This is going to be a lengthy post as there are so many important points to share about creating a DD contract with your husband. Not every couple actually creates a contract, but I believe most do. I can’t imagine not having one.
The exercise of writing the contact was cathartic. We had to reveal very personal thoughts and feelings and talk about things we never talked about in 20+ years of marriage and couples would never have reason to talk about absent putting together a DD contract. I wonder if putting together a DD contract would be good couples therapy, even if you never planned on going through with it.
Oh, remember when I said my life changed on March 17, 2015. That was the date of our initial contract. (Renegotiation is something I’ll explain in a bit). We made some changes at the 30 day mark. We made our second contract good for six months and then our latest contract is good for 2 years. We are more confident and comfortable in what we are doing and thrilled with the results. It is that confidence and the success we’ve had that led me to decide to blog about my experience.
Tips to writing the contract: I will share an overview of our approach and what we learned, and then I will share our actual contract with you on my next post.
I describe the authorship of our contract as somewhat collaborative, but I had the lead. I know some DD relationships are based on the man setting the rules. That wasn’t happening here. This was about me surrendering myself to him, but it was a surrender on my terms. It was a gift I was giving him, and I got to pick out the gift – with some suggestions from him. Note some DD relationships explicitly say the woman is not giving a gift, as it is not hers to give, but is for her husband to take. That’s not our version of DD.
Don’t overwrite: At first we found ourselves putting in too many details. You need to resist this as ultimately a DD contract is one of utmost trust in your partner and one of you submitting yourself to them. If you water it down by trying to precisely prescribe every action, you take away power from your partner and are basically saying you do not trust them. In addition, too many rules make the contract hard to follow and enforce, and will just bring frustration.
Think of the contract as a place to set basic expectations, and to refer back to for clarification of each other’s intent, but never to be used as a rule book to decide what action will be taken. I was clear with Mike that I wanted him to take the action he deems appropriate and then we can refer back to the contract later if there are questions as to whether that action was in the spirit of the contract. Doing so ensures that we ultimately stay consistent with what I intended while both not interfering with the power I am giving him and not causing a delay in punishments. We concluded it was better to receive a punishment that ultimately is agreed to be outside my intent than to have had the punishment delayed because you had to find and interpret the contract. Lastly, as we have now renegotiated our contract for the third time, there have been clarifications that we added to address ambiguities that arose that either I or Mike felt necessary to clarify and codify. That’s another reason it is good to put a term limit on your contract. I’ll talk more about our renegotiation process later.
Words are Power
I highly recommend taking time to talk about the meaning of the words you use in the contract. I took our contract seriously and once signed there was no going back. I wanted to be fully committed to seeing it through and living with the consequences.
It is important to ask your partner what a word or concept means to them to ensure you both have a common understanding. I recall there were many words we spent a lot time talking about. Here were the words and concepts I recall as being the most important to us to ensure we were on the same page.
- Promise Statement: Mike had the idea that we start the contract off with a statement that each of us would write. A promise directly to each other. It is a bit sappy, but think of it is as a short love letter to each other. Mike felt it was important that we shared and documented our individual reasons for establishing a DD lifestyle. I told you he was a great guy!
- Duties and Obligations: I wanted everything I was agreeing to do to be referred to as my “duties and obligations.” I felt strongly about this wording as to me it conveys a strongly held conviction that you perform without condition. A rule is something anyone can set, but a Duty and Obligation is a personal term. It is something I own, I create, I commit to myself. It was not just about some rules.
- Renegotiation: We wanted to be committed to the contract but also have an opportunity for change. We agreed to an initial 30 day term for our contract and then renegotiated a new six month agreement. Our latest contract is good for 2 years. We also set up rules for the renegotiation so that we could have candid discussions. Mike and I entered renegotiations on the same “level” as we were on when we did our first contract – that is, I am not bound by any contract during the renegotiation. Remember, I am in control here. It is about what I want for myself, my husband, and my family, and I could not be submissive during a renegotiation.
- Reward: I was fine with referring to consequences as a “punishment,” but Mike felt that word was demeaning. (Remember, words mean different things to different people). At first he wanted to call them “consequences” which again I was fine with. But then I had an idea… We would call them Rewards. Since the punishments would be extremely important in helping me attain my goals, anything that helps me towards those goals would be a reward. This term had the added impact of reminding Mike that I agreed to and wanted these punishments and it made it easier for him to accept delivering the punishments. He would not be doing something that had a demeaning connotation to him or to me. He was just “giving me my reward.”
- Purpose of Rewards It was extremely important to give meaning to my punishments. I felt every swat on my bottom or every privilege revoked or whatever the “reward” was, must have a consistent meaning. That meaning was to make me the person I want to be, for myself, for my family, and for my husband. A spanking was not because my husband wished to inflict pain, or not because I wished to feel pain, but because I agreed, in advance, that the punishment was uncomfortable enough for me that I would likely not want it repeated. In setting the specific “rewards” we had to consider what would be appropriate to deliver the desired results in my actions. This is where DD contracts need to be highly personalized as I image this must be different for everyone. I am sure some of you would see my punishments as too light, while others too severe. Also, the Rewards in our current contract are more severe than in our initial contract, as I have developed a greater tolerance and I wanted to ensure they continued to be effective.
