If you’ve seen or read Fifty Shades Of Grey, you’ll know that one of the most prevalent features in the story is the BDSM contract. The contract sets out an elaborate list of rules and conditions that Anastasia Steele must submit in order to please Christian Grey, but what are they really like in real life? Let’s take a little look below.
What are BDSM contracts?
BDSM contacts are usually a written document that details out the ‘terms and conditions of the BDSM relationship. They can be as fun or as serious as you want them to be, as detailed as you like, and as long or as short as you choose. More than anything, they set out the structures of your relationship as a point of reference, so that you both know what is expected of you in your arrangement.
Are BDSM contracts legally binding?
Unlike a mobile phone contract, a BDSM contract holds no legal power and is not recognised in a court of law. BDSM encompasses a lot of taboo topics (beating, bondage, humiliation and so on) and by not endorsing these documents, it helps to keep the wider society safe from people who might use these relationships as an excuse to commit criminal assaults, forced captivity and slavery. The law in many countries does endorse consensual sexual activity between adults, including BDSM activities, and participants are free to cohabit or marry to legally ratify their commitment if they so choose. However, BDSM Contracts are not legally recognised as any form of ‘ownership’ over another person in themselves.
How do you write a BDSM contract?
Now that we’ve cleared up the basics, let’s talk about how to write one, or whether you even want one at all! There’s no precursor that says you must have a BDSM contract, and if you and your partner prefer to to have only a few basic agreements (like safewords) then that’s absolutely fine. If you feel like a contract would help you, then write one. If it all feels a bit fluff ‘n’ stuff, just skip them!
A contract can detail out a number of conditions of your arrangement. For example, it might include:
How you and your partner will address one another (Sir, Mistress, slave etc)
● What your safewords are
● What your rules are
● Any rituals you have
● Any other conditions you have (clothes, food, sleeping arrangements) etc
● When you will play, and any rituals surrounding your BDSM scenes
It’s really important that your contract if you have one, reflects you. If this all seems and feels very serious, consider going without one. We have rules but no contract, so do whatever feels right for you!
When it comes to saving and printing your contact, think about where you’re going to keep it, and how it will look. Buy a nice leather-bound file if you like, and print it onto some nice, cream textured paper. Let your relationship speak to you and lead the way.
What About Rules?
If there’s one thing that really gripes me in the other BDSM rules that I’ve seen, it’s the copycat behaviour. To us, you shouldn’t have rules because X did or you saw it on Y’s blog, The rules you have should be tailored to you!
When we started out, we had lots of copycat rules that had been suggested to us. To be honest? We forgot half of them! A lot of them made us feel uneasy, got argued about or just apply, so they got forgotten about.
Two of the hardest rules that I now have to live by are not keeping secrets, and keeping my fingernails no longer than my fingertips. Can I be honest? I used to have long, ugly talons- I was too busy to notice my fingernails need cutting and Matt hated them! When you write your rules, think about the things you would like your partner to improve, discuss them together and agree on what’s reasonable. Don’t force unrealistic demands on your partner – you’re both only human!
Could they be doing more exercise? Do they stay in bed all day and you would like that to change? Can they be sassy and rude and you’d like to curb some of that attitude? These are the things to think about.
Start with only 5-10 rules, and try to make them easy to remember. “keep your fingernails no longer than your fingertips” is a lot easier to remember and impose than “the white region of your fingernails must not exceed 5mm”, especially if you are the one who is likely to forget!.
Finally, remember to have fun. As serious as BDSM can look, many kinky people do have a sense of humour and here at Two Kinky Cooks, we love to laugh. Add some silly, just-for-fun rules too, if you want to. Remember, it’s all up to you!