Conflicted About Kink Contracts
The Deviant Nerd
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So last time you talked about a girl who’d signed a D/s contract and I know I’ve heard about them and NDAs in books and stuff. Do people really do that? And, if they do, how? How do you write one up? How do you get someone to sign one? How do you get out of one once you sign it?
— How Do Contracts Work?
Pip: Hey Contracts,
So, personally, I’m not a huge fan of contracts. Because, in my experience, they don’t really work outside of fiction. In order to do kink—and do it effectively and safely—you have to have pretty much constant communication. You have to make sure that you’re both/all on the same page at all times.
It’s why there are so many ways to stop, slow, and alter a scene, from beginning to middle to end. Kinky checklists. Negotiations. Safewords. The Stop Light System. After care. These are all ways to make sure that a scene—and the relationship as a whole—goes well. For both/all parties.
It’s why even those that insist on signed contracts—and indeed some do—those contracts don’t actually mean all that much. They’re really more of a starting off place. A place to begin the much more complicated and much more involved and never-ending discussion of what you’re hoping to get out of this. A lot of times they’re either for people who are very much into old school protocol and traditions or for newbies, who may not have the knowledge, experience, confidence, or vocabulary to say exactly what they want and don’t.
In reality, contracts tend to end up broken. Either, the contract is held too rigidly and the partnership ends. Or the contract is flexible and then isn’t really needed anymore. Even those who insist on and maintain contracts will have negotiation clauses included in the original contract that allow modifications when necessary.
Because they are always necessary.
Completely 100% followed-through contracts don’t really exist, any more than 24/7 kink relationships do. They are fantasy fodder for those who don’t have to worry about the everyday practicalities of maintaining a relationship with real people in the real world.
Because, think about it, even in a normal, vanilla relationship, are the things you wanted and agreed to at the start of it—from how often you see each other to how you have sex to how much you’re willing to fake interest in that that thing they obsess over—ever exactly the same things you wanted, agreed to, or got in the middle or the end of it?
Relationships are fluid. They have to be or they fail. Kink relationships are no different.
And, as for non-disclosure agreements, I really, really don’t like those. First, depending on where you live—and the judge you get—these types of NDAs aren’t terribly binding. And for good reason. Were these NDAs truly legally binding, you are essentially signing away your right to alert authorities if something bad—like abuse or rape—happens.
What’s worse is that, even though they aren’t legally worth the paper they’re written on, it can make an unknowledgeable, naïve person not report abuse or rape when it happens because their abuser has now added the existence of this agreement to the usual feelings of shame and worry involved in reporting.
Agreements like this make victims feel like they’re responsible for their own abuse. That they agreed to it. That they caused it. That they asked for it. Naive bottoms are less likely to want to report and will feel like they can’t because they’ll think—utterly incorrectly—that they’ve signed away their right to.
Second, let’s say a very stupid, probably prejudiced judge actually does uphold such a flawed agreement, YOU ARE ESSENTIALLY SIGNING AWAY YOUR RIGHT TO ALERT AUTHORITIES IF SOMETHING BAD—LIKE ABUSE OR RAPE—HAPPENS. No one should be trying to get people to sign these agreements. Not for any reason. And, certainly, no one should be agreeing to sign these types of agreements. Not for ANY reason.
Third, kinksters have a personal responsibility to choose the people they play with well. If you’re so worried about whether the person you play with will use your play as blackmail later, you really shouldn't be playing with them in the first place.
BDSM is all about trust.
The relationships that are built in this world should have a solid foundation of trust. Without it, everything crumbles, if you’re lucky. It explodes horrifically, if you’re not. This is how rape and abuse—and erroneous charges of rape and abuse—happen.
If you’re being responsible, you shouldn’t need these kind of agreements to bind you in the first place. Each other’s best interests should be always and already be at the heart of your relationship.
If it’s not...what are you doing even thinking about playing with each other?
— Pip, Your Resident Deviant Nerd
* If you have a sex, kink, love, or life question for The Deviant Nerd, email Pip at PipJones.DeviantNerd@gmail.com.
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