Do you know what covert contracts are?

Do you know what covert contracts are?

On January 1, 2022, Nookie presented the topic “No Regrets Challenge” for Dating Kinky. The original presentation was free to all who joined us live, and was recorded for Dating Kinky’s PLUS members to access through the Dating Kinky Library (over 400 videos and 550 hours of content!).

Here is a clip from that 90-minute show, where she talks about covert contracts.


livelikeyoustoleit says, “Expectation really takes away from a lot of exchanges.”

Oh, yeah. Absolutely.

I have written about the idea of covert contracts.

How many of you have heard of covert contracts? You know, raise a raise a hand in chat. Say, “Yes.” Throw me an emoji. Click a heart.

How many of you have heard of covert contracts?

Covert contracts are really crazy things. They’re the expectations that we have going into a relationship where we start doing things for other people, believing that by doing things for them, they will then do unto us.

Have you ever—and you don’t have to answer this one, but if you want to, you can—have
you ever treated somebody like you wanted to be treated, and then were disappointed when they didn’t give that same thing back to you?


Like you do something for them and you treat them this way and you give them, you know, this benefit of the doubt and then you’re waiting for them to give it back to you the next time you have an argument or, you know, whatever, and you’re like, “But wait, what?”

Those are called covert contracts.

They will ruin every relationship that you allow them to sneak into.

Like something as simple as, “If I cook, they do the dishes.”

That’s a pretty natural one for me.

However, if you do that and then expect them to help with doing the dishes without explicitly speaking to them about it, you have just made a covert contract.

You made a contract in your head that they have not had the chance to consent to.

And I bet every single one of you watching or listening on the mōn app or on tonight have had a covert contract executed against you.

What about: “I took you out to dinner and now I’m suddenly pressuring you for the sex I expected to get.”

I mean, what about: “I gave you all this good sex and now I’m subtly pressuring you to be my [fill-in the-blank-here] partner.

Or what about, you know: “We’ve been seeing each other for this long. Don’t you think it’s about time that we do XYZ?”


Ryan says, “For example, you agree to see that movie in the hopes that the next time you’ll both or all get to see yours.”


I mean how many times have you gone to see that awful rom-com in the hopes that the next time you get to go see the action flick? Or vice-versa?

And as GraceScarlet says, “It makes your relationship transactional.”

But not even transactional in a good way.

Like you can do transactions in your relationship, but in a bad way because they don’t know. It’s like they’re buying something and they don’t know how much it’s going to cost because you’ve got that covert contract
up in your head, right?

I wrote a piece yesterday about being used, and while I was editing this clip, I realized the complex entanglements of boundaries, covert contracts and No Regrets.

If not maintaining personal boundaries is how we get used, covert contracts are the instigators, and sneaky little mechanisms we use to try to get around others’ boundaries.


Just thinking about it blows my mind.

I’ll have to write about that sneaky bit sometime (making a note), but let’s talk about covert contracts as instigators for being used, and the opposite of No Regrets living.

What is a covert contract?

A covert contract is an agreement that you believe exists, even if you have not actually communicated it to your partner, and gotten their consent.

When you are being used, it’s because you are giving something of yours or of yourself to receive something in return.

Most often, this is not explicitly stated.

Which is why it’s so insidious.

And it’s not explicitly stated because they are using your desire for something AND your fear of being rejected to manipulate you. To get around your boundaries.

They are using your covert contracts against you.

And simply having a covert contract means that you are doing things FOR the result. Which is the opposite of No Regrets, with is to do something because you want to, and because it feels right, regardless of the result (GOOD results are preferred and are appreciated, of course).


What are your thoughts?

Have you ever thought about your covert contracts? Have your covert contracts been used against you by partners to get around your boundaries, or get more from you than you really wanted to give?

How might giving up covert contracts improve your life?

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