Personal Power & Consensual Authority in Relationships

SDC Katherine Zitterbart Kayteezee Katie Z Power Exchange BDSM Authority Roleplay Relationship Sex E
SDC Katherine Zitterbart Kayteezee Katie Z Power Exchange BDSM Authority Roleplay Relationship Sex E
You Each Have the Power — You Both Create the Authority

Greetings, Friend.

I’m writing today to share with you what I believe to be one of the most important distinctions consenting adults can use in their intimate relationships, and that’s the distinction between personal power and consensual authority. I just shared this with a psychologist, and it blew his mind, as he had not yet considered that there is a distinction between power and authority. I’m writing about interpersonal relationships between consenting adults in this article.


Personal Power


Personal Power is all that you’re capable of: the resources you have, the amount of time you have, the messes you make, your needs — anything personal and specific to you that impacts the relationship. All the power you have will affect the relationship, regardless of what it is. For example, if you have wealth, you might be able to pay for a vacation for you and your sweetie. If you live with chronic pain, the power of that pain might impact how active you are able to be and for how long on any given day. You might have the power of responsibility to your children, as another example.


Consensual Authority


Consensual Authority has to do with who makes what decisions, and the rules/agreements you make together. As an example, you might agree with your partner about ‘veto power’ when you go swinging — if you want to swing with someone, but your partner is uncomfortable with that, they might have the authority to say ‘no.’ Another way authority might show up is when part of your sex that day is you are in charge — you can tell them what to do and ‘have your way’ with your partner. You are the authority in that moment — they, of course, have the authority to say no, because you are operating consensually. *winks*

Where things can get tricky is when one person’s power impacts the consensual authority that has been established. With regard to bedroom games, if you are both in full agreement that your partner is going to take charge in your lovemaking, and you are fully on board with it intellectually and in your heart but the power of your chronic pain has another agenda… Well, you might need to listen to that power. I have seen many a sticky situation with kinky people conflating power exchange and authority exchange.


In my next article, I’ll begin delving into those conflicts, opportunities, and also begin sharing some strategies for problem-solving.

Until then, my Friend...
Katie


Katherine "Kayteezee" Zitterbart

Katherine "Kayteezee" Zitterbart is an educator and coach who centers on compassion, communication, and consent. She has worked with thousands of people over the last 25+ years, during which she has created and delivered custom workshops and classes on a wide variety of subjects, including Taoist Tantra, BDSM, Sex Positive Yoga, and Compassionate Communication. One of Katherine’s superpowers is helping people in power exchange relationships cultivate their relationships in a way that empowers the bottom/submissive. A powerful submissive in a power exchange relationship has the capacity to communicate their needs without ‘topping from the bottom’ and can serve their top/dominant in such a way that creates the freedom so many submissives desire — strange as that may seem. In fact, power exchange relationships can create a felt sense of liberation for the submissive, and helping people find that is one of Katherine’s great pleasures in life.
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