The word contract might sound terrifying, at least it did to my husband and me when we first entered into a D/s relationship. At the time, my Dom had mentioned having a contract with me and I panicked. My husband and I had only heard horror stories about D/s contracts between Doms/Dommes and subs. So we wanted nothing to do with them, despite understanding the benefits of written agreements.
Thankfully my Dom let me send email. This still gets everything down in writing for review and possible updates later. It also has the benefit of not using that scary word, contract. We feel more comfortable with the situation and it’s a perfectly reasonable option.
While at first we were concerned about D/s contracts, my husband and I sing a different tune now. We’ve since learned that those who warned us away them either weren’t in the BDSM community or they had shady reasons as to why they didn’t want D/s relationship agreements in writing in the first place. Neither scenario was helpful.
When speaking in the D/s lifestyle sense, contracts don’t mean a legal document you take to a lawyer (though some kinksters do choose that route). Mostly it means a written agreement between the Dominant and submissive. This is for the benefit of all involved. It sets up expectations for both parties in the D/s relationship and because it’s in writing and both parties agree to it, if a rule is broken or an agreement not followed, then action can be taken.
A contract can be hand written or nice and neat on a computer, it's up to you!
Verbal consent—while consent—is easy to deny at a later date. I’ve witnessed it happen. A sub agreed to something prior to a scene, then several weeks later decided she wasn’t comfortable with it and suddenly claimed victimhood. This could go both ways. D/s contracts lend safety from this sort of denial and setting up the contract gives both parties ample time to be sure they are comfortable with everything being agreed upon.
It’s another opportunity for everyone involved to make sure they are getting what they want from the exchange. A chance for subs to make clear boundaries and for Dom/mes to establish trust and understand limits.
When I’m in a submissive place, I don’t want to have to negotiate before a scene. By having a contract or written agreement, the Dominant knows ahead of time what kinds of scenes I’m comfortable with as well as any health concerns, whether mental or physical, that they need awareness of. I also know what’s expected of me, like eating a healthy meal before an intense scene, checking in afterward, self-care for my bruises and so on.
As a Domme, I feel safer knowing that I can pull up a D/s contract prior to going out and refresh my memory on what that sub is okay with. I’ve personally had someone agree to something in writing, then later deny it. I was more than thankful to be able to pull up that document and show otherwise. Since I have multiple play partners, written agreements are helpful for me.
They benefit the D/s lifestyle. They give written consent, expectations, and consequences for broken agreements. Having a contract means we’re winning in all the right ways, including a way out if one party finds the contract needs to be renegotiated. Remember, unless you get lawyers involved, BDSM contracts are simply written agreements and they don’t need to be boring! Requiring a sub to kneel in your presence can be hot. So go forth, get it in writing, and have fun!
Images from Creative Commons Flickr users bethcanphoto, plindberg
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