Service:
The Art of Graceful Giving & Receiving

“The first rule of service is: If the master doesn’t want it, it isn’t service.” —Joshua Tenpenny, Real Service

We frequently make “submission” synonymous with “service,” and “dominance” with “making orders”, but they are not the same. Some dominants are service-oriented — dominants with more parental styles tend to do many things on behalf of their submissive.

Yet, many people come to D/s through service. In BDSM conferences and books there is much time spent on service, particularly for the submissive. But what about receiving service? How do we receive gracefully, when it might challenge our sense of independence and confidence? Are we comfortable just receiving?

When we do things for other people, we might expect that they do something for us in return. Regardless of how sexy of a fantasy it is to be ‘used’ and to do every little thing precisely when wanted, with only the satisfaction of having done the job well, in reality it is far more common for resentments to build. So how do we manage resentment in service? And how do we as dominants accept and reward service such that we keep the power dynamic strong?

All of us, whether dominant or submissive, whether usually of high ability or not, will have some times when we are simply not able to serve. We might be in temporary states of change of ability: a broken leg, or going through a big emotional ordeal such as losing a job, or a death. Or we might be in more permanent state of disability: neurodiversity which affects executive function, or a chemical imbalance, or chronic pain. What is that like from the submissive perspective, and from the dominant’s? What is our plan for when — not if, when — this happens? What is our relationship to service in these times?

Get ready to dive into these, and more. There is much to explore in the Service Unit of D/s Playground!

Service Materials

There are some very exciting teachings in the Service unit for you!

  • Sejay Chu, professional service sub and experienced switch
  • rife on cultivating a service mindset for more joy and less resentment
  • Feminist queer master Andrea Zanin on receiving service
  • International Ms Bootblack 2009 kd diamond on bootblacking and other service skills
  • Read an excerpt from “Real Service” by Joshua Tenpenny on motivations
  • Do journal prompts on all the materials

And homework — conduct your own service experiment!