BDSM is about exchanging power with another/others.
Total Power Exchange (TPE) is when there is a consensual agreement that the Dominant takes complete responsibility for the sub/slave and the sub/slave agrees to adhere to the Dominant’s authority in all realms. The dynamic doesn’t stop after a scene but it continues 24/7.
(Since some people don’t like to term slave I will use both sub/submissive and slave… and yes, some would criticize me with love that TPE by definition means the sub is a slave. And for the fact I use the term person/people to include the slave/sub so mark me down as a rebel with too many causes but sub/slave is how I’m moving forward.)
I will say I’ve met many people who believe in the all or nothing way of BDSM and that filters through to Total Power Exchange. If it works for them great, but after 30+ years, I live in the real world: What works for some doesn’t may not work for others.
Just because you don’t take TPE to the extreme doesn’t make what you’re doing any less valid than folks doing everything by the “rules” 24/7.
**To me there is NO wrong way if the people engaging in this type of relationship are contented and no one else is being harmed I say go for it in the way that sparks your joy and fits YOUR reality**
A Total Power Exchange is a HUGE deal. Emphasis on the world TOTAL, you are exchanging power on all levels and without an end.
Many times, this is the ultimate fantasy for a sub. To give themselves over completely and the Master will fill their life with purpose. Providing the gift of service to a Master who gives you what you need seems flawless. What could possibly interfere with the deliciousness of TPE?
How does total power exchange translate into public life? Are both Master and slave/sub comfortable with the idea of EVERYONE knowing including but not limited to: family, non-BDSM friends, work peers, bosses, grocery clerks, kids, etc.
Or do you need to negotiate who knows. Also, what are the consequences of people knowing and of not knowing? How can you lessen the negative impact?
Does the slave/sub continue to work outside the home?
What is the extent of the Master’s authority?
Great, let’s step beyond the sexiness of the Master controlling the slave’s orgasms, and commanding them about while they prance around with fluid grace. How about when and where (& in some cases how) the slave is able to go to the bathroom? Financial decisions? Health decisions? Family decisions?
To what level does the Master and slave/sub want the slave/sub’s schedule micromanaged. That’s no small undertaking if they want it to be “total” control. Even if you have a nice routine ironed out what happens when the unexpected occurs? Are there contingencies in place? Should the sub/slave contact the Master? What if they can’t be reached? If there’s an emergency how should the slave/sub react? Call their Master before 9-1-1?
On one extreme the Master decides everything and the relationship is known to everyone. The sub/slave doesn’t work outside the home and is given a routine from the Master and all contingencies are taken-into-account. There’s a secure safety plan in place. There is no softening of how the Master and slave/sub interact regardless of the situation. Some people can manage this and be extremely happy for their entire lives. I’ve met a handful and I think it’s amazing and beautiful.
But perhaps people who are in a forever relationship and are in a TPE there might be times when things come up where the sub/slave should/must/needs (gasp) to have an equal say in a particular matter so they use a loophole of 23/7.
23/7 makes allowances for reality. In many total power exchange relationships there is no safeword. If an unexpected and unplanned emergency happens and the slave/sub needs to stop the TPE for a time and deal with the situation as a full partner 23/7 takes that into account. I don’t have kids but I’d imagine both parents might want a say in raising them, decisions on elderly parents, moving, huge financial commitments, etc. (Again, when other people are impacted a closer look needs to be given.)
There is usually a contract (though some people don’t have one). A contract can help each person clarify responsibilities, expectations, goals, etc. The contract can be written as specific or open as the individuals chose. Maybe 23/7 isn’t enough and more equality, at times is needed to enhance the relationship. Contract negotiation is the time to figure these variables out to the best of your abilities.
Here’s site offers that offers TPE Contracts:
((SIDE NOTE for sub/slaves: Please be EXTEMELY careful of the partner(s) you chose to enter into a TPE with because this could quickly turn into a nightmare. Your mental and physical health is important make sure it’s being addressed by someone who takes their responsibilities seriously.))
Adapting a Total Power Exchange to Reality
I believe with enough creativity you can get around almost any obstacle. So, if this is something you crave FIGURE IT OUT. Here’s some off the cuff ideas for making TPE work.
Dealing with Others: Some might be down with the sub/slave kneeling at their Master’s feet while others might not be. Or the people in the relationship might not want to share such personal information with others.
Some work arounds might be:
*Put the 24/7 on hold until alone (though that can be jarring for everyone involved).
*Find other ways to reinforce the dynamic. Many BDSM type interactions could be exchanged for something that passes as sweetness between couples.
*Changing the titles to endearments, instead of Master honey or sweetheart might work.
*Instead of kneeling at the Master’s feet maybe they choose/order the slave/sub’s meal. At a dinner party the sub could fill the Master’s plate with food.
*Perhaps instead of asking permission to eat/do X the sub might say “Mmmm, everything looks so good.” And the Master could reply, “Try the string beans they’re delicious.” > Gives permission as well as direction.
*Subtle requests could be done with a raised eyebrow, a hand squeeze, a touch… morph the typical couple’s signals into BDSM speak.
Micromanagement: As with any good job description there is a section of clear responsibilities. The more specific the sub/slave’s routine the better it is for all concerned. Remember there is always that phrase “And any other assigned duties” that gives wiggle room to add and refine.
Bottom line if you want a total power exchange to work:
1) Discuss with full disclosure all of your needs, wants, misgivings
2) Creatively figure out how to overcome obstacles
4) Possibly run a trial period to work out (or in) the kinks.
5) Have a contract
6) And don’t invalidate yourself if your TPE isn’t perfectly by someone else’s rules
7) Don’t be afraid to revisit the contract as people evolve and their needs change
Total Power Exchange is considered in Lock and Key.
Always seek your own truth.
I’d love to hear from you so comment here or use the contact information to touch base with me privately.