A contract, often called a slave contract or M/s contract, is an agreement used in power exchange relationships between the D type and the s type. A contract can be either formal or not, and is usually written after much verbal and written negotiations by both parties, outlining what structure, guidelines, rules and limits to the relationship are agreed upon by the two participants.
Contract negotiations should not take place when the bottom is in a submissive state of mind, should be done in a neutral atmosphere where all parties are on equal footing. Liken it to signing any type of business contract and conduct your participation as such (with honor and integrity), making sure to read and understand the contents thoroughly and ensuring that your needs and wants in the agreement are being met in exchange for your agreed levels of participation. It is wise to consider all options carefully and be sure you have long since completed your Know Thyself exercise, otherwise you won't be able to give much in the way of informed consent.
A Master/slave contract is not legally binding and continued participation is entirely dependent upon mutual consent and could loosely be compared to a vanilla wedding vow. This contract can be for an hour, a day, a lifetime, or until some other clearly defined criteria is met. Contracts can exist in other dynamics besides M/s, though M/s by far the most closely associated dynamic
- The purpose of the agreement
- The duration of the agreement
- The scope of Authority and obedience
- The intentions, expectations and obligations of parties
- The procedure for dealing with partial breach of contract
- The procedure for termination of contract
- The obligations following termination
- The procedures for revision and renewal.
Additionally the contract should reference milestones of accountability; code of conduct; goals for community involvement; policies and procedures (inclusive of disciplinary policy); protocols and rituals; household and financial management; and roles and responsibilities.
Such references may be written directly into the contract or refer to separate Household documents or to such oral agreements as have been clearly elucidated between the Master(s) and the slave(s) and mutually agreed upon.
Lifetime contracts are usually not signed until training is considered relatively complete, usually after one year of live in service.
Contract signing is often, but not always, a ritual or BDSM event of sorts and may or may not take the form of a collaring ceremony which might be public or private. It is presumed that all who enter into a contract do so in good faith, with honorable and ethical intentions, and with strength and integrity of character.