In most power dynamics, a primary component is sex. Activities of pain, humiliation, bondage and so on are preludes to intercourse. Many dynamics extend beyond a scene and sex, with the dominant partner controlling aspects of the submissive, such as assigning chores. Other dynamics, such as online or financial domination, generally maintain at least an indirect sexual component in masturbation. Some dynamics exclude the sexual component, in part or in whole entirely, such as domestic service.
The vast majority of kinksters engage in activities with partners involving sex, however there are some who are less interested or not interested in sex for various reasons. For them, the ability to serve is the thrill. From what I can find, the majority of those interested in non-sexual service offer housekeeping and other chore related options. They will sometimes engage in sex if the Dom wants it, these subs do not actively seek such sex and some may dislike providing sexual services. Working nude or in a costume is also common, initiated by the Dom or sub.
Non-Sexual Domestic Service (NSDS)
Providing domestic service is related to, but different from, the houseboy concept, in which a man will be provided room and board (and possibly an allowance) in exchange for chores, usually including sex. There is also a difference with cohabitating partners who have some split of the duties. For those interested in it, Non-Sexual Domestic Service (NSDS) is a chance to engage in power dynamics without sex. The sub’s lack of desire for sex could be due to asexuality, disinterest, or the feeling the servant or Dom is not sexually appealing.
I define NSDS by the expectation and desire of the submissive. If the sub does not desire and/or expect sex as part of the service, it is NSDS. Some subs do not want sexual intercourse at all. The sub may desire sex as part of the service, but not expect it. The man may be straight. The sub may not feel he is suitably enticing. Whatever the case, it is the presumption that sex will not occur.
Many subs will sexually service Doms in an NSDS encounter if the Dom wishes. It is seen as an extension of the service they perform. Indeed, some subs will offer NSDS as a way to ingratiate themselves to a Dom in hopes of eventually providing sexual services. However, it is rarely the primary motivator. A significant number of subs discourage or refuse to provide sexual services. Some subs will be less interested or withdraw service if sex becomes part of it (S1, C2) “Sometimes the subtle use of influence, difference in status and authority can be erotic also.” (M1)
NSDS allows men to participate in a power exchange without intercourse. A straight Dom or sub can participate without needing to have sex they do not want. If either are in a committed partnership, the power exchange happens without a violation of the vows. As there is sex without power exchange, this is power exchange without sex. “It feels like a more respectable way to show deference to a Dom than sex.” (A1) “Sexual service entails often some kind of physical pleasure for the fag too. But taking care of someone else’s domestic needs without any obvious reward for you requires another level of self sacrifice and dedication that is very appealing for some of us.” (G1)
A sub will be drawn to non-sexual domestic service for a variety of reasons. He may have a deep desire to provide a useful service to a man, or to suffer the pangs of humiliation. “I find the implicit subservience alone provides some fulfillment” (S1). Subs who perform NSDS are able to make a tangible positive effect on the life of the Dom(s) they serve. This effect, one outside of the sensual realm, is a great motivator. NSDS subs may have a drive towards order and tidiness, or find cleaning restful or cathartic. “I also feel like a real slave” (P1). Humiliation may not occur, it can be a feeling of normality (G1). “The one-sidedness – Master gets all the benefits fully at the slaves expense – is how it thinks a Master/slave relationship should be; the slave should suffer so its Master’s life is better.” (L1). Respondent W1 was cleaning up after people (roommates, work) before he discovered kink.
The receiver of the service gets the obvious benefit. There is also the feeling of receiving what is their natural right (M1). Any chore considered tedious, demeaning, or simply unwanted can be assigned. Subs offer specialized services that they can perform, often professionally. For example, there are ads for subs providing electrical or plumbing work as those are skills the sub has,
There’s a practical element to it – having chores done for you is enjoyable on the most simple and base level. What’s important though, much as with findom, is the heightened level above the practical benefits of service. I want a submissive to fold my laundry, prepare my coffee and polish my shoes not because of the tasks themselves, but because it communicates a deeper desire to be of service. For a submissive to make an effort to please you domestically is for that sub to use their labour as a form of surrender – everything they can do is for my enjoyment.(T1)
For the NSDS submissive, men can be found by chance encounter, advertising on fetish sites, or dating sites. Once found, the process of arranging time for service is fulfilling to the sub. Determining what duties will be performed and going through the anticipation provide an extended session for the sub. There are cases where the Dom demands a fee to be served, for mistakes, or the use of materials (L1), adding financial domination to the mix (C2). Straight and bi Dom men may be more interested in the service or having a “fag” to boss around (S1).
The element of the forbidden or the challenge in still being seductive to a straight man is a driver for me. Finally being close to straight men is wonderful, a curiosity and itch I couldn’t normally scratch in any meaningful way with friends or coworkers.(D1)
The Dress/Uniform expands the power exchange
A significant number perform service nude or in a jockstrap. Whatever uniform is used, it is with the approval of the Dom. Maid outfits or diapers (L1) are common, especially for subs identifying as sissies (S1) The uniform may be made uncomfortable as well. A number of subs wear street clothes. The style of dress expands the power exchange. Some subs will not modify their dress or go nude, feeling it moves the service to a form of role play (G1). Restraints or rules may be introduced, to increase the difficulty and give the exercise a more domineering quality (L1).
