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  • Sir Ezra

Writing a Contract for BDSM

The first thing I need to say is to address the common misconception that a BDSM contract is in any case legally binding. Usually the things being consented to are not things that you can legally consent to and so the contract becomes void of any legal significance. It is evidence of consent and that there was an agreement and that could be useful in a court of law in the unfortunate event that it becomes necessary to go to court.

Instead the purpose of a contract is to clearly and without ambiguity, establish consent and intention for a specific duration of time for a given activity. It is really more accurately described as BDSM agreement but people seem to be very much attached to the term contract.

Things to include would be activities you plan to engage in, what if anything your power exchange looks like, safe words, plans for if someone safe words out of a scene, emergency action plans, how long the agreement is good for, what to do if you want to change the agreement, what to do if you want to extend or terminate the agreement, and so forth.

As an example, I made a 22 page contract with my partner when we started our power exchange relationship, or more when it got serious. It lets both of us know what is expected of the other and how best to handle specific situations. Ours is less about play and more about the relationship.

I don't recommend making amending or changing the agreement more difficult than it has to be. Some might do this in order to establish or maintain control over their partner. In my opinion it is better to take only what is offered freely in power exchange relationships and not leverage our partner into giving up or loosing power.

A written contract can even be used to make communication easier. Some people struggle with finding the words or a way to communicate with their partner. With a written contract one can have clear pathways of communication. An example might be someone who is in a 24/7 Dom and sub relationship where the sub feels ambivalent to speak up when they have negative feedback. The agreement can establish a protocol that makes it easier for the sub to speak up. A common protocol is having the sub say "permission to speak freely" or "permission to step out of dynamic" and then the Dom gives the sub permission to speak in a way that might not be in line with their dynamic.

Another fantastic possible component of an agreement or contract is the foresight it can lend to people in a dynamic with regard to conflict resolution or ending the relationship in a productive way. You could write in something to the effect of "if both parties are not able to resolve a conflict in 12 hours then a third party will be consulted". You might have a designated check-in period that will prevent people from going long periods without sharing strong feelings. That could be a weekly meeting or a 6 month check in or anything in between.

All in all, the culture of writing out an agreement or contract between parties before play or before establishing a relationship is in my opinion a very positive one. It can do a great deal to elucidate many things that might otherwise go unspoken until a point of conflict. It can also be a tool used for making roles and expectations clear and giving people power to communicate effectively and clearly.

I am available as a third party mediator for the establishment or maintenance of contracts or agreements. Email HouseOfAlgos@gmail.com for more information.


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