Code of Ethics

The other members of
The Master/slave Development Center
have agreed that this pledge is consistent with
the Vision and Mission of the
M/s Development Center
and have approved hosting it on this site.

What Follows, However, is A Personal Note from Sir Stephen

Why in the world am I doing this? 

Well, at a Workshop given at The Floating World in 2008 I mentioned my belief that although we speak a great deal in our community about our commitment to ethical behavior that we might benefit from sharing the specifics of what we mean when we say that.

I speculated that if a large number of us were willing to publish our personal codes of ethics that we would see that no two were completely alike in every detail.  On the other hand we would also see how much we held in common.  The goal of such an effort would be to promote a broad appreciation of, and respect for how we each actualize our personal ethical code in our own personal M/s relationships.  At the same time, it might provide us all with a clearer understanding of expectations in our interactions with those who we call brothers and sisters within our community. 

I was challenged at that Workshop to create a place where such personal codes could be posted.  This web page is the result. 

I am earnestly requesting that others send their codes of ethics to me for inclusion on this site.

If you wish to indicate your support of this project, but would rather not post your personal document here, please send me permission to append your name to this page.

Contact the Master/slave Development Center
to add your name, or your personal Code of Ethics to this website.


(This code of ethics is specific to the Household of Sir Stephen.
It is not presented as being applicable to any other individual or Household,
nor as THE suggested universal code of ethics for the community as a whole.
If others wish to make use of what I have written they may do so
but please remember to do the ethical thing and cite the source.) 

I, and those in my Household, will be guided by the overarching commitment to "do no harm," be it physical, emotional, or spiritual, by word or by deed.

I, and those in my Household, understand, and strive to live within, the ethical structures of our society at large.  Beyond that we make a further commitment to those values generally regarded as the cornerstones of our M/s Community: honor, courage, respect, loyalty, service, and integrity.  I add to that a commitment to forgiveness and a belief in the possibility of redemption.

To best understand what that commitment means, we pledge ourselves to the following:


  • I will make commitments in good faith not giving my word lightly
  • Having given my word I will do all within my power to keep it, recognizing that giving my word is a sacred bond and that upholding it is the truest measure of my honor
  • Should circumstances prevent the faithful fulfillment of any promise made I will do all within my power to make suitable amends
  • Master or slave, I will faithfully adhere to the policies and procedures of my Household
  • I will speak truthfully about myself accurately conveying my personal beliefs, history, skills, abilities and experiences
  • I will speak truthfully about others
  • I will bear in mind that truth without compassion is cruelty (I heard this at a Workshop at Rio Grande Leather and I wish I could remember who to attribute it to…if anyone knows the source of this quote, please let me know)
    • I will practice restraint of pen and tongue, ask myself before speaking or acting (whether face to face or on the internet):
      • Does this need to be said or done?
      • Does this need to be said or done now?
      • Does this need to be said or done by me?
  • I will lay claim only to that which is mine, be it human property, material goods or intellectual property (Household documents, presentations, etc.)
    • In using the goods or properties of another I will request use of such goods or properties in advance and give full credit whenever others are generous enough to grant me use of what is theirs
    • When considering a potential slave for entry into my Household I will first confirm that the slave is either un-owned or confirm directly with their current Owner that they have permission to serve elsewhere
    • Owned slaves in my Household shall not approach any other Masters with the intention of serving in their Household without first obtaining my explicit permission
  • I will never knowingly ask anyone to violate their own ethical standards, spiritual practices, or the law (being mindful of the fact that many of the sexual and play practices that occur between consenting adults within our community fall into rather gray legal areas)


  • I will stand firm for what I believe in, even in the face of opposition
  • I will have the courage to make myself and my beliefs known to the M/s community so that I may be held accountable for my actions based upon my stated code of ethics and behavior
  • I will take responsibility for the outcomes, intended and unintended, of my words and actions, taking credit for the good and repairing the harm done by the bad
  • I will take responsibility for my own words and actions, without reference to the words and actions of others. 
    • That is, I will not point to the words or actions of anyone else to offer up an excuse for when my own words or actions fall short of my own standards or fail in their intended outcome.  How I conduct myself is my responsibility, recognizing that the conduct of others is ultimately beyond my control as is the willingness of others to take responsibility for their words and deeds. 


  • I will treat those within my Household with courtesy and respect
  • I will treat all others with the same courtesy and respect
  • As Master or slave, I will respect and uphold the Policies and Procedures of the Household of Sir Stephen
  • I will never intentionally disregard the known Policies and Procedures of another individual or Household
  • I will respect the diversity of opinion and forms of practice within the M/s community
  • I will offer respect to those who are new to our community, encouraging and assisting them freely, without expectation of reward or return
  • I will show respect to those who have come before me - our community elders


  • Loyal to my Household:
    • I will speak truthfully about those in my Household carrying no false witness, gossip, or slander
      • Issues may arise within the Household that require the guidance of friends or professionals outside the Household. Such consultations are allowed, but should be conducted with the utmost discretion and regard for the feelings and reputations of all those involved
    • Owned slaves in my Household shall not approach any other Masters with the intention of serving in their Household without first obtaining my explicit permission

  • Loyalty to my community:
    • I will speak truthfully about those in my Community carrying no false witness, gossip, or slander
    • In my words and actions I will strive always to represent that which is best about our community
    • I will contribute to the health and well-being of my community
    • If my participation is requested in times of stress I will strive to:
      • Build up rather than tear down
      • Heal wounds
      • Reconcile grievances
    • If my participation is not requested I will strive to remain impartial and supportive in the belief that others are working towards solutions on behalf of the good of the community


  • As a member of the Household of Sir Stephen I commit myself to service:
    • Master and slaves alike are "in service" to the ideal of creating successful, fulfilling, enduring Master/slave relationships by their full time commitment to their defined Roles and Responsibilities
    • Recognizing that the M/s community enriches our individual lives and our Household we are all bound in service to the community:
      • Within the scope of available resources of time and money we shall make ourselves available to those Master/slave focused individuals, groups, clubs, organizations, and events that have need of our assistance

Forgiveness and Redemption

  • I believe that living life without offering, or being offered, the opportunity for change and redemption is cruel
  • When I fall short, as I surely will, I will ask for forgiveness and the chance to right wrongs and repair damage
  • I will not react with anger if I am denied forgiveness but accept it with good grace, owning it as part of the price for falling short
  • I will offer freely to others who fall short, the same opportunity for forgiveness as I would want for myself
  • Even in being forgiven, or in forgiving others, I recognize that the nature of relationships can be permanently altered by mistakes or misdeeds and when necessary I will bear such painful consequences with good grace


  • Integrity as defined as wholeness of being is the result of living a life that is consistent with my stated beliefs
  • I can self-affirm my integrity, but am I capable of viewing my motives, my actions, and outcomes with sufficient objectivity?  Might I be better served by the insight of trusted others?
  • If I care to be known as an individual of integrity by others I believe that I must make my standards known - how can others assess my integrity unless they know the code by which I live my life and how I define honor, courage, respect, service redemption and integrity?
  • I can only hope that in offering such transparency I will receive back kind and gentle guidance when I stray from the path

The following individuals have either asked to be added to the list of those who endorse this code, or who have supplied their own (which can be viewed by clicking on the link embedded in their names)

Master Harold

Master Dave
Madam So


"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation.
We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence,
but we rather have those because we have acted rightly.
We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then is not an act but a habit."


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