- Transgression: So, what would we call it when I did something wrong? “Infraction” sounded like “oops” which to me is weak and meaningless. “Violation” sounded too dramatic or police-like. “Rule” sounds arbitrary or infers they were handed down by someone else. These were ours and ours alone. I wanted a word that reflects a violation of a moral principle as I felt my duties were moral obligations to myself, my family, and my husband. Thus, I came up with Transgression.
- Ceremony: We referred to the punishment session as a Ceremony. There is often a ceremony to present awards, so we figured, why not call it a Ceremony when I received my Reward. This was Mike’s idea by the way. This is another example of words being powerful. Instead of….“Break a rule, get sent to my room for a spanking.” It became….“I Transgressed and was going to a Ceremony to receive a Reward.” Thinking of it this way often helped keep me from sulking and helped Mike in delivering the Reward. We established procedures for the Ceremony to ensure Rewards were given in a calm, purposeful, and resolved manner. Mike should never deliver them in anger. Even if I did something that directly hurt him, the Ceremony “dignity” must always be maintained. We made it clear the Ceremony was to ensure I would be reflective, remorseful, and surrendered, and we took time to identify what those words meant so that we were both on the same page.
- Sex: We had to address if this contract was going to include anything sexual. In my mind sex and discipline are distinct, although I believe many DD contracts can be highly sexually based. Frankly, I’ve never seen another contract so who knows. Our first contract did not have anything overtly sexually based – if you agree nudity and spanking are not inherently sexual. However, we both realized that sexual based consequences could be extremely powerful. In our latest contract I added in a “sex” clause. I went “all in” giving Mike full authority over my body regarding any sexual activity. It was important to me to show him I was trusting him with everything, without exception. That trust had to include my body. It still excites me today to know he has this authority, which I regard more as an open invitation to experiment more than complete authority. In case you wonder, Mike really hasn’t taken advantage of this clause as you might be imagining (not to say he has never evoked it – but that’s to share at another time). My recommendation is initially leave it out – again sex is not discipline. But as your DD relationship evolves you might find some sexual based consequences highly effective and desirable. So what are my sex based Rewards? At Mike’s suggestion we added in some mandated masturbation time (oh, darn, I guess I would just have to agree to that one). And we added in Rewards that included breast binding, nipple clamps, anal plugs and palm slapping. (Nothing sexy about that last one). I was finding that sometimes spanking wasn’t always giving me the level of discomfort I felt was effective. I always had a high pain threshold and was becoming desensitized to some degree. We needed to escalate the sensations else the spanking session would have to get very lengthy and that would just not always be practical. I mean, I didn’t want to tire out Mike’s hand! In any event, I am sure some DD contracts are highly sexually charged and others completely devoid of sex. I am glad we started with nothing pertaining to sex and allowed things to naturally progress.
- Always: Another word we used throughout the contract was “always.” I felt it was important that expectations for myself were to be consistent and always expected without any exception. In other words, I was asking Mike to strictly interpret things.
I believe it is very important to make it clear that I was fully surrendering to him and that there would be no exceptions to what I was expecting of myself.
- Vague or Missing Terms: Every DD contract should make it clear where ultimate authority rests. In case we forgot something or realized that what we wrote was hard to interpret in a real life situation, we wrote in a clause that made it clear that any ambiguity in the contract would be interpreted at Mike’s full discretion without consult or protest from me. If I disagreed I could not immediately say anything. Instead, I was to accept his verdict and if I wished, discuss it at our Maintenance Session. This is why words are so important. I was giving him a lot of authority and I wanted to make sure he and I were on the same page regarding how the contract would help guide that authority.
- Maintenance Sessions: Another extremely critical part of our contract and we approached this like no other DD relationship I read about. It established a time where I can respectively ask for clarification regarding something that went on during the week. Some DD couples would never do this as just the thought of such questioning would be considered disobedient. It was important for us to have a common understanding of things and there is no way to have that without two-way conversation.Mike had ultimately final authority, but at least there was an avenue for me to get clarification. Note I could seek clarification, but was not questioning his decision nor asking him to change it. I could ask for clarification to ensure the Reward had the full impact that I intended for myself.In addition, Maintenance Sessions included a review of my journal, self-reporting of any transgressions and if any, Mike’s administering my reward for those transgressions, a “maintenance” reward, and alone time for self-reflection. It got to the point that I very much looked forward to every Maintenance Session as it served as a milestone for marking my progress towards the person I wanted to become. It also had a type of intimacy that I can’t describe but that I could never experience outside a Maintenance Session. How many couples spend designated time where they both intimately focus on the needs of one of them? Oh, and I also very much enjoyed the “meditation time” for self-reflection (i.e Mike’s mandate I mentioned earlier).
Now you understand a bit more about our approach to the contract. Eventually I will share the actual contract, but next I’ll share an overview of how we structured it.