Roleplay and T.P.E. (Total power exchange) are NOT the same thing
Does the idea of being spanked or being tied up by your partner get your juices flowing? Or does the thought of being ordered to your knees give you goosebumps? That means you are like many others who may enjoy a submissive role in a relationship. However, there is a huge difference between belonging to a Dominant as their submissive and simply enjoying submissive roleplay. Before you go around telling the entire world you are a submissive, make sure you understand what you are really looking for in a relationship.
Total Power Exchange or T.P.E. – What does this REALLY mean?
T.P.E. or Total power exchange, means exactly that. In this type of relationship, the Dominant assumes total responsibility and control of the relationship. the submissive consensually and willingly agrees to relinquish all control to the Dominant and fully agrees to comply with the choices, rules and expectations laid out by the Dominant. This may look different for different types of dynamics. The idea is the D partner makes the choices and the submissive, trusts those choices. This should not be an overnight decision. Kinky relationships of any kind rely on trust and communication. Some are sexually motivated and others are platonic with sexual aspects or tones. BDSM is not always sexually motivated but that doesn’t mean the intensity should be discredited or disrespected.
The thoughts of control loss may seem arousing, however, when you make the choice to give your Dominant control, it is not to be done without time, careful consideration, thought and communication. Being the Dominant partner in the T.P.E. dynamic literally means they are in complete charge of the relationship, not just in matters related to sex. As I mentioned before, some don’t even include sex in their journey. They take on the submissive as owned property. This is where people, particularly newbies get confused. There is a great responsibility involved when caring for a submissive. It is a responsibility that ventures far beyond the bedroom walls. The Dominant is responsible for the mental, emotional and physical wellbeing of their partner. Everyone’s depiction of that can differ, however, the general consensus is the same: submission in a T.P.E. relationship is not when it is fun or convenient. That is simply roleplay and we will discuss that further shortly. When you enter into a T.P.E. relationship, it is not subjective. If your Dominant gives you an instruction, it is to be followed and respected, because you are the one that made the choice to give them that control and trust. You made the choice to give them command in certain, if not all aspects of your life. This can be a very rewarding dynamic, I know, from being on both ends, Dominant and submissive.
Newbies or uneducated/untrained submissive may not understand the difference between roleplay and T.P.E. and may enter into an agreement, fueled by sex drive. That is the worst mistake a submissive can make. The fantasy of this dynamic may get your mind where it needs to be for sex, however, the reality may not really be what you are looking for. Ask yourself if you would be comfortable doing things you did not want to necessarily do, if it is pleasing to your Dominant. If you can’t answer, “yes”, T.P.E may not be for you. Often times I see submissives ready to bail the first time the Dominant asks them to do something they don’t “want” to do, or something that is not “pleasing” to them in that moment; Or they want to tell the Dominant what they will or won’t do AFTER the exchange is made. That’s not how this works, you don’t choose how your Dominant dominates you. In a T.P.E. you may find yourself doing things per the Dominants request, that you don’t enjoy. However, you have made a choice to fully trust their will, not your own. So there needs to be an understanding that there will be times you don’t enjoy things, but you trust the knowledge and guidance of your Dominant to help build you into a better person, for yourself and for the pleasure of the Dominant. Here is a great example: If your top requests that you write every morning in a journal and you decide you’re not going to do it because you don’t like writing, don’t be suprised if they are disappointed and you get punished That behavior implies you do not trust your Dominant. Of course, safe, sane and consensual is the core makeup of the dynamic. It can be very hurtful and confusing for the Dominant when submissives agree to T.P.E. and then fight or refuse to comply the rules laid out for them; or the submissive starts putting up walls and parameters on the types of domination they are willing to comply with. The Dominant is dedicating so much time, effort and care into tailor making rules and orders custom to the needs of that particular submissive. Some submissives need a gentler approach, kind words, firm direction, loving consequences and reassurance. Other submissives need more training, discipline and harsher consequences to mold them into a better human being. When you hand over control to your Dominant you are giving them your full trust. It is very disrespectful to attempt to take that back. It can make the Dominant feel insecure, hurt and confused. As I mentioned earlier and will repeat, T.P.E. dynamic is not subjective, it is a 24/7 lifestyle.
Submissive Roleplay– just as fun!
