Hi all. Sorry for the delayed post. Busy morning. I hope you all had a good week. Mine started off pretty well, but then degenerated a bit last night, following an all-too-familiar pattern of one drink after work becoming one too many. My guess is my bottom will be paying a price for that later this weekend.
One of our polls closed last week, this one on contracts and written rules governing the Domestic Discipline aspects of the relationship. The results were as follows:
We have a written contract: 22%
We do not have a written contract or rules: 62%
We do not have a written contract but do have written rules: 16%
Contracts clearly aren't very popular with this crowd. But, that is understandable, right? 50 Shades of Grey depicts a formal negotiation process between the parties, and in the context of that relationship, it makes perfect sense. Because there really was no relationship when they negotiated. It was two people who barely knew each other laying out the ground rules governing their contemplated kinky sexcapades. That's not the context that most real domestic discipline relationships evolve in. Most of them seem to begin vanilla, then someone introduces the idea of corporal punishment after the relationship already is well-established. That is how it worked for us. We had been married for close to ten years when I brought the idea of using spanking to discipline me to her. So, everything was pretty conventional for us in terms of how these relationships seem to go -- I initiated it, and we never felt the need for a written contract, though for a period of time we did have written rules. But, after awhile we didn't need those either.
Now, the fantasy seems to go otherwise. With Glenmore's permission, here is a little contract-related artwork that raises some interesting issues:
In an ideal world, this probably would be the ideal sequence. He is presented with the idea, then she demonstrates what it entails, then he signs the contract newly aware of exactly what he is signing up for.
Now, one obvious issue with the last panel is the legal concept of "duress." Because she is kind of forcing the whole thing on him, it's possible no valid contract was formed. Though, of course, it's not like there is any enforcement mechanism for this kind of contract anyway. It works only if the two parties consent and work to make it work. And, where that concept of consent is concerned, I have a hard time accepting that in a F/m domestic discipline relationship there could be much danger of real non-consent. It's not like she can physically overpower him in most cases. Even if she threatened to end the relationship if he didn't comply, that still is consent. Reluctant and grudging consent, perhaps, though consent nonetheless. And, it does seem like most men fantasize about the relationship having some non-consensual element.
Given that domestic discipline usually is initiated as part of an existing relationship, is there any real reason to have a contract, particularly since it really would not be enforceable anyway? I can think of a few reasons.
First, it does seem to be a good way to do some of the expectation setting we talked about a couple of weeks ago. Assuming both parties participate in crafting it, it may help both of them clarify what they want out of this part of the relationship, what they expect to achieve, etc. They can define the tools used, the severity she intends to use, etc. Documenting that in writing could bring home to both of them that they are contemplating real spankings that are hard enough to get the job done, with all that entails. It also could be used to define non-spanking punishments that she can enforce, like grounding, corner time, etc.
Second, it serves the purpose of defining at least some rules and perhaps to set some minimum consequences for breaking them. Again, this might help bring home to both of them that this is a pretty serious thing they are contemplating. And, if he sees the rules in writing, he can hardly claim later that he didn't have fair warning and could not have avoided the necessity of "taking his medicine" by playing by the rules.
Third, it gives the parties an opportunity to define both of their respective roles and responsibilities. I think this one is important, and especially the idea of defining the responsibilities both of them are expected to meet. It's probably pretty common for the parties to define what is expected of him, but I think it might help the wife understand that leadership also carries responsibilities. A lot of them. Like enforcing the rules diligently and consistently. Not letting things slide, etc.
Fourth, it documents that the arrangement truly is consensual. As K.D. has pointed out, this one may be a little legally problematic, since in some states you cannot consent to something the law deems an "assualt." Though, I am not convinced that such laws mean a contract documenting the consensual nature of things would not serve some purpose. It might make it less likely that charges would get filed or a lawsuit get brought. When you look at the real cases that have been brought in this area, it does look like there is often an underlying issue regarding whether it was, in fact, consensual or whether something happened that exceeded the scope of consent. I can't see a real downside (other than perhaps the risk of being involuntarily "outed" if the contract got into the wrong hands) to having something both parties can point to that verifies that this is something they both wanted.
So, I do think there are good reasons to consider having a contract or agreement summarizing the DD aspects of the relationship. And, on the personal front, I recently came up with another reason. When I first posted the poll, I was the first vote for the "no contract" option. But, that changed last week. We had come to the end of a pretty long, involuntary pause in the domestic discipline aspects of our relationship. For a couple of months, there was none at all. That has happened in the past due to distraction and inattention, but this time we just could not do it for over two months. When we got to a point where we could start it up again, it was she who initiated it, informing me over dinner that it was time to get back on track. It got me thinking that there might be an opportunity here to do a really fundamental "reset," one that could come close to resetting the clock, this time with her as the real "owner" of that aspect of the relationship. We obviously could not undo the fact that I was the one who first came up with the idea, but after the substantial break it did kind of feel like we were starting over. It occurred to me that a written contract might allow her to define the scope of things to come, mentally and emotionally commit to it, then present it to me as if it were firmly her own plan. So, I spent some time last Saturday surfing the 'Net for examples of DD contracts. There was not a lot out there, and the ones I did find were pretty simplistic. But, it gave me a starting point. I spent a few hours tweaking the draft, then gave it to her with a request that she take it from there and make it her own. The plan was, once she finished making her changes she was to bring it to me and simply announce it as what she had decided would be happening from that point forward.
That is basically what happened. After sitting on it for a couple of days, Thursday night she told me to get up to our room and wait for her. She came in holding the contract, and asked why I was clothed. I told her I had not understood exactly how she wanted to present things. She told me she intended to instruct me on the major points of the agreement, but I was going to be standing there naked and vulnerable as she did so. I complied (of course) stripping off my clothes in front of her. She then highlighted the major points of the contract, emphasizing that they were what she has decided is going to happen from now on. When it was over, she told me to bring out her paddles and straps. She bent me over the bed and delivered a short but hard strapping and paddling that was really pretty excruciating given it had been over two months since my last one.
So, that is where things stand. We will see if the contract makes any real difference, but it was worth a try.
How about you? Do you have any kind of contract or agreement? Do you think it would be helpful?
I hope you have a great week.