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"Falling in love may be a great way to start a long term relationship, but it very often leaves little room to contemplate what that relationship entails."

Contracts Concerning Voluntary Servitude
by Jack Rinella

The e-mail that Paula sent two weeks ago wasn't unlike the question my daughter asked last week. In essence they both boil down to the need for clear communication between partners.

Falling in love may be a great way to start a long term relationship, but it very often leaves little room to contemplate what that relationship entails. Now love may or may not be part of the formula in SM relationships, but if they are of the Dominant/submissive type, wisdom indicates an increased need to understand the meaning, the depth, and the ramifications of being a Master or a slave.

That's why I've learned to put it in writing.

The fact that I'm a writer may pre-dispose me to craft all sorts of documents, but even those who can't put a noun in front of a verb, followed by an object, can find written material to guide their chosen lifestyle.

Sample questionnaires and contracts can be found in many of the books on Leather, on the web, or borrowed from a friend. If you can't find one, let me know and I'll send you my stuff.

There are three documents upon which I rely heavily: my expectations and regulations concerning voluntary slavery, my timetable for enthrallment, and my basic contract.

The first was written more than eight years ago and has been refined in the course of time to give a fairly clear idea of what I want from a person who desires to submit his life to me. Though there are many details left unclear, it stipulates the areas where I want what I want, such as in finances, clothing, sexual activity, and the like.

I dare say that it has the advantage of both telling interested parties what I want and of dissuading those who are only looking for a jerk-off session.

The timetable for enthrallment evolved from the questions that come to me about the pace of developing a relationship. Sure it takes little or no time to agree on a hot date or to consent to a quick trick. Long-term relationships, on the other hand, force us to consider weightier matters such as housing, income, family responsibilities, careers, and long-term issues such as health care and insurance, retirement, and estate planning.

Today's society presents only one role-model, that of a heterosexual marriage, and the divorce rate underscores how poorly that model is followed. Never-the-less there are many laws, customs, and precedents (legal and otherwise) to guide those entering that relationship. The single, the divorced, the co-habitators, and those like me who choose alternative lifestyles have to explore and define their own solutions.

My timetable, for instance, allows for a four to six week period of conversation and correspondence, followed by a weekend visit, followed by a probationary period before a formal, but time-limited, first commitment.

This gives us time to know each other while guarding against hasty decision making and assumptions based on the prose of America's SM fiction writers.
The final piece of paper, the contract, is much less a generic essay than one crafted to the situation. The first contract I wrote, for instance, was for a slave named David. I began by collecting all the letters he had sent me in the course of our getting to know each other.

He had often written to me about his reasons for becoming my slave and the goals he wanted to achieve. Likewise he included some thoughts about his limits and specific areas where he freely assented to my expectations. The resulting document outlined our various rights and responsibilities. Patrick's contract evolved from David's and reflected the differences between the two.
David, for instance, lived a distance from me, was required to serve only periodically, and had to care for a teen-age son. Patrick has no children and has chosen the lifestyle of live-in slavery. Here is Patrick's contract:

"We, the undersigned parties, recognize and accept the submission of Patrick, hereafter called the slave, to Jack Rinella, hereafter referred to as Master, in a relationship of Voluntary Servitude, hereafter called "slavery." By this instrument Master agrees to direct, train, and dominate the slave for the Master's pleasure and profit. The slave's tenure will continue for a period of one year, beginning on the day of the signing of this agreement and ending on February 7, 1998.

"This voluntary servitude may be renewed at the Master's discretion.
"It is agreed that this period of slavery will be under the Master's direction and control and will be subject to the following conditions:

"Virtue will be a significant part of our relationship. Therefore we agree that fundamental to the slavery will be the practice of the virtues of trust, honesty, openness, loyalty, and obedience. Without the practice of these virtues, there can be no true slavery. Their practice therefore is expected and required at all times.

"The slave wishes to be an integral part of the Master's leather family and will treat each person in that relationship with the respect, honor, and obedience due their position. He will give special deference to Master Lynn and to my lover, Michael, treating both of them as he would his Master.

"The slave wishes to bring the Master physical, sexual, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual pleasure by the submission and service of himself to the Master's will. He will do so through his practice of obedience to the Master's will and compliance to the Master's rules.

"The slave accepts these conditions and will strive to perform them without failure, without rebellion, and without hesitation.

"For the period of his slavery the Master will control the slave's schedule, work, and finances.

"The slave recognizes that I, Jack Rinella, is his Master and lord and that the Master's cock is the object of his obedience and worship.

"We acknowledge that this agreement binds us as Master and slave dedicated to the accomplishment of our goals. This relationship will in no way prohibit the maintenance or development of relationships with others, except that for the duration of the slavery the slave will make the attainment of the goals herein described his first priority and the conduct of his slavery, in light of these goals, will take precedence, when such precedence is required, over all other relationships, goals, and activities.

"The slave will restrict his sexual activity to the Master and to those to whom the Master gives his permission, on an individual basis, to the slave's having sexual activity.

"By our agreement to this document, the slave gives the Master the right to transfer the duties, rights, and obligations of this agreement to any person at any time for the duration of this agreement. Those persons to whom the Master transfers these rights by gift, rental, or sale shall be deemed holding the rights of this agreement in the Master's place and shall receive the same respect, service and obedience as due the Master.

"By my signature and my sealing, I, Jack Rinella, accept you as my slave."
I could go on for several more pages with reflections about the above, but I'll leave that for another time.

Click here for more about contracts.

Copyright 1999 by Jack Rinella. This material may not be copied in any manner. For permission to reproduce this essay, contact mrjackr@leathermail.com

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