This post is by the insightful Jack Duncan. His goal in writing these pieces is to largely help those interested in the BDSM Lifestyle with honesty and transparency. Many people go into this with their eyes wide shut, believing whatever they’ve read or watched out there created by people who aren’t in the lifestyle, or don’t live by the rules most people do. Jack’s been expanding his knowledge for 20+ years and he’s willing to help you find your way.
So, a good friend of mine suggested that I create another topic involving contracts for BDSM relationships. It seems a lot of people (especially on these groups) take their safety, and the safety of their partners, for granted.
A contract establishes guidelines and provides structure. It sets the Hard and Soft limits for each partner, as well as Safe Words and Safe Gestures.
Soft Limits are lines drawn in the sand. The sub/slave/little is unsure if they can handle this limit and the Dom/me/Master/Daddy will be allowed to push their limit.
Hard limits are lines drawn in concrete and will most likely get a RED safe word or gesture to stop play.
Safe Words, like Green, Yellow, and Red are used to gauge the scene. Yellow is like a Soft Limit, the submissive is getting close to calling a stop to the scene, their boundaries are being pushed. It could also mean “I need a moment to deal with this boundary we’re pushing on.” Speaking with the sub when they call a Yellow safe word will help you get more information.
Hard limits are RED and when the submissive says their Red safe word, the play stops and it’s time to make sure that the sub is okay and to administer aftercare.
Safe Gestures are used when the mouth is otherwise occupied. This could be snapping of the fingers, clapping, or tapping out, depending on how the hands are placed. There can be other Safe Gestures as well and should be agreed upon and watched for during play. You can also do Green, Yellow, and Red gestures to ensure that the sub is safe.
If you want to make absolutely sure the submissive is interested in the proposed play, it’s been noted to make them say YES enthusiastically. Make them say YES more than once. Make them BEG for the proposition.
Safe words are important to ensure that if the play becomes too intense the sub/slave/little has that safety net. They speak the Safe Word and play stops. Safety Gestures are important if you cannot speak because a gag or other item is preventing speech. No relationship should be without set limits and safety words and gestures in place.
No Dom/me/Daddy/Sir knows your body well enough to be able to gauge your limits. Given time an experience with one that may change (and has been proven to change with some couples – Kayla Lords talks about this a few times.). A slave’s contract will be different than a sub’s or a little’s. Contracts will also vary by real world obligations such as family, work, existing relationships, and other real life expectations (and the occasional kid falling from a tree and breaking their arm or another emergency). I feel that contracts should always be able to be renegotiated. If either party violates the terms of the contract, the contract should always be void. I do not think that a sub/slave/little, has to be released by a Dom/me/Master/Daddy if that person has neglected their agreed upon duties. However, I believe that some duties are a given by the role they have taken on and don’t necessarily need to be outlined. Examples include, but are not limited to, ignoring/failing to communicate properly, inconsistency, lying (on either person’s part), simply not performing the duties of said role.
All contracts will evolve over time. As experience and comfort with one another evolves as well as the most important thing to me – the psychological attachment and trust – the contract itself may not even be a consideration. However, for anew or even young relationship the contract sets the structure for both parties. Of course, with my usual disclaimer, this is a guideline and not set in stone. My opinion is just that. Please read and explore and educate yourself from many perspectives. Thank you.
(Safe words stated in this essay are the most used examples. Obviously, you can choose your own safe words to mean Green, Yellow, or Red.)