A Contract For Whippings

As we all know, some BDSM players derive great good fun from drafting and agreeing to contracts. You’d think that would be a game only lawyers could love, but no. Slave contracts, contracts of submission, ownership agreements: there are many different kinds, and lots of kinky people take great joy in them, even though such documents almost never have any actual and effective legal implications.

Nor is this a purely modern play practice! Here’s an excerpt from a “Contract of Conjugal Prostitution” that recently appeared in a Vanity Fair profile of a famous French dominatrix. Apparently a French writer named Alain Robbe-Grille proposed the contract in 1958 to his wife Catherine. Although she never signed, she is said to have “willingly submitted to its regimen of whippings and torments.” Here’s the part about the whippings, as recently translated into English:

On the appointed day, at precisely the designated time, his wife shall present herself at the rendezvous, dressed strictly according to instructions. Unless receiving orders to the contrary, she shall kneel immediately before her husband, eyes lowered, hands behind her back, and shall remain thus until summoned.

Torments inflicted upon her may either be varied or, if it so pleases the husband, repetitious; once more, it is not the place of the young woman to judge their value. Should she grow bored, become impatient, or weary of any treatment inflicted upon her, she may console herself with the notion that the man to whom she belongs is thus afforded pleasure and his pleasure is the sole purpose of the exercise.

Finally, she shall be beaten repeatedly during each session, on any part of the body chosen by the husband, with a leather whip acquired specifically for this purpose, for as long as he so desires; none of the blows, however, should be delivered with sufficient force to tear the flesh or produce conspicuous bruising. No visible marks resulting from these torments should remain beyond the period of a few hours. Moreover, the victim shall have the option, when she no longer believes herself able to bear the torment, of begging respite.

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  1. Da Prof commented on January 20th, 2014:

    Alain Robbe-Grillet’s other writing (such as the marvelous collection of his stories translated under the title SNAPSHOTS) bespeaks a cpacity for objectivizing that is all of a piece with the Apollonian detachment of the as-if-pitiless dom. Not sure about how he managed the calculus of no marks after five hours — perhaps simply by trial and error like the rest of us. Always a pleasure to discover that yet another respected literary figure turns out to be a spanko, now that outing the gay ones has become so yesterday.

  2. SpankBoss commented on January 20th, 2014:

    I have to confess I had never heard of the fellow. Thanks for the reading recommendation!

  3. Frank commented on January 20th, 2014:

    Catherine Robbe Grillet herself wrote the novel L’Image (translated in the US as The Image and made into a film released as both The Image and The Punishment of Anne), using some of the same “New Novel” techniques that her husband pioneered. Growing up, I always found The Image to be the best written and most erotic bdsm novel available. I recommend it highly. The film, although dated by a 70’s porn-style sound track is very erotic for its time (much sexier than the Story of O, for instance) and also worth seeking out.

    I’m especially glad that the couple actually lived at least some of the life they clearly both fantasized about!

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