Total Power Exchange

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Total Power Exchange (short TPE ; engl. "Total Power Exchange") refers to a partnership approach in the BDSM scene, may involve sadomasochism, but the emphasis on D / s ( dominance and submission sets). The aim is to achieve complete submission of the submissive partner (often referred to as sub, slave or bottom) to the dominant part ( master / mistress or top). (See also: BDSM roles )


The relationship concept is based on the constant, at least intellectual, presence of a power imbalance, a conscious and consensual asymmetry in the power structure. TPE as a way of life can include the control of the top over money, job, and family relationships of the bottom, but it depends on the status of the relationship and the internal agreements of the partners how far the bottom grants the top control over himself and his life. Due to the use of the term total or absolute , TPE is not defined as the status of a relationship, but as an objective or process within a relationship. The design of a relationship based on TPE is very individual, sometimes symbolic acts such as tattoos , slave contracts, etc. contribute to the documentation of the binding nature of these relationships. The consensuality of this form of relationship is often discussed, as is the question of the increasing psychological dependence of the bottom.

Since the concept of TPE also includes the non-sexual areas of life, there is no demarcation between play and real life . This means that TPE goes beyond the Erotic Power Exchange (EPE for short) , a form of relationship within the BDSM scene in which the partners live as top and sub on an equal footing outside of the sexual distribution of roles.

The increase in TPE is the Complete and Irrevocable Submission (English: "complete and irrevocable submission", abbreviated to CIS) , which ultimately abolishes the underlying principle of consensuality (cf. metaconsensus ) and is therefore highly controversial within the BDSM scene.

Alternative terminology

Within the German BDSM scene, 24/7 , which comes from the USA, is often used synonymously for TPE, although it describes the duration and not the extent of the shift in power and this results in a definition difference (in English usage also referred to as real life SM ) . Internationally, Absolute Power Exchange (English: “absolute power exchange”, abbreviated to APE) is used as a synonym for TPE.


The term TPE was coined in the mid-1990s in the newsgroup by Steven S. David.


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