By: Annie Sprinkle Ph.D.
Your self-pleasuring or lovemaking has come to a final climax. Or has it? Wait, wait! Don’t be too quick! Sometimes the point when you think you are finished is exactly the point for you to push further. You’re at your most relaxed, you’re in a highly aroused state, and you’ve reached a certain level of bliss. It’s time to go for the big beyond. It's time for “Afterglow.”
I love the word “Afterglow”; it’s such a lovely poetic term and describes the experience so beautifully. In the afterglow we can feel we are glowing with love, with satisfaction, with a lightness of being, with pleasure. Usually in the afterglow we can experience a heightened sense of peace, beauty, and connection--connection with our self, our body, our lover, and on a really good day, the whole Universe!
Interestingly, in Hollywood movies and in pornography, they rarely ever show the beautiful afterglow of lovemaking. Here at The New School, however, we want to show every phase of the erotic dance, and there are some beautiful afterglow clips in our library. Let's look at them together:
Recommended Viewing for Enrolled Students:
In this video clip, see three different women bask in the afterglow after receiving vulva massage – this is my absolute favorite part of receiving erotic massage. Afterglow 1 (from Fire in the Valley: Female Genital Massage)
Here, watch a man swirl in the afterglow following a “big draw.” Afterglow 2(from Fire on the Mountain: Male Genital Massage)
Afterglow can include a full range of emotions and expressions. A very common one is ecstatic laughter! Afterglow 3 (from Anal Massage for Lovers)
If seeing the afterglow hasn’t convinced you to try it, here’s a bit of “theory.” Isa Magdalena tells us how pleasure is a dance between excitement and enjoyment. The afterglow is enjoyment, an integral part of the pleasure cycle. Afterglow 4 (from Fire on the Mountain: Male Genital Massage)
Try for yourself! My feeling is that at least a quarter of the time spent making love can be dedicated to a wonderful afterglow phase. So if you have sex for one hour, fifteen minutes after climax (energetic or orgasmic) is the minimum. One third is better. More is even more luxurious. See if you can stay in the afterglow for at least 15 minutes. How does basking in your afterglow make you feel?
Make It Last: How to extend your afterglows
* Acknowledge to yourself and your lover that it is an important and wonderful part of lovemaking. Just being aware of this is a great start. * Stay physically connected. Refrain from getting up or pulling away. * Pay attention. Focus on the energy flowing in your body. Notice your heart pumping and lips tingling. Use your mind and intention to keep all the good feelings going. * Don’t talk for a while. Communicate with touch, with eyes, with stillness--but avoid words for a while. Talking can break the mood and bring you out of your body and heart, and back into your head. Pillow talk can come later. * Take big deep slow breaths. * Add some kegels. This keeps the sexual energy pumping through you. * Gaze into your lover’s eyes. * Do extended kissing. Try making a kiss last for several minutes. Some of the best, most delicious kisses of all take place in the glow. * Keep focused on the bliss. Avoid thinking about things outside of lovemaking, like bills, the mess in the other room, or work.
Gratitude Adjustment: The afterglow phase is the time when I most love to express my gratitude. If I’m with a lover I might say something like “Thank you, sweetheart. I’m so grateful you are in my life. I feel so lucky that I can feel these wonderful sensations. I’m grateful for your love, your touch, your breath, your scent… Thank you for touching me so beautifully!” If I’m alone and I just masturbated and I’m in the afterglow, I might put my hand on my heart and say (silently or out loud), “I’m so grateful for my healthy body. I’m grateful for my life, for my beautiful home, friends and family. I’m grateful for my electric vibrator …” Expressing gratitude is another wonderful way to make love. Accentuate and appreciate the positive, and watch how good you and your lover feel. Say “thank you” every which way you can, as often as you can. Say thank you outside the bedroom too; in love notes, with a stick in the sand on the beach, written on a big home-made cake with hot pink frosting, and of course--say it with touch. Sometimes I also like to take a moment to thank those people who made all the pleasure I experience in my life today possible. I might say something like “I’m so grateful to all the people who have taught me something about sex, and love, and relationships. I’m grateful to my former lovers. I’m grateful to all the heroic people who fought for sexual freedom. It’s because of them that I can be who I want to be, and do what I want to do today. I’m enormously grateful for the abundance of choices that I have today in my life…”
Glow Forth: Once you’ve learned to give the afterglow phase as much time and attention as it deserves, it will feel so natural that you’ll never again be tempted to end your erotic connection prematurely. No more “Wham, bam, thank you ma’am”s, unless of course it’s on one of those special occasions where that is part of the fun.