Being a submissive in a D/s dynamic can give you many opportunities to explore new things. In my power exchange relationship, that new opportunity was non-sexual service. Our first few experiments were clumsy and crude. Still, we've grown to enjoy the moments of service that I provide. It’s changed and deepened our dynamic over time.
Using my experience as a service submissive, I'd like to share what non-sexual service is and help you figure out if service is something you want to explore. I'll talk about a few different styles of service you could learn. Then we'll cover how you can start adding aspects of service into your relationship.
What Does Service Submission Mean?
Service in a D/s dynamic is where the focus is on how the submissive can contribute and provide some of the Dominant's needs and help them advance their goals. But more than that, service is any activity or function that you fulfill to make your Dominant's life easier and satisfies your Dominant in some way. (Being service-oriented isn't just for submissives; anyone can be service-oriented regardless of role. However, this article will focus on service in a D/s dynamic and relate to submissives performing this service.) If it doesn't improve the Dominant's life or provide them with satisfaction, it's not really service, but instead simply an activity.
Many service submissives are often the most fulfilled by a "job well done" and feel emotional fulfillment and satisfaction just for doing something requested for the Dominant. Others desire some praise or accolades for the service they provide to feel fulfilled. Personally, I’m one of the latter, as I do get a sense of pride from having my service acknowledged with at least a "thank you." That's not to say I don't enjoy service without it. Still, the emotional fulfillment is strongest when it's recognized in some way.
What you get out of non-sexual service depends on what you are looking for, and it can be tailored to fit your experience and desires. Some examples of what you could get from non-sexual service are:
- Cathartic release
- A sense of surrender and letting go
- A focused mindset
- Comfort and trust
- Challenge and excitement
- Relationship building, bonding, and sharing moments
- Personal growth
- Practice for techniques or personal improvement
Where does service fit into submission?
Service submission is excellent for anyone who feels they are a people-pleasing person. It's also a good skill to develop if you like to concern yourself with the details of how the house runs or you want to get involved with projects your Dominant is working on. You may even be doing things in your dynamic that could be considered service without knowing it. Sometimes it's hard to see exactly where something is service instead of just doing something nice for your Dominant. When you perform the task as requested and gain something in exchange, such as any of the things listed above, is key. That intention can make all the difference.
What makes a good service submissive?
- Self-motivation - performing tasks without being watched, micromanaged or told to do them.
- Flexibility - ability to change how something is done to accommodate the Dominant.
- Willingness to accept criticism - take critique in stride and learn from it to perform better.
- A variety of skills - the more types of service you can provide the more versatile you’ll be.
- Drive to learn - picking up new skills and knowledge to expand your skill set.
Service Submission in Power Exchange
Think about the activities you do for your Dominant. Are there any that you do routinely? Are there any that give you a warm, fuzzy feeling for having done them? Do you have any special skills you've developed that have helped your Dominant? If you answered yes to any of these, you could be performing a service for them.
Service dynamics have a natural energy and power exchange that allows the submissive to express themselves in service and take care of and show affection for their Dominant. It also creates a natural environment in which the service is acknowledged, appreciated, and honored.
Service in a dynamic environment is a mental exchange between the two parties. What that means is what’s being given and received isn’t the task the submissive is performing, it’s the emotional connection to the task, that intention to serve or the intention to receive service. If your service is to cook dinners, for example, the food prepared could be anything, and the cooking could be done in many ways. The exchange that happens isn’t the process or result of the task, but the focused intention required to perform the service.
It may take time to understand what works best for you completely, but you always want to make sure that the service exchange remains an EXCHANGE of some sort. If one person gets all the benefits, the service submissive could feel resentful, taken for granted, or unfulfilled. Just like negotiating a scene, finding a middle ground where you can both thrive is essential.
One of the first services that I learned for KnyghtMare is coffee service. When I first started doing it, I saw it as just a fulfilled request. He asked, and I complied. But over time, I began to invest time in exploring how to make a better cup of coffee. Learning which grounds and brands were better, how to store coffee, grind it right, what coffee pots were recommended, and other tools I might need. Then I made sure I knew what his perfect cup of coffee was like, from how much sugar and milk he liked to what times of day he most often had coffee so that I could offer it before he asked. It became a joy to me to make sure he had the best cup of coffee I could prepare at the time, every time. I became more methodical and focused when it came time to make his coffee. The service I provide became extremely important in maintaining my submissive mindset throughout the day.
