Nothing reminds me of my submissives' eternal love quite like formal collars fastened about their necks. Collars can be like the BDSM equivalent of marriage rings. They can also be purely decorative, or just for play. There's a variety to their meaning and symbolism.
My dearheart says that without his collar on, he feels incomplete and off balance. Having me collar him has been a daily routine in his life for years now. Without that touchstone, he is lost.
Likewise my dear lady enjoys both the aesthetic as well as the symbolism involved in a collar. Collars are sexy, especially when they're on lovely dears.
Does it make sense then that we keep the collars on in public? It is better that we love freely, without worrying about what others think. Freaking out the mundanes isn't our concern, nor is it our goal.
Why should we change ourselves and hide ourselves for public consumption?
What is a BDSM Collar?
First of all, a collar is exactly what it sounds like. It's an adornment worn around the neck, typically fashioned from leather or metal.
It's often used for kinky play, or as a symbol in D/s dynamics (and by extension, M/s dynamics).
Sometimes collars can be used in pet play, but that's not to say that they are the same thing as animal collars.
I'm tired of strangers in public that bypass me to address my submissive dearheart and ask him "Why are you wearing a dog collar?"
It's understandable that they have no other context to work with, but it's not our responsibility to educate randoms on the street every time it comes up.
Most collars are not toys. They're often compared to wedding rings so that mundane people understand the gravity of such collars.
Decent people don't reach over and tug off someone's wedding ring unasked; similarly, decent folk don't touch someone's collar unprompted.
What Does a Submissive's Collar Mean?
Ask ten kinksters what collars mean, and you will receive two dozen different meanings. There's a wide variety of collars thanks to how symbolic and personal they are.
Some collars are more abstract than others, such as with piercings or tattoos or chastity devices. Usually collars' meanings are about ownership and commitment in relationships. Others are meant purely for play.
In my relationships, I use formal collars as a token of our commitments to each other. I want my subs to treat their collars with the same care and respect as they would treat me.
Being collared is a physical reminder for my partners that they are loved, and that I will make them happy, healthy, and wealthy.
For another example of meaning, my dear lady enjoys that a collar is a subtle-ish way of telling people at large "Look! I belong to someone!"
She also enjoys the "Don't mess with me, I bite" vibes her spikes give.
My dearheart on the other hand doesn't care what his collar says to people in general; he only cares that it tells me that he's wholly mine – that he has given himself over to me.
Though he's also proud to wear a collar, as it shows he's been chosen and is worthy of my relationship.
It might help you understand the meanings behind a collar if we describe different common types of collars.
What are Different Types of Submissive Collars?
I see there being three main types of collars regarding their levels of commitment: collars used for play, consideration collars, and formal collars.
That's not to say that three is all there is – people come up with all sorts of niches for collars to have meaning. That includes discreet daily collars/public collars, protection collars, fashion collars, dress collars, and house collars.
Play collars are straightforward: they're often heavy duty, used for anchoring or bondage or leashing. Or they may be posture collars. Play collars tend to be used within just a BDSM scene, or during kinky play.
Play collars don't always need to be big, heavy duty adornments though. Sometimes a small, discreet collar can serve to signify when play has commenced.
Next are consideration collars and trial collars. They are often exploratory, the first collar worn when a dominant and submissive are diving deep into learning each other.
Whilst consideration collars do not carry a time limit, they don't indicate a permanent commitment. It's something of a step in a relationship escalator, coming before a more permanent collar. Or else getting off the escalator entirely if the D/s dynamic isn't quite right.
Mundane traditions that parallel consideration collars are dating and sometimes engagement rings, depending on the type of consideration at work. Collaring someone with a consideration collar may be as simple as trying out a new partner, or it may be an indicator of a significant other.
Finally come formal collars. They often entail indefinite or permanent commitments with lots of mutual responsibility. They are often given during a collaring ceremony, which again can be personalised to come in countless myriad forms.
In my case, my first collaring of my dearheart involved just the two of us alone negotiating our vows and terms. I wanted to give him a collar to cling to during our long-distance separation as he went across the world for work.
The second collaring was on our wedding day, where I again privately collared him. Then we had our family participate in fasting our hands together with leather strips.
As for other types of collars, my dearheart has two formal collars: the dress collar he wears to special occasions (like our wedding), and the daily collar/house collar that is plain enough to wear for day-to-day life.
Some people choose discreet public collars to wear in professional settings. As an example, you might have a necklace length closed with a lock.
It's worth mentioning that outing kinksters endangers them. If you notice something kinky about someone in public, don't call attention to it!
Calling out collars as kinky articles is also a mistake, as some people wear fashion collars. They simply enjoy the aesthetic of them, as seen commonly in goth subcultures. There's not necessarily a kink or D/s component to collars.
As a final example of collars, there's protection collars. They can be self-collared to ward off unwanted attention, or provided by a friend to help someone feel safe.
Which leads to a point of etiquette: normally one does not lead their interest in a collared person directly; instead they direct their interest to the dominant/owner.
Why be Collared in Public?
As I said before, it is better to live and love out in the open.
Trying to keep a secret burdens the psyche and leads to shadowy metaphors. I've seen far too many people skirting around kink communities, afraid of being in the open for various reasons. I'm privileged enough to be out and open, and the difference is palpable to me.
Despite how hot it is to be collared, collars are also so tame, practically speaking. It's not like it's as taboo as practising kinks in public; it's just that it deviates from the norms of society. By wearing a collar in public, my partner has to be prepared for the rare weird interaction with strangers.
The second biggest reason I enjoy collaring my submissives for going out in public is that it raises a kinky flag. I've met other kinksters and discovered interesting private events thanks to that.
Again I find myself repeating that kinksters like myself should not need to change ourselves to fit into society, but instead that society should progress to the point where our differences are celebrated.
Collaring is just one example of deviating from the norm, and it barely compares to other normative transgressions that marginalised people suffer for.
I'm privileged enough to be able to bear the few problems we get by having my submissives collared.
I can also hope to live to see a future in which kinksters are accepted by society, and recognised as the wonderful vibrant people that we are.
If you're new to my domain, then I shall call your attention to this article as an introductory read: