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How to Form a Power Exchange Relationship

by Vaughnlea Leonard

What is a Power Exchange Relationship? A power exchange relationship is a relational dynamic when a partner decides to either give up or get control of authority. Role play and Bondage Discipline Submission Masochism (BDSM) are two basic types. With some care, people can form power exchanges both meaningfully and safely.

Form a Power Exchange Relationship

Establish trust. Build trust with someone you know very well or not at all. There are varying opinions as some suggest forming a power exchange relationship is more meaningful with someone you know well. An alternate perspective says a power exchange can be effective, or more so, with someone outside your general “everyday” life. In the second circumstance, some may feel less reserved about giving up their power. It is a matter of preference and end game. It just depends on what you are looking to get out of the power exchange.

Set boundaries. Commonly referred to as “workable formal structure,” rules need to set the standard of behavior between partners.

Have a structure. You will have to establish rituals to form a power exchange relationship to define who has the authority and who will not. People often assign actions to each other to do this. Wearing a collar, positive directive and negative law, for example.

Avoid fear. People are sometimes afraid to form power exchange relationships because of moral “hangups.” Ethical pinnings may keep them from engaging in conduct they view as morally bankrupt, for example. Establishing trust and setting boundaries will help dispel anxiety or fears.

Learn Social Exchange Theory. Generally a theory applied to economics, the concept also may help you better understand your partner's needs. They psychological aspects apply between partners, the sociological applies to behavioral exchanges between groups.

Items you will need
  • Internet Access
  • Local and long-distance telephone service
  • A trusted partner

About the Author

Vaughnlea Leonard started her professional writing and editing career in 2005. Her work has appeared in "Press Journal," "Atlantic Publishing Company" and "Hometown News and Florida Today." A former military police enlistee and Florida certified educator, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Central Florida.