contracts are a controversial area of the D/s lifestyle. Some like the additional structure and surety it provides, some feel it is too cold and restrictive.
In general, a contract is a binding agreement (not necessarily legally) between two consenting adults who have negotiated between themselves a list of wants or desires in their lifestyle as it pertains to BDSM. This is usually done between a Mistress and their slave and is often compared to a vanilla pre nuptial agreement.
It is important to point out that having a contract does not create the legal assumption of consent, but is used as a tool between two consenting individuals agreeing to be bound personally via a contract. You should always investigate whether your local government accepts these types of contracts or not.
The possible topics negotiated in contracts are endless, and are based upon the limits of both the Dominant and the submissive.
Note that the kind of contract discussed here has no legal standing: they are only an agreement between consenting people. Slave contracts are rarely legally binding and in some countries, the possession of a Mistress/slave contract may be illegal. For this reason, it is advisable to either start such a contract with a statement that no legal intent is implied or intended, or to have the contract checked out by a qualified legal adviser.
There are some contracts that may assist in formalizing, enacting or enabling of a Mistress/slave relationship which might, individually, be legal but they are not discussed here.
Slave contracts are sometimes negotiated for a specific period of time - such as one year but longer and shorter terms are possible - while others are lifetime contracts. Where the contract is in effect continuously, the relationship may be referred to as “24/7”. The limits of the slave contract can vary widely and extend into various areas of BDSM and otherwise vanilla life.
People usually only enter into a Mistress/slave contract after they have known and played with each other for some time, often several years. Sometimes a contract is used to initiate a relationship.
Styles of contract
For those who feel that writing down the contractual obligations of the partners can help their power exchange relationship, there are three main ways to consider doing this that have worked for other people. There are other ways to do it of course but none that have proven themselves over a long period of time.
Single stage (simple) contract
Laying out the obligations and duties on both sides. This defines the balance of power exchange at the time and leaves open any decrease or increase in power exchange, though it might refer to an intent.
Time-controlled, or staged, contract
This defines the obligations and duties each will assume at certain points along their agreed path. Normally, the defined level of power exchange starts as a simple structured definition of the relationship at the time. The contract specifies the furthest level of power exchange the parties think they could ever be comfortable with and what the duties and obligations shall be at that time. In between are a number of stages, normally between two and four, with each step mapped out. The level of power exchange is normally increased over time, though I am aware of one where the final stage was a required dissolution of the relationship. The timing of when the contractual stages come into force are not usually in the contract. Instead, it is up to the submissive(s) to state to the dominant that they are ready for the next stage (thus giving consent) and for the dominant to then inform the submissive when the next stage will come into effect (thus retaining control).
Several contracts used in stages
Defining stages of power exchange over time. The series of staged contracts can be written out in a similar way to having a single, time-controlled contract but normally the final stage is not so well defined, if at all. Each time a contract is agreed, the NEXT contract is prepared, so that both parties not only know the level of power exchange they must meet now, at a minimum, but (as with the single time-controlled contract) understand the objective for the next stage and so will strive to meet it. Normally, only when the parties are happy they are actually living the contract for the next stage, will they both then adopt it, after discussion and drawing up a further contract or deciding that they have gone as far as they wish down the path of power exchange.
There are many sample contracts available on the Internet. There is probably not one of them that should be used as-is for a long-term, real-life relationship. When drawing up a personal contact, a couple might want to consider:
Health The obligations to ensure, or improve, the health of oneself and of the partner. Safety What safeguards are put in place for the slave, both during the relationship and upon demise of the relationship or of the owner. Sexuality To who or what, as well as when and how, is the slave to be available. Openness Is the nature of the relationship to be discreet or open and obvious to the public, work colleagues, family etc. Dependants What provisions are made for any dependants, either existing or created. Discipline The nature and extent of control and the means (if restricted in any way) for the owner to enforce the control. Finance How pre-existing wealth, as well as income subsequent to the contract, are to be handled. We have included on this site a few ‘reference contracts’ but urge you to form and write your own, set out to your personal guide lines and limits.
Article by MissBonnie © Collarncuffs.com