Here, for your edification, is the text of the contract that I signed with my Master on March 24, 2001. I present it for purposes of discussion and reference -- I do not suggest you use it without modification. (I have, at my Master's request, removed His and my legal names from this document. As we're not individually identifiable by our first names alone, I've left them in section 6i -- thanks, martin, for pointing this out.)

This is an example of a slave contract -- essentially, a pre-nuptial agreement for a BDSM relationship. Every relationship has a set of common understandings -- with my Master and myself, we chose to put it in writing as opposed to leaving it in our minds and memories.

1. Abstract, Intention, and Definitions

This agreement is a contract between <Master's Name> (hereafter referred to as 'Master') and <slave's name> (hereafter referred to as 'slave'). It is intended to set out, in broad strokes, the terms and conditions under which Master and slave enter into a relationship that is purely and entirely consentual (sic), but outside the realm of what is considered considered 'normal' within society's normal boundaries. It is a living document, the agreement remaining in full force from the time of its inception until its termination (as outlined below). There is no duress understood, implied, or exerted upon either Master or slave, and both Master and slave have had the opportunity to look over this agreement and agree on any changes necessary. Thus, both parties are actively participating in the shape and form of this agreement, and by their signatures consent to govern their relationship within the boundaries outlined herein, with full understanding and acceptance of all implications expressed and implied.

Master does not intend to cause any harm, be it physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, or in any other conceivable realm, to slave, by means of this agreement. slave does not intend to cause any harm, be it physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, or in any other conceivable realm, to Master, by means of this agreement. This agreement is entered into in recognition of the deep connection which Master and slave share, and is intended to provide a concrete set of expectations and commitments between Master and slave. In recognition of real stresses in any relationship, the possibility of the relationship needing to be terminated is taken into account; thus, in the unfortunate possibility of a breakdown, this agreement also provides for a set of responsibilities for Master and slave that will allow for the relationship to be terminated with a minimum of rancor. Master and slave agree that where governed by law (money, property, tangible things, libel, slander, etc.), violations of the terms of this contract will be legally actionable. (A binding arbitration clause is included herein, to protect Master and slave both from costly and emotional court battles.)

2. Signature Validity

For purposes of this agreement, only an original signature by each of Master and slave shall be valid and binding for the contract and any addendums hereto. Specifically, powers of attorney are excluded from signing on behalf of either Master or slave. (This is for the possibility that slave may, at some point, assign Master power of attorney for any reason, slave wants to ensure that Master could not (if he wanted to, which is extremely unlikely in any case) agree to a modification on his behalf without consent.)

3. Agreement Term, Termination, Renewal

This contract shall be in effect from the later date of the signatures of Master and slave, and shall continue for a period of not more than six months following this date, for a "trial period". After a term of not less than five months (5/6 of the validity period), Master and slave will begin discussions as to whether to extend the trial period, to negotiate a permanent agreement, or to terminate the agreement (and thus, the relationship) without rancor. This 5-month limitation can be dropped at the agreement of both Master and slave, which agreement must be secured without duress.

If there is an extension to the trial period, it shall be noted in an addendum to this agreement, which Master and slave will both sign. If the agreement is terminated, it shall be noted in an addendum to this agreement, which Master and slave will both sign.

4. Intention of Form of Relationship

Master and slave, in recognition of the deep connection that they share, in recognition of Master's deep and abiding needs, and in recognition of slave's deep and abiding need to have an authority figure within his life, choose to enter into a full-time Dominant/submissive relationship as Master and his slave.

5. Rights and Responsibilities Common to Master and slave

Master and slave agree that within any relationship, each person has responsibilities to themselves and to each other. If one party has a responsibility to the other, the other party may consider it a "right" to expect that that responsibility shall be carried out.

a. Personal Responsibility for Actions, Reactions, and Emotional Reactions

Master and slave acknowledge that each brings into the relationship their past experiences, and their own values and personalities. Master and slave agree that personal responsibility is necessary and desirable within the relationship. Thus, Master and slave agree to be responsible for their own emotional reactions, to deal with their own issues without undue fuss, and if these issues cannot be resolved personally then to talk about these issues with each other -- but not assign blame for the issues or for causing the issues on each other. (Example: If Master says something that deeply hurts slave emotionally, and slave cannot resolve the internal issue alone, slave shall bring the matter up with Master and ask for assistance. Master shall not take responsibility for the emotional pain, but will take responsibility for saying what he said -- and will communicate with slave so that slave will feel supported in dealing with the emotional pain.)

