You can’t do D/s without a written contract. You can’t do D/s without explicit rules. You can’t do D/s without formal acceptance. You can’t do D/s without (insert your own horseshit requirement here).
Mind you, I don’t hate contracts or rules or acceptance. I don’t dislike formality or ceremony. I just can’t stand people who say that these lifeless scraps of process are essential ingredients to a living, breathing relationship. I am beyond tired of Process Nazis, demanding others present their contracts and rules, like papers and passports permitting us to pass through the Leather Curtain into their precious People’s Republic of BDSM.
Beth I and I have never had a contract. I use them in business to control relationships where the exchange is complex and trust is scarce. Beth and I have a relationship that is simple and trust is in abundance. We also constantly rebalancing our arrangement. We don’t need an explicit document to call foul or sort out misunderstandings, and locking things down in writing would just slow down the evolution of our dynamic. This works for us. It might not work for you. I recognize that it definitely won’t work for everyone.
Do you have a contract? Have you wanted to break your end of the bargain or renegotiate your arrangement, but agreed to keep things the way they were because you had to wait out your contract? Did this slow the evolution of your dynamic, or did the firmness of the contract give you strength when you would have faltered? Did the words bind you as surely as any leather restraints? Did you like how this made you feel? If your answer is yes, then by all means please use contracts with my blessing!
More to my point however: please recognize that my blessing on your dynamic is irrelevant.
Beth and I used to have written rules, but now we’re both just comfortable with our expectations. If you’re new to D/s, written rules are a great way to keep expectations clear between you both. Then again, if you’re just dipping a toe into D/s, you might only have one or two rules. Do you really need to engrave them and have them framed? If anybody tells you “yes no matter what”, ask them what they’re selling.
You know what, screw it. I am going to give you some hard and fast rules for your D/s. Pay attention, this is important. Ready? Here we go:
- Don’t have a written contract.
- Don’t have explicit rules.
- Don’t have formal acceptance.
- Unless you want them. Then have as much as you want.
What works for you? Do that. What isn’t working for you? Do less of that.