There is no one standard contract which can apply to every single situation. However, that doesn’t mean there won’t be some similarities. Some agreements can be just a paragraph, stating that slave fully submits and gives themselves to Master absolutely forever. That’s absolutely fine if that’s what the parties want, but in my experience most couples want to specify their responsibilities and rights in detail.

If you’d like a template to help you with this, check out our Master/slave Contract.

When creating a detailed document, here are the elements which I believe every slave contract should have:

The term – the contract should specify a period of time for which it will apply. If you are just starting out, then you should try the experience for at least two weeks. Anything less is just not sufficient because you need time to adjust to the changes. Three to six months is preferable for a training period. Then you can decide whether you want to terminate the arrangement, renew it or sign up for longer.

Availability of the slave – will the slave be required to serve Master at all times (24/7), only on weekends or perhaps only during play?

Secrecy – is this a private arrangement or are you publicly out?

Responsibilities of both parties – it’s not just the slave who has obligations under such contracts. Masters will have obligations of their own and sometimes even more than the slave. You need to sit down and think about what you’d like from each other. Master usually has a duty to protect the slave and provide proper guidance, training and punishment. A disobedient slave is a reflection on the Master’s ability to carry out His responsibilities.

Destruction of evidence – what happens to the Contract, photos, video footage after the contract terminates. Is it to be destroyed or kept in a safe place and accessible only if both parties are present or some other option?

Behavior – how is the slave to act toward Master? Is eye contact required or prohibited? What about touching? How is slave to refer to Master in public vs in private? What will the protocols and etiquette be require.

Specific requirements – you can do this in two ways. You can either give Master total control over specific issues such as hairstyle, clothing, alcohol intake, exercise or you can stipulate specific conditions if you’ve already agreed on them. For example, the slave is allowed two drinks of alcohol beverage on social outings and must request permission from Master for more. However, Master/slave relationships usually take the form of a total power exchange, which gives Master control over all aspects of slave’s life and body.

Limits – every agreement should stipulate what activities are strictly off limits. This keeps the arrangement safe and also allows Master to know the boundaries. Some agreements stipulate ‘soft limits’ which are usually what the parties are willing to try if asked or warned about it beforehand. Not everyone will have soft limits in their undertaking. Also, some couples are very against even having hard limits as they believe slave should trust Master completely and unequivocally.

Safe words – I believe at least one safe word is essential. I have seen some couples refuse to have a safe word on the grounds that Master has total control and the slave has complete trust in Master. In my opinion that’s too risky, especially for newbies. Master can’t always know how the slave is feeling and whether emotional, moral or physical boundaries have been reached. Couples will assign different meanings to the safewords. The most common ones used are the traffic light symbols being red for stop, orange for slow down and green for keep going. You should have a safeword to stop all activity immediately and one to ‘slow things down’.

Communication – you should think about how you wish to communicate with each other. Will the slave be able to talk about everything with Master verbally at any time? Do they have to ask permission first? Should issues relating to the contract be expressed through a journal or via email?

Exclusivity – is this arrangement exclusive between the parties? Are you allowed to sleep with others? Or enter into slave arrangements with others? Only with permission? Never? These issues are important, even in non-BDSM relationships.

Punishment – what are the acceptable methods of punishment? Not all BDSM practitioners are sadists or masochists. You need to discuss this. If you’re entering into a relationship expecting to corporally punish your slave and the slave isn’t interested in physical pain, then you may have a problem on your hand.

Termination – both parties should have a way out of the contract. The relationship is always based on mutual trust and both persons wanting to be in it. A clause which doesn’t allow the slave to walk away is not only unenforceable but is frowned upon by some in the BDSM community. The slave always has a right to terminate, whether the contract permits this or not so you should stipulate how this is to be done rather than prohibiting it all together.

Slave vetoes – the slave should be able to veto Master’s commands in certain situations for example where obedience would cause the slave permanent bodily harm, prosecution or would be detrimental to the slave’s family or work life.

Of course not everyone will agree with these elements and that is fine. I myself like to be thorough and prudent so that is what I would choose to cover.