There’s been a lot of yammering about the “total” part of total power exchange, and a lot of “whatabout” ism as people try to prove that total isn’t total at all.
People seem to think that the “total” in TPE means the dom is making every single decision every single minute of the day, and those decisions are all about the extremes of life and death matters. They seem to think decisions made must be to the detriment of the sub/slave half of the dynamic.
What they fail to see is that it also means the sub/slave is doing what the dom wants without having to constantly ask for a decision or be threatened with punishment. TPE requires obedience on the part of the sub/slave. If the sub/slave won’t obey, there is no power exchange. Disobedience/noncompliance is keeping control. Obedience/compliance gives control.
The dom/master/owner gives the rules and the sub/slave/property obeys them. That’s the power. It’s not about the teeniest little thing being dictated. It’s about doing things how the dom wants them to be without pitching a bitch about it every single time. It’s knowing “this” is what they want…and fulfilling their wishes.
You know he doesn’t like rye bread. So you don’t make his lunch with rye bread. Do you have to be told a thousand times that he doesn’t like rye bread? No. He told you once and you remember. You can buy it for yourself if you want, unless he decrees he doesn’t want it in the house. If he doesn’t want it in the house, don’t fucking buy it.
THAT is the T in TPE.
EW decided once that I was not to address anyone by any title. His decision was final. I abided by that decision regardless who didn’t like it. When there came a time that someone had earned my respect (Lon_RM, who I have come to regard as the father I wish I’d had) that I wanted to use the title in his name (MasterLon, at that point), I went to EW and explained. He agreed and the exception was made. The rule was NOT changed for anyone else.
It was EW’s decision to make the exception. There was another time when I had asked for an exception and he’d said no. I abided by that decision, whether I liked it or not. That is total power.
I asked EW to flog me long enough that I naturally fell asleep. He refused. I had to abide by that decision, because he would never relent and I was not to ask again. I had nothing to say about his decision. I was not given the luxury of an opinion on the matter. That is total power.
There was a night he’d forgotten his keys. He was already in Manhattan and did not have the time to travel half an hour back home and half an hour into work again. I had a full plate of food in front of me. A delicious corned beef supper. I had to put that supper in the fridge, get my shoes on, and take him his keys. There was no option for me to say “after I eat”. It had to be now because Master needed it NOW. There wasn’t a single second of complaint about it from me. This was my job as his sub: To do as he required. Period. He had that total power to command. An hour and a half later (because waiting for trains and walking blocks through neighborhood), I was back home and finally able to eat my supper at 9 o’clock at night.
Having “total” power also means having discretion over when to exert their will and when not to.
He knew he could insert his own ideas into my books. He could use that power if he wanted. He chose never to tell me what to write or how. He felt it would not be appropriate. That is discretion.
He could have told me what kinds of leather goods to make. He could have told me never to use skulls or upside down crosses if he wanted. He chose never to tell me what to make or how to make it. That is discretion. He did, however, greatly enjoy prototype day, and some of my innovations. He particularly liked the 3-sided, meatier handles.
He could have bent me over and fucked me during the most painful days of my period if he wanted. He chose mercy, and would sometimes jerk off onto my tits instead. All I had to do was kneel or sit there and hold my tits up. He chose not to cause me more pain and discomfort. He chose discretion.
There was a time we discussed a piercing or tattoo to mark me as his. Then he worked a season with the Freak Show from Coney Island hanging in Blood Manor. He came home one morning and declared that he would never get me pierced or tattooed. Ever. Didn’t matter if I wanted the piercing or tattoo. He had decided, and the matter was at his discretion in the first place. When the time came that I wanted a simple tattoo as research for a book, he allowed it because it was for my own reasons and not something marking me as his. When I asked, months later, if I could get it finished, he said no. I did not sneak out behind his back to get the tattoo finished. Because total power exchange.
He chose to allow me to learn to top others. He could have put a stop to it at any time. In the last couple years of our relationship, he let me go to spanking parties and receive. But there were rules for both. I could not touch the genitals of anyone. No one could touch my genitals. There was no kissing. No mouths touched me and my mouth touched no one. This was completely within his power to permit or refuse at any time, any party. Even if I was about to walk out the door, he could have told me to stay home and I would have had to obey. Because total…and at his discretion.
I didn’t ever intentionally disobey him on trivial things or for trivial reasons. He knew anything I did that was contrary to what he might have wanted was a “rock/hard place” moment and I made the best decision I could…in good faith.
Not once was his “power” diminished by any of his decisions. He chose when how to use his authority and exert himself…and chose when not. He made what he felt was the correct decision in the moment.
And I didn’t turn every decision into a battle in order to have my way. Pissing and moaning over every decision, undermining every decision or overriding them and doing whatever the fuck I wanted, would have undermined the entire TPE dynamic. It would not have been “total”.
TPE meant he decided and I abided. Period.
TylerRose. is known as Dame Tyler in the NYC public SM/Fetish scene. She is an award-winning author who has written four “lifestyle”, four cartoon, and twenty eight fiction books. She’s been doing this bdsm stuff for 34 years and lived TPE relationships for 31 years.
Read her books on her Amazon page — https://www.amazon.com/TylerRose./e/B00HCPLSP2
You can also find more of her OP/ED work in Fetlife: https://fetlife.com/users/305828
She enjoys crocheting, diamond painting, and baking, and will no doubt die with a thesaurus open on her thigh.