A Chat About Service Orientation and Service Kink, September 16, 2020

service kinks for 9/16 fetchat, a hand with a tray holding a heart that is bound in a shibari-style harness

Content: Discussion of service orientation and service kink.

#fetchat date: September 16, 2020

#fetchat is a weekly Twitter chat for anyone interested in exploring the world of kinks and fetishes. The responses below were comments made by #fetchat followers. The answers are posted as they appeared in the chat. We’ve removed the identities of those responding out of respect for their privacy.

Don’t forget to check out the Beyond #fetchat posts inspired by service orientation/service kink.


What do you think of when you hear the phrase Service Orientation or Service Kink? 

Folks Said:

Mainly I think serving someone in order to fulfill their needs to serve whether that be sexual or non-sexual.

I don’t have much to add that hasn’t already been covered, but I would say it refers to someone who gets an especially keen contentment/pleasure from taking care of some one via acts of service

I think about traditional D/s relationships that involve a specific type of power-exchange.

Service is an effort to ease other’s burdens. As a kink, there’s an extra level of potential fulfillment that Doms and subs in healthy dynamics can work toward experiencing. 

I go to dynamics that involve a lot of anticipating a partners’ needs and getting most of your pleasure from meeting those needs.  It’s not something that really falls along D/s lines for me, because a lot of D-types get off on serving the needs of s-types too.

I personally think of D/s and non-sexual service. Specifically High Protocol. I think about disappearing into service and letting all ego go. I think of service as both intimate & distant in a comforting way.

When I hear of a service orientation or a service kink, I tend to think of a Dominant or a submissive who derives a great deal of pleasure from caring for/performing services (sexual and non-sexual) for their partner.

I think of it as a submissive thing.  Deriving extreme pleasure for servicing the needs of their dominant

I tend to think of a D/s relationship more along the lines of Master/slave where service whether sexual or non-sexual provides both with pleasure.

I think of selfless devotion. It can take the guise of serving or submitting in ways that you wouldn’t necessarily mark as your ‘preference’, but you perform to please regardless. I think it also encompasses being present and caring for someone in their time of need. 

Yes! Thank you for mentioning the act of being present – that is such an important facet of any power exchange, but it feels like that is the central tenant around which service-oriented practice revolves.

Does your perception change when you talk about a service-oriented Dominant/Top vs. a service-oriented submissive/bottom?

Folks Said:

For me, yes.  I tend to think of a service Top/Dom as being more focused on a scene and delivering a good experience whereas a service oriented sub is much more broad and could cover cooking, cleaning, gofer, as well as kink oriented services. I may be wrong, though.

Not at all. Service is often associated with submission, but that’s shortsighted. As a war vet… service isn’t submission or solely for followers. A caring Dom lives in service to their subs. But a “service kink” is specific to the person being turned on. 

I think it’s more understanding the different flavors of pleasure I get in service.  If I’m in a Top role, my pleasure comes from taking care of my s-type partner.  Making sure they feel safe and are having fun.  I get off on knowing I’m providing that for them.

But when I’m in the bottom role, service is so much more about making sure my Top feels like I’ve anticipated what they need and acted/behaved in a way that meets that need.  Don’t wanna fold the laundry?  I’ll do that for you!

I never really considered a Dom being service-oriented. But I can see how service would take the form of nurturing and healing in kink. Service could be giving the best scene possible to the submissive.  Good question. 

While the focus of a service-oriented kink is the other partner or partners in cases of both D and s service-oriented folks. I think the flavor of service differs. In my exp. when I’m in a Dominant space, the service comes from a more nurturing space to serve is to care for someone, fulfill their needs, and give the freedom of pleasure and care when in a Dominant space & in a submissive space it is about  taking on or “unburdening” a partner.  I have no idea if that makes sense.

There isn’t much of a shift in perception. There is a shift of perspective of needs though but none of which really affects my views on any role. Gonna sit this fetchat out I’m more interested in reading the responses on this topic. 

What are some of examples of non-sexual service-oriented actions/tasks for Dominants/Tops to perform? What about actions/tasks for service-oriented submissives/bottoms? 

Folks Said:

I tend to think of service oriented Dominants as those who desire service, often anticipatory service from their subs. I.E. Grooming assistance, Clothing preparation,  Cooking, Cleaning

For the D type, maybe helping the s type to organize, prioritize, set goals, maintain their health and/or finances.   And the s type could do those same things if the D type is overburdened or not good at some of them.  I think more traditionally, though, the s type focuses more on freeing the d type from more menial tasks, bootblacking, laundry, cleaning, etc. plus perhaps tries to enhance their life via tea service, cigar service, decorations, non-scene atmosphere. 

As a s-type, I wanna do whatever will make their day easier. Let me get your clothes ready, prep the coffee pot, make sure you have what you need for lunch. As a D-type, it’s more helping my s-type facilitate their own self care. I wanna be a safe place when needed  

 if a submissive has certain life goals like health or financial, having a Dominant set boundaries and tasks for them to accomplish to help them achieve it could be a form of service.

 I think service, as a concept, manifests itself in BDSM practicioners going above and beyond societal norms in service to their dynamic and each other. 

