D/s, The Power Exchange

In life, there are five types of power exchange.

  1. Equals
  2. Male led Vanilla
  3. Female led Vanilla
  4. Dominant/submissive
  5. Master/slave

In short:

Equals – is a typical exchange these days where both share equally in the day’s decisions. It gives the impression that they share equally in everything. It can shift both ways as the couple’s needs change. It also means that they may switch roles as to whom is leading in the bedroom as they see fit.

Male led Vanilla – tends to be like the 50’s era household. The wife may not be submissive, but defers all the decisions to the male.

Female led Vanilla – is similar to the Male led Vanilla but with the female taking the lead. The female lead is a more progressive view these days.

Dominant/submissive – is similar to the Male led Vanilla but may include the BDSM aspect or a sexual or domestic service counterpart. The Dominant and submissive roles are defined and never change.

Master/slave – is where the slave commits to surrender entirely to the will of the Master. The Master/slave relationship is what is termed Total Power Exchange.

This blog posting focuses on the D/s Power Exchange as that is the world that fits me.

In the world of D/s, the slash ‘/’ represents the exchange of power between the Dominant and the submissive. It is a simple agreement that the submissive agrees to give control or submit to the Dominant. It seems so simple on the surface, but it can be more complex underneath it. For some D/s couples, it is a 24/7 environment where they live the roles, even with children in the house. However, many activities occur away from the kids.

The relationship I have with babygirl is certainly D/s. The primary factor is trust. We have developed an intense level of trust in each other through communication and spending time with each other both in the real world and behind closed doors. Without communication, you can’t foster trust. Without trust, there would not be submission.

While we don’t have a 24/7 relationship, much of our BDSM roles exist daily, whether in chat or public. We tend to use babe or love to refer to the other depending on where we are in public, and discretion is required. However, her use of Daddy or my use of babygirl is natural to us in most situations. 

Note that BDSM is a lifestyle that can potentially inflict injuries, both mentally and physically, to those who participate. Part of the exchange is my role as a caregiver is to first take care of myself. Doing so shows that I can care for myself and, therefore, shows I can look out for her health and well-being. It is a path to trust. I will go more into those areas with more posts soon. 

Power Exchange is a very heady thing. You must both be on the same page regarding expectations and limits. For some, they have a written contract that spells those expectations and boundaries. Those boundaries are what are called hard and soft limits. Hard limits are non-negotiable boundaries that are off-limits such as scat play, anything involving children or animals. Our hard limits are very similar, so there is little chance of crossing one. We don’t have a written contract as we are constantly talking about our lives, needs, and expectations.

Soft limits are on the edge of one’s comfort level. They vary daily concerning the type of session planned. We plan our sessions to know what implements to use and what personas are in play for each phase. Our session usually has several parts or phases with aftercare in between each phase. The exact details of each phase are undisclosed, but babygirl has the right to veto certain implements or request to substitute items. babygirl may want to alter the order of the phases or add one to enhance her experience. We discuss this and determine the final plan. After all, her pleasure is in my control.

Something I have found that is important but not always considered are triggers. Most people don’t think these small things can be an issue but can become a mid-scene problem. 

I made the mistake of not following our ritual for introducing new toys once. Something innocuous as an electric toothbrush turned out to be a trigger. I knew babygirl had a fear of dentists. I never linked that to an everyday electric toothbrush. The noise was unknown and unrecognized, with babygirl tied to the bed and blindfolded. Babygirl asked what it was, and after I told her, she dropped and went non-verbal. Something was wrong, and my old firefighter side kicked in. I immediately released all the ropes and went into aftercare mode. We talked about it for quite a while before continuing and later that evening.    

Remember that we live about an hour apart, so it is like a local, long-distance relationship. Much of our daily chat is via text. 

I learned a harsh lesson. I thought I had broken babygirls trust. It devastated me, and I suffered Dom drop that lasted several days, pushing me to a dark place. babygirl became my caregiver during this via our daily chats. It’s not that we changed roles, but rather babygirl felt the need to take care of me as a service in the D/s role and as a person. We worked through it through our communication, and our bond is much stronger for it. Communication is the key. D/s is a relationship like any other relationship, but with a unique layer that enhances it and has risks. Drop is a topic I plan on delving into more.

Being aware of triggers is so important. Communicating your triggers can mean the difference between a good scene or one that ends badly. We went back to level 1 with just a collar and slowly added other items back into the rotation as babygirl approved them. We grew back stronger and much closer. This experience was much like healing a broken bone that can be stronger than the bone initially was. 

I have found that the Power Exchange is a two-way street. You both must have the ability to voice your opinions and share in some decisions. Our fantastic relationship is a no-judgment zone. Ideas and needs are freely shared. If you don’t have that, you lose trust. Once you lose trust, the desire to submit diminishes. 

I often tell babygirl that I appreciate her trust and am constantly amazed by the amount of trust she gives me. The submissive needs to know that you appreciate the trust. Even as the strong caregiving Dom, we also need to hear that we are appreciated. But also be sure to remember, you are both humans. Don’t be afraid to admit that you made a mistake either. You need to be able to forgive mistakes made. I asked her to forgive me, and she did without hesitation.  

I mentioned earlier that babygirl took on a caregiver role when I dropped. It was a natural response as she was concerned, but the submissive also must be able to voice their concerns, both good and bad. If the submissive sees something wrong with the Dom, they need to be able to communicate that. The Dom needs to be willing to listen and acknowledge it if there is a problem. That is a sign of a healthy relationship and a successful Power Exchange. 

It’s human nature to care for someone you share a bond with. Even in a Master/slave role, the slave must have a way to communicate their concern or provide caregiving to their Master without fear. It may be during a set time of day, but that communication channel must exist.  

I mentioned before Power Exchange is heady. It is a wonderful, fantastic experience that I have found no rival. It indeed intensifies the relationship. The deeper the connection or bond, the more unique it is. 

I would not expect this in situations where you do a scene with a particular person every so often. Although over time, I imagine it can occur.  

In my journey, I never thought it would be like this in my wildest dreams. Every time I meet with babygirl, whether going to dinner, during one of our photo adventures, or a session, it builds the intensity of our bond and our mutual trust.  

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