Honesty and Respect.

Master and slave acknowledge that a relationship can only be based on honesty and integrity, tempered with humor, warmth, and trust. Thus, all communication between Master and slave shall be open and honest as much as possible, with the intent of causing as little emotional, mental, or other harm to the other party as possible. (If there is something to be said that is unpleasant, it shall be presented in a manner that is respectful to the other party's feelings, as much as possible or warranted, given the circumstances.)

c. Mutual Respect and Trust

Master and slave agree that the other is worthy of respect, and that one of the foundations of Master's and slave's relationship is the respect that they hold for each other. In the event that this respect is ever lost, there is no hope for the relationship to continue, and thus Master and slave agree to not do anything that may cause a loss of respect in each other's eyes.

Master and slave further agree to trust that the other is committed to the relationship, and committed to not causing harm to either themselves or the other. In light of this, Master and slave agree to constantly reinforce that trust as much as possible and desirable without being disrespectful of the other.

d. Fulfillment of Needs, and Equals Now

Master and slave acknowledge that their needs and desires in a relationship are paramount, and thus may at any time call a session of renegotiation as equals if they feel their needs are not being met (or incrementally moved toward). This is a very serious request, as it is essentially "safewording" the relationship, and must not be done lightly. This renegotiation may be accomplished by saying to the other, "Equals now, please," with no supporting words or address mannerisms. The responding party shall take this as a sign of serious breach of the letter or spirit of this agreement, and react accordingly (in most circumstances, immediately ceasing any and all other activities going on at the time to focus on the problem identified and communicated by the distressed party). In the event of Master calling Equals Now, slave shall discuss this with the understanding that a defining need of Master is not being met, and shall commit to cooperatively finding a resolution to the problem and implementing it. In the event of slave calling Equals Now, Master shall discuss the problem with the understanding that slave feels that continuing on the course that Master has set will run contrary to fulfillment of slave's needs, and will cooperatively find a resolution to the problem and implement it.

Master and slave will do their best to address the needs of the other, without attempting to merely placate each other (as attempting to placate someone indicates that one has less respect for them than oneself). In the event that progress is not made within 2 weeks, the distressed may again call Equals Now and work again with the responding party to find an acceptable solution to the problem, with the full expectation that the situation will be resolved appropriately.

In the event this second calling of Equals Now does not accomplish the needed result, the distressed party may suspend the dominant/submissive portion of the relationship for 72 hours (to be implemented as in-house separation), during which time Master and slave agree to work, as equals, towards finding workable solutions to the lack of fulfillment felt in the relationship by the distressed party. If this does not work, either party may terminate the relationship without rancor, as the needs that drive the relationship cannot be met.

Limitation of Equals Now: In deference to the fact that having Equals Now called is a very stressful action (it should ONLY be used in the event of a destructive breakdown of the relationship), if either Master or slave call Equals Now for not less than 3 things that are deemed frivolous or unimportant (things that are not deep, abiding needs for the person who is distressed), the responding party may choose to terminate the relationship with prejudice, as the essential trust placed in the other party shall have been breached. (This is a condition known as "control via safeword", and is not acceptable in any situation.)

e. Safeword

Master and slave agree that they may make demands of each other that cannot be met without incurring physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, or other harm at the time the demands are placed. In all circumstances related to this, the other party may call safeword. The person safewording can expect the following: that the demands will be put on hold; that because there is emotional distress inherent in not being able to meet the needs of the other, the person whose demands are not being met shall not issue any form of blame or discouragement; and that the person who placed the demands will be emotionally supportive and reinforcing of the trust required to believe that a safeword will be properly reacted to. In the event that there is physical or emotional strain involved, the person who is responding to the safeword will do his level best to ease the strain as much as necessary to give the person who called safeword enough space and time to recuperate and recover, as well as the emotional support necessary to re-establish trust and well-being.

