The first thing I want to say is that you don’t need a D/s contract. This site is not somewhere that we tout the one true way of D/s relationships so whenever I write an instructional piece I always shudder at the thought that someone might think that this is a how to guide. The only thing that matters in terms of that, is how to find the sort of dynamic that works for you. As I have said before, the best idea is to research by reading all you can, then take the bits that you think will work for you and leave the rest. There is no right or wrong and no rules, apart from the ones you create yourselves, of course.
That said, you have followed this link so I can only assume that for your own reasons, you are interested in creating a D/s contract.
If you are like me, then I had way more questions than answers when I first started out and with regards to contracts I imagine that some of these thoughts may have crossed your mind. What is the thinking behind a contract? Do we need one? How do we go about setting up an agreement, what should be included, and how often should it be reviewed?
Why do people have a contract?
A contract is usually a physical document outlining the main detail of your D/s relationship. It is not legally binding as with most other contracts, but can be part of the symbolic agreement between two consenting adults. Some are very formal and have multiple pages, others are as brief as a few paragraphs. The point really is to find something that is helpful for you. There are sample contracts out there online but I really think that often they end up meaning that you work to someone else’s idea of how they want their relationship to be.
How formal does my contact need to be?
Again, this depends on you. Some people like the gravitas of something very formal, whereas others will use a more relaxed style of agreement. While typically contracts are written down and reviewed, more informal styles may evolve over time and be verbal rather than signed and sealed, as it were. The important thing is that you honour the commitment you have made to each other. D/s requires high levels of trust so where married couples may choose not to have one, those in a play style dynamic might feel it is important for the safety of both parties.
What should I include in a contract?
Our first contract was arranged under under headings with statements which we then fleshed out with rules for me. The key statements were built around these expectations: Respect, Obey, Communicate, Submit and Honour for me, and Respect, Guide, Lead, Communicate and Dominate for HL. We have since moved to something less stuffy and which suits us better with three main sections: D/s Agreement, Rules and Rituals and Formal Structure. If you would like to read more about what we included and why, as well as find a copy of our current contract, then please follow the link at the bottom of this post.
What is the value of a contract?
For us, and for many others, it allows a structure to work within. It formalises the agreement between you and it also means that while the rules are clear, so are your expectations of each other. At the beginning this was a real help and even now, we use it as a working document to help to keep us on track. I think with busy lives and lots of demands on your time, it can be difficult to prioritise the focus on one another, so for many, having a reference point to return to, may be helpful.
How often should a contract be reviewed?
For any contract to be meaningful, it has to be able to shift and change along with your relationship. Life tends to throw some curve balls at times and so it is not always possible to keep things static, even if we want to. D/s is about growth, both personally and as a couple, so to review a contract on an annual basis would seem to make sense. For some, there may be little change but for others, they will likely look and see where adaptions need to take place.
Other questions about D/s contracts.
Do I need a contract in a married D/s?
Often couples who are married are committed to each other in a number of different ways so they may feel that a contract is not necessary. While it can be helpful for the D/s side of your relationships, it still needs to fit what you have and want to work on. Often couples will place particular importance on contracts in relationships where they do not know each other well, or are going to be involved with different partners. Again, a sub will place their trust in the Dom to push their boundaries whilst also keeping them safe, so both parties need to feel that enough discussion to do this has taken place.
Will a verbal agreement do as well?
It is about what suits you. There is no point having a document that you don’t stick to or look at. That can lead to feeling of inadequacy so if something doesn’t work think about why. Think about whether or not it is still important to you. If so then work out how to give it more status and if not, remove it. If you have plenty opportunity to talk about things, and there aren’t many limits or negative triggers to be navigated, then it might be that discussion is all that is required. It might also depend on the level of the power exchange as to how much detail is needed.
If you would like to read more about what we included and why, as well as find a copy of our current contract then you can find it here:
Our D/s Contract
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