A collar is a traditional symbol of an active power exchange dynamic. Not all who wear collars within BDSM culture will subscribe to this tradition, some may choose to wear them strictly for fashion purposes.
- 1 Being Collared
- 2 Traditional Types of Collars
- 3 Traditions of Earning a Collar
- 4 Best Practices
- 5 Protocol Practices
- 6 Collaring Ceremonies
A collar, when used to denote power exchange, is owned by the d-type that then places it upon the s-type. During the time it is worn the s-type does not own the collar, but instead is the custodian of the collar and works to maintain the integrity of the collar as a symbol of dominance and bondage. Often no one but the d-type, to include the s-type, is permitted to remove the collar with exception to medical emergencies and security checkpoints, though this is not always the case.
The collar itself is a symbol of bondage and indicates some level of D/s as specified in the negotiations. Most collars are used to indicate long term relationships but this is not always the case. Because of the highly personal nature of a collar it is not wise to touch the collar of another without explicit consent.
Traditional Types of Collars
A classic collar is a black leather strap, approximately 1.5 inches wide (variable depending upon the size of the s-type), worn snugly around the neck of the s-type, usually made of the upper most portion of the back hide of a bull. It will have one O-ring on the front of the collar and include a locking mechanism in the rear such as buckles, straps and hooks, padlocks and other attachments. This collar is most commonly associated with elder traditions of M/s dynamics.
Modern Collars are often made of light weight metals and heavy duty locking mechanisms which is some cases cannot be easily removed, and are preferably non-conductive should the s-type wish to engage in any sort of electrical play. Modern collars come in Flat style (generally a rigid circle) and Turian Style (anatomically contoured for ergonomic purposes). These collars are commonly associated with Gorian Traditions.
A simple collar consists of a padlocked chain. Often times these collars can be cumbersome if worn for extensive periods of time and are generally not the wisest choice for heavy scene play, see play collars below.
Some that practice D/s may not utilize collars at all as symbols of power exchange but may use tattoos, scars or brands, cuffs, anklets, belly chains, dog tags, chastity devices, wedding or slave rings, or some other symbolism, or even no physical symbol at all. Exact symbols may be as personalized or impersonal as the d-type desires.
A play collar is generally a wide, black collar with padding to cushion the interior, often with several D-rings or O-rings for easy connection to bondage points or leashes. A play collar is generally donned for the purposes of power exchange within a single scene, or traded for a collar that is less durable during scene play.
A day collar is a collar that is usually some form of jewelry that can pass as an inconspicuous necklace that can be easily worn for professional or other social purposes without drawing attention to the s-type and can serve as a daily reminder of the relationship even when in places that flaunting such relationship statuses might otherwise be inappropriate.
A fashion collar is simply a collar of any type, usually leather, worn for fashion purposes and does not indicate any form of D/s. Fashion collars often carry a stigma in some circles of the BDSM community as they are not earned and can be perceived to degrade the traditional symbolism of collars used in power exchange dynamics.
A posture collar is generally made of a rigid material (or sometimes leather) and may also contain corset style boning and straps for purposes of breath play. The collar is contoured to fit the shoulders and the jawline, and stops the head turning or looking up or down. This causes increased levels of bondage and may also be used to train the s-type to have better posture through conditioning.
A protection collar is worn by a charge and the collar is placed upon them by a protector. A protection collar is generally used to redirect questions of a potential play partner from the charge to the protector.
A consideration collar is worn during a period of consideration, which generally indicates a minor level of commitment where both partners are considering each other for a potential long term commitment. The consideration collar is most often blue in color.
A pet collar is a collar that is worn by a human during pet play and thus indicates a very different type of thematic D/s. The design of the collar is such that is generally likened to the type of animal that is being emulated. In some cases pet collars may also be fashion collars as the pet wears the collar without having an owner/handler and instead uses it as an indicator to help enter their "pet space".
A Training collar is put on a pupil by a trainer that generally consists of a leather strap. It generally does not have a permanent locking mechanism but may have a snap or buckle, as the training period is considered to have a definitive start and end. During the time the collar is worn the pupil responds to the commands and instructions of the trainer, which may also be their respective d-type, or not, depending upon the purposes of the training. Training for a permanent relationship collar usually takes aproximately one year according to many traditions.
Usually a training collar does not include an O-ring as a traditional collar does as one in training is generally not considered prepared for leashing, or if trained by one other than their respective d-type, leashing is generally not considered appropriate even if they are prepared for such activities. Training collars are sometimes used for large scale training events as well, though the specifics of these event/collar arrangements may vary widely.
A Velcro collar is a derogatorily used term for collars that are put on and taken off quickly. Generally it is considered bad form to don and remove the collar quickly with exception to a consideration collar as this may show a behavior pattern consistent with entering into meaningful adult relationships without any proper preparation, insight and a generally irresponsible attitude simply for the purposes of meeting one's appetite for sex and/or relationships.
Traditions of Earning a Collar
To earn a permanent relationship collar, customarily a d-type will assign three significant challenges that they may or may not divulge to an s-type that will indicate large scale personal growth as well as dedication to the relationship and embracing their s-type nature. Upon completion if the d-type is satisfied they may choose to award the s-type with a permanent collar.
If you are attending a BDSM Event and you see someone wearing a piece of neck jewelry or other symbol that appears to indicate a D/s dynamic simply ask during conversation, "Is that a collar or some other piece of jewelry? What is it's significance?". Most people will be happy to tell you about the significance of their collar if you approach them politely.
This will allow you to assess how to proceed in an informed fashion while respecting the person you are speaking with and their consensual relationship protocols. Do not touch the collar (or person) without first having explicit permissions granted from the owner of a collar as that can often be a consent violation.
Many have various protocols and rituals associated with the donning or wearing of a collar, the specifics can vary widely between d-types.
Collaring events vary widely much like marriage ceremonies. They can be private or public, have specific rituals, events, vows and many other components but most importantly are used to designate the importance of the event of earning a collar of any type, though especially for a permanent D/s collar.