An exploration of Service Submission by a lifestyle Domme and her submissive male partner
*** 3/3 ***
I am giving this book a 3 out of 3 despite disagreement with some of its content and format issues that affect the questionnaire at the beginning and end of the book.
I “discovered” this book and Rika herself originally on the excellent blog of Ferns, Domme Chronicles. I do strongly recommend her site, her writing, and following her various feeds—she is a philosopher Domme, and is committed and real. She maintains a great suggested reading list, and this was one of the books on her list—one of many that I have bought and read to further my education. [Here is a link to her reading list].
I have a particular attraction to this book because it is F/m as in female Domme and male sub…but is also meaningful to me because it deals with lifestyle submission and Dominance. Hold your horses. You might spot the inconsistency here, as I submit to a pro-Domme…I have written about why this is the only way that can work within the context of my life. [I have written about that here]. I am blessed in many ways, and first is to have an SO whom I adore and see what I explore in the world of D/s as giving me vanilla ways to improve towards her. The second is to have discovered a Mistress who gets this, who cultivates my submission, and who takes a genuine interest in my growth and development…and does this through a professional relationship which is very lifestyle in its execution.
Some of the concepts in this book have therefore helped me tremendously in terms of understanding why I submit, and how to be “clean” in my submission. By “clean” I mean “pure”. I have discovered I am a service submissive. This was pointed out to me as totally obvious by another pro-Domme over dinner one night. [You can read about that here]. That’s the beauty of a pro-Domme—they’ve seen it all already, whereas even in retrospect I am not so sure I could have known exactly what type of submissive I am without having discovered it through the process I am going through. Indeed, how on earth can one self-identify as a slave until a Dominant partner shows you the way?
Before buying several of her books, I wrote to Rika. I asked her to explain to me the concept of love within the context of D/s. You might have found this to be a bit of a recurring theme for me. Indeed, it is the theme. Expressing love through submission, but also encouraging and receiving love because of submission. She was kind enough to write back, and to do so with real gusto, taking the time to explain to me her philosophy. This was an enriching exchange and one I carried straight into session with Mistress, both in action and conversation, wanting to know her thoughts. I’ll just say that we had a blissful time together, and I believe it was in part informed by Rika’s guidance.
I have found, however, I don’t agree with everything Rika teaches and says, and had a separate exchange with Ferns of Domme Chronicles on Twitter. This was also enriching and quite different. What I begin to understand more and more clearly is that every D/s relationship is different. Each and every one is dictated by the subtle dance between partners, Domme in the lead, but being fed by submission. It is beautiful to think about. And can you imagine what riches lie before a pro-Domme, who gets her cup filled in so many different meaningful ways. It must be uncommonly tough if it doesn’t come naturally—but if you can feed off of the energy, wow!
I do think this was an enlightening book and should be in the library of every Domme and sub…and the lessons are applicable regardless of gender.
“The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” Albert Schweitzer
This is a snapshot of the book, which runs to over 300 pages. It is a no-nonsense practical approach to what works and what does not in a D/s relationship. It looks into the pitfalls and why such relationships fail. It is F/m in its telling.
The book debunks how so much of BDSM is male-centric…with the Domme having to serve the subs will. The focus is on having a loving and respectful relationship with a partner that has a solid foundation, but with the added dimension of a power exchange.
Service oriented D/s is oriented in the desire to please. There are no tricks or seductions. He voluntarily and openly commits himself to serve the needs of the dominant partner…and by accepting, she fulfils his need to serve.
What is your objective? What is your intent from service? Knowing the answers to these questions are the starting off points.
It covers why things fail…both from a male and Female perspective. The male is offering submission/slavery as a gift. The Female is using sex to control him…sissification, conditioning, blackmail, sexual favours. He should be focussed on what he can do FOR me not what I can DO to him…and this runs counter to the way most people conceive of BDSM—or at least the way it is portrayed.
As Rika argues, “I want my partner to be enslaved by his love of serving me, not to serve me because he loves being enslaved.”
Chapter 2…True Submission
The pop culture version is all about him and his needs, his kinks. The true submissive, however, gives himself to the service of the dominant partner. For her pleasure. His needs are not front and centre. Only the desire to serve.
She introduces the concept of scene-based relationships and equates this with the role of the pro-Domme [I wrote about her points here]. She argues that in the scene-based relationship, a sub proves devotion through outrageous acts—the more extreme, the more submissive he is.
Chapter 3…True Dominance
She notes that true dominance is simply accepting his intent to serve…and then leveraging a man’s commitment to serve, then you are dominant.
Chapter 4…The Power Exchange, Rika Style
She argues that there are no limits to service, no safe words. This is a concept I understand within the context of her book, but I am not sure I am comfortable with the concept of no safe words. There has to be an outlet—when we explore an emotional landscape, there are times when things could be too much.
She states that service-oriented D/s is about a long-term relationship involving power exchange. I find this comforting. Power exchange, she states, is an open commitment of one partner to serve the other. The submissive partner commits to serve Her in any way she would like. He promises to put her wishes ahead of his own. She agrees to provide him feedback and to help him learn to serve her to the best of his ability.
