This is the last post in my “five love languages for kink” series. Today we’re talking acts of service! I deliberately left this one until last because it is, arguably, the one that most obviously lends itself to a BDSM context.
The acts of service love language can best be summed up as “actions speak louder than words.” The key for people who subscribe to this love language is doing things for each other in order to show love, caring, consideration and commitment.
How to love a submissive whose love language is acts of service
“Hold on a minute, Amy!” you’re saying. “The submissive performs service for the Dominant, not the other way around!”
Which, yes, that’s certainly the way it looks – and in many dynamics, that’s how it plays out. But “service” doesn’t have to mean subservience. Acts of service, in a love language sense, means doing things for the other person that make them feel loved.
The Five Love Languages site suggests things like doing the dishes, collecting their mail, and getting up in the middle of the night for childcare duties. But how do you perform acts of service for your partner as a Dominant without it undermining your dynamic?
Acts of service are, fundamentally, about taking care of each other. And I believe that as a Dominant, one of your primary and most important roles is to take care of your submissive. Exactly what “care” means in this context is, of course, open to interpretation and will depend upon your dynamic. A Daddy Dom will care for their submissive in a different way to a sadist, a pet player, or an Owner in an Owner/property dynamic.
So, yes, making your submissive dinner might be considered an act of service. You can do this out of love and to show care… and even Dominance. Making a meal might mean you’re making sure that they get proper nourishment, because they’re your most cherished possession and you like to take care of your things. Similarly, taking a chore off their hands when they’re exhausted, running an errand to save them time on a busy day, or picking up medication for them can all be acts of service that show them they’re loved… and also that you’re taking good care of your favourite toy.
Acts of service from a Dominant can also facilitate the possibility for kinky fuckery. An exhausted submissive who doesn’t have the energy to play because they’re busy running both your lives is no fun at all. Offering acts of service, as well as making your submissive feel loved, can also free up time, physical energy and mental space… which can be used to do all your favourite filthy things together.
And don’t forget that a relationship is a partnership! You might have negotiated an unequal power imbalance but you both still exist in the real world, and in that world you need to be equal human beings with responsibilities that you take on together. And shouldering your share of the load – and sometimes extra in order to support your partner – is sexy (and Dominant) as hell.
How to love a Dominant whose love language is acts of service
I mean, this is the easiest one of the entire series to write! Service is very often a part of a D/s relationship, in the sense of the submissive performing acts of service to the Dominant.
Of course, exactly what this looks like for you will depend on your dynamic. In one of my past relationships, one of the ways I showed service was by cooking for my partner (who hated cooking but loved good food.) At other times, making someone’s tea or coffee has been an act of service. Right now I’m not in a 24/7 D/s relationship but I perform small acts of service for my partners when I can, whether it’s making them food or going to the store for something they need.
Ask your Dominant, if they haven’t already told you, what specific shows of service work best for them. Perhaps you always make their drink in the morning, iron their favourite shirt or polish their boots before you go out, or have dinner on the table when they get back from work. The keys here are routine and flexibility. Routine can help build a dynamic and a submissive headspace, as well as showing consistency and reliability. But flexibility is essential when circumstances, people and needs inevitably change – which they will.
Acts of service can also relate directly to your kinky play. Cleaning the sex toys after a session, coiling your Dominant’s rope in the way they like, or making the effort to have their favourite brand of lube before they come over all totally count as acts of service. Not to mention that sexual service – performing a sex act for the Dom’s pleasure – can be hot as fuck.
Years ago, a (*tongue firmly in cheek*) Terribly Twue Subby Sub I knew lectured me: “submission isn’t cups of tea and blowjobs, you know!” And I was like… maybe not to you? And that’s fine? But I’m a service-oriented sexual submissive and actually those things ARE a big part of it to me.
Service, like submission and Dominance and kink and sex and relationships, is what you want it to be.
Additional tips that are good for anyone
The two big keys to successfully pulling off acts of service are:
- Doing it without being asked, at least sometimes.
- Going above and beyond the usual call of duty.
Of course, no-one expects you to be a mindreader and know exactly what your partner wants without them asking. But presumably you know them at least reasonably well, yes? So use that knowledge to find little ways to perform service for them without being prompted. Run to the store when you’ve run out of milk before they get up and make their morning coffee, put a hot water bottle in bed for them on a cold night, or make them lunch before a long work day. The significance here isn’t in grand gestures, but in finding little everyday ways to show consideration and love.
“Above and beyond” just means that doing the expected roughly-50% of general life duties (household chores, childcare, life admin) isn’t enough by itself (though it is important!) You need to go a step beyond that, at least sometimes. The quickest way to make your partner feel unloved and resentful, if their love language is acts of service, is to do the bare minimum you can get away with.
How can your partner show they love you via acts of service?