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Sweet Services
For Submissives

NOTE: The following was revised and published by the author as "Public Etiquette for Submissives," in Gloria's book, COME HITHER on p. 257.


This basic primer on public etiquette for sexual submissives was first composed in 1997. I was inspired to write it by letters from submissives who wanted advice on codes of behavior at club events and when addressing dominants they didn't know very well. So I set out to provide some basic guidelines on the common practices and rituals you'll see among SM couples in public play spaces.

Since then, I have received a fair number of email pointing out that different couples do it differently. For example, one submissive woman wrote to say that her dominant is courtly towards her and holds doors open for her-- even though conventional etiquette would dictate that the sub do such things in service to a dominant.

For the record, then, I acknowledge right up front that this etiquette guide isn't a bible but a primer. Naturally, each dominant sets his or her own rules. Following the etiquette suggested on this page doesn't make anyone more or less of an SMer. This guide simply describes general codes of behavior which most Scene people would agree are acceptable, and possibly quite desirable. It is not an authoritative protocol. It is a helping tool for those submissives who need basic information on how to behave in public Scene settings.

Meanwhile, in response to the constructive criticisms that people have offered, I just revised the guidelines, adding some new tips and deleting old ones that sounded too absolute. I've expanded it a bit as well, to put it in a larger context.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that I am not a stickler for rules except the ones I set myself. Indeed, I am not even dogmatic about my own rules: they change according to the needs and capabilities of my partners and the SM dynamic that evolves between us.

I hope that this guide helps you in your journey and I encourage you to follow the beat of your own drum. Modify these rules to suit your own style of play or invent your own. Have fun with your SM. And, of course, play safe.

Theory of Submissive Service

The basic principle of submissive service in a public setting can be summed up in one word: Attentiveness.

Your behavior should reflect your attentiveness to the dominant's needs and desires at all times. Your role is to serve those needs and desires. Is your dominant about to light up a cigarette? Is your dominant's coffee cup empty or has the coffee grown cold? Does he or she need a chair to sit on? Does your dominant have special needs (physical challenges, dietary restrictions)? It is your job to ensure that the dominant's comforts are served by making any and all appropriate arrangements to make the dominant's life easy.

Similarly, it is your joyful task to demonstrate, through your attitude and demeanor, that the dominant's needs come first. Your ability to devotedly serve your dominant is a standard by which others will judge you AND your dominant. Not only will your attentiveness please your dominant but it will impress those you meet both with your dominant's power and your submissiveness. In other words, you will be a submissive who a dominant is proud to own and one who others will believe is worth ownership.

Some submissives mistake their ability to take a heavy beating as the proof of their devotion. Certainly, it can be a highly erotic type of service to endure heavy pain for your dominant, but what about all those moments when your dominant isn't "doing" you? Are you as good a slave to her (or him) during the quiet moments as you are when your dominant is giving you what you crave?

The following guidelines will help you to convey to your dominant and others that your wish to serve is sincere.

Rules of Public SM Etiquette




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