A slave contract will typically define the duties of both the slave and the master/mistress/owner, the agreed on forms of play/punishment and limits, whether it is 24/7 or not, the duration of the contract, possibly a trial period, and if and how the contract can be terminated.
Contracts are also possible in other types of BDSM relationship, for example a D/s contract. A slave contract is different from a punishment agreement in that the latter is only an agreement about punishments, for example in a Domestic Discipline relationship. The Spencer Spanking Plan is an example of a punishment agreement and not of a slave contract.
Slave contracts are normally not intended to carry legal force. They are rarely legally binding and in some countries, the possession of a Master/slave contract may be illegal. For this reason, it is advisable to either start such a contract with a statement that no legal intent is implied or intended, or to have the contract checked out by a qualified legal adviser.
There are some contracts that may assist in formalising, enacting or enabling of a Master/slave relationship which might, individually, be legal.
Slave contracts are sometimes negotiated for a specific period of time — such as one year, but longer and shorter terms are possible — while others are lifetime contracts. Where the contract is in effect continuously, the relationship may be referred to as "24/7". The limits of the slave contract can vary widely and extend into various areas of BDSM and otherwise vanilla life.
People usually only enter into a Master/slave contract after they have known and played with each other for some time, often several years. Sometimes a contract is used to initiate a relationship.
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