The Guide to Power Play

Do you enjoy the thought of giving or receiving orders in the bedroom? Perhaps it really turns you on to hear your partner tell you exactly how they want you, or seeing your partner surrender to your command creates a burning desire in you that you can’t quite explain?

Here our KINK ambassador Sarah Butcher AKA Sub in the City shares her guide to power play as she walks you through what Power Play is and how to use this dynamic to explore your deepest desires with your partner.

Power Play is a beautiful way to create excitement in the bedroom as well as bring a sense of balance into your life

What is Power Play?

Power Play is most commonly known as a form of BDSM (Bondage, Dominance, Sadism & Masochism), where one person takes on the role of Dominant, and the other submissive. But Power Play can also be enjoyed without having to include the other elements of BDSM, and so each role may be referred to as simply the ‘Top’ and ‘bottom’.

To put it simply, it’s a bit like doing a dance – the Top leads during sex and the bottom follows, and when both roles are in sync, what you get is a beautiful connection between two people. Whether this dynamic is a very subtle one or it leans more towards S&M (sadist & masochistic) fantasies is entirely dependent on your own desires.

What are the benefits of Power Play?

So I’ve explained what it is, but what is the point in Power Play? Sex should be a space when we get to truly connect with our partner, to feel vulnerable yet safe to express our authentic selves, and it’s also a space to release tension and close the door to the outside world, if only for a short while. But for many of us this might not feel like the case.

Many of us are still very much in our heads during sex, unable to feel as though we can really step into our authentic selves. A lot of this comes from living such busy lives, where we’re not used to slowing down, and despite living in an increasingly liberated world, shame is a huge part of not expressing ourselves in the way we truly desire.

But Power Play can give us the opportunity to let these external factors go, and provide a safe space to indulge in our fantasies without fear or judgement. It is common (though not always the case) for those who live very fast-paced lives, such as working a high-demand job, to crave the opportunity to let that all go and surrender to someone else’s authority, while those who tend to lead slower day-to-day lives, may enjoy the opportunity to step into their power in a way that feels safe for them to do so. And this is where exploring sexual Power Play can bring in such a beautiful balance to our lives that we never knew we needed.


There is something so seductively sweet about surrendering sexually to your partner. If you are someone who has trouble allowing yourself to experience pleasure, submitting to your partner gives you the opportunity to indirectly allow yourself to experience your sexual desires guilt-free. While all direction given by the Dominant/Top is consensual, you get to feel the benefits of taking away all responsibility other than to fulfil the commands of your partner (power exchange).


Who doesn’t love to see their partner reach new levels of pleasure? Taking on the Dominant/Top role isn’t just about taking what you want, it’s about taking your partner on a journey of sexual exploration, holding space for them to feel vulnerable and exposed, and guiding them to meet their most authentic sexual self. Sounds delicious, right?

What are some different types of Power Play?

Power Play can take many different shapes and forms, but it’s important to remember that BDSM is unique for everyone, and the beauty of it is you can create any dynamic that works for you. Below is a breakdown of some of the different Power Play dynamics that can be explored.

Top/bottom – These roles may enjoy giving/receiving commands and enjoy rough play, they may also engage in other BDSM practices but this doesn’t have to be all of the time.

Dominant/submissive – The universally known terms for two people who engage in BDSM practices on a regular basis.

Master/Mistress/Slave – Another form of Dominant and submissive Power Play, but typically this involves a more committed BDSM arrangement, commonly referred to as a ‘Service Relationship’.

Care Giver/Little (CGL) – A dynamic whereby the bottom typically takes on the role of someone younger than their true age, and the Top takes on the role of Caregiver – this can be both in and outside of the bedroom, and often includes other BDSM practices.

Rigger/Rope Bunny – This dynamic is more exclusive to those who wish to explore rope bondage. This would form a large part of their play, but does typically include other elements of BDSM too.

It’s also important to figure out how much time you want to dedicate to Power Play, and what level of power exchange you feel comfortable with.

Total Power Exchange (TPE) – Total Power Exchange is a dynamic for those who wish to live a full time BDSM lifestyle, typically as Dominant and submissive.

Bedroom Only – The agreed Power Play Dynamics are only in force within the bedroom and during sex.

By Agreement Only/Casual – This arrangement is more suitable for those who don’t always want to engage in Power Play or BDSM, and for those have multiple or casual partners.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, so don’t feel like you have to put yourself into a kinky box and stay there. Sexuality is for exploring and these examples are just a guideline that can give you a little insight into the ways in which you could introduce Power Play dynamics into your sex life

How do I get started with Power Play?

So you’ve come this far and you want to know you can begin to explore Power Play in the bedroom? Here’s some of my top tips…


Negotiation may not sound like a sexy word, but it’s time we made it one! This is something the BDSM community do really well, and if you’re ready to explore your kinks, then it’s good to start practicing this now. Yes, you may feel a little awkward at first, but if you can’t vocalise your desires, you’re probably not ready to actualise them. To get started, take some time to reflect by yourself on what you like the sound of and why.

What is it about Power Play that appeals to you the most? What type of dynamic are you keen to explore and why? How do you want to feel during play? While you might feel a little unsure at first, taking the time to think about your desires is a really important step in creating the right dynamic for you.


Secondly, talking to your partner(s) is a must! It’s important to communicate your desires clearly, as well as find out if they are on the same page as you. We’re often so afraid to ask for what we want, but if we don’t ask, we don’t get, and you’ll never truly know if your desires align with your partner(s). As with anything, consent is key here, so talking about the things that you definitely don’t want, as well as the things you do want, is equally as important.

Baby steps

Take things slow! Diving straight into a TPE dynamic is likely not going to work. Less is more to begin with and communication throughout will help you navigate the new dynamic more easily. It might feel clunky, and it might feel awkward at first, but be kind and gentle with yourself and allow yourself time to reflect on your experiences.


Aftercare is essential for you to experience the best from Power Play, and just like the play itself, aftercare is unique to everyone. Take the time to communicate what you need to your partner after sex, and be willing to give and receive the care you need.

If you’d like to learn more about Power Play, BDSM & Kink, then sign up to our Explore Your Kink event series starting on the 22nd September 2021! You can get your tickets here.




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