Legal Briefs: The Ins & Outs Of Sex Contracts

by FIONA WILDE on September 21, 2012

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Fiona Wilde is a staff writer and commentator for sssh.com and a published author of erotic novels for Blushing Books. Fiona comes from a background as a journalist for a large daily newspaper, but moved into erotica after mainstream media could not pay enough to keep her an honest woman. Her columns can be found on sssh.com and her novels are widely available on Amazon.com

Dear God, just make it stop. It was bad enough when Fifty Shades of Grey brought fanfiction masquerading as erotica into our lives. But now it seems besides increasing sales of novelty handcuffs and rope, this insipid Mommy-porn has also created a surge in sex contracts – written legal agreements outlining what couples will and won’t do in the sack.

For those of you outside the Fifty Shades loop, I’ve been nice enough to take one for the team by reading part of the first book so I can explain how the sex contract works for one-dimensional characters Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele.

Basically the contractual stuff happens in Chapter Seven, where we find our brave little heroine speechless as she examines Christian Grey’s playroom. There is no Xbox. The RPG’s he’s into involve a different kind of role-playing. There are racks and crosses and a giant bed with restraints. The walls are adorned with whips and tawses and paddles and canes. But it’s all color-coordinated, which is cool. His style is early Marquis deSade.

Poor Anastasia. It’s a lot to take in. “What are you? A sadist?” she asks, which proves she didn’t spend four years in college for nothing. But he corrects her – verbally this time. He’s a dominant, and what I gather from reading this book is that there’s a difference. A sadist leaves you bleeding on the floor as he walks away. A dominant helps you up and gives you money to go shoe shopping.

See, it’s all in the fine print, and if Anastasia is ever going to get to run her fingers through the tousled golden hair she’s obsessed over since the third page, she’s going to have to sign a contract. Christian conveniently has a copy waiting for her and really his rules are not that bad. They’re pretty much what most of us girls have to follow if we want to keep a guy. She has to work out four days a week with a personal trainer, wear what he tells her to wear, do whatever he wants sexually whenever he wants and keep her beaver shaved. He tells her she can negotiate on some points, and because she’s no pushover she gets all tough and negotiates that workout schedule from four days down to three-and-a-half.

Yeah…Let’s hear it for feminism.

But lest we think that Christian Grey is a total douche, he does have a decent side and this is displayed by what he has agreed he will NOT make her do. He won’t pee, poop or puke on her (I assume it’s still OK for her to puke on herself). He won’t pierce her with needles, hook a car battery to her tits, perform acts involving gynecological instruments (he’s a tycoon, not a doctor), choke her or bring midgets or ponies to bed.

But everything else is game, and he makes it very clear that if she disobeys the rules he’ll punish her. And if she obeys she gets the benefit of an “incentive package.” I’m pretty sure he just means another kind of package, but there’s nothing wrong with giving a girl some hope.

Now, for reasons I can’t fathom, this contract was as big a turn-on to readers as the spanking and lip-biting. And now everyone wants a contract, and Twitter is all atwitter with comments on how useful they can be.

For instance, the contracts can define soft limits, outlining things partners may be willing to try (“O.K. You can spank me, but just with your hand”) to hard limits (“Absolutely not! Get those chickens away from me!”)

Some self-help sites are recommending sex contracts to improve marriages, especially for couples who didn’t read the invisible fine print on the bottom of the marriage license where the woman agreed to put on fifty pounds and get chronic headaches and the husband agreed to lose his hair and fall asleep in front of the television watching football. Sex contracts, these experts maintain, can inject spice into a marriage by requiring sex on a schedule compatible for both partners, and by outlining when to try new things and how.

But that puts me back to missing something, because I have this mental image of the man pointing to a piece of paper and saying, “Susan, it’s Wednesday. You know that’s our anal night! So are we going to do this or do I need to call my lawyer?”

Oy.

Maybe instead couples could, you know, talk about these things? Sure, the threat of being sued for not swallowing may add an element of danger, or maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but I like to think that good communication and a mutual desire to please should be enough. Call it raising the bar.

Fiona Wyle is a Sssh.com columnist and Sssh will be on Peeperz for fun times again in the near future, meanwhile why not check us out:

  • http://twitter.com/OhEmGeeItsLGB La Gordita Bonita

    Bwahahaha… this is hilarious! What a fabulous post :)

    I am still in shock over how many people are all into this stupid 50 Shades crap. It is some of the most horrible fanfic I’ve ever read and I am appalled that it is being called “erotica”. It’s even more horrifying that people are buying into it and taking it seriously!
    UGH! BARF! :(

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