Vital Definitions for the Kinky Butler

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As a means of introduction, I would like to define several terms I will be using frequently throughout this website.

Butler Definition

You have almost certainly seen a butler in a television show or movie, yet it’s often unclear what specific duties that a butler has in a household. The International Institute of Modern Butlers’ “Household Staff Definitions”  tells us that the butler is “…[r]esponsible for the smooth running of a household and servicing of principals and guests, usually supervising others but also providing service himself or herself in any number of capacities.”  Additionally, the Institute’s Standards of Professional Practice for Butlers and Household Managers describes four elements to the butler’s role and scope of responsibility: 

  1. A butler is the professional employee primarily responsible for the effectiveness, efficiency, and style of carrying out [their] employer’s household operations.
  2. The butler’s primary concerns are the comfort, pleasure, welfare, and security of the members of the household.
  3. The butler usually works directly under the head householder, manages household operations and staff, and also performs many household operations.
  4. The butler and household staff should remain in the background, the focus of their attention and activities being on the wellbeing of the members of the household and their guests.

To synthesize and narrow down these definitions, I will say that a butler is a professional servant who serves an entire household, usually as the head of staff, yet also providing service personally if necessary.

Principal Definition

While the butlers of previous eras might call their employer by any royal title that has been given or perhaps the term Master or Mistress, the language of butlers has shifted within the last century. Professional butler resources now use the term principal to refer to the head of the household that the butler serves. While a butler tends to and serves all family members and guests in a household, the head of the household is their primary and principal concern.

I believe the word principal is vital to our discussion because it allows me to use a term that people understand refers to those served, regardless of gender or relationship style. The language of kinksters varies, so for our purposes, I will use the term principal to refer to the primary person that a butler serves.

Kink, Fetish, and BDSM Definitions

Shifting from the world of professional butlers to the world of kink, I have found it difficult to find a clear definition for kink. The first issue here is that many sources define kink as behavior that is abnormal. I find this to be a challenging definition because the behavior that people consider normal or abnormal varies according to place, time, context, and even from individual to individual. Additionally, many of the definitions of kink describe it as abnormal activities of a sexual nature, and while many people find kink to be sexual, not everyone derives sexual arousal or satisfaction from kink. I have found that S. Australia’s definition in The Kinky Dic to be the most accurate: “Kink: Culturally non-traditional intimate practices or desires. May or may not be sexual in nature.”

I would also like to include S. Australia’s entries for two more important terms: “BDSM: An acronym for bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, and masochism.” and “Fetish/Paraphilia: Culturally non-traditional sexual desire towards a specific body part, object, concept, or fantasy.”

With these definitions, it is important to focus on the culturally non-traditional piece. For example, I imagine the average person would not consider a sexual fixation on breasts to be a fetish because our culture normalizes a focus on breasts. 

In The New Bottoming Book, Janet Hardy and Dossie Easton go into a detailed metaphor about kinksters as gourmets:

Some people eat only to meet their bodies’ physical needs, others seek out food that satisfies specific cravings. Some people like fast food, and others like whatever their mother used to cook, and still others prefer their food spicy enough to make them sweat…and all these ways of eating are valid, nutritious and tasty. 

Power Exchange and Service Definitions

As I start and build this website, it is my expectation that most readers who find the idea of being a kinky butler appealing will be those in power exchange relationships or desiring power exchange relationships. Again from The Kinky Dic, S. Australia defines power exchange this way: “A consensual dynamic in which one individual grants another authority to make decisions in previously negotiated portions of their life.” This often plays out the form of the Domination and submission elements of BDSM, often referred to as D/s.

Some people engaged in power exchange include service in their relationship. There are many preconceptions about what service might mean – perhaps caring for leather or serving a formal dinner. In Real Service, Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny notice that “[t]here is a huge gulf between people who actually want to be useful and people who want to play at serving someone while only focusing on activities designed to arouse them.” Service can include anything that the Dominant desires, and, as Real Service tells us, anything that the Dominant doesn’t consider helpful isn’t service.

Kinky Butler Definition

In Butlers & Household Managers: 21st Century Professional, Steven Ferry claims that butling is a perspective that anyone can take on at any time: 

For me, a butler is a frame of mind rather than a status or a series of duties. It is a mindset that anyone can adopt in any situation in life to very satisfying results, because it is founded on the truths that it is better to serve than be served, and that life can be rational and serene when one assumes responsibility for all things.

Later, Ferry details the role and motivations of a butler:

A butler exists essentially to smooth the lives of his employer by taking over many household and personal functions they would otherwise have to perform themselves, thus freeing them up for more worthwhile pursuits….[They] commits [themself] to [their] employers and cares enough to exceed their expectations and create extra-special moments. Good service is only the starting point: it is the creativity in bringing about the moments of exquisite pleasure and happiness that is the butler’s true mission.

I believe this sums up the duties of a kinky butler quite well. 

  • A kinky butler commits themselves to their principal.
  • A kinky butler performs household and personal functions to free up time and energy for their principal.
  • A kinky butler considers bringing about pleasure and happiness to be their mission.

To continue to integrate information from other definitions in this article, we can add more detail to our vision of a kinky butler:

  • A kinky butler manages staff if others serve the household.
  • A kinky butler finds that kinky satisfaction and or power exchange motivates their service.
  • A kinky butler’s service may be composed of the duties of a professional butler, yet can include anything the principal considers helpful.

I hope that this provides a useful framework for the concept of a kinky butler discussed throughout this website. 

6 thoughts on “Vital Definitions for the Kinky Butler”

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  6. Nice article with some good thoughts. I pictured in my mind three columns with a series of check marks in each column. Perhaps in some cases the check marks need to be replaced with 1-3 word comments. The three columns are entitled: Traditional Butler, Kink-Play Butler and Kink-Service Butler.

    Along the left side are descriptions of service – perhaps you even have a list of the top ten most expected services. And perhaps for me specifically, the ten most expected services are those that a Female Top might expect from a male submissive or slave. That third column (for me) is where the real substance shines through. How can I provide the services that are truly more service driven rather than just kinky play? In the end, I believe that the Domme has to set the expectations of course.

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