Total Power Exchange
Total Power Exchange, or TPE for short, is a derivative of the concept of power exchange in a D/s relationship. The term refers to a relationship where the Dominant has complete authority and influence over the submissive's life, making the majority of decisions. TPE is sometimes referred to as 24/7 though these terms are often considered to have different definitions. TPE is also often used to mean either the state of being a slave or being internally enslaved.
The phrase Total Power Exchange was coined by Steven S. Davis in the newsgroup alt.sex.bondage during his debates with Jon Jacobs in the mid 1990's.
In 1997 Davis gave this definition:
- "A TPE (Total Power Exchange) relationship, sometimes described as an absolute lifestyle d&s relationship (that such relationships can actually be neither "total" or "absolute" is agreed; these are ideal states to be worked towards but which will not be achieved, which is why TPE may be better seen as a process or goal than as a state), is a relationship in which no impediment to the exercise of the owner's power is accepted (some may, of course, exist, and what prudent owners do is to avoid direct collisions with these impediments, while working to overcome those that can be overcome (since the laws of gravity can't be overcome, a sane owner isn't going to ask a slave to fly (w/o appropriate equipment, of course), nor will a sensible owner try push a slave into things that are hard limits for hir (but the owner might push a slave up against what the slave thinks are hard limits but which sie can in fact overcome)). Such things as safewords, contracts, negotiated limits, and anything else which recognizes / acknowledges / formalizes limits on the owner's power are inimical to TPE."
Both TPE and Jacob`s preferred term, Absolute Power Exchange, or APE are problematic terms for some people, including many who pursue exactly these types of D/s relationship, since the relationship is subject to the physical and the emotional limitations of the participants and therefore cannot genuinely be total nor absolute.
Most adherents to TPE or APE philosophies agree that the distinguishing feature is that the limitations are not chosen by the submissive or slave, and the word Enslavement (especially in Internal Enslavement) has become more popular as a term which focusses on the submissive's, or slave's, state of mind.