30 Days of D/s,  Experience,  Opinion

Contracts & Negotiation in a D/s Relationship

This post is #4 in my 30 Days of D/s series. If you’d like to read more, please visit my 30 Days of D/s page for the complete inventory of posts. 

I was sort of dreading this topic, but I fully expected it to come up. I mean, it’s an integral part of a D/s relationship, so it makes sense.


We had rules (see “My First Rules“), discipline (see “The Discipline Log“), and a contract (which I still have a copy of) years ago. I bucked against the boundaries constantly and had a difficult time with discipline. As we were fairly new at the whole thing, and maybe not as resilient as we needed to be, it fell apart.

Obviously, negotiating what will and will not and can and cannot happen must HAPPEN. Deciding and expressing personal boundaries is IMPERATIVE, even though those boundaries may likely shift over time, which calls for re-negotiation. And making clear what one wants or doesn’t want out of the relationship is also necessary. The Dominant must have a picture of what the submissive needs and what she will offer, and the submissive must have a picture of what the Dominant expects and how He will enforce it. Both have to be on the same page before anything can really begin. After all, this is a consensual agreement between two people.

It may be clunky and a bit awkward at first as both find their place in the dynamic, revising through constant communication until agreements are fully made and the relationship can take flight.

So, if Mr. D decides we should go back to D/s, will we have a contract? That’s a good question. I would expect that we probably would. I think it is wise to put down in writing the agreed upon and thoughtful outcome of negotiations to make sure that both participants are committing to exactly what they think they are committing to. Signing your name to a document adds weight to it, and it also provides a tactile reminder that both parties can refer back to in times of confusion or disagreement. A contract’s not necessary, of course, and I think it is possible to outgrow the need for one. But at first, I think it’s important in order for a submissive to keep track of what is expected and for a Dominant to keep track all of it (which is even more…what is expected AND what will be done if the behavior is achieved or not.)

I do believe a contract is a changeable document and should be altered and/or updated if both parties will it to be. And for those people who either have great memories, a smaller list of tasks and outcomes, or just feel they don’t need to be tied to a contract, that’s cool, too.

The trouble that I had (and still have) with our prior contract is that it was long (five pages). There was too much for me to remember and to follow, which left me feeling overwhelmed and, quite honestly, set up for failure. That’s exactly the opposite feeling I want to produce through D/s. However, it was thorough and well-thought-out.

There was an initial agreement, with tasks broken up into groups: wellness, sexuality, service, and domestic tasks. This was followed by a section on punishment and reward addressing violation of each group of tasks. The final section summed up the agreement (along with provisions for cancellation and re-negotiation) and provided a place for both of us to sign.

Looking back at this contract, I can see how thoughtfully crafted it was. The wording is careful and respectful of both parties. It begins with:

I __________, with a free mind and an open heart, do request of ___________ that He accept the submission of my will unto His and to take me into His care and guidance, that W/we may grow together in love, trust, and mutual respect….

And ends with:

Should either of U/us find that our aspirations are not being well-served by this agreement, find this commitment too burdensome, or for any other reason wish to cancel, E/either must do so by verbal notification to the O/other, in keeping with the consensual nature of this agreement. W/we both understand that cancellation means a cessation of the control state and implied within this agreement, not the termination of O/our relationship as friends and lovers or husband and wife. Upon cancellation, each of U/us agrees to offer to the other His or her reasons and to assess our new needs and situation openly and lovingly. 

This agreement shall serve as the basis for an extension of O/our relationship, committed to in the spirit of loving and consensual Dominance and submission with the intention of furthering self-awareness and exploration, promoting health and happiness, and improving both O/our lives.

I then signed my consent to submission and He signed his acceptance (back in 2015).

The creation of the contract was actually rather thrilling. Putting our vision on paper and really discussing what we both wanted out of it was some of the best communication we have ever had. We were thorough and delved into what we were both hoping to gain from a D/s relationship. It was egalitarian and deeply satisfying for both of us.

Where it fell apart was with my inability to handle discipline and to maintain what felt like an overwhelming list of tasks. I couldn’t manage myself on those days when “I just didn’t want to.” I guess I could say, in my defense, that He couldn’t manage me on those days, either. But, our relationship wasn’t, and isn’t based in force. He wants me to submit of my own accord, and to “push” me into it isn’t what He’s after. It takes on the color of abuse at that point, and neither of us want to even touch that boundary. However, as I learn more about the type of submissive I am (or could be), I am also learning that sometimes I need to be pushed…forced…tamed. Basically…if I don’t “cry uncle,” even if I’m pouting and angry, I’m not done. Because, I’ll admit, discipline sometimes really pisses me off. It leads me to fuming and tears…even anger and glaring, silent challenges. But, if I don’t “tap out,” it means I can take it, because I know, subconsciously, that later I’ll appreciate the strength it Him took to pull me through it.

And….with that amazing revelation…(because yes…that was new to me!)…I’ll leave you until tomorrow!

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(Disclaimer: The opinions in this article are simply that…opinions. These are my personal feelings on issues of D/s. It is important to note that I am and always have been in a consensual relationship, and any activities I partake of, I have done so with full consciousness and willingness. Also, on the issue of pronoun usage, I use HE/she pronouns, with the Dominant being the He and the submissive being the she. This is for ease of writing and because it is what I identify with. Pronouns are interchangeable, so feel free to fill in with those that work best for your situation. Be nice in the comments. I’m not here to be berated or argue the issues, I’m just here to explore my own feelings and opinions and share them with those that may find benefit in doing so.)

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