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 TPE – “May the Force be with you”

TPE – Total Power Exchange is a term for an extreme form of a 24/7 D/s relationship.

Huh? What is D/s and 24/7? Okay, let’s start in the beginning.
D/s relationship: Abbreviation for Dominance/submission. A role play where someone passes the the control and power to his partner willingly. The main aspect of a D/s relationship the the relation between the partners and the way they interact with each other. A D/s relationship is not necessarily associated with Sadomasochism (SM) but it often includes certain SM aspects (Bondage, physical punishment). Sometimes it is also also called: EPE – Erotic Power Exchange.

24/7: Abbreviation/term for a relationship, which practices the D/s role play between top and bottom 24 hours, 7 days a week. 24/7 is not a definition of a relationship, but a goal. The way it is practiced is very individual.

A defintion of TPE from the book “Screw The Roses Give me the Thorns”:
“TPE is the empowerment of the Dominant BY the submissive’s surrender to His/Her control. The power exchange is consensual and should be well negotiated. The depth of power yielded by the submissive is equal to the level of responsibility assumed by the Dominant.”

TPE is a combination of 24/7 and strong D/s aspects. The bottom is usually treated as a valued possession of the top and the total submission is expected from him/her. The term “sub” is often substituted by the term “slave” to emphasize the difference. The care of the top for his slave does not only include aspects of the role play but also the safety, attention and support in all everyday situations. TPE relationships are constructed on this asymmetric power structure which can pervade all aspects (even money, property, decisions and job) of the relationship.
An important element of TPE is the continued mental presence of the interplay of responsibility, dominance, care and submission. The role play can be intensified at any time.

Slave contracts or visible signs like piercings, brandings or tattoos are often used as typical sign for the binding character of such a relationship.

One thing should be always kept in mind: TPE is not slavery and if the bottom feels uncomfortable they still have the right to ask for a “timeout” to discuss certain aspects or to ask for a dialog in a appropriate manner. A responsible top would also take care that one of the defined goals will be the autonomy of the bottom – at least concerning psychical and financial aspects. Hardly any relationship lasts forever and there is always a time after.

Some critics look at TPE with discomfort. The main argument is that a TPE relationship can not be consensual because it limits the rights of the bottom too much. In contrast to a D/s relationship the bottom can not exert necessary influence on everyday situations.

Is TPE the ultimate and only real form of a D/s relationship?
Yes and no. TPE is surely an enhancement to a D/s relationship but there is no thing like “real D/s lifestyle”. There is no real slavery in such a relationship and there shouldn’t be any real slavery. According to the SSC Credo (Safe, Sane, Consensual) there can’t be real slavery in a D/s relationship.

D/s is what every couple wants it to be and how they design it. There’s no real or right or wrong D/s relationship. If you and your partner decide to live in a TPE relationship you will have to find your own way to form and organize it, but always keep in mind:
“It is one of the greatest gifts on earth if a person grants you his submission and complete trust. Use it wisely and with uttermost respect.”

Author: Ashtarot – 07.04.2001
Info: © 2001 Ashtarot/BDSM Backroom
Keywords: TPE, EPE, Total Power Exchange, Power Exchange