If you've dated in the last couple of decades, you've probably come across the concept of signing a pre-sex contract as a means of protecting yourself against possible legal repercussion. While these contracts are no guarantee of legal protection in all circumstances, they can provide some protection by specifying what each partner is willing to do in which circumstances.
Why a Sex Contract?
With the growing awareness about what constitutes a sex-related crime, men, in particular, are looking for ways to protect themselves against any misconduct charges or unwanted pregnancy that may result from dating and sexual relations. Beyond that, it's also a way to spell out the agreed-upon details of a couple's sexual relationship, such as setting a minimum number of encounters per month or even sexual position requirements.
One of the most common misconceptions about a sex contract is that it will protect you against rape charges. No matter how many contracts your date signs, the option to say "no" cannot be signed away. However, a sex contract may at least provide proof that your partner did at least initially agree to sex; and while it is unlikely it would prevent you from being charged with rape, at least you can prove that you have asked the question.
A sex contract is also not likely to absolve you of your legal and financial obligations in the event of a pregnancy. The court is likely to argue that a woman does not have the legal right to sign away a child's right to support.
What a Contract Can Do For You
The legality of a pre-sex contract is debatable. Even so, it does serve a purpose when dating. A carefully considered contract will make sure you and your partner have a mutual understanding of what is about to happen, any sexual health issues you may have, and what sort of birth control is in place.
Some common issues addressed in sex contracts include:
- Marital Status
- Confirms parties are of legal age of consent (this will vary by state)
- Birth control methods
- Disclosure of sexually transmitted diseases
- Actions permitted during intercourse
- Acknowledgment that your partner's judgment is not impaired by alcohol or drugs
Sex contracts for those who enjoy fetishes, extreme lifestyles, and role-playing may be more explicit and include such issues as safe words, who may participate, boundaries, or costuming requirements.
Other Uses for a Sex Contract
Sex contracts are only for people on the dating scene. "Friends with benefits" or even married couples can benefit from a document specifying what a sexual partner is willing to do and under which circumstances.
Sex Contract Example Template
Use this sex contract PDF as an example when crafting your own. While this printable is editable, consider it as only an example and not a legally binding contract to be filled out as-is. If you need help downloading the template, refer to LoveToKnow's Guide to Adobe Printables.
Remember that a sex contract may or may not provide you any legal protection in a court of law. If you are concerned about protecting your legal rights, consult a local attorney and educate yourself about the sex laws of your state. For more information, visit:
- Victims of Crime
- Teens Health Date Rape article
- BBC News article about new date rape legislature in the UK
Romance and Consent
While many may argue that sex contracts take the romance out of dating, it is important to ensure that both you and your partner understand the ramifications of intercourse before you begin. A contract may be just the thing to help take some of the awkwardness out of what many might consider an embarrassing situation. By taking the time to treat sex as a serious act that may lead to serious consequences, you may actually be opening the door to better communication with your date; and better communication can lead to a more enjoyable sexual experience for both of you.