Recently a follower asked me on Twitter about my contract with Master. My knee-jerk reaction was “we’ve been married for 4 years and only began this journey a year and a half ago. We didn’t start off as exclusively BDSM. We already knew each other. What fucking contract?” (I didn’t say that. I like to think I’m a little more diplomatic.) But I took the prompt to think about things.
I work in law, specifically in breach of contract on loans. I regularly read deeds of trust, promissory notes, contracts for vehicle loans, credit cards, lines of credit, etc. I know them pretty well, and I know the process of sitting down and signing these bitches. We have a mortgage, multiple credit cards, and have taken out two vehicle loans in the past 4 years. So I know contracts on a practical level from two sides.
Master and I never formally negotiated anything. We ran through checklists and said “that sounds interesting”, “I really want to try that”, “maybe not”, or “fuck no.” Maybe it’s my professional bend, but I see “contract” as something far more formal than what we have. Particularly because we don’t have any specific guidelines that apply to our every day lives (other than “don’t masturbate without asking and always ask permission for an orgasm.”) I’m not expected to behave a certain way outside the bedroom. Hell, my behavior inside the bedroom doesn’t have a set-in-stone rulebook. We kind of just fly by the seat of our (non-existent) pants and do what feels right.
I have heard tell of written BDSM contracts. It’s in FSOG, so obviously I’ve heard of it. They played without a contract, even came to the conclusion that it was redundant.
I understand and fully advocate for consent and awareness between parties. You don’t want to go off poking needles in someone who has needle play as a hard limit. And verbal agreement and discussion is an absolute must. If there are any behavioral expectations, set rules, etc., obviously this would have to be discussed. Some may call that a verbal contract. And while I seriously doubt a Dom is going to sue his sub for breach of their BDSM contract, or vice versa, verbal contracts are very difficult to enforce in a court of law. And I see quite a difference between an agreement versus a contract.
Again, maybe it’s the legal professional in me. But an enforceable contract or agreement has consequences for breaching it. When one signs a contract for a mortgage, for instance, you are agreeing to pay the amounts in the note, on the dates set out, or you will be responsible for the fees and costs of any legal remedies that the lender incurs in order to obtain the funds you owe.
So what happens if I masturbate without Master’s permission? Well, there was an instance with a belt. Another time there was an argument that I shouldn’t have to ask for his fucking permission while we were mid-argument. (Technically, probably not a valid argument. But since it was his goddamn fault, I didn’t feel like submitting to his goddamn rules. And he could shove it. I got away with it, but I think that’s more because if he had punished me, he’d have regretted it. Since it was his goddamn fault.)
But a contract? Well… not a formal one. Not even a formal verbal one. Our agreement is fluid. If, for instance, I feel like I can’t go down on him, I have the right to assert no blowjobs for the night. If I don’t feel up to anal, I get to take it off the table. Sex of any kind is always by consent, not necessarily agreement. As much as I can turn him down, he can turn me down, too.
With no official hard-line rules in place, can you really call it a contract? If it’s not enforceable at times by it’s nature, can you call it a contract? If the limits can be adjusted at a moment’s notice for nothing else besides “nah, not tonight”, can it be called a contract?
Well, yeah. I guess. Anyone who’s signed a variable interest rate contract or a balloon payment mortgage can tell you for damn certain that fluidity does NOT make it not a contract. And that they wish they never signed the fucking thing, but still. The fact that we have hard limits and have discussed them, and understand that these WILL NOT be violated (or else?), I suppose it IS a contract of a sort.
So I considered how I should have answered the man. But then I’d have to go through my checklist as to hard limits, etc. And that would take for-fucking-ever. WAY more than 140 characters would allow. And because his question was in response to MY question “what are some ideas for me to surprise Master tonight,” I also felt that maybe it didn’t apply because we don’t have many real rules. Other than hard limits, there’s really nothing off the table. I’m allowed to initiate, so there’s nothing preventing pretty much any type of surprise I feel like. I just wanted ideas, not to sit down and negotiate with an internet stranger as to what my Dom would allow.
I settled for getting him aroused with my hand, riding him til I was exhausted, rolling over to allow him to finish, and then getting the fuck flogged out of me afterwards. A REALLY good night. It was more on the vanilla side, but it was still awesome. See, that’s within our agreement. If I had handcuffed him to the bed, there’s no rule I can’t do that. I can turn on porn and watch that with him til we get too distracted by our own lust to watch anymore.
While I have debated the philosophical definition of a contract, I came to the final conclusion that I really didn’t owe that guy an answer anyway. And to just ignore it. And settle with Google-ing “how to surprise my Dom” from now on instead of posing the question directly to a group of internet people just because they are into BDSM as well. (I can’t ask on the blog because Master reads it. And then it isn’t a surprise!)
And, as any half-assed philosophy minor degree-holder will tell you, this can all be solved by admitting that we can’t really KNOW if this reality is the ACTUAL reality, anyway. We could be plugged into the Matrix. Or dreaming. Or be puppets on a string controlled by an evil demon who feeds these thoughts and images into our minds. Thus, debating the philosophical definition of a contract with a stranger is irrelevant. And having to explain our dynamic would take way too fucking long, and I could just fuck Master with that time instead.