As with any relationship, communication is vital. Writing an agreement is an excellent way to start that conversation. It helps to bring up difficult topics with each other, your goals, expectations, wants, needs and limits. Before you enter into any kind of power exchange, it would be nice to know what you’re getting into. You don’t need to sign a contract in order to be in a relationship with someone but it does help to go through the important issues.
For beginners, the negotiation process can help you think about and create the exact relationship you need. A contract can guide you as you grow and explore your desires and boundaries together. Signing a Contract is not about trying to make someone stay with you. It’s about opening up the lines of communication and talking about what each of you want and need from one another. Once you come to an agreement, refer back to it to see how your relationship develops and whether you’d like changes made.
Topics to include in a BDSM Contract
A Contract can be anything from a paragraph to tens of pages in length. The more detailed, the safer and more certain your arrangement will be. Most importantly, it needs to be customized to you. It should reflect your relationship and no one else’s. There’s no point having a blank checklist and just ticking the punishment and limits. Whilst this may be appropriate for just a scene, it’s not sufficient for an ongoing alternative relationship or lifestyle.
Here’s a simplified list of what you may like to include:
For a detailed discussion on each topic, see how to create your perfect BDSM Contract.
Even though such documents are never legally binding, signing your own personal covenant can give you direction and a place to turn to when there are disagreements. It also amplifies a moral sense of being bound to the other person.
A Contract is always unique to the arrangement. You can’t just apply a standard document to every single relationship. It just wouldn’t work. The terms need to be molded to suit the parties’ goals, expectations, needs and desires. The kinds of dynamics are endless (limited only by your imagination) including Mentoring, Protection, Coaching, Service Oriented, Fully Owned, Owner and Property and Play Only.
Note: The definition of a slave vs sub can differ markedly between different groups, locations and communities. It’s best therefore to identify what these terms mean to you, rather than relying on generic definitions or assumptions.
In a very broad sense, there’s:
The lifestyle is so diverse and not all interactions are going to fit into the above categories. Regardless, there are essential terms that should be incorporated into every agreement.