Now that you have a better understanding of T.P.E. you may find it is something you crave, or you may find it is not quite up your alley. Do not worry, you can still fulfill your fantasies of submission without the T.P.E. The great thing about BDSM is there are no limitations on what you can have. Of course, everything is based on consent and communication. Be open with your partner and let them know what you are and are not comfortable with. Let your “Top” know how far you are willing to go. The two of you can then sit down and discuss the limits and strides you are both willing to try. Who knows, you may find, down the road, your relationship develops into T.P.E. However, it doesn’t have to. Just make sure you and your partner are on the same page, so no-one gets confused and hurt. Any relationship involving control and power play is intense, and emotions can become heighten. There are many highs and lows emotionally that stem from the art of Domination and submission. Submissive tend to be much more sensitive to these emotions, especially shortly after being Dominated in any way, not limited to, spanking, verbal humiliation, orgasm control and denial. Even if you are not in a 24/7 T.P.E. dynamic, these intense emotions still surface. There is more information available in the subspace-drop and Top-drop article.
Personal Experience – Story Time- Gather Round Naughty Boys and Girls!
About 7 years ago I was in a full time T.P.E. situation as the Dominant partner. My partner was a semi-bratty submissive, more sweet than bratty. She also had a lot of “little” qualities. When I say the word “little” I use that loosely. She had very innocent and at times childlike qualities. I loved those qualities, they were adorable, however, it made for an interesting dynamic. I had to go to extra lengths to Dominate her appropriately without causing her any mental or emotional harm. She needed a loving approach, but it seemed like the softer the consequences the more she would misbehave and not follow direction. The tricky part was, she had also been a survivor of domestic abuse. I knew she needed harsher consequences, because impact play alone wasn’t enough. I spent hours upon hours researching how to properly discipline a submissive who has experienced past trauma. I finally came up with a plan and consequences tailored to fit her needs and negative behaviors. When I stepped outside of the impact box, she was angry and unwilling to comply. She was upset, because she enjoyed getting spanked, but not writing essays or having to stand in front of a wall. She fought me tooth and nail. One thing I cannot stand is if I go out of my way to be the Top in a relationship, is the submissive telling me how I am going to Top them. I am never subjective, not in any area of my life and definitely not in BDSM
I asked her to roleplay with me, her be the teacher and me be the naughty schoolgirl. She was cool with all that, until I asked her physically Top me, using impact (spanking). She refused. I was a little confused, thinking she may be afraid to hurt me. So, I asked. I was wrong, she made it very clear she did not want to delude her own fantasy. She did not want to see me in any other light, than Dominant. That is pretty selfish and not how the Ds dynamic SHOULD work.
Regardless of the role I choose, I will always be a masochist. Even if I am in charge, I still derive a pleasure from pain. Plus, a girl has needs. The submissives job is to provide their Dominant pleasure, no matter what that requires (within the parameters of consent).
I also dedicated hours of time, working with her confidence and providing her a sense of security. Not to mention, I was completely in charge of managing all our bills, finances, her medical matters, making sure she ate properly, did the self-help tasks I had laid out for her, among many other things, non-sexual.
After time and consideration, I dropped the T.P.E. aspect of our relationship. I didn’t do this to punish her. I did this so she could decide if that’s really what she wanted or if she just wanted submissive roleplay. I still provided her love, attention, sex and everything else she needed to be successful. I just refused to parade myself around as a Dominant that was only respected when it was satisfying to her. Me taking the 24/7 aspect did hurt her at first, but she needed to see what a true T.P.E dynamic was and really take time to decide if she could handle that. So, me taking it away gave her the vision to see what she no longer had and if it was worth her making the sacrifice for. Relationships are a two-way street. If I am putting all this effort and creativity into the relationship, my expectation was her submission. We agreed on her submission in exchange for my care. Essentially both people are giving equal parts. In the beginning she really did expect a one-sided relationship, until I set my boundaries. I was not going to be the only one giving.
Lessons like that are important for the submissive to learn in the beginning. If they don’t respect who the Top is, you may find yourself being a fantasy dispenser with unfulfilled needs. The selfish sub can sugar coat it however they want, but, selfish is selfish. I personally refuse to be the only one giving in any dynamic and I refuse to be a fantasy dispenser. Even as a submissive partner I expect equal effort. If I am giving you my submission, I expect care and guidance that I can’t provide myself. If I am giving you my care and guidance, I expect compliance, trust and submission.
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