Respondent M1 will display his NSDS subs nude if they are appealing, but prefers them dressed if serving at table, especially in brilliant white. Other outfits would be assigned depending on the situation.
Once service is complete, a sub may feel very satisfied and fulfilled. He has performed a useful service to a man. This feeling may carry over for some time. Sub-drop is a possibility (L1), and is common in many scenes. Respondent W1 says where he did not think he would miss providing NSDS, after a week without the opportunity he felt depressed and more useless than normal.
Kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry are the areas most done in NSDS, as reported by respondents. Doing dishes seems to be the most common task. There are occasions when the task is made difficult by fetters or restricting rules, but the majority of times the primary purpose of cleaning is the goal. “Make Work” is often discouraged (A1, S1), the sub wanting to provide a useful benefit. The sub may also be assigned to projects, such as setting up a dungeon (S1). Service may be getting a grocery list to pick up (G1). Other subs may be assigned to do schoolwork. (C1). Subs have been taking on trips (G2) to provide service during travel.
Dinner service and informal parties are something I like doing whenever the opportunity arises. Again, the main purpose of doing it is providing the service, following strict rules, being uniformed, showing obedience to people I think as superior to myself. Though it can be busy of course, there’s also a lot of waiting around sometimes, such as simply standing silently and waiting until you’re needed. This can set those who are serious about this scene apart from those who aren’t. Standing still for hours, only broken by the request for a glass of wine, isn’t for everyone. Also, having that sort of service isn’t for everyone either.(G2)
Doms may also send the sub to others to perform duties, renting or loaning them out. For some distant relationships, the sub might be instructed to find volunteer opportunities. Subs could be assigned to follow social media accounts or promote them. Research, making appointments, and other duties could be given. Domestic duties are the main type of service provided, but there are a good number of other possibilities for local and distant subs.
Respondent G2 has been taken as a servant for holidays of up to two weeks, serving with others. The sub can pack and drive, provide all needed tasks. Making beds, polishing boots, detailing cars, all in addition to providing or the requirements of a number of Doms. It can be very demanding. During some such sessions, G2 would sleep outside the bedrooms in case he was needed. Another duty would be to carry items during excursions. G2 will remain following behind, speaking when spoken to. For long engagements, a few hours off for the sub can provide not only a break, but an elevated feeling of the servile situation.
Humiliation is a draw for many
Humiliation is a draw for many (M1, W1), showing they will take this for the Dom’s entertainment and amusement. Respondent W1 has been in situations where groups have openly mocked him as the “house bitch”. Not only are the activities themselves humiliating, but uniforms and/or restrictions feed into this. If there is a socio-economic reversal of status, the humiliation factor is very evident. For example, consider a successful man kneeling and performing household work. The Dom is able to have dominion over someone perceived with higher status.
Most NSDS is done with only the contracting Dom present. However, there are cases where a partner or others may be present for the service. This usually adds new layers of humiliation. A1 reports his Dom’s partner teases him. Other subs enjoy being displayed (S1), Doms appreciate being able to show their control (M1). The Dom may send the sub to perform duties at another house, including the homes of women.
Punishment makes up part of this form of power exchange, as it does in others. Real or imagined laziness, incompleteness, attitude or the like providing the reason for punishment (G2). As a matter of course, the sub may be sent to a corner or write lines, thanking for the opportunity to serve (L1). As with many fetishists, there can be a range of interests, NSDS providing an opportunity for the activities. Respondent G2 says “…[H]ow humiliating it was to be told off and smacked across the face in front of other people, and explaining how the sense of genuine shame increases as it happens more and is part of the natural flow of events rather than some pre arranged type of scene.”
Some time may be needed for the sub to acclimate to the service. This may be exhibited in nervousness, inattention to tasks and so on. Doms may also feel some apprehension (C2) as the form of intimacy is different from a more typical bondage or pain scene. For those less used to this type of activity, it can take time to accept. During a group service, one guest intervened with a fairly intense punishment of Respondent G2 and took time to be assured that all was within bounds. Where the new may begin with offering to assist the NSDS sub, soon the servant will be allowed to serve.
Natural result of inferiority
Being allowed to perform NSDS can be a very intimate activity (C1) . If he is trusted to work in an empty house or not directly supervised, the feeling of trust can pervade him. Some subs see it as a natural result of inferiority, willingly taking additional humiliations to provide entertainment (B1). New arrangements do take some time to establish themselves, in familiarity and how duties are performed.
BDSM is an integral part of many people’s sex lives and there are also others who enjoy D/s without sex itself. The labor, intimacy, and connection that is part of a scene can happen without intercourse. Those who desire to act in a submissive way are not limited to overtly erotic activities. Fully clothed, without contact, the very real fulfillment can and does occur.
I want to thank all those who answered my questions on this topic. You input and experiences have been invaluable.