What is a power exchange
An agreed power exchange is what makes our relationship a Dominant and submissive one. Most relationships consider themselves to be equal ones which means that each partner takes it in turns to lead. Some may consider themselves more traditional where the male always takes the lead, and others may see themselves as more modern with a female lead. These other forms of relationship would usually be based on unspoken protocols rather than on a previously agreed defining of roles. A D/s power exchange, however, would have agreed roles which don’t change – one partner will be Dominant and the other will be submissive.
While not all aspects of the relationship are necessarily included in this, in those where it is, the Dominant partner will lead and the submissive partner will follow. In addition there will usually be an erotic element to the power exchange; while many also engage in BDSM type play, this is not essential as it is the exchange of power which is at the heart. Usually the elements to be included will be agreed beforehand and might be just be in the bedroom or in other aspects of the lifestyle too. In addition, what is incorporated can change and adapt over time as the relationship grows and develops.
Living in a power exchange dynamic
HL and I live in a full time power exchange which we would term a D/s lifestyle . It is not a TPE (total power exchange) style dynamic and, while the decisions rest with him and his word is final, we are not in a Master/slave style relationship which would often have less negotiation, less voicing of opinions and more of a service base. While we have agreed our roles and the areas where he has control, I am always encouraged to express my opinion as long as that is done in a respectful way. In return, HL will listen carefully to what I say and this will influence his decision making accordingly.
The line where our power exchange starts and ends is subtle. It was probably starker initially but over time we have found a way of working which suits us both. There are areas where it isn’t there officially such as decisions surrounding my work and decisions surrounding my children but in reality, I will usually seek advice or agreement from HL within these areas too if a significant decisions is to be made. So while these elements are outwith our agreed power exchange, by default, practice means that we often approach them in the same way we would the other areas. Any decision which affects HL or our life together will be discussed and he will decide what action is to be taken.
Areas which sit firmly within what has been agreed are things such as sex, self-care, behaviour and the running of the household. Again, this does not mean that HL doesn’t look for my input, or that I am not expected to be responsible for elements of it. What it does mean is that there are agreed standards and protocols which must be followed and that, if they are not, action can be taken by him in order to correct this. There is continual communication with regard to this and much of this is formalised so that we are both clear what the expectations of each of us are. It is revisited often and can be re-negotiated, particularly where new sexual aspects are concerned.
Why it works for us
Having such clearly defined roles is not only erotic for both of us as it allows us to keep things spicy and exciting, it also means that the power struggles that occur when we are not clear what the expectations of us are, don’t really take place. Obviously we are not perfect and we do have times when the power exchange dwindles a bit. Usually this has the effect of derailing us quite quickly. We find that we are less attuned to each other and can misread signals and fail to communicate effectively. We need the formality that exists in the structure of this sort of dynamic in order to be working most effectively as a team and to be the best and the happiest versions of ourselves that we can be.