Sunday, August 2, 2015

Crafting Your Craft: Serving With Passion

I think a unique opportunity presents itself when an s-type comes into the world of BDSM and power exchange prior to finding a partner. One is not bound to a set of expectations and desires to which they then need to conform. There is a lot of room for self exploration, to find the niches of the lifestyle that speak most to you as an individual before you "put yourself on the market" so to speak. However, any of this could apply to new couples coming into this as well.

See there's even a book!
I've read a lot fairly lately about submission or slavery being referred to as a "craft." This is an interesting turn of phrase for me, but I suppose that this can be a profession or an art like much anything else. But much like art...art itself, not a specific kind of art...there are unnumbered facets and crafts and methods and masterpieces. As always, I take the stance of individualism when it comes to kink. I don't subscribe to any uniform list of criteria that defines submission or slavery.

Well, you have the basic dictionary definitions of what those things mean, but the ways in which those concepts can be expressed are infinite.

There are many things a new s-type might explore on their road to figuring out just what kind of expression fits them best. I hate to imply that we are commodities that must sell ourselves well, but when ownership is such a prominent theme within the PE world, it's not a poor analogy I think. One always has to think, on both sides of the slash, what one has to offer another in a relationship and not just what can be offered to them.

With that in mind, I want to discuss the variety of skills and services that can be valuable to the novice s-type looking to figure out where they fit within the realm of PE relationships.

Churnin' out the scratch cookin'
like a regular Donna Reed. 
My first piece of advice is to look at the different styles of power exchange out there that are available to you. Learning about the styles that interest you can give you some direction on skills you might like to learn or cultivate and an idea of what dynamic might fulfill you best. For instance, I have found myself in a mixture primarily between the Odalisque style of slavery and a 1950s Household. I enjoy the domestic servitude aspect of the 1950s style, but I really get off on the fantastical nature of the Odalisquian fantasy, with its silks, dancing, and sensuality. 


Of course, you may find yourself pulling elements from a number of different "sub-genres" of power exchange. Odalisque and 1950s are simply the primary styles I draw from, but I also have an inclination towards the Domestic Discipline lifestyle. I also find Gor fascinating. I'm by no means Gorean, but I find some aspects of that realm inspiring. I would also advise, if slavery interests you at all, to perhaps study or at least look into different models of historical slavery in different cultures and see what inspirations you might draw from that. I particularly enjoy reading about Roman slavery and those forms associated with Middle Eastern cultures.

Some styles/subcultures/"sub-genres" you could learn more about:

  • 1950s Household
  • Domestic Discipline
  • Leather
  • Gor
  • Odalisque/Harem-style Slavery
  • Daddy/babygirl (not the same as Big/Little)
  • Owner/Pet (both human and animal styles)
  • Victorian (I'm not personally familiar with this one, but it was mentioned to me)
  • Owner/property
  • Total Power Exchange and Consensual Non-Consent (TPE & CNC)


Once you have decided what elements of service and submission from the various options that are out there, you might find that there are certain skills you want to gain or improve upon. The most important thing to remember when it comes to this is to choose activities, skills, areas of study in which you are interested, fascinated even. If you like what you're doing, if you find something intriguing, you will gain more from learning about it and work more to achieve whatever goals you might set for that area.

Now, I don't really study domestic service, but pulling from both of the primary styles I mentioned, two of my favorite service skills are cooking and sensual dance, belly dance in particular. I don't exactly go to cooking classes, but I do spend a lot of time watching the Food Network and fiddling around with new recipes. It is important to me to expand my repertoire, as I'm kind of picky, and Daddy doesn't like to eat the same things over and over again. I enjoy messing around in the kitchen and finding new recipes that I actually want to eat. I really enjoy learning how to make foods from scratch.
 
Belly dance is my favorite though. I've been playing around with it for a little over 4 years now, I think. I've never stepped foot in a class, but I have a solid investment in an instructional DVD library...that grew by 6 titles in the month of July. I also have a couple of essay anthologies about the dance form. It is probably the one thing, in the absence of an available swimming pool, that motivates me to exercise on a regular basis.

