In my view, power exchange is simply handing over power of an aspect, or multiple aspects, of your life to your partner for them to control. Now, with that being said, there are various ways ones can engage in a power exchange relationship, and to varying degrees. And it doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be BDSM related, vanilla couples engage in power exchange (finances a lot of times) to. It just takes a little communication and negotiation upfront to make it all work out.
A few examples are, I have given up the power to the Dommes to pick out which panties I will wear the next day. If I don’t follow through on my end, punishment will ensue. Also, I have given up the power to sexually pleasure myself (masturbate, edge, orgasm, anal) to the Dommes. They have assumed the power and control that aspect of my life. If I break that rule, then punishment will ensue by the Dommes. It’s not always sexual. Years back I had a Mistress that placed a restriction on me on how much I could spend without Her approval, anything over that, I needed Her approval first. And to be honest, I loved it! I do have a tendency to buy things I don’t need sometimes, a little retail therapy as I call it. Another aspect of that relationship was my baseball games. I wasn’t allowed to go to a Rangers game unless I followed proper channels and communicated at least three days beforehand and had Her approval to buy the tickets. Power exchange can take many forms, it’s all situational and mostly depends on the level of power one wants to give up, and the level of power one wants to control. It’s a give and take.
And this next part is purely my opinion…. those who say the one giving up power (if done voluntarily) should have no expectations. I think your wrong. Power exchange is about an individual giving up power (voluntarily or not) to another individual who accepts that power. With the relinquish of power, and the acceptance of power on the other end, comes responsibilities and expectations. I have assumed responsibilities and they have assumed responsibilities, with those come expectations. What expectations they expect falls back to negotiations. It’s very much a “see saw”, without both parties working together, one just stays on the ground and the other up in the air.
Power exchange can also be used as a punishment. Example given, say someone spent a fortune on something they didnt really need after having a talk about needing to watch their spending. I mentioned I needed to watch my spending as I had some bills coming up and didn’t want to have to pay them off in installments, She agreed that was best for me, then I went off and bought new set of wheels for my mustang. The limit was $150 and anything “out of the normal” was to be reported to Her. Anything over $150 I had to have Her permission first.
To me, power exchange is a big factor in my submission. It provides rules, responsibility, guidelines, trust, expectations. I enjoy the exchange of power between my Dominant and I, my submission is a gift unto Them just as Their Dominance is a gift unto me. I submit because it’s who I am and I do it voluntarily to those I deem worthy of it. But without power exchange, the whole D/s relationship isn’t possible. Power exchange can make or break a relationship, but that all comes down to communication which is another topic.