I think TPE is positioned on the idea that the submissive having any limits whatsoever is bad, and something to be overcome. I don’t agree with that idea. I have seen people who claim to practice it compare it to a parent/child relationship. They mean that in a positive way, but the logic is flawed. The role of a parent is to grow this little person into a big one and eventually send them out into the world. TPE seems like the precise opposite, in that the goal is to shrink a grown-up functional person down into someone who feels that they no power. TPE people usually insinuate - if they don't just say outright - that they feel TPE is superior to other expressions of d/s. I think putting forth the idea that the best and highest example of consensual, affection-based slavery is one that most closely mirrors real, non-consensual slavery is a mistake.
I agree completely, and there's three other things that bother me about the whole concept:
a) I am not a submissive. I am a regular human person with a fetish for being submissive. I am no more a real slave than a furry is a real dog. And while I'm a bad example myself, what with the switching and the cheating and whatnot, I really don't believe that anyone has no will of their own and can give up all their trust, unless they are completely insane.
b) If it really does exist as advertised, with no limits and total obedience, it would be a goddamn travesty to do SM play under these circumstances. If someone puts total trust in you and gives up their right to say "no", how the hell can you then turn around and tie them up and hit them? Even if you know that they like it, it seems very ethically wrong to cause someone pain without continuous negotiation. I can't imagine even vanilla-fucking someone who isn't able to negotiate as an equal.
The apologetic "it's for the submissive's good, really!" metaphors are a clue: parent-child, teacher-student. What do these relationships have in common? That's right, a parent or teacher is a total piece of shit if they have sex with someone in their care. And SM sex with a dependent? You'd get killed in prison.
c) This quote from a woman describing her own TPE relationship:
This is one of the parts that makes most people cringe when they are talking about a TPE relationship. Their argument "you can leave if you want to", is of course valid in the sense that I can walk out the door if I should be stricken by insanity. However, Leo would come after me and bring me home. That is his right. Most TPE couples create an environment where practical actions support this "unable to leave" decision that the couples made when they entered their relationship.
In our case there are a couple of things. I do not have a job outside our home. Consequently I do not have any money of my own. When I need money for some reason, I have to ask Leo for them, and he will give them to me. If I get change after my purchase, I am to give that back to him. I don’t have a car, so I can’t go anywhere other than by foot, and there is no public transportation around. So even if I should suddenly turn insane and would want to leave, that would be very difficult.
JESUS CHRIST! I guess there's a certain appeal to submission as a "get out of adulthood free" card, but... adulthood has some perks, yanno.