My partner and I are just starting to explore service-giving & receiving, and I must confess that I’m stumped as to how to start. Yesterday, I helped her dress and tied her shoes, and I enjoyed it greatly, but I’m not sure where else to go. Please help?
Service is a big topic. Very, very big. It can encompass everything from tying shoelaces to repairing the car’s engine, and beyond – so it’s no wonder that it’s a bit overwhelming for you!
Take a little time – both separately and together – and think about what kinds of service might be meaningful to you. Does she enjoy not having to worry about the little things, like whether the trash is taken out or the mail is sorted? Or does she like to have big, complex projects managed, such as redecorating the bedroom or planning a dinner for twenty? Would she prefer to have personal service – such as dressing her – or does she also want more general service, like making the bed or weeding the lawn?
And while she’s chewing on those questions, ask yourself the same thing. What kinds of things would you like to do for her, to show your love and devotion? Do you prefer to do things that directly impact her on a personal level, such as opening car doors or drawing her bath, or do you like the idea of having things “just so” for her so that she can simply relax and enjoy her surroundings, without concerning herself with things like cleaning, upkeep, and management?
In order to be meaningful, service has to be really wanted by the top; some submissives make the mistake of thinking that their efforts will be appreciated without asking the top if it’s desired. Finding out from her what she values and what makes her feel more dominant towards you is the key to coming up with a plan of action – a list of tasks & ways to offer your service to her that positively drive the cycle of dominance and submission that people who enjoy service crave. And in order to be fulfilling, the results of these acts of service must provide joy to the person in service; whether it’s a feeling of a job well done, the pleasure of working with fetish objects (like bootblacking or hair brushing), or direct appreciation, it’s important to have the exchange of power go in both ways.
You already know (I assume) that your personal service to her gave her pleasure – this indicates to me that she enjoys having you in a role of lady’s maid or butler, so exploring other tasks in that realm (such as hair brushing, bathing, and so on) might be a great place to start. You also may want to try expanding the tasks that you know work – for instance, if you know that she likes to be dressed, you may want to add putting lotion or powder on her before dressing her, or ironing her clothing the night before. These can be some great places to start generating ideas for tasks that you can do for her that will help her feel well served.
Finally, make sure that you communicate as you explore with her, especially to let her know what kinds of praise or reassurance that you need. We may begin our path thinking that we don’t need to have our service acknowledged, only to find out that we deeply need to hear that our work is appreciated and valued. Some people find BDSM play to be a wonderful way of feeling valued; others feel most fulfilled when their work is not commented on, but simply enjoyed. Making sure that you let her know what you need, as you discover more, will give her more tools to use to ensure that you both get what you want (and more!) out of your service for her.
Originally posted October 20, 2010