Limitation of Safeword: Master and slave acknowledge that calling safeword places a great deal of stress upon the responding party. Thus, they shall strive to only use it in situations where they are completely overwhelmed by mental, physical, emotional, or other stresses that they cannot deal with, and both Master and slave trust each other not to use it frivolously. If this is breached repeatedly (not less than 3 times), the responding party may choose to terminate the relationship with prejudice, as the essential trust placed in the other party shall have been breached. (In particular, slave shall never attempt to control Master's actions by safewording frivolously. slave acknowledges Master's Dominance in this and all things, and shall not attempt to wrest control by "topping from the bottom".)

f. Personal Safety

In any event where either Master or slave is placed in a situation (or is about to be placed in a situation) where there is a perception of real danger of harm to him, he may temporarily halt the activity that is dangerous, and shall at that time air his concerns. (Master is not considered 'infallible', and while the authority figure, may possibly overlook something important or dangerous.) At that time, Master may make any or no changes to the situation, and continue the activity anyway. slave will accept and trust Master's judgement once the matter is called to His attention. Neither party shall ever be denied this right to expressing concerns for personal safety.

g. Permanent Physical Changes

Master and slave acknowledge that certain things desired by Master may cause permanent changes to the physical body of slave. In all cases where this may occur, slave may for any reason choose to decline the change, or may choose to accept the change. (Permanent physical changes include such things as tattoos, scars, brands, genital maiming, permanent piercings, and anything else that will, for a period of more than four months, permanently change the shape, form, sight, functionality, or other aspects of the physical body.) This restriction is in place for the trial period, and for as long after the trial period as slave needs to feel comfortable.

h. Extra-relationship Sexual Activity

Master and slave shall both have the option of sexual exploration outside of the relationship. In any case where sexual gratification is sought, given, or received, the sexual contact shall be made as safe as reasonably possible and acceptable to both Master and slave. Because not following this rule is exposing both Master and slave to extreme physical danger, failure to observe this rule shall be reported to the other party at the earliest opportunity, who shall have the option of terminating the relationship at that point.

i. Statute of Limitations

Master and slave agree that timeliness is of the essence in communicating distress or distressing situations. Master and slave also acknowledge that it is sometimes difficult to immediately bring things up, and that a bit of time is sometimes necessary to think through a situation logically to figure out where the distress came from. Thus, Master and slave agree that they shall give each other one week from the first time they can speak in a reasonable fashion about any individual incident to bring up any issues related to that incident.

However, incidents may be tracked beyond that one-week range, to determine a pattern of undesirable behavior that may need to be brought up in standard communications between Master and slave.

j. Legal Responsibilities

Master and slave acknowledge that they may be placed in physically taxing situations, at Master's whim, such that physical injury may occur. Master and slave commit, in the spirit of partnership, to taking care of each other when they are injured. To support this commitment, Master and slave shall both execute medical powers of attorney, giving each other the right to make medical decisions for each other in the event of a lack of ability to make decisions on their own behalf.

6. slave's Responsibilities

Within the global rights and responsibilities outlined in section 5 of this agreement, none of which shall be superseded by any of the following statements, slave agrees the following:

a. slave desires to be trained to be as his Master desires him to be. Therefore, slave knowingly, willingly, and willfully abdicates his freedoms to Master, to be returned only when, where, and how Master sees fit, for as long as Master sees fit.

b. slave shall accept all decisions made for him by his Master. Master shall be served by slave to the best of his ability, with dispatch and without reservation.

c. slave shall bear all marks and clothing as Master directs and gifts to him with pride and honor, and shall do so for any reason desired by Master.

d. slave shall not limit his actions or interactions with others in Master's presence, nor shall slave conceal anything from Master -- from body to thoughts and feelings.

e. slave shall always answer any question Master asks truthfully, as laid out in section 5b. slave shall also bring things to Master's attention that, in slave's best judgement, are important for Master to know.

