There are two parts to this essay: the first one addresses one of the most important differences between kinky butlers and professional butlers, and the second one explains how that distinction influences the dynamics of service-focused relationships, especially regarding consent.
Distinctions Between Kinky Butlers And Professional Butlers
One of the main distinctions between kinky butlers and professional butlers is what the service means to them. There’s a reason why it’s important to acknowledge the variations in their views over that concept. Both professional butlers and kinky butlers find service appealing but in different ways.
Professional butlers are employees who basically run a household and serve its members. They are an employee, given financial incentive to look after their principal, the head of the household, their family and guests, and perhaps other domestic workers. As the head of household staff, their goal is to make sure that everything is in order in the house and everybody is satisfied —especially their employer.
Professional butlers do not negotiate with power. Instead, they negotiate with money —plainly and simply. Butling is what they do for a living.
Kinky butlers, on the other hand, commit themselves to their principals out of their passion for service and the kinky satisfaction —and or other pleasant feelings— they may get from it. They may have roughly the same purposes and interests, but the relationship with their principals and with service itself is a little more complex. Overlooking the differences in what service entails for each kind of butler is irresponsible due to the power exchange that takes place in service-focused relationships.
The concern is what they receive in exchange for their service. Are pleasant feelings the only thing that they expect from their principals? Is their service totally “free”? And we’re not talking about money here, but about the tacit cost of the time, care, and emotions invested in a service-oriented submissive role. What’s in exchange for that?
This is a question that some dominant parties could fail to ask beforehand, especially if they’re inexperienced, and/or do not quite get the “codes” of service-focused relationships, or even if they simply assume that the kinky satisfaction alone is sufficient for the kinky butler. There are many dominants for whom this is a valid belief, but compatibility concerns arising from this lead to a completely separate essay.
A Fair Exchange
Motivations for service may vary from servant to servant, but principals should know that many kinky butlers don’t want their efforts to go unnoticed. The recognition and appreciation of their performance could be the main or only reward that a kinky butler is looking for. For a detailed example, take a look at slave chase’s service origin story.
How does the principal know what’s the case with their kinky butler? Well, asking yourself this question is the first step. The next one is asking the butler —as simple as that, but not as obvious as you may think.
Unfortunately, some people who are new in the kink community are misinformed, and some others are consciously abusive. It’s concerning that abusers exist in our community, but they do. What’s important to acknowledge is that having a submissive partner or servant doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want with them or treat them however you please.
Needs and Consent
The kink world is about consent; without it, many kinks would be criminal and unethical, such as torture or slavery. That’s why many people in the kink community create elaborate written contracts with all the terms and conditions they’ve previously discussed. This is to set up boundaries and make the power exchange relationship fair and enjoyable for all the participants. These elements are important for all power exchange relationships.
In other words, even if there’s no written contract, holding the dominant role in a service-oriented relationship doesn’t enable you to be an abusive jerk. Both inside and outside the kink community, there are rules to treat people. One of these rules is what is known as affective responsibility —a term that refers to taking care of other people’s feelings without necessarily forgetting your own. The concept promotes respect, communication, and empathy between the parties of every relationship.
Caring about your submissive servant’s needs doesn’t make you any less of a dominant —it makes you affectively responsible and trustworthy.
Just because someone is submissive, it doesn’t mean that they’d like to be taken advantage of. If you’re going to become a principal, make sure that you know what your kinky butler does and does not consider “being taken advantage of”.
If you are service-oriented and want to try kinky butling, don’t forget that even if the principal is the dominant party in the service-focused relationship, you shouldn’t let them trample over you. Additionally, you can always leave the relationship if you’re not feeling comfortable or having your needs met.
This is what separates BDSM and kink from abuse, and kinky butling from nonconsenual slavery.
Non-binary professional writer with a degree in Communication Studies and a passion for visual arts.