A friend asked me the other day what was necessary in a D/s or TPE relationship in order to make it fulfilling for me. It was quite an interesting question and one I'd like to answer here.

First things first; a TPE or Total Power Exchange is where the submissive has surrendered all control to the Dominant. I will be the first to say that I am not in a TPE relationship because there are things that KM just doesn't want to have to manage, and things he'd rather I was in charge of. On the outside, it probably appears that we are closer to TPE than we realize, and the amount of control may change as we grow together.

So what do I absolutely have to have in order for my submission to him to be fulfilling and rewarding? What makes our relationship work after 6 years and with no hint of failing?

1. Structure - I thrive on structure. I need it for my every day and for special occasions. It's what governs how I behave and my daily routine. Without a structure to my days, I'd feel a little frustrated and lost. The fine development of my days has been one of the comforts in my relationship that I fall into and enjoy. The rules and discipline in which I build my days reminds me what is expected of me at all times and keeps me in check. I know that if I were to err there would be consequences and those too are looked for to produce the submission desirable in me. The consistency in which structure is upheld is the most important. It helps to prevent negative behavior and builds a strong basis for every interaction.

2. Ritual - The little things are always the most important. The way I present his coffee, to how I am to address him in all situations are things that remind me of my place in his life and the happiness that exists there. We are continually thinking of ways to add more ritual into our exchanges.

3. Active Dominance - This one doesn't mean he has to be on all the time, but that he is working just as hard at his Dominance as I am in submission to him. If he is willing to learn and develop new skills, keep consistent in his rule enforcing then I am able to blossom and grow as well so that my submission is at peak performance for the longest time possible. I can't submit or desire to submit to someone who will just sit back and accept it without reciprocity in return. I need to feel his Dominance over my life.

4. Freedom - This seems an irony in my service, but I desire a freedom to speak, freedom to move about and a freedom to be who I am in his presence. His control does govern all I do and has also given me flexibility in how I go about his orders. It allows me to express myself and thoroughly enjoy my submission to him.

5. Love - I need all the mushy, lovey-dovey stuff that romantically involved people tend to do. Just because we are Dominant and submissive does not make us any less lovers, a couple and in love. Love and its other reactions such as compassion, caring, affection, fondness, and passion are a foundation for me and my submission. In our relationship, we still express our love for each other as often as possible and develop a loving atmosphere in our dynamic. I realize many D/s couples do not need love in order to function and that's fine- for them. I need a Dominant that is not afraid to show that they love me, and often.

6. Acceptance - I like to know that he accepts all of me, flaws included and wants me anyway. I like to know that he's going to build me up rather than tear me down and that my submission is "okay" for him. I couldn't submit if I knew that he was constantly wishing I would act a certain way or that I would be something other than who I am. Because he loves me for me, and wishes my service as I can provide it; I feel worthy of his Dominance.

In all of these things, there is an undercurrent of trust. Without trust, these things can not be actualized. We toss trust around a lot when we speak about what we need from a partner, but it's very rare to have someone realize that the trust is like the roots of a tree and the 6+ things that I mentioned above grow out of that.

These are the foundation for our relationship. Your bare necessities will not be the same as everyone else's. As you create your own list, think about what things would allow you to have the level of trust you need to someone else.  These would be your bare necessities.

Now that you have your list, make sure you look at it every now and again. As with any dynamic, your necessities can and do change as your relationship changes. Develop the patience and endurance you may need to see your bare necessities realized.