Ms Morgan Thorne has been a lifestyle dominant for 20 years and a Professional Dominatrix for 6 years. She can be reached at her website, twitter, and Facebook.

Contracts are sometimes used in BDSM and have become quite famous after their mention in the 50 Shades series. So let’s talk about what contracts are, if you need one, when you may want to use one and how to create one.

In any discussion about BDSM contracts, it has to be said that they are not legally binding, just a bit of kinky fun for people to indulge in. Some people take their contracts very seriously - in that a breach of contract by either (or any) party results in the relationship being dissolved. Like so many things in the kink lifestyle, you can pick and choose what works for you in this department - contracts are totally optional.

Not every couple (or triad, quad, etc) in a BDSM relationship has a contract. In fact, I know very few players who make use of them - and I know a lot of kinky folks! Contracts are often a part of more protocol heavy kink, and are more likely to be found in those types of communities.

With that said, many people do enjoy having a contract - for both erotic and practical reasons.

It is a tangible symbol of power exchange, much like collars, and can emphasize the feelings of ownership within a relationship.

Many people who use contracts view signing one as a profound sign of commitment (again, much in the way that collars are regarded by some). Contracts can also be very practical - the people involved have clear expectations of their partner(s) and know what is expected of them in return.

If you want to design a contract that stipulates a power exchange relationship on weekends only, go for it! If you want a contract with precise details about what is expected from partners, to apply 24/7, have at it! Kinky contracts can cover as much or as little as you see fit, you just need to sort out what works for your relationship.

Things to consider when creating a contract

  • The slave/submissive’s responsibilities: What will they be responsible for in the relationship? Will they do all the household chores? Will they be sexually available to the Owner/Dominant at all times? Will they obey all commands or face punishment? Will they give up financial control? Worldly possessions?
  • The Owner/Dominant’s responsibility: What will they provide to the slave/submissive? It is generally assumed that they will lead the relationship, but will they have power over all decisions? Financial, career and household? Will they provide financial support? Will they punish transgressions? Generally, Owners/Dominants are expected to care for the safety and wellbeing of the slave/submissive.
  • Safewords: Will there be a safeword? Will the slave/submissive have the chance to say no to a command without consequence? Under what circumstances (breaking the law, bodily or psychological harm, etc)?
  • Will punishments be used or will partners talk about disobedience? What are the punishments or consequences to disobedience? Will breach of contract dissolve the relationship?
  • Will there be consensual non-consent (CNC)? Will the Owner/Dominant be able to order the slave/submissive to do something they wouldn’t normally want?
  • Limits: What are the hard limits of all parties? Soft limits? Under what circumstances may those limits change (for instance, when the person who has the limit decides to reopen negotiation)? Can hard limits be added as time goes on?
  • Activities: Do you want to list specific activities that are required from any party, or leave it more open ended?
  • What will be public and private protocols? (for instance, slave/submissive nude at home, dressed in a way that pleases the Owner/Dominant while out of the house)
  • Relationships: Will the people under the contract be allowed to have kinky or sexual play with others? Under what circumstances? Will the Owner/Dominant be able to lend out the sexual or kink services of the slave/submissive (act as a waiter at a party, be used as a demo bottom, sexually please others, etc)
  • Under what circumstances can the contract be dissolved?
  • How will you handle it if someone’s (Owner/Dominant or slave/submissive) needs aren’t being met?
  • How often will you sit down and evaluate the rules and other specifics of the contact, if ever? How will changes to the contract be made? Who can initiate changes?
  • How will switching (people who enjoy both Dominant and submissive roles) be handled (if applicable)?
  • Will there be a trial contract? How long will it last?

Those points should be enough to get you started on writing your own contract, or at least give an idea of what to think about when doing so.

You don’t have to cover all of those points or you can add any that are important to you. While there are many pre-made contracts available online, I suggest creating your own. Not only will it be more personal, but the act of designing it from scratch can be a wonderful bonding experience.

A contract generally comes later in a kinky relationship, not at the beginning.

It takes time to build trust, to know your partner’s limits and how total you would like your power exchange to be. Many people regard BDSM contracts in the same way as a marriage contract, not something to rush into. Of course, if you find the concepts of contracts erotic, you can have a play contract, that outlines the timing, style or types of play that you will engage in with your partner(s).


BDSM contracts, while not needed, can be fun, intimate and useful for some people. Don’t think you need to have one before you start playing, but if you enjoy the idea, have fun with it. The best thing about BDSM is that there is no ‘one true way’ (we often joke about people who preach ‘true BDSM’) - everyone is free (or not) to play and engage in whatever way they choose.


Ms Morgan Thorne has been a lifestyle dominant for 20 years and a Professional Dominatrix for 6 years. As a former health care worker, she is very knowledgeable regarding safety in BDSM. She is a sex work advocate and an outreach worker with The Naked Truth Entertainment. Morgan is also a fetish film performer and model. She is a writer with Kink E Magazine and volunteers in her local community as a DM and event organizer. She is a kink educator who teaches across North America. Identifying as pansexual/asexual, Morgan tries to be inclusive of all identities and orientations during her teaching. Her new book “A Guide to Classic Discipline” is expected out spring/summer 2015

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