we supposed to do afterwards nau? Is it not to sleep?”
It was not his lucky day, as his wife dropped a surprised emoji beneath his comment.
Most of the comments that followed from men and women showed clearly different expectations about what should happen after sex.
So, what does afterplay really entail?
While, it doesn’t always have to be more sex (even though it could be), afterplay can come in the form of snuggling, taking a bath together, cuddling, kissing, simply touching or just talking (hint; women love that part).
The moments after sex are moments of vulnerability; it can really alter our body’s experience and the impact it has on our relationship.
In the post coital aura that follows a positive sexual encounter, the body is awash with neurochemicals. One of the hormones, oxytocin (the “cuddle hormone”) is released during sex and helps us to feel connected with our partner.
Unfortunately, dopamine, the hormone responsible for addictions is also produced and although this has a short-term positive effect (making the brain feel satiated and giving a short-term sense of well-being), it recedes quickly, leaving behind and aftermath of irritability.
But that’s not important, as long as a couple can counter-act the emotional rollercoaster associated with dopamine. The answer lies in releasing more oxytocin.
And the only way to do that is to engage in afterplay. Even though oxytocin levels released after orgasm begin to fall, you can sustain them by continuing to maintain close body contact, hugging and holding each other.
This notion is buttressed by the experience of an older married mom, who threw more light on the afterplay debate.
She has been married for close to 30 years and she noted that while all the standard clichés like good communication, respect, love and others have contributed to her happy relationship, a lot more had to do with the cuddling, hugs, hand-holding they get up to before and after the sexual act, and the times sex doesn’t even happen for one reason or another.
So, if you want to maintain desire and deepen your relationship, don’t let sex end right after orgasm. Hold one another, and you will see the benefits blossom in your relationship for a long time.
Apart from deepening relationships, as seen above, afterplay, which leads to increased levels of oxytocin has been shown to have multiple positive effects like lessening cravings and reducing addiction, both of which can have significant impact outside the bedroom, like on a weight loss journey.
It can also help to lower stress levels, increasing sexual receptivity, speeding up wound healing and facilitating learning, lowers blood pressure. In fact, oxytocin, which is released after orgasm and also after childbirth (which doesn’t happen as regularly as sex), can be called the miracle hormone for all it does in the body.
Another benefits of afterplay, apart from the hormonal, is it also ends up making the next time a better experience than the last. Afterplay increases the frequency of sex in a relationship, because there is something to look forward to.
A 2014 study found that couples who participate in afterplay reported “greater sexual satisfaction” than those we went straight to sleep afterwards. Afterplay creates a strong bond between couples.
If you have been adventurous and trying out new erotic things, which require trusting your partner, the important step to establishing and maintaining that trust lies in afterplay.
As it allows you to step away from whatever fantasy or games you were playing to remind your partner that you are still the same person who wants them, fantasy or no fantasy.
I know most men are more likely to fall asleep quickly after intercourse, but a sincere desire to connect emotionally with their partner can keep them alert and awake.
Just in case, you forget every other thing, remember, great sex is the kind that ends in the same way it starts; with kisses, cuddles, touching and sweet nothings.
Cheers to afterplay.
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