Rika uses a layer metaphor to describe D/s, and indeed this is exactly what she had written to me about. The foundation layer is vanilla. Open, trusting, honest, respectful. The role of the submissive is to make his partner’s life easier.
When you think this way, ask yourself…how to make life easier or better? It places the responsibility on the man, not on the Domme. Learn to submit to her unique needs. Open communication is how you discover them. The dominant partner gives direction and feedback so that he might improve.
Rika describes this as just exactly how a knight serves his Queen. No, I am not kidding. This struck a chord with me. [Not surprising, as I wrote about this very feeling here.]
Adding D/s to your Relationship
First, you must know yourself. And avoid the common mistakes. It isn’t a role or a game. It is life. You will fail if you need the role more than you need her. So, find the dominant role which is completely within her character, to which he can submit. D/s success comes from adding power exchange to a vanilla relationship which already works. He should submit to her unique identity. She is not an object in leather with a whip.
Understand your partner. Know what she wants. She also wants to see you happy, and to feel your desire for her. Only she knows what she wants, needs, and desires. As the submissive, your role is to help her achieve her desires. You need to learn. You need to learn to serve.
Communicate your Desires
It should make you happy to just strive to make her happy. Tell her how much you appreciate her allowing you to please her. Show her how much you desire her and appreciate her receptiveness.
Anticipate her needs. The only success criteria can be whether she was happy with your actions. That’s it.
Be openly disappointed in yourself when you fail.
Kinks are not the goal
These are gifts from her to you. Submission won’t go away. The submissive man is born like this. The view of submission is likely shaped by media, but such is a male-centric, self-serving fantasy…and as such it will always fail. Is the man he’s trying to be attractive to you? You cannot compete with a man’s imagination, nor should you, unless you are a pro.
Turn his requests, desires, into something that fits you. The submissive man:
- Wants to make you happy
- Wants your attention
- Wants you to be interested and active
- Wants you to openly recognise the power of being a woman
There is nothing more attractive to a submissive man than a woman who demonstrates openly how confident she is in her sexuality and its affect on him.
Awareness, attitude, but also communication of intent:
- Accept his submission
- He must compromise to your position. That is the point
- You agree to accept his submission only if it agrees with your definition of what submission means to you, and for you
- Make my life easier
- Pleasing the Domme is a constant, pleasing the submissive happens as and when
- Active submission, not spineless. Think, anticipate, be creative. Put your energy to work for her.
He won’t succeed all the time, but I want to know he’s trying all the time. Creativity helps define routines, let him think of things he can do for you. What the Domme does:
- Accept and recognise his service
- Provide honest feedback to help him improve
- Be active and interested
Success is judged on how well he pleases her.
She also covers punishment and insubordination. It is interesting, but her main view is that the only punishment that really works is to take away his ability to serve. Anything else is ineffective.
“If you want a man to act like a child, act like his mother.”
I don’t want a child; I want a grown man focussed on my needs. The only solution is open communication.
This matters as the same action done by a vanilla person doesn’t have the same intent, and for Rika, this matters.
“As a submissive you cannot expect any quid pro quo roles. Yours is the giving role.”
Chapter 4. Gifts and Rewards
When you are done playing, exploring kinks, then things go back to normal, which is especially critical if there was a release involved.
A gift is something she gives. She gives. A reward is something that is earned, and can therefore thought to be owed. Not surprising but Rika points out that rewards have no place in a D/s dynamic as it creates expectation.
These chapters deal with various scenarios and play scenes and I found them to be too specific to her own dynamic with her partner and his kinks. They explore the various kink scenarios they play with. These may be more relevant if the kinks are the same as yours.
Chapter 7. Tease and Denial
Controlling his orgasm is not the same as controlling sexual activity. It is just controlling release. Let him show desire, hot, masculinity, but then control and deny.
Tease and deny are equal to power and control, and should be central to the erotic dynamics.
“Few things in life are sexier than playfully sexually frustrating a man.”
Resigned helplessness is hot. After the orgasm his mindset sobers. Quickly. It is important to reassert D/s immediately. Pain, service, sexual or otherwise. Get him straight back into the mindset. Make him expend energy to do a good job at something.
Chapter 8. Chastity Devices
I was encouraged to read that she finds the device is not necessary for an obedient service slave. The true submissive simply does not need one. He simply obeys.
However, the sound and feeling of the clicking of the lock is powerful. The moment it happens, gently reinforce his vulnerability, tease him, play on the impact of the moment.
What do I love most about this book?
She makes it real. She makes it very possible and plausible. The roadmap works. It is also harder on the submissive partner. That is very validating. I know what value I bring. This is a way to show it and be appreciated for it. What more could a submissive ask for?
What did I not like?
The chapters on kinks. And also, she starts and ends the book with a questionnaire, and unfortunately the numbering is off—so it is very difficult to track the various questions…it would be pretty easy to fix this. Additionally, spelling and grammar mistakes are a distraction. Small niggles.
I do recommend this book as essential reading. It really challenged me, provoked several posts, made me think for days, and generated some very healthy and important conversation with Mistress.