As I’ve mentioned, I’m a service-oriented submissive, and have been since I was fourteen (even if I didn’t know what it was called).
However, not all submission comes from the same place and people don’t always submit for the same reasons. Chinaone from FetLife talks about a type of submission that differs from mine, authority-oriented submission.
Motivations of Submission: Service Orientated vs Authority Orientated
Early on in my explorations I discovered that I didn’t possess the same motivations that seemed commonplace to other submissives. The popular assumption was that submissives where motivated by their desire to please. I didn’t possess that desire which led me to question my self-identification as a submissive for some time. It wasn’t until much later that I realized there existed another motivating factor which I think of as obedience to authority. Understanding this about myself was a great relief. So to was learning that there are others with similar motivational sources. Unfortunately, even today, there still remains this assumption by many that all submissives are motivated to please and the lack of such equates to not being an /s type. Neither is accurate, but it seems a difficult concept for others to grasp and accept. Since this is a topic that I have attempted to explain many times over recent years, I think writing about it may prove beneficial at a minimum in aiding others to understand me but perhaps also towards beginning to understand the concept in general. What follows is based solely on my experiences and personal philosophy and not meant to be over generalized to the population.
I can’t tell you the number of times I have run into such /s types and felt lacking. They had an almost tangible energy to do for others in general or for their particular partner that left me wondering if I wasn’t defective by comparison. I would hear them make comments such as:
“I enjoy being useful”
“I can’t do enough for ____”
“My purpose is to make ______’s life easier”
“Anticipatory service just comes naturally to me”
I would look at them in awe, sure they had some deeper understanding or greater goodness that I was missing. Eventually I figured out that they simply had a different motivational system than I did. According to their descriptions, they found personal fulfillment through their acts of service. Service was its own reward that filled a need within them. Their submission was motivated by a desire to make their partner(s) happy. In so doing, they were compensated by feelings of purpose, contentment, achievement, or personal satisfaction.
While I can understand this drive, I can’t relate to it. I don’t engage in submissive acts for the purpose of making someone else happy, to make their life easier or because their needs supersede mine. Neither do I have a natural ability or desire to provide anticipatory services. This is a skill I must address with great conscious intention or it would elude me. If my partner were to temporarily relieve me of a prescribed duty for some reason, I would not think twice about it. I would not feel derelict, nor would I feel robbed of an opportunity to serve. This isn’t because I am self-centered or uncaring about my partner. I am quite capable of placing other’s needs above my own when warranted. Likewise, I do enjoy making others happy and seeing the joy on their faces. However, while I can find personal fulfillment in aiding others as a human being, they are not the basis of my submission. By themselves, they do not fulfill my need to submit or drive my submission.
This has begged the question, “Well, then who serves who?” My philosophical answer is that we in essence serve each other. My practical answer is that of course I serve my partner, but what may appear the same on the outside comes from quite a different place on the inside. My motivation stems from a need to surrender authority.
A recent response to a thread caught my attention:
Then I could pour my energy into being obedient to him, as opposed to wishing I had some natural inclination to do what he wanted, to please him above myself – I don’t have that. It doesn’t come from me. It comes from the ownership of me. @candy
While the purpose of this response was to explain the meaning of being a slave who wasn’t submissive, I found personal meaning in it as it relates to this topic. I understood completely where she was coming from because I come from a similar place. The primary difference between us, I believe, is that for her and some /s types, there is no need to surrender authority in general but rather find themselves in a situation where it has occurred with a particular partner under unique circumstances. For them, they may well never engage in such a power exchange with anyone else ever again and that would be all well and good. I, on the other hand and many like me, feel a driving need to surrender authority.
What I found similar was the lack of desire to please another over self as the source of submission. Pleasing my partner does not come from me; it comes through him and the authority he holds. I am authority orientated which means my drive to serve, please or submit comes from being obedient which can only be fulfilled through ownership. When I surrender authority, I give over the right to leadership, final decision making and agree to follow the edicts as set by my partner. This is in itself what floats my boat and what motivates me to be the best /s type I can be for my partner. It is through the honoring of those edicts that I find fulfillment.
Superficially this doesn’t appear much different then if I were service orientated. I am likely to perform very similar acts of service as any other submissive. If required, I can also provide reasonable anticipatory service. The difference lies in the subtleties of my mind and how I perceive what and why I am doing such acts. For example:
If I am drawing my man a bath there are two possible reasons why I do so-
1. Because I know that his back hurts and I think a hot bath might help.
2. Because he has stated that I should do so at a certain time each day.
Outwardly, it appears an act of submissive service regardless of the reason but that assumption would be incorrect. The first reason exemplifies my empathy as a human being and demonstrates my care and love for my partner. This is certainly an important thing in any healthy relationship. The second, however, exemplifies my submission. It is only through the second example that my submissive need is fulfilled therefore; it is also the only one that I would perceive as an act of submission. Authority in ownership drives my submission.
This tends to lead people to believe that such motivators require constant orders or micromanagement. On the contrary, I am strongly independent and enjoy my free space which is not uncommon. Not everything I do must be ordered nor is it accurate to think that it is only through orders that tasks can be accomplished. I am an efficient woman who is capable of getting it done regardless of the motivator.
What it does indicate is a need to have opportunities to express obedience. This need can be met through rituals, protocols, standing orders, or the random request to complete a certain task. As long as there are such opportunities embedded within the power exchange dynamic, my need to express my submission accordingly is fulfilled. It is only through this ownership, under another’s authority, that I am set free to express all the parts of me beyond the caring, loving, and empathetic human being that I am. While I am free to express the later on my own in any context, the submissive self requires the engagement of authority from my partner in order to be realized.
When I wrote this it was with the intent of sharing my perspective with a person I am dating and to finally put to words thoughts I had carried for some time so that I could have a place to refer back to in the future. I did not expect many would even pay attention to it. If anything, I expected to get handed my ass for daring to say that I was a submissive who was not motivated to please. That so many can identify with it is gratifying but that it actually is helpful to some is beyond anything I anticipated. Thank you to all those who have shared their stories, insights and love. I deeply appreciate it!