We've made many changes and enhancements to my coffee service over the years. However, it still gives me the joy to make his cup and show him how much I care for him and that I love my role in his life. A thank you, a smile, and a sense of fulfillment are rewards enough for me as he can enjoy his coffee and continue with what he was doing without interruption. I've made his day just a tiny bit easier and more pleasing.
I look forward to showing him my love and affection every day with this service. I love that I can do this service for him several times a day.
How you adapt to service will be completely personal, but as with many things in power exchange, you won't know if something is rewarding to you until you've tried it. As long as you have a curious interest, it's worth experimenting with and seeing where you go. You'll know pretty quickly if performing tasks for your Dominant gives you a sense of joy and fulfillment every time you do it, or if one-off request-based service is more your style.
Ways to Serve
Non-sexual service is possible in a lot of ways, and just about anything you can do for your Dominant or the relationship can be acts of service. Most of the time, it comes down to context and intention. There's a lot of flexibility in service dynamics. There are a few different service styles, so if one doesn't suit your needs, you could try another. You don't have to limit yourself to a single type, either. The beauty is that you get to work with your Dominant to create the service dynamic you both desire!
Service as Routine
Routine service is often where service submissives start. In service as routine, you select an activity or task you'd like to do for your Dominant. You add it to your submissive service. Just as my coffee service does for me, your service can be a common way to provide for my Dominant in a small way that pleases them and gives them joy. They don't have to be a full skill set of tasks and services. They are often hand-picked to serve a particular need or desire. You can provide many other services, including cooking, cleaning, meal-planning, fetching drinks, mowing the lawn, house organization, budgeting, body grooming, shaving, or car maintenance.
Service based on Position or Role
Sometimes the services you provide can group neatly into a skill set for a position or role. If, for example, you do all of the budgeting, bill paying, taxes, investment tracking, and retirement planning for your partner, you could say you're their accountant. Domestic service submissives embrace all that maintaining a house entails, such as cleaning, ironing, cooking, home repair, and interior decorating. Perhaps you've taken on many tasks that would fall under the personal assistant role, including making appointments, providing beverages, secretarial work. More examples include butler, mechanic, body servant, stylist (clothing/hair), gardener, barista, cook/chef, masseur, and nanny.
Service as an Event
Another way that service can build connections in your relationship is through special events and select service moments. Services like bootblacking, cigar service, Japanese Tea Ceremony, or Full Tea service are perfect for this service style. Often, service as an event focuses on building the connection between the partners. The details of the act of service tend to be more involved and require more skill and practice.
That doesn't mean that only those kinds of service acts are events. Any service you perform can be events that can be detailed, focused moments that build bonds and intimacy. You simply have to make them work for your dynamic.
How to Start Adding Aspects of Service to Your Submission
When trying to figure out what service you can provide, look for things that your partner regularly does or something you feel you could do to ease their life. If you need an idea, start with something as simple as fetching drinks. Your goal is to enhance their life and bring joy to yours at the same time.
For example, if your partner gets ready for work every day at the same time, what is their morning routine? Can you help them out in some way?
Ideas to help a morning routine:
- Being their wake up call
- Ironing their clothing
- Laying their clothing out for them
- Warming the towel, they'll use for their shower
- Making their breakfast
- Preparing their coffee/tea
- Feeding the pets
- Taking care of the kids' morning routine
- Packing their lunch
- Starting their car and warming or cooling it for them
- Gathering the things by the door that they need to take with them
- Sending them reminders of the after-work activities planned
As you can see, this is just a sample of the things you could do to help your Dominant out. Your personal situation will provide you with many other ways you can provide service to your partner.
If you can't come up with something yourself, talk to your Dominant about your desire to add service to your dynamic and see what they say. They may know just the thing that they'd love for you to learn and do for them. Ensure it is an agreed part of the exchange and negotiate how to make the service personal and enjoyable for both of you.
Understanding service submission is more than the activities, as I hope you've learned here. It's the exchange of service and the environment in which it's received that builds a service-oriented person's joy and fulfillment. Both parts are rewarding and nurture the relationship. So, if service might be something you would like to try, have a talk, experiment, and see what pleasures you find in being of service to someone.
Are you service-oriented? What is your favorite non-sexual service that you provide? Join us on Discord and let us know!