A Domme recently contacted asking for advice on how to find a local service submissive. She mentioned that she was looking for someone who would be satisfied with just the opportunity to serve, asking for nothing else in return. I’ve had conversations like this with many people and I think this points to a common misunderstanding.
Many kinksters, especially those new to the idea of service in a kink context, claim that the only service arrangement they would find acceptable is one where the servant asks for nothing in return. I’ve heard the term “truly selfless service” used by both sides of the slash. However, this is an impossible standard to keep. I challenge those that would only consider receiving selfless service to read onward.
Would you stay in a relationship if you got nothing out of it? Would you consider such a friendship to be complete? I wouldn’t. I serve several people, some more casually and others in a more committed way, and I ask for what my partners and I consider to be reasonable things in return. This article looks at many things that servants might ask for in return for their service.
We begin with nonsexual affection: A head pat, a great big bear hug, a kiss on the forehead, and so on. Many people desire affection as appreciation for their service. This can also include ways of relating, such as the servant sitting at the Principal’s feet in private or public. Even a solid handshake or casual hug can enhance the servant’s feeling of appreciation and value.
For some, verbal praise helps them to feel appreciated for their work. Perhaps it is in the form of a simple “Good boy!” or a detailed explanation of how one’s chauffeur service enhanced their evening. Praise shows that those who receive their service truly appreciate the effort that they’ve put in, both in that specific moment and also the ways they’ve built those skills over time. Some servants may want praise to be oriented around the service they just provided, while others might prefer praise about their personal attributes. Many enjoy both.
Many servants who take pride in their skills and growth desire feedback. This can take many forms. Maybe you’d like your shirts folded this way, not that, or maybe you’re an expert mechanic and know that this servant isn’t securing bolts tight enough. This could take the form of an in person feedback session, a written response, or even a complex rubric tracking changes through time. For those that desire feedback, it is important that the service recipients take the time to consider how it may have helped them and communicate that clearly.
For those of us in a public community, whether in person or online, servants may find it meaningful to appear with someone they serve and be associated with them. This may include appearing together in public kinky settings, which can be enhanced with public protocols, opportunities to serve in front of others, or even visual cues such as matching outfits or symbols of ownership. Servants who serve in a long distance relationship could also be tagged on social media and listed in the Relationships sections of FetLife. For me, this shows that someone is proud to receive my service and enjoys being associated with me.
Some servants only provide their services in a power dynamic and the rest of the relationship fulfills them. I find this is quite common. For many in power dynamics, service comes naturally to them. Perhaps they find that service exchances the feeling that the Principal has control. Many aspects of service can come in an “if, then” format, often called a protocol. I have seen this in the protocol “If Master’s drink is less than half full, then fill it for them.” For those fulfilled by service in a power dynamic, it is the relationship, rules, and protocol that make the service worthwhile.
For those involved in transactional service, servants may ask for kinky play or sexual activity in exchange. Many people follow the service with a related kinky scene. For example, the servant may offer a foot massage or pedicure in exchange for foot worship afterward. Others may integrate the kinky play into the service, such as a servant asking to be feminized so that she may play a sissy French maid while cleaning the Principal’s home.
As with all transactional play, it’s important for servants to be completely clear if they desire kinky play or sexual activity in exchange for their service. It’s completely unacceptable to pretend as if you ask for nothing in return, then spring sexual or kinky expectations on someone in a bait-and-switch. Additionally, if the bait-and-switch happens to you as a service receiver, you are under no obligation to fulfill these desires. I would personally consider the act of guilting a Principal into any kind or play or sexual activity a consent violation. This is harmful for our community. Please be forthright with any such desires.
In conclusion, I believe you’ll find that all servants desire something in exchange for their time, effort, and skills. For some, it may be simple and specific, and for others, it may be a combination of several things listed above. You can find what I ask for in return as an example here.
If after reading this you still feel that you can offer nothing to a servant in exchange for their hard work, it may be best to hire someone outside of the lifestyle. That might be difficult to come to terms with, but it’s best for all involved.
For those that serve, what do you ask for in return? Do you see anything I’ve missed? For those that receive service, what have you offered in exchange for service? Would you consider hiring someone if you couldn’t offer something in return for whatever reason?
The founder of The Kinky Butler is slave chase tramel.