I'm not quite sure how I first stumbled upon it, but it was after I got into BDSM, so I assume that the initial spark came from my interest in slavery and the idea that Middle Eastern dance in particular would appeal to an owner. My first dom was not particularly supportive, but just a few months after we split, I started learning on my own. I've not maintained much diligence in that area, so my learning has been slower than it might have been otherwise, but lately I've found renewed motivation and expanded my collection with new lessons and routines to work with.

If you can find an area that you just can't stop learning about, pick it up. Someone is bound to find that skill appealing and useful, and if you love it, you'll be better at it in the long run.

There are a number of skills out there that you can find information on, books, classes videos, etc.

Financial



These could be valuable for any s-type, as we all know that there aren't as many billionaire doms wandering around as current trends in erotica would lead you to believe. I think a lot of writers make their dominants rich for the convenience of the plot, but the reality is that many of us are in lower income brackets, so learning how to manage money wisely is valuable for anyone. Your d-type may not want you to manage the household money, but having those skills never hurt, especially if you have a head for numbers. And a love of shopping.
Grown and
photographed by Kitty.

Domestic



The domestic skills are often the stereotypical types of nonsexual service one thinks about when imagining service in a PE relationship. The cleaning, the sewing, the making of the sammiches. Several of these topics can be very interesting though, and might be something you want to explore more in depth. I have an interest in learning vegetable and herb gardening, as well as other aspects of homesteading to put into practice when I'm finally able to relocate. These skills can also help supplement the financial skills above.

Leisure Skills
I recommend giant chess. 

  • Sensual/Erotic Dance
  • Massage/Reflexology
  • Musical Instruments
  • Singing
  • Literary Analysis
  • Debate
  • Current Events
  • Sports (playing of or knowledge of)
  • Games (Video, card, board, etc.)


These are the entertainment skills, things which your d-type might find pleasure in. These can also be a lot of fun for you, depending on your level of interest. Geisha might be a good example to look at here as far as the value of these skills. I can say, these are often the most fun...for me, anyway. Although, they can be a lot of work if you're wanting to "hone your craft."
 
Personal Care/Aesthetics

  • Hair Styling/Cutting
  • Manicure/Pedicure
  • Makeup Artistry
  • Body hair removal/care
  • Nutrition


These are your grooming services. I didn't throw in general bathing, because that's always up to personal preference. However, these are skills you can learn and even go to school specifically for them. Depending on your partner preferences, these may not be terribly high priority in some relationships. I'm sure a lot of female d-types would find several of these rather useful, though. Males too, of course, I would just assume that more female d-types will desire these kinds of services than males.
 
Maintenance/Artisan

  • Automotive Repair
  • Carpentry
  • Plumbing
  • Metalworking
  • Jewelry Crafting
  • Leather working
  • Lawn care/landscaping


I'm sure the practicality of these are obvious. These, just like all the others, can manifest as acts of service within a PE relationship. Things you thought were just hobbies can end up being very valuable as an s-type.

There are so many things out there that can be employed within the context of service, so many skills you may already have or have an interest in. I think people often limit their idea of what service is, and that's a shame. It's not just sex, or cooking, cleaning, and serving tea on fancy little trays. Even things that may be seen as vanilla can be expressed within a PE context. Now, what I have listed here is by no means comprehensive. I just wanted to provide a general idea of what is possible.  

Coming into this unpartnered does allow for some freedom in finding your interests and talents. Not to say that one can't experience equal freedom of discovery within an already established relationship, but I think disinterest on a partner's part can be discouraging sometimes. My ex wasn't really interested in my dancing. Daddy isn't enthusiastic about all of my homesteading interests. I do have a lot of leeway when it comes to finding things that interest me, but I always have to keep in mind what he likes and what he finds useful.

I encourage any s-type, new or otherwise, single or owned, to find the things that interest you and throw yourself into them. They might be more useful than you thought. The passion never hurts. 

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