As a kink, service simply involves doing or accepting the acts that make one or both of you feel good. 

My favorite non-sexual service-oriented Dominant/Top tasks are about caring for someone’s physical needs (like bathing, foot rubs, cooking/baking, massages). Because my partner/spouse is made up of extra vanilla goodness. My Dominant/Top service-oriented needs get met through things like this – being able to take charge of his care in a way that he enjoys.  I derive a really lovely high from it. And he knows that’s where my head goes and is so open to me fulfilling my need to do things like that.

A lot of my s-type submission has been in helping my spouse with their health issues–we have some routines in caring for their lymphedema that specifically include my service. I realize this does not specifically apply to very many people lmao.

What does sex look like in a service-oriented scene? Does it change depending on the role of the service-oriented partner (Dominant vs. submissive)?

Folks Said:

service-oriented sex scenes look different for everyone because kink is subjective. On one end of the spectrum you have call and obey dirty talk, on the other you could build sets and create complete service roles to be followed during scene play.

It may not look different at all. It is the mindset of “I’m here for you” that guides the behavior.

I’m going to sound like a broken record, but I really do think that while the actions might look similar, the impetus behind what’s driving a person’s service-orientation (either from a Dominant or submissive perspective) is where the difference lies. 

My husband/D-type is a service top, so sex ends up being very focused on my needs. But that’s how he *takes* his pleasure for him. It’s made me kinda greedy, and seek out s-type partners motivated to meet my needs for their own pleasure. Doesn’t seem that different.

Submissive cleaning needs and toys after play. Making sure the playspace is tidy before and after.   Dominant providing aftercare.

Many possibilities. In my own past it’s looked like service-subs getting bed ready, getting lube nearby, getting blanket ready, filling water bottle, cleaning up after (tongue or otherwise), planning food, gathering toys, following protocols, etc. Making sex more effortless.

What about safety? Are there safety concerns that are specific to service-oriented scenes? What is important to talk about before, during, and after a scene?

Folks Said:

Well, if you’re being a service top or bottom for a kink activity or scene the standard negotiation talk applies re the activities in involved, current physical status, health issues, safewords, aftercare needs, etc.  For non-kink, maybe preferences of the receiver.

Mental safety is a prime concern here. People confuse service acts with general servitude. ie: “service” has nothing to do with gender roles or Dominance and submission, yet often looks like heteronormative misogyny. The reason is because it’s easy to justify a toxic dynamic by slapping a D/s label on it. Service shouldn’t involve one person doing more (chores, sex favors, work) but instead personal acts intended to unburden your sub or Dom in exchange for increased positivity. The reason this is often a legit kink is because It should feel good to make a difference in someone’s life for the better. And to know someone wants to do that for you. Service is not just for subs, but for all carers of other humans. Anything else looks like abuse at worst and toxic inequity at best. (/Rant)

as others have said, I feel like it can be easy to get burnt out on service. Communication is important on both ends.

Here’s the thing, being a service sub can wear you down. There is a difference between choosing to disappear behind a role and feeling invisible. The psychological toll can be immense if both the D & the s don’t keep communication lines open. Talk – always.

I think safety concerns should include talking about tasks from a physical and emotional perspective, before, during, and after a scene. I mean that’s pretty much  my mantra in any BDSM situation. But service-orientation play/practice can involve some deeply emotional and psychological spaces. And be incredibly physically taxing depending on what is being done. The combination of physical/emotional/psychological necessitates that partners take care of each other in these spaces. Drop is a thing for both D’s and s’s.

I have to be on guard for mental stuff.  I’ve been an s-type for a long time, and know how to keep from feeling like I’ve lost myself in service.  But I’m new to Topping and spend a lot of mental energy making sure I’m not conditioning my partner to be my doormats.

I think you should really be aware of boundaries and mental health both as a sub and a Dom. Both require checking in with your partner to make sure your needs. If your partner is unwilling to have those conversations, that is a red flag.

What tips would you have for someone who wanted to bring a service-oriented focus into a scene? How would you bring up your interest with a partner or partners?

Folks Said:

Hmm. Maybe agree or set mutual titles and have some ritual for starting a scene to help both get into the headspace.  And maybe (re)affirm that one is doing this as one or more services for the other and than that should be acknowledged and appreciated.

It’s about finding the groove. kink service: you just talk about what turns you on. But for lifestyle service in a 24/7 dynamic.. be ready to spend forever doing trial-and-error. Because your goal is perfection, but the person you’re serving should be growing and changing.

Conversation first, last & always. That said, maybe set a date ahead of time, or make a list of things the sub/dom could do that would really make their partner feel cared for & that you could set up for in advance. You could combine it w/ another kink like role play

A lot of D/s evolves w/ some aspect of service involved, so I would suggest they explore where it already exists in their relationship and look to expand upon that – slowly. Discuss specifically what they both want to see as a result. Align expectations first.

Talk openly about what you want.  “I’d really love to start doing this for you.”  Or something like, “I think it would be so hot if you wanted to do that for me.”  Build what works for you.  There’s no one perfect way to serve or be served.

I would think like any type of kink that the key is communication and being willing to be vulnerable and honest about your desires. 

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What are your thoughts?