What is Total Power Exchange (TPE) in BDSM?

BDSM is full of different activities to learn about and try. One of those activities is total power exchange, often abbreviated as TPE. Those who are just hearing about TPE for the first time, it could be a wide variety of things. Today we are going to look at what exactly total power exchange is.

Total Power Exchange

What Exactly is Total Power Exchange - TPE?

Total power exchange is a type of Dominant/submissive relationship. Unlike many other D/s relationships that take place only in a scene, you only take on those roles when you are engaging in BDSM play. Total power exchange relationships are different, a couple who practices this type of relationship engages in their BDSM roles at all times. Hence the name total. This is also why some people refer to these relationships as 24/7 power exchange.

Just because a couple engages in total power exchange does not mean that there is a lot of serious domination going on. It can be as simple as gentle domination when out of a scene. Like with any other kind of relationship, a TPE relationship is unique to those who are involved in it. No two relationships are the same.

How Do Total Power Exchange Relationships Work?

Power exchange relationships happen in a wide variety of ways. One of the first things people want to know is what does 24/7 domination look like. You probably won't like the answer. It varies. Before the 24/7 power exchange starts, the people involved will talk about what it will like in their relationship. It involves the Dom just being able to tell their partner(s) that they need chores done or what to wear. In other situations it can be telling their sub(s) what to do almost every minute of the day.

And in some cases, these relationships involve drafting up a contract. In that contract, whether verbal or written, you cover everything that is allowed/not allowed. Further, safewords are also established so everyone knows how to signal when a scene, or life, becomes too much.

These contracts can be quite detailed and specific. They are meant to take in all aspects of life after all. Here are some common contents of the contracts:

  • - Roles of those involved
  • - Consent rules/veto power
  • - Regular punishments
  • - Limits and safewords
  • - Methods for leaving the relationship/arrangement
  • - Discipline for breaking the contract

It is important to note that these contracts are not legally binding and they are just there to help guide the play. The contracts themselves can also be quite a turn on.

Examples of Activities

Many people wonder what kind of activities happen in a total power exchange. We have briefly discussed this but it is such a popular topic that we wanted to cover it more.

Most activities in such a relationship revolve around the kinks of those involved. They are discussed beforehand and engaged so both parties enjoy themselves.

Here are some specific examples:

  • - Bathroom restrictions
  • - Orgasm control
  • - Financial control/restrictions
  • - Bed time/sleep control
  • - Clothing choice
  • - Chores and tasks
  • - Style choices

In some total power exchange relationships these tasks only happen in the household and when alone. Others require their submissives to obey when they are around their friends or even in public. A fun (and common) activity when friends are around is making the sub attend to everyone's needs.


Some partners expect signs of their relationship when they are in a total power relationship. The most common sign is a collar. Collars can range everywhere from a dog collar to one that is specially made. Some are simple and some are elaborate. Other signs could be bracelets, anklets, tattoos, or piercings.

Safety and Consent

Something important to keep in mind when it comes to Total Power Exchange is that you are living in a constant state of BDSM. That means that the normal aspect of consent needs to apply at all times during your relationship. When you are living in that state, it is highly advisable to talk regularly about consent and how your relationship is going. Just because you are Dominant and submissive all the time does not mean those roles limit your relationship.

Activities like bondage are often undertaken for longer periods of time when in a TPE relationship. Make sure to practice safety during these events so that you ensure no injuries occur from longer term activities.

Total power exchange relationships aren't often talked about with people outside of the relationship but they are more common than most people think. You can see examples of this on internet forums and community sites. There are also some bloggers who talk about their experiences in such a relationship. If you are interested in a TPE relationship there are many resources out there for you besides this article.

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