BDSM contracts are vital

You have probably heard about contracts between Dom/subs and Masters/slaves.

A BDSM contract is a document entered into between consenting adults. It is just as binding as any other contract with the exception of a public policy principal that as it’s a contract for personal services, it is able to be terminated at will and without damages being payable at termination.

The contract defines the BDSM arrangement / power exchange dynamic, and as with with any relationship, communication is vital so writing up an agreement is an excellent way to open up communication and the negotiation process helps tremendously as it informs Master about your boundaries, although he will push those ….and it tells you what to expect.

It has one other vital role. In the “me too!” world where sex partners tend to change their mind after sex and retrospectively claim to withdraw their consent, it sets out in advance the consents and how to stop things.

There are numerous types of relationships:

  • Master/slave
    In this relationship, the slave gives up all rights and decision making power to the Master. This is either :
    a) A total power exchange with safe words (TPE) when the slave gives up the right to say “no!” and there are no limits on the Master’s control, but a safe word is available in case of discomfort or injury.
    b)An “employment excepted” power exchange with safe words (TeePE) when the slave is allowed to work in the vanilla world (either as employee or self-employed) but outside work, is a slave to Master and is subject to TPE.
    Although the slave gives up the right to say “no!” and there are no limits on the Master’s control,  a safe word is always available in case of discomfort or injury.
    The Master has the power to lend or sell or give away the slave and her body is contractually given to the Master who can legally decide who uses it, how they use it and when the use it, so a Master can lend his slave to friends for sex and the slave has no say in this.
    The slave is usually referred to as an inanimate possession.
    The loss of the right to say “No!” gives the slave only one option, to end the relationship.
  • Dominant/submissive
    This is a less extreme measure. In it, subs get a choice as to which aspects of their lives they will allow the Dominant to run, negotiated under the contract and variable by consent.
    If the submissive wants to reduce the Master’s level of control, any change is by consent and if Master doesn’t consent then the sub’s only choice is to withdraw the change-request or end the relationship.
    Subs often (but not always) set limits on sexual play and punishment and can stop role play at any time by use of the stop word. The stop word can be the safe word, but it is recommended that stop and safe words are separate, Safe words (usually “Red”)  indicating injury, panic or time out with the intention of continuing play once the reason for safe word use has been dealt with. Stop words (usually “Pink Elephant” or  “Purple bananas” or a phrase not easily misunderstood are used.
    As such Dominants have less power over submissives than Masters have over slaves.
  • Pets
    This is an agreement whereby the pet slave is dehumanized and takes on the characteristics of an animal pet like a puppy or pony under the control of an Owner.

Not all partners will reduce their negotiations to writing. There is no requirement for you to have one and some people in the community used to refuse to enter into one, but recent police cases have made this more critical than ever and most Masters/Doms will insist for their own safety.

Some even sign their contract as part of the collaring ceremony (see other post on this subject).

Even a slave contract can have an expiry date and also usually a mutual renewal clause.

When initially starting with a new partner, the agreed period is typically relatively short (about 3 to 6 months). This is normally the training or consideration period where the Dominant/Master will test how the sub/slave performs and decides whether to take him/her on as their permanent slave/sub. Once the initial phase is up, either Party can terminate the arrangement and go back to how you were prior to the contract. Alternatively, you may extend the duration on the exact same terms or you can enter into a fresh agreement and negotiate new terms.

  • The term – how long the arrangement is to last for
  • Responsibilities of each party
  • Rights of each party
  • sub’s Veto – the power to refuse a command
  • Ability to end the association by either party
  • Limits
  • Punishment/disciplines
  • Privacy and confidentiality
  • Areas of control
  • Understanding as to exclusivity
  • Safe words
  • The use of a collar (if any)
  • Ability to alter the terms
  • Necessary legal declarations