f. slave shall accept any dietary changes or restrictions that Master sees fit (as long as it does not cause harm, such as slave's allergy to seafood).

g. slave's personal habits shall be remade at any time, in any manner Master desires, for any reason that Master desires.

h. slave shall accept all training measures and techniques that Master chooses to use, without question or reservation (save only the parameters previously set forth in sections 5f and 5g).

i. slave shall address Master as 'my Master' or 'my Lord' unless specifically directed otherwise by Master. In such cases, Master will usually direct slave to address him as 'Sir' or 'Marcus', depending on the circumstances and Master's whim. slave may, in a situation where others are around that is perceived as posing a threat of real danger under section 5f, address Master as 'Marcus'. If, after that, Master refers to slave as 'slave', slave shall revert to the most appropriate form of address that Master has explicitly granted slave the right to use at that time. If at any time Master refers to slave as 'Mathew', slave will immediately start addressing Master as 'Marcus', until such time as Master addresses him as 'slave' again. (This is so that interactions with other people that are dangerous can be properly handled without taking precious time or speech to make it explicit. It is hoped that such a situation will never arise.)

j. Notwithstanding 6i, slave shall keep current patterns of speech intact unless and until Master retrains him. slave's address of Master for questions shall be prefaced with, "Master?" Master may grant slave the ability to ask the question at that time, or may deny the ability to ask the question until later. In the case of denied speech, slave will remain silent until allowed speech again.

k. slave shall be permitted to explore sexually outside this relationship, as desired, by Master's permission, subject to the restrictions of section 5h.

l. slave shall never deny entrance of Master to his home, as long as this agreement persists. (slave maintains, at the inception of this agreement, a separate home from Master. When and if Master has slave move in with Him, slave will still not deny Master entrance to his home.)

m. slave shall provide his financial, domestic, and other resources to Master for Master's upholding of His responsibilities.

n. slave shall never perform any action that, by its nature, would bring shame to him or his Master, would demonstrate disrespect to Master, or disgrace Master.

o. slave acknowledges that Master invests significant time, effort, and emotional stress into his training. Thus, slave shall never make Master's job any more difficult than it needs to be, and shall also not attempt to control any situation that Master is currently in control of, except at Master's bidding.

p. slave acknowledges that Master will not always be in a mindset to interact with slave on the level that slave may desire (sexually, Dominantly, emotionally, or otherwise)... and thus will perform his duties with a minimum of fuss, and shall offer any emotional or other support to Master that may be necessary.

q. slave acknowledges that Master has relationships with people in His life that may be damaged by inadvertently letting slip that slave is owned by Master, and disclosing Master's identity. Thus, slave will not talk about his Master in any except the most general of terms, unless Master has given permission for slave to speak in that manner to the person that slave may be talking to.

r. Most importantly, slave realizes that he is in his relationship with Master for Master's edification, amusement, and fulfillment, and shall do everything within his power to minimize the use of his rights under this agreement -- using them only so far as to ensure that he feels safe. It is expected that as time goes on, slave will learn that he has no need for these rights, and will either relinquish them or cease using them.

7. Master's Responsibilities

Within the global rights and responsibilities outlined in section 5 of this agreement, none of which shall be superseded by any of the following statements, Master agrees to the following:

a. Master shall provide for his slave's emotional, mental, and spiritual direction while slave is in His care.

b. Because Master, and service to Master, is so important to slave's mental and emotional well-being, Master acknowledges that slave's loss of his Master would cause emotional, mental, and spiritual harm to slave. Master shall thus never knowingly place himself or slave in mortal danger that Master does not deem necessary.

c. Master shall train slave to proper, full-time service to Master, in all facets of what Master desires.

d. Master shall refer to and address slave in any manner He sees fit, at any time, in any context. Master shall temper this with knowledge of social stigmas, and shall strive to keep knowledge of Master and slave's relationship from anyone who would be hostile towards it and both parties. Master shall also endeavor to withhold knowledge of the relationship from those of slave's friends whose relationships with slave would be adversely affected by the knowledge, until slave chooses to inform his friends.

