BDSM Contracts


Written contracts between partners have a long history in the practice of BDSM. Some the formality, structure and the sense of commitment and authority of a written contract to be highly appealing.

The other sort of contract is formalized documentation of the container between us and our partner. It represents a personal commitment to one another, and its provisions are intended to be taken seriously. With this sort of contract, it’s wise to put content before style in writing and to carefully consider what it would be like to actually live out the rules that we are proposing, day in and day out.

What Is Included In A BDSM Contract?

Statement of Intent. 

Many contracts start with a general statement of intent that puts all the more specific clauses into context.

Term.   

People in long-term relationships choose to write their contract for a specific term and to include a way to renew it. 

Submissive’s Duties. 

The heart of most contracts is a description of the major duties and responsibilities to which our partner is committing. This can be as general or as specific as you like. It’s a detailed description of how our partners will be required to submit to us; others prefer a general statement of loyalty and obedience and to work out the details outside of the contract.

Dominant’s Duties. 

Very often, a contract will also require some duties. Most commonly relating to taking care of our partner, making sure their needs are met and that they feel well used.

Limits. 

Along with duties, many contracts include a list of some of the major, known limits of the dynamic that are important either to you or to your partner. If you do include this clause, you may want to make it clear whether or not the list is intended to be all-inclusive. Is anything not included on the list presumed to fall within your authority to command?

Forms of Address. 

One popular way to highlight the new roles that you and your partner are signing up for is to specify new ways that you will address one another. Requiring your partner to refer to you as “Master” or “Madam” / “Sir” or “Mistress” the like will provide a constant reminder that the contract is in force. You may want to spell out details about when formal titles are and are not to be used.

Rituals or Tokens. 

As with forms of address, rituals and tokens can help to make the contract feel real and keep it present in both of your minds. Many like to seal their contracts by collaring their partners, and the contract may include rules and expectations for how that collar is to be treated. Other rituals, like having your partner perform a daily devotional ceremony, or await permission before getting into bed, or always greet you in a specific manner, can serve a similar function.

Communication Mechanisms. 

Many people choose to include a section in their contract to formalize some channels for communication with their partners. Common options are to require your partner to keep a journal, to create a schedule of regular check-ins between the two of you, or to have a way for your partner to call for a “speak freely” conversation in which any rules about how they speak are lifted and they will not be punished for anything they say.

Safeword(s). 

Safewords are a communication tool that merits special mention, and many people choose to include a clause that specifies a safeword for their dynamic, along with an explicit understanding of what it means and how it is to be used.

Provision for Alteration. 

If your contract is going to last much longer than a week, there’s an excellent chance that you’ll eventually find something in it that needs changing. Either your relationship will change out from under the contract, or you’ll find that some provision doesn’t work out in reality as you’d imagined it would. Including a clause on how the contract can be modified will smooth the process of improving your contract and keeping it reflective of your actual needs.

Release. 

Few like to think about dynamics ending, especially the open-ended ones that we’re hoping will last forever. But many, many relationships do end, and the ending of dominance can add a whole extra level of complexity and hurt feelings to an already difficult situation. Spelling out agreements for how both you and your partner plan to handle their release, should it come to pass, can ease that process considerably.

Below are examples of contracts you can use to create your very own unique contract to fit your dynamic.

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