The Mister and I signed on to live in a 24/7 Dominant and submissive dynamic pretty early on in our relationship. Like actually signed on to a physical line stating what we would or would not do in day to day living. I remember vividly drafting up a lengthy contract (about 6 or 7 pages) and surprising him with it at our first anniversary (read the details in my book, Darling Discovered: A True Story of Submission, on Amazon and elsewhere). I felt like I was signing my life away; I was serious and excited and hopeful, I had direction in life (at least for the next six or so months), and I was ready to dive in feet first.
He signed on the line first, agreeing to be my Dominant as well as my husband, then I signed last.
It was decided. I was a submissive.
Dominance and submission were at the same time sexy as hell and comfortable as an old favorite sweatshirt. We had a relationship style that suited us, a way of living that cut out all of the bullshit bickering and power struggle. Instead of that maddening "well what do you want to eat for dinner" nightmare, we spent our time living out the details of our contract. He was the decision maker. He earned the income. I was the doting homemaker who backed the man. We played and fucked and connected on a deeper level than we ever imagined. We had figured it out. Figured out us. Figured out power exchange.
Every six months we would put a date on the calendar for contract negotiation. I looked forward to it for weeks each time it came up. I planned out my strategy, looking over the contract in advance and reflecting on the changes I felt needed to be made, consider any alterations. It was a special night meant for special attention. I would book the best table at one of our favorite restaurants, get dressed to the nines, and sitting somewhere in our world we'd be sipping scotch and vodka discussing this very important document. It became a long-running inside joke that I would always go into our contract renewal ready to reclaim my rights to orgasm back (we have practiced orgasm control from the very beginning) but always fail in the negotiation. We'd talk, negotiate, and by the end of the meal, re-sign.
After a few years, we realized that we were no longer actually living as Dominant and submissive. Our relationship dynamic had evolved over time. We were living as Master and slave.
I wrote in my journaling: We have likely been living M/s all along. The power I felt I had as a submissive I'd never used. The control I had assumed was still in my hands was a control I didn't want. We've spent the past year coming to terms with our place in our dynamic, and have in action made the transition in full. I've been given a permanent collar. I've come to embrace my chosen path of slavehood. But next month is our anniversary, of both the day he placed a band on my finger and the day he placed a band around my neck. We will pull out our D/s contract and amend it, with finality, converting it to permanent M/s.
Three little changes took place that next contract re-signing that turned into one big change.
- We recognized, and put into writing, the fact that our Master/slave dynamic is equally important (if not more so) as our legal marriage. If one of us wanted to stop living as M/s, there is a likelihood our relationship may entirely be over. Even though we may try to repair the marriage, the reality is our power exchange has become so ingrained into our being, it may not be possible.
- Safe words of Yellow and Red became a guideline, a shorthand way of my communicating important physical and emotional status to the man making decisions, instead of a demand. I simply don’t make demands. About anything. I am free to, and encouraged to, express myself and my wants, needs, anything I wish as long as it is presented in a respectful way. The final decision always rests in the hands of MR. My singular choice became to do as he says or end the relationship.
- We signed our names, and together, we removed the deadline.
We were a Master and his slave. The negotiations were over. We were this... forever.
Master/slave. The dynamic really felt like coming home.
We were living life after figuring it all out. During our time living as D/s, thanks to the hard work in communication and negotiation every six months, we'd mapped out a marriage that suited us both. We had the tools in our toolbox to succeed and at this point. It was all in the upkeep. We were happy. Successful.
Over the first couple years, it was great.
But eventually, as sure as the tide turns, it wasn't.
Upkeep turned into monotony. Happiness turned... boring. We easily made excuses as to why we missed play dates together. Why our protocols or rituals weren't being adhered to. Our M/s dynamic began to seem like just another obligation that had to be managed, not something that fueled us and brought us continued joy. After both of us putting brakes on and saying, "Woah, woah, woah, what is up here?!" we came to a conclusion. We missed, needed, a written contract that we referred back to periodically. We hadn't realized the real power and help it had over our lives and dynamic.
A written contract is a tool, simple as that. It is a way for couples engaging in Power Exchange (in any relationship really, this could easily help many vanilla couples I know who struggle to communicate) to map out what is expected in a relationship. We thought when pulling out our deadline and living simply "under contract" that we were romantically removing a deadline hovering over our relationship. We realize, in hindsight, that we were removing that stop-point of required communication. It didn't have to be a negotiation. It didn't have to unravel any of what we considered to be our Master and slave dynamic.
We just had to talk. Review. Analyze. We re-wrote a contract, a version of our earlier one, and it looked a little different.
One of the biggest adjustments we made in returning to a written contract, one written for a Master and his consensual full-time live-in sex and domestic slave, was for the first time ever the MR adding in some of his expectations for himself. If a written contract was to be used as a tool for reviewing our commitment to each other and our dynamic, we both realized how incredibly helpful it would be for him to have a written reminder of his expectations. We also included a section for engaging with others, which became helpful as we were exploring our ethically non-monogamous options in the relationship. The document turned into a full-fledged "household manual" which contained my husband's household standards like values, a vision statement, the Milestones for Masters so he could keep tabs on his progression in Mastery.
This amalgamation of what worked best for so long as Dominant and submissive combined with our Master/slave dynamic has been incredibly effective at maintaining. We are back at it, every six months reconsidering how viable protocols/rituals are, keeping tabs on what is working and what is not, and importantly, having that dialogue periodically. The conversation about it all, about why we do what we do, about why this is sexy.
The written contract is not just useful to new dynamics trying to create a roadmap of new Power Exchange dynamic; after all, we are always traveling to new places in life. Our kids grow, our jobs change, our bodies age, our situation renews itself. Even during relationship maintenance, check your road map. It can help prevent problems up ahead and provide a lovely reminder of how far you've traveled together.
In future posts, there will be blank samples of our evolving contract, including the three main evolutions: our first D/s contract, our back-to-written-contract first M/s contract, and our most recent revision, a svelte-by-comparison M/s contract. Feel free to use these as a template for what will or will not work for you. And whether you are like us and need this sort of written accountability or prefer to verbally agree to a dynamic or even for those who just kind of "wing it" and make adjustments continuously: never stop talking. Never stop growing. And never stop standing up for what you believe in and fighting for the relationship dynamic that makes you comfortable and happy.