3.      Types of BDSM relationships

For the purpose of training a sub it matters what kind of relationship exists between the sub and her Dom or trainer. The intensity as well as the kind of training is depending on the kind of D/s relationship we are talking about. For the purpose of this article I distinct 4 different types of relationships, shortly defined in this chapter.

A. Incidental play relationship

Maybe it is not even fair to call this is a relationship. We are talking about a Dom and a sub which play with each other from time to time. They don’t have a fixed relationship (yet) and it could be that that they are actually playing together for the first time. Their knowledge of one another is limited and usually the power-exchange could be subsequently limited as well. Every time they play power-exchange will be re-negotiated and it will only last for as long as the play lasts.

It could well be that Dom and sub meet somewhere at 8, talk a bit, have coffee, negotiate power-exchange and actually play from 9 till 11. After play they sit down for another drink, talk a bit and they go home at midnight. The power-exchange (PE) starts at 9.00 and ends at 11.00.

In this incidental play relation there is hardly room for real training. Sometime certain training techniques however could be used in play.

B. Playing with a collared sub

This doesn’t need too much explanation. In this situation players know each other well and the terms on power-exchange are set. Usually there are not as many limits and the level of training is much more intense. PE starts once the players meet and ends until the moment of departure.

In the above mentioned example PE lasts from 8.00 up and until 12.00. Usually PE automatically applies once the players meet in some sort of BDSM setting. These meetings are however organized. (Players have set date and time in advance or Do has ordered his sub to at a given place at a given time)

The Dom would not like to be obliged to repeat play after play how he wants to be serviced and the sub wants some clarity on those things too; this clarity can be obtained by training.

C. The 24/7 lifestyle


There are all kinds of 24/7 relations. The most important difference – for the purpose of this article – with the situation mentioned under B is that players share their life as well. They live together and meet random all day. Still there isn’t a situation of continues PE. There is however a situation where PE and play can be initiated at any time.

In such a lifestyle the Dom could (just by snapping his fingers) create a BDSM setting in which PE is immediately effective. This sometimes results in a situation where PE still exists although the Dom has already ended the play. Beginning and ending of play are not always as clear.
Between playing moments there are however always periods in which one could speak of equal partnership without PE. As a rule – even during these periods – we often see a sub that is more dependable on the Dom than one partner would be on another in a non-BDSM relationship. (Note that there is a difference between the Dom and the sub that might be married, yet not living the 24/7 lifestyle. I have even seen examples of a Dominant person and a submissive person that are together in a vanilla type relationship)
The importance of training is high in sustaining a 24/7 relationship. As a matter of fact it is questionable if a 24/7 relationship could endure eventually without either training or an extended set of rules and agreements. The latter one could regard as a form of training.

D. The TPE relationship

TPE stands for Total Power Exchange. Actually it would have been better if they would have used the abbreviation: CPE (Constant Power Exchange) In fact there is no such thing as Total PE in TPE for even in a TPE there could be limits. Besides there needs to remain some sort of power with the sub to be able to function as an individual.

Where TPE differs from the average 24/7 is that PE is continues. The sub will be constantly in a submissive and servicing role towards the Dom. Where others are present this might not be clear to them especially when the are outsiders (non-BDSM) To clarify two statements of a sub in a TPE relationship:

“I wear wrist- and ankle-bands almost all the time; when my husband and I are alone: I am usually naked and I sit on my knees next to his feet. When the children are present I am clothed and sit next to him with my head on his lap; he strikes my hair and face as if I were a pet.”

“When my husband and I go out for dinner: he will order for me; I put sugar and milk in his coffee, stir for him and put the spoon in the right position for him; I will wait with starting to eat until I have his permission, usually by a small nudge of his head. As a rule I start eating after him.

In my opinion TPE could not exist without extended training.

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