Taking a bit of a shift in what I’m talking about. I’m still on the subject of power exchange, but I’m going to (in theory, at least) get marginally less personal for a moment. The question I want to tackle today is “Does service count as kinky?”

Some of it? You bet. But kink is a funny thing and, by and large, most of the folks who identify as kinksters (or leatherfolk, or great big pervs, or whatever) are doing it as erotic play, rather than as 24/7 every-day life. That’s where a 24/7 service arrangement[1] is different from most kinky stuff.

The trick, of course, is that when it’s 24/7, it has to be able to exist simultaneously with the day-job(s), visiting relatives, activism, getting the kids to school on time, grocery shopping, having the flu, socializing with vanilla friends and family/phamily, paying the bills, and all the other day-to-day stresses and pleasant situations where being in (a) bondage gear and/or (b) a constant state of arousal, are… not all that helpful.
Believe me. I’ve spent a week at a time being in a close-to-constant state of arousal (but not bondage gear), and it’s really distracting, plus it adds to the laundry and – when those situations have included regular alone-time with my sweetie/servant – tend to result in NOTHING getting done[2]. Which, while tonnes of fun in the short term, is really not sustainable in the long-run. And 24/7 is the long run.

Okay, side-note: Maybe 24/7 is only “the long run” for me – or other people like me who are expecting their dynamics to last for decades (and working towards that goal) – and maybe there are folks who get into 24/7 dynamics with the knowledge, and intention, of not having it be permanent. Which… Okay, I’m sorry to the folks who do this, but I don’t know how you do it. There’s a lot of dedication that goes into an O/p dynamic and a bucket of trust and intimacy and… how do you go that deep without it totally wrecking you at the end of the relationship?

So, yeah. For me? It’s “The Long Run”. And because of that, it sort of ends up being outside the realm of kink.

I mean, part of me wants to get all social deconstruction on you (not that that’s anything new for this blog, but bear with me) and talk about how – as an example – my relationship with Ghost is pretty much exactly what my relationship with Ghost would have been if we’d been a broke-ass couple in 1931 and I was a dude – except for the bit where her doing all the housework is voluntary rather than socially required, and the bit where when I hit her, it’s because she actually enjoys it rather than because I’m pissed about something and taking it out on her[3].
What I’m getting at is that, from the outside, a 24/7 relationship can (and frequently does, given that The Mainstream kind of frowns on this and will, potentially, try to take your kids away if you’re doing it in obvious ways) look incredibly “normal”.

Which brings me to the other thing which is: It is normal. My relationship with Ghost is one where, just incidentally, it’s always her turn to do the dishes; she opens the doors for me; she’s Very Supportive and works a job that allows me the freedom to work on making my unsteady income streams more steady. This is how it works. And, up to a point (typically the point where she gets down to help me on with my boots while we’re out somewhere), it blends.

And… I guess I’m wondering how this life, this life, qualifies as a kink or a fetish the way feet or knife-play qualify as kinks and fetishes.

Part of me wonders if it’s because, for a heap of people, O/p starts as in the bedroom as a sexual and/or S/M thing that comes with a temporary power exchange… and then grows, sexual submission or dominance shifting into something with broader scope or applications.

Another part of me looks at the stats about which sub-categories of people – when viewed along gender, sexuality, and D/s lines – self-identify as “kinky”; and I want to go back to the gender theory. If it’s “normal” for a woman to (a) be heterosexual, (b) want to keep the house in order, and (c) want to please her man… then there are maybe more submissive hetero women (and dominant hetero men) than know it.
Does that make sense? Is long-term, 24/7 O/p or D/s only a “kink” because, in spite of heteronormative socialization, there are still men who want to obey and there are still women (feminine women, no less) who want to be in charge? Does the mainstream culture we all come out of read this as “about sex” (and, therefore, something that can be labeled as a kink, a fetish, as “deviant” in this particular way) both because “sex” is how we sort out every little thing around here AND because said mainstream culture ties sex, gender, and sexual orientation together so tightly that a man acting “unmanly”, or a woman acting “unwomanly” (or hyper-womanly/manly, as the case may be) can only be interpreted as having something to do with sex?

The cynic in my thinks that’s probably the case.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Ms Syren.

[1] And, possibly, some other 24/7 arrangements – ymmv.

[2] Other than each other, I mean.

[3] Okay, the S/M part is pretty obviously kinky. But bear with me.