e. Master shall bear in mind slave's physical limits by age, body condition, injuries, and psychological impositions while devising a training plan for slave, and training slave.

f. Master may, at His discretion, train slave on any or all mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, magickal, and other planes as he knows and is capable.

g. Master shall endeavor to maintain the best home available to himself and, if it is ever decided that slave shall move in with Him, His slave, using as much in the way of resources as necessary to live comfortably.

h. Master and slave acknowledge that training is hard... and that Master works as hard as or harder than slave during training periods. Thus, Master may, at His discretion, declare "free times" for himself and slave, such that they shall be near equals -- these times being used for physical, emotional, spiritual, and other healing, as needed. Each free time shall have an estimated time of completion, and shall be kept short-term. In the event Master feels the need to extend the free time, He may do so. Because training is hard on slave as well, and slave needs healing in these matters as well, Master may not shorten any free time previously announced without slave's consent.

i. Master agrees to take care of slave when slave is otherwise physically incapacitated, ensure that slave gets all necessary medical attention, and ensure that slave is not asked to perform any action which would make any physical damage worse.

8. Termination Procedures

In the event of termination of this agreement, both parties agree to return any property owned by the other within a reasonable time, and to not burden the other with his property for any unreasonable length of time. In the event of jointly-owned property, Master and slave agree to split its monetary and emotional value as close to evenly as possible without destruction of any property.

In the event that Master and slave do not agree at termination what the monetary and emotional value is, a mediation may take place. In the event that mediation does not resolve the dispute, Master and slave agree to take the matter before an arbitrator of the American Arbitration Association, who shall make a final, binding decision. Master and slave agree to jointly pay for the cost of the mediation and arbitration, should it become necessary.

9. Order of succession

Once this agreement is signed, it shall supercede any and all other agreements Master and slave have in place as of the date the agreement is signed, within the topic of commitment to each other and the relationship. Any modifications to this basic agreement (after signing) must be made in the form of addendums, which shall be signed by both Master and slave, and attached to this agreement. Master and slave agree, to the best of their abilities, to abide by the letter and spirit of this agreement for the duration of the contract.

10. Survivability

In the event that this agreement is terminated, Master and slave agree that they still have a responsibility to each other. Specifically, in the event of a termination, there will undoubtedly be some bad feelings... whether they be guilt, anguish, anger, pain, or anything else. Thus, Master and slave agree that they will strive to be supportive of each other as much as possible -- even if it means not having any contact with each other for a while. It is hoped that the relationship that is forged will never lead to a dissolution of friendship, but as nobody can predict the future there can be no guarantee that this hope will come to pass.

I, <Master's Name>, do understand the responsibilities laid out above, and affirm the intention of this agreement as an attempt to forge understanding of rights and responsibilities in a new relationship. I enter into this relationship of my own free will, with no coercion expressed or implied, and agree that the aforementioned responsibilities are what I choose to be bound to within this relationship. By my signature, I affirm my intent to enter into this agreement.

Signed _______________________________ Date _________________________

I, <slave's name>, do understand the responsibilities laid out above, and affirm the intention of this agreement as an attempt to forge understanding of rights and responsibilities in a new relationship. I enter into this relationship of my own free will, with no coercion expressed or implied, and agree that the aforementioned responsibilities are what I choose to be bound to within this relationship. By my signature, I affirm my intent to enter into this agreement.

Signed _______________________________ Date _________________________

Section 5.e, "Safeword" talks about calling safeword but doesn't say what the safeword is. I'd suggest a sentence which says that a safeword must be chosen by the Master and communicated clearly to the slave.

There are common (and delicious) situations in which the safeword can't be spoken or heard. Normally it's understood that some non-verbal safeword is used instead—"To call safeword, pull your right leg against the restraints three times in a row, then left leg." A clause requiring this would be appropriate:

If either Master or slave is about to be in a position where the safeword cannot be communicated verbally, the Master must choose and clearly communicate some nonverbal method of calling safeword to the slave before the verbal safeword is impaired.

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